History of Kansas Beta
The Kansas Beta chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon was founded February, 23, 1918. Although this is the official founding of the chapter, its organization and preparation can be traced back to the spring of 1915. The organization that was to become Sigma Phi Epsilon was known as the Eureka Club, representing Eureka, Kansas from which the majority of men hailed. By the end of the year it was decided to upgrade to a fraternity basis. June 7, 1916 the local fraternity Epsilon Epsilon Epsilon was born as it received recognition from the faculty committee on student affairs. At this time, a large furnished house was rented at 1126 Bluemont.
Even Before the founding of EEE, the notion of being a national fraternity had been discussed. The brothers of EEE took careful consideration into which organization it would apply to. The high ideals and principles that we still hold today had the greatest appeal to the men of EEE and so it was decided to petition for a charter. February 23, 1918, Kansas Beta became the 56th chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon.
Founding father William Lazeal Phillips, "Uncle Billy", came to Kansas State to initiate the members of Kansas Beta. The first initiate and number 1 pin belongs to Dr. John R MacAurther, followed by 17 others. Brother MacAurther became an inspiration to the as it struggled through the early years. His memory lives on in our alumni newsletter "Hoop of Steel", which he named. For his long, loyal, and devoted service to the local chapter and national fraternity, Brother MacAurther was given the "Order of the Golden Heart." This is the highest award that can be bestowed on any member.
In 1954 the chapter moved to our present home at 1015 Sunset. Through the years a number of renovations have been completed to meet the needs of the chapter's members. When it was originally constructed all members slept in "sleeping dorms" on the first and second floor of the south wing. In the nineties beds were added to the study rooms and the second floor dorm was converted into a recreation room with a big screen TV and couches. Another major change was the addition of the Zappa Deli in the eighties. Named for Frank Zappa it was originally a functioning deli and mini bar. The Zappa was a weekend hot spot for Sig Ep members and friends.
Our most recent renovations were completed in the summer of 2005. The new facility is a Residential Learning Community (RLC). The RLC focuses on providing balanced living to fraternity members. Features include: two libraries, an office for K-State faculty who hold regular office hours, a conference room, a 24/hr kitchenette, wireless internet throughout the facility, an outdoor basketball court, and an individual study space for every member. Thanks to our gracious alumni this 2.5 million dollar state of the art facility is the one of the best on campus and rivals those across the nation.