Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, was the home of the first fraternities established west of the Allegheny Mountains. The "Miami Triad", Beta Theta Pi, Phi Delta Theta, and Sigma Chi, all founded chapters at Centre College in the mid-1800's that are still active today.
Beta Theta Pi, the first Greek letter fraternity west of the Allegheny Mountains, was founded at Miami University in 1839. A chapter was established at Centre College in 1848. Because of the Civil War, the Epsilon Chapter was inactive from 1862 to 1871, but revitalized itself in the 1870's. During this period it absorbed the local chapter of Alpha Chi Phi, a fraternity that had begun at Centre in 1868. Prominent members of Epsilon Chapter have included Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court John Marshall Harlan, Kentucky Governors John Y. Brown and Thomas T. Crittenden, Senator John Sherman Cooper, Ormond Beatty, President of Centre from 1868 to 1888, William C. Young, President of Centre from 1888 to 1896, "Bo" McMillan, and E. A. Diddle.
Phi Delta Theta, the second fraternity at Centre, was founded at Miami University in 1848. A member of that fraternity transferred to Centre, and established the Kentucky Alpha Chapter in 1850. In 1879 the local chapter of Delta Kappa was absorbed by Kentucky Alpha Chapter. The Kentucky Delta Chapter was founded at Central University in 1886, and when the two schools consolidated in 1901, both chapters merged to form the present day Kentucky Alpha Delta Chapter. Prominent members of the chapter have in cluded Salvador De Soto, Centre professor, Charles H. Lewis and James S. Ewing, both United States ambassadors, Adlai Ewing Stevenson, vice-president of the United States from 1892-1896, and Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court Fred M. Vinson.
The third fraternity of the "Miami Triad", Sigma Chi, founded a chapter at Centre in 1876. Because of the late date of its beginning, this chapter continually faced stiff competition for members from the older, well-established fraternities. Its membership, therefore, remained relatively low throughout its early history. Members of the Zeta Zeta Chapter that achieved local prominence included Calvin Fackler, Nelson D. Rodes, and Francis J. Cheek.
The Kentucky Kappa Chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon was founded in 1882 at Central University in Richmond, Kentucky. The Iota Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon was begun in 1854 at the Kentucky Military Institute in Frankfort. This chapter became inactive during the Civil War, and was transferred in 1855 to Central University. Both chapters moved to Danville when Centre College and Central University consolidated in 1901.
The last of Centre's still active fraternities is the Delta Chapter of Phi Kappa Tau, established in 1914. This chapter was inactive from 1933 to 1948.Several fraternities began chapters at Centre in the 1800's, but after a period of time became inactive. Kappa Alpha's Omega Chapter was founded at Centre in 1883, and became inactive in 1933. Alpha Kappa Phi (Alpha Chapter) began in 1858, and remained active until the late 1870's. Phi Gamma Delta only lasted for one, 1856. Alpha Chi Phi was active from 1868 until the 1870's when it was absorbed by Epsilon Chapter of Beta Theta Pi. Delta Kappa, established in the 1850's, was absorbed by Kentucky Alpha Chapter of Phi Delta Theta in 1879. Alpha Kappa Pi was active from 1932 to 1936.
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