Theta Delta Chi Celebrates 100th Anniversary in Ames

by Julissa Garcia

History in the making as Theta Delta Chi fraternity celebrates their 100th year anniversary at Iowa State. First known as a local fraternity called ‘Colonials,’ the group split in 1915 in which some members went on to be officially apart of Theta Delta Chi in 1919. Here at Iowa State, Theta Delta Chi is the Beta Deuteron chapter. Their colors are Black, White, and Blue.

Theta Delta Chi’s home at 217 Ash Avenue is one of the oldest fraternal living spaces at Iowa State. In 2009, the house was at the brink of being sold due to low membership. Through the tireless efforts of the chapter members and alumni, $75,000 in loans was donated from alumni. To continue the preservation of the finances of the home in future years, in February 2012, the Theta Delta Chi house was recognized as a historic place in Iowa, which allows tax credits to the chapter. Despite having renovations over the years, the Theta Delta Chi house that was built in 1910 is still the same house standing today.

In conjunction with celebrating the centennial of Beta Deuteron, for the first time ever, Theta Delta Chi’s convention was held here in Ames, Iowa. The 172nd Convention was held in the Ames Gateway Hotel and Convention Center this past summer, 2019.

For two years, alumni Ron Hallenbeck worked hard to get the convention to be held in Ames. Hallenbeck joined Theta Delta Chi in the fall of 1967. Hallenbeck has been an active alumni at Beta Deuteron for many years as he holds the position of Senior Alumni Adviser and President of Colonial Clubhouse, which is the housing corporation of the house on Ash Avenue. Hallenbeck worked with Nationals and connected to Ames businesses to plan the convention.

“It means alot to finally have the convention here in Ames,” said Hallenbeck. “My goal for this convention was to get as much alumni back.”

Hallenbeck did so, as about 70-80 alumni of Beta Deuteron chapter joined the celebrations at the national convention.

“My favorite moment from convention was seeing members from my class and older,” said Hallenbeck. “This moment allowed us to reconnect and even plan the 50th year anniversary of ‘67 and ‘68 [pledge class].”

For younger members, the feelings of gratitude and excitement held true, especially for the current undergraduate members of the Beta Deuteron chapter. Current Theta Delta Chi President Alec Avita describes the emotions of hosting the convention here.

“It’s insane,” said Avitia. “It feels good for them [Theta Delta Chi brothers] to come all the way to Iowa. This was one of the best conventions.”

Avitia shared the structure of the Convention which can be viewed below:

Thursday August, 8th - Arrival

  • Introductions with all the brothers
  • Business Meetings on important topics such as Mental Health and Suicide Prevention
  • Evening social activity at Perfect Games

Friday August, 9th

  • Most of the day was spent at the State Fair
  • After, was the Omega Ceremony
    • This ceremony recognizes the Theta Delta Chi brothers that have passed and are officially moved to Omega chapter
  • End the night with a reception ceremony at the Beta Deuteron house
    • “Great opportunity to have everyone at our house and socializing with them,” said Avita.

Saturday August, 10th

  • Most of the day consisted of business meetings and general sessions including guest speakers
  • The day ended with a Grand Banquet that included many alumni of Beta Deuteron

Sunday August, 11th - Departure

Alec Avitia even had the chance to participate as a guest speaker during the general sessions. Avita’s speech was titled, “Lead the Way.”

“It was a great moment having people coming up after the speech to meet and talk with me and share stories,” said Avita. “Giving the speech made me feel grateful for the chapter.”

Alec Avitia joined in Fall of 2017 and became Theta Delta Chi President in Spring 2019. When asked why the interest of becoming President, Avitia shared that he has always been involved in executive board positions in Beta Deuteron ever since he joined.

“I have been Secretary and Treasurer,” said Avitia. “These leadership experiences and attending a leadership conference really inspired me to run for President.”

Reflecting on the 172nd convention and the connections with Alumni, Avitia shared the legacy he would want to leave at Beta Deuteron chapter.

“I hope to be known as being there for brothers and someone who cared about the chapter,” said Avitia. “I hope to be connected [with brothers] 30-40 years from now to carry on that tradition.”

So what does 100 years mean to Avitia?

“I’m apart of history,” said Avitia.

Below is a photo of John S. Dodds B^ '20 whom Dodds House in Friley Hall was named after and Ralph Olsen B^ '23 whom the Olsen Building is named after. The Olsen Building sits on the north side of the football stadium.

Below is a picture of 1919 members from the initial B^ group and the chapter house.