FOUNDING OF ALPHA OMEGA CHAPTER
The Murray State University Agriculture Club was the principal organization on the campus that agriculture students could affiliate with prior to 1959. The Club served many purposes for the Agriculture Department and the Agriculture Student; however, as is characteristic of most clubs, it failed to offer students the fullest opportunity to develop the social and cultural aspects of life. Consequently, in the winter of 1958 three young men--John Bartee, Eddie Cooper, and James
Pace--approached Prof. Arlie Scott, advisor of the Agriculture Club and closest worker with the Agriculture students, concerning the establishment of an Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity Chapter at Murray State University. Prof. Scott was very receptacle to the idea and immediately began inquiry as to how to go about establishing the Fraternity.
Prof. Scott corresponded with Dr. L. H. Townsend, former advisor to Omicron Chapter. Dr. Townsend advised Prof. Scott to contact Mr. Maynard Coe, Grand- Secretary. Arrangements were subsequently made for Mr. Coe to visit the campus in March 1959. After looking over the University, the Agriculture Department, and conferring with the students, Mr. Coe advised that we organize a colony. Permission was secured from President Woods and the colony became officially established November 25, 1959. James Pace of LaCenter, Kentucky, was the first President. Unfortunately, John Bartee and Eddie Cooper graduated before having an opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
In the years to follow, Alpha Gamma Rho experienced much success and some disappointments. Successes included being recognized by the Inter-Fraternity Council and all
sororities on the campus. The group grew closer together, year by year, with a determination that they would not fail. In the fall of 1962, the fraternity rented their first house and became the first Murray State University fraternity to live together and manage a house. This was part of their plan to become a full-status chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity. Probably the group’s greatest disappointment was the continued refusal of the University administration to allow meals to be served in the fraternity house. The University administration policy, on not serving meals, was at the same time against the policy of the National Fraternity.
Persistence prevailed, and in the fall of 1966 the colony rented a second house in order to house more of the members of the fraternity. In the fall of 1967, the fraternity was allowed to start serving two meals per day. This was another first at Murray State University. Alpha Gamma Rho was not only renting and managing two houses but was the first fraternity to serve its members their meals.
With these obstacles removed, the colony petitioned the National for a charter and full membership into Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity in the fall of 1967. The day of great honor arrived on Saturday, May 18, 1968, when Dr. David Pfendler, Grand President, presented Prof. Arlie Scott, advisor to the colony since its beginning, the pen with which to sign as the first charter
member. Alpha Upsilon Chapter was the installing chapter.
Professor Scott realized that the colony should not continue to rent property as this did not permit a permanent home nor the accruing of equity. He, also, knew the need for a non-profit corporation to take title to property when the right property became available for purchase. Aware of this need, Professor Scott persuaded: E. B. Howton, Chairman of the Agriculture Department; Robert Hendon, Prof. of Agriculture at M.S.U.; Hon. Holmes Ellis, Mayor of Murray and Alumnus of Omicron Chapter and Paul Frields, alumnus of M.S.U. Alpha Gamma Rho Colony to Join him in forming the Alpha Gamma Rho Alumni Association, Inc. of M.S.U. on June 23, 1963. With the corporation formed, there was a delay for suitable property to become available. Murray was a comparatively small town and did not have a large number of houses suitable for fraternity use. However, by patiently waiting, the present Alpha Omega chapter house became available in the fall of 1968. Prof. Scott contacted Mr. Thomas H. Banks, the administrator of the Elinus Beale Estate and negotiations got underway. The chapter obligated itself for a tremendous amount of indebtness and through the cooperation of the Bank of Murray and the National Fraternity was able to obtain the full amount of the price of the estate. The estate included the present dwelling, garage, and 5.3 acres of ground. The purchase of the estate was finalized on December 13, 196
8, a major achievement for Alpha Omega Chapter. Between December 13, 19GB, and January 6, 1969, much had to be done for the fraternity to move into its new home. This involved the purchase of kitchen equipment, lying of city sewer line, running city water to the house, as well as adding bathroom facilities. This was accomplished during the month of December, and what a happy day when members returned from Christmas vacation to Alpha Omega’s new home.
Alpha Gamma Rho men have continued to take pride in their “home away from home” and have made considerable improvement from year to year. They continue to improve by painting, purchasing rugs and new furniture.
At present, the chapter has fifteen men living in the house and a membership of thirty-five.
by Professor Arlie Scott
March 14, 1972