April 2013

Question:

Dear Abbot Pennings,

Which fraternity and sorority were the first to be founded at St. Norbert, and which have been on campus the longest?

Elizabeth Krajnik ’15 

Answer:

My dearest Elizabeth, 

I am delighted to have received your question. Fraternities and sororities have been gracing St. Norbert with their presence for quite some time, and your inquiry is most interesting!

The very first fraternity founded on campus was Alpha Phi Omega. St. Norbert College was the first Catholic institution to be given a charter, and the men of this group received theirs in 1935 as the Alpha Nu chapter. 

As for the first sorority, Lambda Sigma Nu, also known as “Ladies of St. Norbert,” appeared in 1952 – the first year women were able to attend the college. This was a local sorority and was frequently referred to as the Girls’ Club.

Alpha Delta Gamma was the oldest fraternity until very recently. In 1949 the men received their charter as the Theta chapter. This group took a leave of absence from St. Norbert for a few years earlier in their history, but recolonized and remained on campus until the start of the 2013 spring semester. 

Theta Phi Alpha, which appeared in 1961, is the oldest sorority still on campus. Sometime around 1975 this national sorority switched over to Theta Phi, a local sorority. The group is working on receiving their charter from the national organization. 

Over the years, there has been a wide array of fraternities and sororities at St. Norbert. Currently, sororities include Alpha Xi Delta, Delta Phi Epsilon, Kappa Beta Gamma and Theta Phi Alpha, while Delta Upsilon, Kappa Sigma, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Phi Delta Theta make up the active fraternities.

These brotherhoods and sisterhoods continue to grow in size and have been quite successful in fundraising for their philanthropies, I might add. 

Responses to “Ask the Abbot” questions are penned by St. Norbert College staff in the name of Abbot Bernard Pennings, O.Praem., who founded St. Norbert College in 1898.