The Beginnings of Theta Xi Chapter of
The Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity
Theta Xi had it’s beginnings in the 1970s, at what was then East Texas State University. As a graduate student and an initiate of AO chapter (Southwestern University), Larry Nobles saw the state of the fraternities here. He had the idea to bring Pi Kappa Alpha to this campus. Since he was the Head Resident of the largest men’s residence hall, Hubbell Hall, he knew of who would be suitable and “worthy of our regard.” He met with some of them informally and learned of a local business fraternity, the members of which might be interested.
Brother Nobles set aside a time for all of these students to talk with him in his apartment in Hubbell. They were very much interested, about a dozen undergraduates, total.
Today, there are all kinds of materials for students, even a “How to Start a Colony” button on one of the International Fraternity web pages. Not so in 1976, when Nobles began the long, and often arduous, process of colonizing East Texas State. All he knew was to get on the telephone to the Executive Director of Pi Kappa Alpha in Memphis, Tennessee, Patrick W. Halloran. Brother Nobles couldn’t wait to get the process started. The Executive Director told him that PiKA must be invited by a college or University in order for the Fraternity to do a colonization study.
“Not a problem, I’ll go over and talk with the Dean of Students, and get us invited,” Nobles thought. Not so easy. He learned that the Associate Dean of Students Office oversaw the Greek system and he was told that the University was closed to more fraternities coming on campus.
How could he foster this group and keep them interested – and teach them φφκα – until the colonization process could begin? He would just have to teach them himself. He told this group of students that they could function as a local social club and call themselves “Pikes,” since name “Pikes” was just an informal nickname for members of the Fraternity at the time and not the International “brand” that we know today.
No dice, according to the Associate Dean of Students. Brother Nobles was studying Student Personnel and Guidance in graduate school here at the time and he knew that they had the right to assemble and function as any thing they wanted (lawful, of course). So he went to see the Hunt County Attorney (PiKA alumnus) to write the Associate Dean of Students and tell her so.
The “Pikes” began to function the next week. They elected officers (Don Hodges and Steve Fox were the first two presidents) and Brother Nobles started typing the most important parts of the pledge manual, The Garnet and Gold on the typewriter in his office and ran off enough copies for the Pikes. Kept in three-ring binders. Over the next couple of years (!!), the Pikes continued to meet, continued to recruit, saw to their studies and participated in intramural sports.
At the end of the first year, the Pikes had the highest GPA of any national social fraternity on campus. They came out on top of most sports they entered. They paid for printed, T-shirt jerseys for each sport. By the end of the second year, they won the overall intramural title.
Brother Nobles went before the IFC no fewer than six times over the course of the first and second years to present the National Fraternity to them. PiKA was voted down each time. A National Chapter Consultant came to the campus and helped present the Fraternity for an eleventh time. We were voted down again. Brother Nobles and the Consultant agreed that the Consultant should return at the end of the Spring Semester of the second year of the Pikes. During that semester, the Pikes continued to come out on top of academics and all intramural sports. The other fraternities began to really understand that the Pikes weren’t going away.
They were about 35 in number by that time. Nevertheless, they were laughed at because their sports jerseys weren’t good enough and because they continued to function. They were often spit upon at and after intramural games. They held their heads up and just continued to win.
After the Chapter Consultant came down at the End of the semester and presented PiKA to the IFC again and assured them that the Pikes had the full support of the National Fraternity. Their petition was voted up and Pi Kappa Alpha was invited to colonize the University, at long last.
They were given guidelines by the National Fraternity, most of which the group had already met. But, they had to begin to pay National dues and adopt the PiKA accounting system. This they did with ease. The dues weren’t easy for almost all of them, but they knew that they had to show that their dues were current each month. All were current, never a day late.
The group was chartered on March 26, 1978 as Theta Xi Chapter of The Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity.