History of ATO Zeta Chi
Our National Fraternity was founded on September 11, 1865 by Otis Allan Glazebrook (pictured left). Check the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity National Website for the official story of our founding as a Brotherhood based upon eternal and immutable principles. Below is ur local chapter history, as written by Worthy Alumnus William W. "Bill" Lynn ('66)
Zeta Chi Chapter of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity began in November, 1964 with an informal meeting of interested students in the apartment of Dr. K. Michael Baker. Brother Baker was a history professor and as a member of this fraternity, was charged with establishing a chapter at Louisiana Tech University. The first meetings were held so that potential members could get acquainted and to insure they could work together to establish this chapter.
Early in 1965, the group applied for formal recognition from Tech (which at that time was known as Louisiana Polytechnic Institute). Recognition was soon granted by the IFC, and the Kappa Tau Colony became a reality. All new members were granted immediate "active" status.
As the fraternity rapidly grew, the members felt they needed a house. A search was launched by the members and in the spring of 1965 the original house was purchased at 210 Westwood Drive. That summer, several of the members moved in and began converting it to a real fraternity house. Brothers Jim Hengstenberg, Sammy Frantom, and Craig Goebel did most of the work. By the fall of 1965-66, the house and members were ready for their first formal rush.
For this rush, several members of the LSU Chapter came up to assist with the functions. Horace Wilkerson was a motivating force, working with the members after each rush party to work out the "kinks" of inexperience. This first rush was a great success.
Brother Baker completed his tenure at Tech and taken a position with another University. Colonel Fay G . Adams, head of the Louisiana Tech ROTC Department, became the next faculty advisor. The membership at this time was 20 and Colonel Adams kept these rowdy young men in line.
Jim Hengstenberg was Chapter President. His solid character was respected by the membership and he managed to keep the chapter moving with minimal to the pledge class.
In the Spring of 1966, the first pledge class was initiated. Alpha Tau Omega was so pleased with the performance of the colony, the stated they would charter it as a chapter in late spring of this year. The weekend of May 7, 1966, 21 actives and three honor initiates became the Zeta Chi Chapter of Alpha Tau Omega.
National Officers in attendance that day were Brother Norman E. Ritchie (Syracuse University, Executive Secretary, and Wendell M. Tutt (Simpson University), Ritual Counselor. Officer Installation was performed by George R. Bahr (Southern Mississippi), Chief of Province XXIV and K. Michael Baker (Lamar Tech), founder of the Kappa Tau Colony. Other brothers from Louisiana State University, Tulane University and the University of Southern Mississippi also participated in the event.
The first class of Zeta Chi Chapter included the following brothers: Walter Murray, David Jones, William Lynn, Thomas Greer, George Jacoby, Ronald Kelly, Theodore Moore III, James Hengstenberg, Donald Barksdale, Kenneth Mitchell, Robert Goebel, Sammy Frantom, Noel Israel, James Hurst, Fred Johnson, Jr., Robert Wright, Jr., James Doty, Robert Moreau, Gary Wisner, Herman Lasiter, and Micheal Collins. Honor Initiates were Lt. Colonel Fay Adams (Faculty Advisor), S. A. Dyson (Dean of Men at Louisiana Tech), and H. W. Hargrove.
Since this first class, the Zeta Chi Chapter has gone through numerous changes. After leaving the 210 Westwood Drive house, three more houses were our home. After the fire in 1991 at the 202 South Bonner house claimed the life of Brother Trent Kerr, the chapter came full circle and just before its 30th anniversary, moved into a new house built on the site of the first house at 210 Westwood.
Through this time, brothers have been initiated and friendships endured. The future of this chapter looks as bright as its past, and it is assured that the newest generation of our chapter will carry forward the highest traditions of the Fraternity.