Sigma Chi Delta Omicron History
In 1947, an undergraduate student by the name of Jack Fraser, on behalf of a group of young men, contacted an alumnus member of Sigma Chi's Gamma Rho chapter in Dalhousie. The men hoped to receive some advice in regards to establishing a fraternity at the University of British Columbia. After the Second World War, fraternities enjoyed a boom, and starting a fraternity was the thing to do. Many of the men who showed interest then, understandably, were war veterans. The alumnus member of Gamma Rho was a man by the name of Dr. Bill Scott. Scott, who had graduated Dalhousie with a degree in dentistry, convinced the men in Vancouver that Sigma Chi was the right fraternity for them. He then made them aware of the fact that Sigma Chi was holding a Grand Chapter meeting in August of 1948 in Seattle. If the young men in British Columbia were going to be able to receive a charter as a new chapter of Sigma Chi, the Grand Chapter was the place to get the ball rolling.
Dr. Bill Scott came from Ontario and attended, along with Jack Fraser and others, the Grand Chapter meeting in Seattle. They intended to meet with the then-Grand Consul Sam Bullock. Once at the Grand Chapter, they were told the good news that International wanted them as a Sigma Chi chapter. First though, they needed to petition for a charter. This process involves meeting certain requirements given by International, and learning about the Sigma Chi Fraternity. Fraser's group had initially thought they could call their chapter something like Alpha Beta Gamma, but Sam Bullock told them that that name wouldn't be acceptable. Instead, the men chose Chi Sigma Chi as the temporary name for their Fraternity. During the petitioning period, pledges were recruited. The petitioning process was unusually swift, and on the twenty-second day of January 1949, the Delta Omicron chapter of Sigma Chi was officially established at UBC. Sam Bullock came up from the United States and initiated about 40 Chi Sigma Chi brothers, making them Sigma Chi brothers in a ritual ceremony at the Hotel Vancouver.
The Beginning on an Important Relationship
Delta Omicron has long enjoyed, and continues to enjoy today, positive relations with the University of Puget Sound chapter of Sigma Chi. This strong relationship was fostered in the early 70s, when Greek life was dwindling and Delta Omicron needed help recruiting new guys. When these Delta Omicron brothers turned to their UPS brothers for help, groups of guys came up for all the recruitment events, social functions, and finally initiation. With their help, they initiated about 12 new Sigma Chis.
Continued Support From UPS
By the early 80's Delta Omicron was doing exceptionally well. Numbers of recruits were good and there were few problems. By the latter part of the decade though, our chapter worked with UPS once more to strengthen our recruitment efforts. Brothers from UPS came up to UBC to help recruit, and current Grand Praetor of Sigma Chi's Northwestern Province, Brendan Price, was among those who came up. By the end of the year, the chapter had 15 members. By 1987, there were 25 members. The early 1990's were even more prosperous, with membership reaching over 60. Today Delta Omicron is over 60 brothers strong and plans on reaching new all-time highs within the next year.
-1949: Delta Omicron's first chapter house was located on the Southeast corner of Granville Street and Angus Drive. The chapter couldn't keep up the mortgage payments, and thus lost the house.
-1957: The chapter's second home took the shape of a rented house at Kits Point. Howie Thomas was the chapter's Consul. At that time, only four fraternities at UBC had houses on campus (Sigma Chi did not).
-1959 (aprox.): Delta Omicron moved into a rented house at 9th and Sasamat. The house had space for nine brothers in residence. The 9th and Sasamat house was torn down to become part of the Safeway development, and the search for housing started again.
-1964: (aprox.) The house moved once again. This time, it was a house in Shaugnessy, on Conaught Drive near 33rd Avenue. The chapter spent only one year in the house as the Shaughnessey Rate Payer's Associaiton objected to our use of the property.
-1965 (aprox.): Delta Omicron moved into a small rented house at 13th and Discovery. The fraternity stayed there for only a year, and then moved for another year at 16th and Crown.
-1966: The Delta Omicron Society/Housing Corporation was set up in order to address the issue of housing.
-1966: Delta Omicron's 6th chapter house was located at 8th and Arbutus, just behind the mortuary. Sub Ketcham was the Consul. When Rip Peterman (an Order of Constantine Sigma Chi, see below) was pledging, their pledge project was to decorate the downstairs of the house. They decided to decorate it like a crypt for fun, in lieu of the houses' location.
-1968: With $10,000 in the bank, the Delta Omicron Society built a new house on Agronomy Road. The mortgage was $130,000 with 95% financing. The Housing Corporation almost ran out of money during construction and was forced to scrap plans to build the final wing of the house. This made the house into an "L" shape rather than the originally designed "U" shape.
-2004: The new home of Delta Omicron took about ten years to get off the ground. Plans to move the fraternities on campus began when most fraternities had leases that were running out. A meeting, at which several fraternities had representation, was held and plans were conceptualized. The original plan was very different from the arrangement that we now see today. Each fraternity was supposed to get 1/3 of an acre, with each lot running along Wesbrook Mall from the police station to 16thAvenue. Eventually, today's configuration was agreed upon.
-2006: Our new house was dedicated this year with a ceremony held at the Sigma Chi chapter house. Robert Jones, the Grand Pro-Consul (International Vice-President) was in attendance as well as a number of Sigma Chis who have been a part of Delta Omicron for over 50 years. Dr. Bill Scott was present as well as Wally Beck (who joined the chapter and the fraternity in 1949), and Frank Crane. Our house should be the focal point of years of good times to come.
-Allan Beasley: Involved with diplomatic core of Canada
-Clive Miller: Charter member of Delta Omicron. Was a judge in Manitoba.
-Sandy Mcpherson: Attached himself to Delta Omicron about 10 years ago. Though he spent his Sigma Chi years with another Canadian Sigma Chi chapter, he requested to have his Significant Sig ceremony at the Delta Omicron chapter house. This was the first Significant Sig ceremony to be held at the UBC sig chapter house.
The Order of Constantine Sigs
The Order of Constantine is the highest Fraternity honor, awarded to alumnus brothers who have "devoted long and distinguished service to Sigma Chi" (from the Norman Shield). It is unheard of for a Sigma Chi to receive this award if he has not devoted at least 20 years service to the Fraternity.
Delta Omicron Recipients:
-Frank Crane: Frank was initiated in 1959, and served two terms as Consul. He was an excellent "rusher" and was very instrumental for keeping the chapter going in the early ‘60's. He subsequently spent several years as Chapter Advisor, Housing Socity Chair, and was the Sigma Chi representative through all of the negotiations with UBC when the current housing development was being negotiated. He received The Order of Constantine in 2003.
-Rip Peterman: Rip received this prestigious award in 1991 for his continued involvement to Sigma Chi, notably his work with the Delta Omicron Housing Corporation in the 80s. He even lead an initiative to market the chapter house, then the house on Agronomy Road, for renting out during Expo 86. This move safeguarded the financial future of the chapter.
-John F. Watson: The Brothers of Delta Omicron are proud that Brother John Watson has been awarded the Order of Constantine (2008) and we are deeply indebted to him for his service to our chapter. Since 1998, John has served as Delta Omicron’s Chapter Advisor, providing support through his sound advice and his great sense of humor. Brother Watson also served as financial advisor for the chapter from 1963 until 1965, and was a member of the 50th anniversary committee from 1997-1999. He is also a member of the Delta Omicron Society House Foundation, something he has done since 1998. Furthermore, from 1998-2004, he served as chairman of the University of British Columbia’s Fraternity Village Building Committee. In that role, he oversaw completion of not only the Sigma Chi house but of six other fraternity houses. Congratulations and thank you John!
The history of the chapter was written by Ben Lermer, and is based on brother Frank Crane's chapter history presentation. John Watson made further additions, and other alumnus members including Rip Peterman have contributed information.