A Brief History of In Zeta of Phi Kappa Theta
In 1907 the Newman Club was organized by Catholic Students at Purdue. In the spring of 1914, some of the members formed the Newman House Club and 17 of them moved into a house at 131 Pierce Street in the fall of 1914. In 1915, the membership petitioned Phi Kappa, a national Catholic Fraternity, for admittance as a chapter; this petition was rejected. On Feb 8, 1918, the Newman House Club was installed as Indiana Zeta, the sixth chapter of Phi Kappa.
In 1922, the chapter moved to 40 North Salisbury St. As the membership grew, the chapter again moved to 416 North Main St where it remained until 1933. Despite two mortgages and other outstanding bills, Frank Lynch ’32 led efforts to persuade the Zeta Tau Alpha board to lease their newly built and recently vacated house at 800 Northwestern Ave to the chapter in 1933. In 1935, a permanent Alumni Corporation –still in operation—was formed to oversee the property
During WW II, many Phi Kap brothers were called to serve in our Armed Forces and in July 1943, the chapter house was leased to the United States Navy and then Purdue where it housed Nay personnel receiving training at Purdue and then to Navy women on campus. At one time, there was only one active member of Phi Kappa on campus. In July 1945, the house was reopened and a new class of twelve men were initiated. On April 1959, Phi Kappa Theta was born on 58 college campuses when Phi Kappa merged with Theta Kappa Phi. Throughout the early 60s the chapter continued to grow and the house was in need of numerous repairs. After much discussion, a decision was made to purchase a lot on Tower Acres under the water tower and a new house at 900 David Ross was built. In Sept of 1968, some 90 brothers moved into the house. Over the next 40 some years, this house was home to almost two thirds of the 1900 initiated brothers of Ind Zeta. In 2010, the socioeconomic forces that had been in play for 40 years led to the most severe disciplinary action Purdue had ever dealt to the chapter and the chapter was removed as a student organization for 2 years. As a result, the chapter house, much in need of extensive repairs and remodeling, was sold instead of being left vacant for virtually three years.
In 2013, the chapter had its suspension lifted and again operated as a fraternity at Purdue. New members were recruited and initiated, new officers were elected and new traditions were begun. The new chapter now operates under a new model more closely aligned to our national ideals and to our founding values.