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Alpha-Omicron Chapter at Indiana University Celebrates 100 Years


Video courtesy of Nordhoff Cinematography

On April 1, the Alpha-Omicron chapter at Indiana University celebrated 100 years of continuous operation, a feat very few chapters can boast.

The day kicked off with brothers from past and present gathering at the chapter house to mingle, followed by a moving time capsule ceremony.  For each member present, the ceremony represented a long, proud tradition of Lambda Chi Alpha in Bloomington.

Both undergraduates and alumni enjoyed their time together.

“The centennial was kind of the end of a long process that started ultimately with the ACB, and patterns of behavior changed to make it possible to obtain a centennial,” said Joe Folkening, High Pi of the Alpha-Omicron chapter.  “That’s special to us because it is actually 100 continuous years, not a total of 100 years; it’s an unbroken chain, being at one place, in one physical chapter house for 100 years, which is very unique.”

In addition to the undergraduate members, many alumni from the 1950s and 60s made the trip back to Indiana, their first in years. Folkening assures that the attendance of older alumni proved how the fraternity has changed over the years, but at the same time, how some things remain steadfast.

“Some of the men who came back were actually pledges, not associates, back when that was appropriate,” stated Folkening.  “So, to see that change and to hear those stories, for the undergrads seeing that networking and that real-world experience, was something not a lot of our younger members had experienced; that connection was rekindled, that passion was rekindled, and they could see the living examples that Lambda Chi is not just for a semester, or four years, it’s a lifetime commitment.”

Alumni who had not seen the house in many years made the trip back to Bloomington.

The alumni were able to enjoy the connections they formed with the undergraduates during the celebration and were able to witness how the campus has changed around the old Lambda Chi chapter house.  In some cases, spouses of older alumni were able to finally make the trip up to the study/sleep rooms for the first time in their lives (during the 60s, there was a rule which did not allow female guests on the upstairs level of the house).

As evening approached, members migrated to Alumni Hall in Indiana’s student union building for a dinner and banquet.  During this time, brothers heard from CEO Bill Farkas, along with keynote speaker Judge Michael Kanne of the U.S. Court of Appeals and Judge Ken Todd of the Monroe County Circuit Court.  The night concluded with an address from Jim Schrader, a member of the Board of Councilors.

Among the almost 400 in attendance, a challenge was issued at the end of the celebration: tackle another 100 years as proud members of Lambda Chi.

“That should be their legacy, looking forward to the future and leaving the chapter in a better position than it was when they joined and that is only through proper recruitment and following the values of Lambda Chi,” said Folkening.

This weekend (April 21-23), the Lambda Chi brothers are looking forward to the famous Little 500 bike race, in which their team qualified in seventh place with the best time in over 25 years. From there, it will be on the brothers to continue to uphold the ways of their house to help ring in another 100 years.