Kappa Delta Rho - Honor Super Omnia
Kappa Delta Rho
Eta Chapter

Student Organization at
At Champaign Urbana

History

Last updated April 23, 2011
Kappa Delta Rho was first founded at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont on May 17, 1905. Ten Men gathered in Room 14 of Old Painter Hall and laid the groundwork for what became Kappa Delta Rho.

Those first ten brothers were men who wanted to join into fraternal bonds in their collegiate years, however found the array of fraternities before them unsatisfactory, hypocritical, and unenticing. They wanted something different, better, and true. So three of them sat for many hours, hammering out the standards of the brotherhood, the symbols that it would display, and the expectations of its brothers. Finally, when all was finished, they had borne their own fraternity, Kappa Delta Rho.

For twelve years, the fraternity grew as a local fraternity at Middlebury. In 1917, the fraternity went national, chartering its Beta Chapter at Cornell University. Four years later on February 18, 1921, Kappa Delta Rho chartered its seventh chapter, Eta, at the University of Illinois in Champaign.

1921 was an exciting time for the fraternity system at University of Illinois. The world's first Dean of Men, Thomas Mann Clark, ruled the campus with an iron fist. However, Clark, a fraternity man himself, knew the value of the Greek system to his mission. In his reign, the University was suffering from a lack of housing for its growing student populace. Being primarily male at that time, he encouraged the growth of fraternities, which would lead to more fraternity houses, which was to him and the university, cheap housing with no cost or liability for the university. In fact, at one point in time, there were over 150 fraternities on campus, nearly all of them local with no national fraternity.

It had so happened that in 1919, one such fraternity was founded, Delta Pi. By 1921, it was well established within the fraternity system. However, like several others at the time, the brothers were looking for something bigger. Kappa Delta Rho was looking to expand its borders from its East Coast origins. After several communications, it was decided that the local fraternity of Delta Pi was to become the Eta Chapter of Kappa Delta Rho. And on March 21, 1921 in a ceremony at the original house at 104 E. John, the Eta Chapter was borne.

It lived there for two more years until it moved to 404 E. John and in September 1, 1928, made its final move to its current edifice, 1110 S. Second St. Of course, that is not entirely accurate. Armory Street was the south edge of town at that point, and city planners didn't run Second Street Straight through Armory then. Instead, they created Williamson Street. And until 1949, the official address of the chapter house was 1110 S. Williamson Street. Since then, which was when the current six-pack was built and that area cleared of many fraternity houses, it has been 1110 S. Second St.

Flash forward to 1989. For the past sixty plus years, the chapter has been up and down, but very solid. Carrying at any given time between 35 and 60 brothers. However, faced with dwindling numbers, internal conflict and poor support, the chapter was closed. Flash again to 1992. The national fraternity is now headed by Bill Paris, Eta chapter alum from 1986. Bill wanted to see the chapter back at University of Illinois. He placed an advertisement in the Daily Illini to see if there was any interest in refounding the chapter. Bill found not one, but two separate groups who wished to start a fraternity. Bill brought these two groups together. He worked side by side with everyone from both groups rebuilding the the spirit of the chapter house he once knew. On April 17, 1993, from this bud of hard work, sweat, and tears was reborn the Eta Chapter of Kappa Delta Rho. The new incarnation, formed of 31 individuals is the basis on which the current Eta Chapter rests.

Greg Uhrhan Eta '00