The Zeta-Upsilon Story
by Mike Raymond (Miami-OH, 1967)
by Mike Raymond (Miami-OH, 1967)
Oxford, Ohio, located in picturesque southwest Ohio, is home to Miami University. The university was founded in 1809 by the state legislature. Miami is known as the “Mother of Fraternities.” While others may claim that title, there is no doubt that Miami has a right to it.
Four fraternities and one sorority originated on Miami’s campus. Beta Theta Pi was founded in 1839, Phi Delta Theta was organized in 1848, Sigma Chi in 1855, Phi Kappa Tau started in 1906, and Delta Zeta in 1902.
Miami has had a long and well established fraternity system for nearly 170 years. It is among the oldest college fraternity systems in North America.
The Adanerion Club
Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity came to Miami in 1950. However its roots go back to 1940 when then president of Miami, Alfred Upham, invited a group of men to form a new organization on campus. These men named their organization the Adanerion Club. The meaning of the name they gave their club is unknown, though it is probably derived from “Adelpos,” which is Greek for brotherhood.
From the beginning, the purpose of the group, as written in the club’s minutes, was “… to start an organization that, upon gaining a stable membership, would be qualified to receive a charter from some well-founded and nationally prominent fraternity.”
Within a short time, the Adanerion Club had officers, a constitution, the backing of the university administration, a fair-sized membership of thirty-nine men, and a house. Once the group was recognized by the university, it created a ritual and designed a badge.
World War II put an end to the Adanerion Club. By 1944, only five members were left in the club, as the other members went off to serve in the military. In 1946, the Adanerion Club was reactivated with the return of twelve of its original members from military service.
A Colony of Lambda Chi Alpha
In 1947, the group grew large enough to assume the name of Alpha Gamma Pi in preparation to petition a national fraternity. The local fraternity became a colony of Lambda Chi Alpha due much to the efforts of a transfer member of Lambda Chi by the name of Jack Hendry. He was an enthusiastic supporter of affiliating with Lambda Chi Alpha. Jack became the colony president at the same time his wife Lorraine became the president of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. This husband and wife team was likely the first to simultaneously hold their Greek group’s highest office. Jack later became the chapter’s High Pi and was named the “Advisor of the Year” at Miami in 1965.
In 1950, the Miami Colony was installed as the Zeta-Upsilon Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha over a three day long installation celebration. The chapter house, located at 308 North Bishop Street, was occupied in the spring of 1950.
During its first full year as a chapter, Zeta-Upsilon began its famous “Chariot Race” as a major event of Greek Week. This event featured a handcrafted simulated chariot that was pulled by four fraternity men. The race was a single elimination series of 100-yard heats, with four men pulling a sorority girl who tried to guide the chariot! There were accidents, but fortunately no one was ever seriously injured.
The Chariot Race lasted for fifty years as the culminating event of Greek Week. Often the outcome of this race determined the winner of the Greek Week Trophy. Huge crowds, sometimes numbering a thousand or more, attended the event at the old Miami Field. Unfortunately, Zeta-Upsilon never won its own event.
A new house was started in 1960 at 307 North Bishop Street, directly across from the old house, still owned and occupied by the fraternity. The new house was completed in 1964 with a capacity of 32 Brothers. It was a unique building for Miami’s predominantly Georgian architecture. It looked more like it belonged in the Rocky Mountains as a ski lodge! This house would serve the brothers well for nearly fifty years.
Over the years, Zeta-Upsilon has amassed a large number of awards and recognition from the General Fraternity and Miami University. Zeta-Upsilon has been recognized by the General Fraternity with three Grand High Alpha Awards. Six of Zeta-Upsilon’s members have been selected as recipients of Lambda Chi Alpha’s Order of Merit. This is among the largest group of Order of Merit recipients in a chapter to date. Brother Mike Thomas was the Duke Flad Outstanding Undergraduate Award recipient in 1989. In addition to this high honor, Mike was also chapter president and student body president in 1987.Tom Fritz and Mike Daughters both served on the headquarters staff of our fraternity.
Jonas Dominque was the first member of Zeta-Upsilon to serve on the Grand High Zeta as a student representative in 2008. Two years later, another member of Zeta-Upsilon was elected as Grand High Phi of our fraternity.
Scholarship has always been a hallmark of the chapter. Zeta-Upsilon has been recognized as the top scholastic fraternity on campus many times in its history. It has received the Phi Beta Kappa Scholarship Award and the Top Fraternity Scholars Award in the past.
One of a number of successful brothers from Zeta-Upsilon Zeta is Rich Graeter ’86, who is now the CEO of Graeter’s Ice Cream. Rich is a fourth generation owner of the business that just marked its 146th anniversary. Graeter’s Ice Cream has won many awards and much public acceptance over the years. He recently opened a new store in Oxford, much to the delight of his Lambda Chi Brothers!
After a four year hiatus, the chapter came back as a reorganized colony in 2007. After a slow start in recruiting, the chapter began a remarkable quest for excellence at Miami. During its time as a colony, Brother Sam Brown was elected president of the IFC, despite the fact that the IFC’s rules did not permit a colony representative to hold an office. The group suspended its rules in order to elect this outstanding Lambda Chi.
After four years of difficulty in recruitment, the chapter met all of the colonization requirements, and a new Zeta-Upsilon Zeta was born. Exceptional leadership and hard work on the part of the brotherhood has resulted in a strong chapter at Miami.
Zeta-Upsilon Is Back
Zeta-Upsilon has experienced an upswing in its membership and operations. From 11 actives in 2008, its numbers rose in 2016 past 100 with the taking of a recruitment class of 32. The chapter has brought even more distinction upon itself with recognition in philanthropy, scholarship, brotherhood and sisterhood, and community service.
In 2009, Zeta-Upsilon Zeta raised 219,918 pounds of food to gain the number one spot in Lambda Chi Alpha’s North American Food Drive. The Greek Affairs Office selected Zeta-Upsilon as 2010 chapter of the year and High Alpha Jonas Dominique as the outstanding president of that year. In 2014, Brother Tom Newton received a prestigious appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point.
While the Zeta-Upsilon Zeta House Corporation seeks a permanent home for the chapter to replace the former location at 307 N. Bishop Street, temporary solutions have included apartment living in uptown Oxford from 2007 to 2014, the leasing of the Beta Theta Pi annex, which housed fourteen brothers in 2015-2016, and the leasing of the Sigma Nu house, which can house up to 45 brothers in 2016-2017 and 2017–2018.
Every five years, the Zeta-Upsilon Zeta Alumni Association (ZUZAA) holds a banquet to recognize the addition of up to five new members to the Z-U Z Honor Roll. In March 2016, Lou Kaczmarek, Jim Stratton, Dick Segrist, Rich Graeter, and Russ Starkey were so recognized.
Highly successful philanthropy efforts marked the 2016–2017 year as the brothers, under the leadership of Chris Salazar, staged Watermelon Bust, which raised well over $8,700 (equaling 87,000 pounds of food) for the Oxford Food Pantry in the fall. In the spring, Alex Waldherr chaired the first “Brave a Shave at the Evans Scholars House, which raised more than $5,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and childhood cancer research.
The members of Zeta-Upsilon have a lot to be proud of as they look back over their 65-plus years as a part of Lambda Chi Alpha and 75-plus years as part of Miami University. As a chapter, they have had a long history of success, mixed with some disappointments. Zeta-Upsilon Zeta has learned from its past and built on its successes and now stands poised for a bright future.