Ohio Northern University


Ada, OH

Ohio Northern University was founded in 1871. Gamma Alpha Chapter is a descendant of the first national fraternity chapter established at Ohio Northern. In 1903 Omicron Omicron Chapter of Theta Nu Epsilon was established by the mother chapter of Theta Nu Epsilon at Wesleyan. Among the charter members was Dr. Thomas J. Smull, Ohio Northern ‘42. Theta Nu Epsilon at the time did not require exclusivity of membership, had no central office or alumni supervisory board, and was disreputable in its operations at some chapters.  In 1905 the undergraduate members of the chapter discovered the poor reputation of Theta Nu Epsilon.  After this discovery, most of Omicron Omicron members bolted and took a charter from Sigma Phi Epsilon.  The rest of the Omicron Omicron Chapter members continued an operation which was neither sanctioned by the school nor by the Theta Nu Epsilon Fraternity. Gradually the members regained recognition and when Theta Nu Epsilon reorganized in 1923 and began to eliminate clandestine groups operating in its name, recognition of Omicron Omicron was restored.  Von Spellman, Ohio Northern ‘55, and Francis L. Ault, ‘24, Ohio Northern ‘55, were loyal advisors to the chapter under three fraternities.

Theta Nu Epsilon’ reforms reduced its chapter roll from fifty chapters and unauthorized groups to sixteen chapters. The abrupt change in direction, and the limited time between the reorganization and the onset of the Great Depression, presented a challenge Theta Nu Epsilon was unable to meet. By 1939, there remained five active chapters of Theta Nu Epsilon. They were located at Union (1874), Rensellaer (1884), New York University (1889), Penn State (1888), and Ohio Northern (1903). In 1940 the Penn State and N.Y.U Chapters of Theta Nu Epsilon became inactive and the Rensselaer Chapter petitioned for and was granted a charter as Alpha Kappa of Alpha Kappa Pi. For approximately a year after the break up of the old fraternity, the Ohio Northern Chapter functioned as a local. With the growing threat of war, in the Fall of 1941, Omicron Omicron of Theta Nu Epsilon at Ohio Northern petitioned for a charter in Alpha Kappa Pi. Its members were pledged on December 2, 1941, and the chapter was installed as Alpha Lambda Chapter of Alpha Kappa Pi on January 16-17, 1942. The chapter became dormant during World War II, and was revived as Gamma Alpha of Alpha Sigma Phi in the Fall of 1947 through the efforts of brother William Jacobs, Ohio Northern ‘46.

The chapter obtained a house at 603 South Main Street, Ada, Ohio. 46 members were initiated in the Spring of 1948. The chapter had long strings of years winning the campus intramural “All Sports Trophy”.  A housing corporation called The Triangular Alumni Association was formed; its name memorializes the three fraternities, Theta Nu Epsilon, Alpha Kappa Pi, and Alpha Sigma Phi, whose alumni in 1951 moved into a larger house at 503 South Gilbert Street. In 1968 the chapter moved from South Gilbert to a new house on the University’s Fraternity Circle.

The chapter received the Grand Senior President’s Award for 1962-1964, the Alpha Gamma Upsilon Award for 1970-1972, Tomahawk Awards for 1983-84 and 1982-83, and a number of scholarship awards in the early to mid 1960’s.

Gary P. McAnaney, Ohio Northern ‘58, served on the Fraternity staff.  Dr. Thomas J. Smull, Ohio Northern ‘42, Von Spellman, Ohio Northern ‘55, James O. Stahl, Ohio Northern ‘53, and Randy Van Dyne, Ohio Northern ‘72, have received the Delta Beta Xi Award.  The chapter newsletter is the “Red Barn Burner”.  The chapter initiated 824 members through May 1993.

Coordinator of Expansion and Growth Brett Carlson, Illinois State ‘14, led expansion efforts at Ohio Northern University in the spring of 2018.

On February 25, 2018, 20 men were initiated into the Gamma Alpha interest group. On March 25, 2018, the interest group participated in the Provisional Chapter Installation Ceremony. Wyatt Messerly, Ohio Northern ‘18, was the installing president. Justin Cooper, Presbyterian ‘13, represented Fraternity Staff.

On October 5, 2019, the provisional chapter participated in the Chartering Ceremony. Zachery Lemon, Ohio Northern ‘18, was the Chartering President. Jeremy Ried, Elmhurst ‘07. and Sam Harris. Wayne State ‘12. represented Fraternity Staff.

Records show award name and year(s) received.

Alpha Gamma Upsilon Bronze Cup of Distinction 2021, 2019
Alpha Kappa Pi Gold Cup of Distinction 2022
Grand Senior President's Cup 1964
Most Improved Chapter Award 1972

Records show brother's name, initiation year, and award received.

Thomas J. Smull 1942 Delta Beta Xi Award
Von Spellman 1955 Delta Beta Xi Award
James M. Sponseller 1968 Delta Beta Xi Award
Jimmie O. Stahl 1953 Delta Beta Xi Award
J. Randal Van Dyne 1972 Delta Beta Xi Award