In 1911, Clarence Castimore, a member of the class of 1912 and chairman of the petitioning committee, met with Dr. Elmer B. Bryan, president of Colgate, and his son, Julian, a Franklin College Phi Delt, to discuss the possibility of affiliating the Sigma Alpha chapter with Phi Delta Theta. Castimore emerged from the meeting committed to bringing Phi Delta Theta to Colgate, and on March 6, 1912, the brothers of Sigma Alpha formally petitioned Phi Delta Theta. Six years passed before Phi Delta Theta granted a charter on January 2, 1918 to form the New York Zeta Chapter of Phi Delta Theta.
During this six year period, Sigma Alpha continued to establish itself on the Colgate campus. In 1914, the brothers purchased the Sigma Alpha house pictured above from Dr. Maynard, a retired member of the Colgate faculty. From 1909 - 1918, Sigma Alpha counted numerous campus leaders as members, including four Editors-in-Chief of The Madisonensis, the President of the Students’ Association, and members of the varsity baseball and football teams, including Clarence E. “Steamer” Horning, who played professional football for several years after Colgate.
At the installation of the New York Zeta chapter in 1918, Dr. Freeman H. Allen, a member of the Colgate faculty and honorary member of Sigma Alpha, read a brief tribute to Sigma Alpha:
From the start, Sigma Alpha was received most cordially by the other fraternities and a most happy relationship has continued to the present time. This has been due in large measure to the character and standing of the men who founded the Society and to the ideals, standards, and impetus given by them to the young organization. They were men of lofty ideals as men and students, strong character and clean life; independent thinkers, fine students and good mixers. They were careful in selecting new members, and the ideals and the advice of these founders of Sigma Alpha have been passed on to each succeeding generation. It has ever been the policy of the fraternity to endeavor to help each brother to become his best - to conquer his faults, stimulate scholarship, cultivate the traits of gentlemen whether within or outside the fraternity house, engage and excel in some extra-curricular activity, and to consider himself first a servant of Colgate and second a servant of Sigma Alpha.
Φ NEW YORK ZETA of PHI DELTA THETA
Colgate University • 114 Broad Street • Hamilton, NY 13346
The above image was taken on March 29, 1918 when the brothers of Sigma Alpha were installed at Colgate as the New York Zeta Chapter of Phi Delta Theta. The Sigma Alpha house in the background was purchased by the brothers of Sigma Alpha in 1914, and burned down in 1924. It was replaced by the current chapter house.
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