Chapter History

TKE History at USC Starts with the History of Scorpion ClubScorpion-Club-Petition

From the April 15, 1948 Petition to Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity…

“Early in May 1947, two Tekes, Charles Harris and William Diehl, met with the express purpose of forming a local chapter at the University of Southern California, to petition Tau Kappa Epsilon.  Skeleton plans for a club to be known as the Scorpions were drawn up and four outstanding men on the campus Ted Grapperhaus, Bill Moon, Fred Baldwin and Ken Johns were contacted.  It was explained that this club was formed with the objective of petitioning Tau Kappa Epsilon and that before accepting membership, each man should convince himself that T. K. E. would be the best fraternity for him.  Negotiations for a house on the “Row” were immediately begun and by the first of March, men were moving in.  A house improvement programme was set up, and is still in operation.  Rushing was started in full swing at the start of the Fall semester of 1948, and membership gradually increased to its present total of 35 men.

At the first Fall meeting, the by-laws committee was established following basic lines of T.K.E.  Founder Charles Harris was elected President, Bill Moon—Vice – President, Fred Baldwin—Secretary, and Jim West—Treasurer.  Meetings were held regularly on Monday evenings and the group made it a practice to socialize on this evening after the meeting.  Every opportunity to participate in school activities has been utilized, and an indication of the group’s spirit was manifested when the first house trophy was won in the Y.M.C.A. Book Drive for the Trojan War Memorial Library, Santo Tomas University, Philippine Islands.

On March 15, 1948, the first regular election of officers was held.  A Board of Control, a Housing Corporation, and a list of Sponsors was elected.

The group has set up an extensive social program.  Exchanges have been arranged with the DG, ADPi, AOPi, Pi Beta Phi, and KKG.  A formal dance has been arranged with the Alpha Omega Chapter of TKE at U.C.L.A. at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.”

MEMBERSHIP ROSTER

ANDERSON, CHARLES
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 2.5
MILITARY SERVICE – Army
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES – KTRO, Phi H Epsilon
BIRTHPLACE – Minnesota
AGE — 21

BALDWIN, FRED – SECRETARY
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.2
MILITARY SERVICE – Army
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES – Junion Council
BIRTHPLACE – California
AGE – 29

CAMPBELL, DOUGLAS – TKE UCLA
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.Scorpion-Club-Petition-Page1
MILITARY SERVICE – Navy
BIRTHPLACE – California
AGE — 23

COOPER, WILLIAM
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.2
MILITARY SERVICE – Navy
BIRTHPLACE – California
AGE – 20

DAVIS, WALTER
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.
MILITARY SERVICE – Army
BIRTHPLACE – Michigan
AGE – 24

DIEHL, WILLIAM – PLEDGEMASTER
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.85
MILITARY SERVICE – Air Corps
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES — Trovets
BIRTHPLACE – Illinois
AGE – 24

DIERCKS, JACK – TKE, DRAKE U.
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.3
MILITARY SERVICE – Merchant Marine
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES — Trovets
BIRTHPLACE – Iowa
AGE – 23

DUNCAN, VICTOR
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.5
MILITARY SERVICE – Coast Guard
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES – Delta Kappa Alpha
BIRTHPLACE – Texas
AGE – 23

ESTERSON, NELS
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.6
MILITARY SERVICE – Navy
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES – Sigma Alpha Mu
BIRTHPLACE – Minnesota
AGE – 29

GRAPPERHAUS, TED
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.0
MILITARY SERVICE – NavyScorpion-Club-Petition-Page2
BIRTHPLACE – New York
AGE – 23

HAMILTON, TOM
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.0
MILITARY SERVICE – Army
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES – Gym Team
BIRTHPLACE – California
AGE – 25

HANSEN, ROBERT
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 2.
MILITARY SERVICE – Army
BIRTHPLACE – California
AGE – 24

HENDERSON, ROY – HISTORIAN
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 2.
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES – Alpha Delta Sigma, Ski Team
BIRTHPLACE – Alberta
AGE – 19

HERSHBERGER, LEE
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.3
MILITARY SERVICE – Navy
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES – Ski Club
BIRTHPLACE – California
AGE – 20

IDE, DONALD
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.1
MILITARY SERVICE – Merchant Marine
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES – Track Team
BIRTHPLACE – California
AGE – 20

JOHNS, KENNETH – PRESIDENT
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.85
MILITARY SERVICE – Paratroopers
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES – Alpha Delta Sigma, Phi H E
BIRTHPLACE – California
AGE – 21

KARG, FRED
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.75
MILITARY SERVICE – NavyScorpion-Club-Petition-Page3
BIRTHPLACE – New Jersey
AGE – 28

KRUEGER, CHARLES
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.
MILITARY SERVICE – Army
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES – YMCA Executive Council
BIRTHPLACE – California
AGE – 22

MEYER, ROBERT – TREASURER
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 2.28
MILITARY SERVICE – Army
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES – Y.M.C.A.
BIRTHPLACE – Pennsylvania
AGE – 22

MOON, WILLIAM – VICE-PRESIDENT
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.15
MILITARY SERVICE – Navy
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES – Plymouth-Campbell Club
BIRTHPLACE – California
AGE – 23

RHODE, ROBERT
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.58
MILITARY SERVICE – Army
BIRTHPLACE – New York
AGE – 23

PURVIS, JAMES
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.3
MILITARY SERVICE – Army
BIRTHPLACE – California
AGE – 23

GEORGE STRELLA
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 2.
MILITARY SERVICE – NROTC
BIRTHPLACE – Kansas
AGE – 18

VEBER, RENE
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.04
MILITARY SERVICE – Navy
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES – Varsity Swimming
BIRTHPLACE – Paris, France
AGE – 21

WEIS, ALLAN
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.7
MILITARY SERVICE – Navy
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES – Sophmore Council
BIRTHPLACE – Ohio
AGE – 21

WEST, JAMES
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.75
MILITARY SERVICE – Army
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES – Phi Eta Sigma
BIRTHPLACE – California
AGE – 21

WOOLERY, GEORGE
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 2.
MILITARY SERVICE – Army
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES – LAS Council, Program Manager KTRO
BIRTHPLACE – California
AGE – 21

ANDERSON, ROBERT – TKE, ALBION COLLEGE (GR)
MAJOR GRADE POINT – 1.75
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES – Phi Beta Kappa, Delta Sigma Pi
BIRTHPLACE – Michigan
AGE – 24

HARRIS, CHARLES – TKE, NEW MEXICO STATE
MAJOR GRADE POINT – Graduate 2.
MILITARY SERVICE – Navy
CAMPUS ACTIVITIES – Phi Beta Pi, Bar Assoc.
BIRTHPLACE – New Mexico
AGE – 25

 

univ_ave_1948

 Beta-Sigma History According to Founding Father Bob Meyer #6

TKE Beta Sig held its 3rd annual Fraternity for Life event this past July 21st and frater Bob Meyer #6, was kind enough to write up an account of his experiences in the house for the chapter’s archive. Frater Meyer was one of the members of the Scorpion Club– the group that ultimately became the Beta Sigma chapter of TKE back in 1948. Thanks to frater Meyer for all of his hard work on writing up his account and helping us to remember our chapter’s history. Below are some excerpts (edited for content and space) for your enjoyment…


USC circa 1946

Perhaps, I should say something at this point about the environment and culture at the University at that time. The physical plant on campus was limited, as was the University endowment. Temporary structures (military surplus?) were moved on campus to accommodate the expanded curriculum to meet the needs of the large influx of veterans on the GI Bill. The pre-war student body, which I believe did not exceed 5 or 6 thousand, had expanded almost overnight to 18 thousand. The demographics of the students had also changed as a result of the influx of the GI Bill veterans, who were almost exclusively male, older, and largely of a different socio-economic class from the usual student body. When I registered, I was given a Student Manual. Its provisions reflected—with a vengeance—the University’s concept of its being in a pater familias relationship with the students. For example, the provisions of freshmen wearing beanies, the requirement that 1555all individual living accommodations must be approved by the Dean, curfews, women were not allowed to wear shorts on campus or to sit on the lawns, etc.


The Beginnings of Beta Sigma TKE

During the second semester of my Freshman year, I was invited to meet with a group of men about joining a fraternity. Chuck Harris, a Teke transfer from Arizona, wanting to start a chapter of TKE at USC, had gathered some men, Ken Johns #3 and his buddy Jim West #4 and some others, interested in the plan. The party was held at a private home. I remember Chuck Krueger #44 and Al Weis #5 being present. Ken and Jim and I were all members of the National Guard. I do not recall any effort to formally organize the group, although eventually we became the Scorpion Club (after the Scorpion Chapter at Syracuse) and elected Ken Johns as President.

What Was to Become the Chapter House

The house (TKE West) was originally built as a private home in the early part of the 20th Century. At that time the area was the fashionable address in Los Angeles with large mansions. As time passed many were converted into rooming houses and apartments. When we got the house, it was old_college_1945four separate rental units, having been converted to that use during World War II. The purchase of the property was financed by the Chancellor of the University, Dr. von KleinSmid. I assume he also took title, as the Club was not yet a legal entity. It may be that he was interested in preserving this privately owned property on Fraternity Row for future fraternity use. I do know that he felt the need to expand the number of fraternities on campus and was very supporting of the effort to organize the Scorpion Club with a view of seeking a charter from TKE. Regardless of the legal and financial framework, the Chancellor made the property available to the Club.


Getting the House Ready for Prime Time

During the summer of 1947, the alterations were completed and some furnishings bought. The Club treasury was empty and we did not have an alumni group we could touch for contributions. The Grand Chapter of TKE was not able to provide any funds to colonies. The only outside help I can recall came from the members’ Mothers’ Club who came up with some help in furnishing the kitchen. I have no specific recollection, but we must have been bailed out again by Dr. von KleinSmid. The members did pitch in – I remember that we painted the exterior of the house ourselves. We tried to restore the oak paneling on the porch; but as house manager, I concluded we would never get the dark brown paint removed from the oak wood in the entry hall and stairwell in time to get the house in shape to start having social functions. I had the members cover it up with grey enamel – Teke grey, that is. I understand that my soul was condemned to the lower depths of Hell by the future pledge classes that spent several years removing it.


The Founding of Beta Sigma TKE

1948-usc-trojansBeta Sigma Chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon was chartered in October 1948 in a ceremony held at a beach club in Los Angeles (sorry, I can’t remember which one). We were lucky to have present one of the Founders of the Fraternity, Frater Mayer, who resided in Los Angeles. At the same time and place the charter members of the Chapter were initiated. Some of the members of the Scorpion Club could not be initiated as they were still Freshmen, and at least one member had deficient grades. They became the first pledge class of the Chapter, but after our successful rush in the Fall, they were considered “senior pledges” and excused from the more strenuous duties of a pledge.


TKE – The Fraternity for Life

I am glad that I was asked and given the opportunity to go back and remember what I was doing and what happened to me and the great men I was privileged to know and learn to love as fraters some 65 years ago. It was a happy, satisfying slice of my life which I am sure contributed significantly to the person I have become and for which I am most grateful to Tau Kappa Epsilon and my fraters of Beta Sigma.

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