Phi Chapter History


    The history of Phi Chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho goes back to the date December 4, 1919, when a group of men on the Davis Campus banded together to for the K.T. Club. This organization held its meetings in the dormitory rooms and applied for a state incorporate charter, which was granted on April 6, 1920.

    The fall term of that year, the organization, now known as the Kappa Tau Fraternity, opened a house in Davis. Kappa Tau required that its members be agricultural majors, thus destined to be the only agricultural fraternity on the west coast. This requirement qualified it for membership in Alpha Gamma Rho a few years later.

    Due to University requirements during those years students spent only a limited time on the Davis campus. Thus it wasn't long before Kappa Tau men returning to Berkeley had established a chapter there, known as Beta Chapter. Beta Chapter was initiated on February 14, 1922, by the men of alpha chapter, with the initiation conducted at Davis.

    Similarly, a third organization was created on the Oregon State Campus, but due to campus regulations regarding Greek Letter Fraternities, it was known as the Kai Tai Club. This organization was supposed to become Gamma Chapter of Kappa Tau as soon as campus rules would permit.

    The Kappa Tau fraternity was organized to promote, "high morals, good character, and better scholarship and activities."

    In 1922, the Kai Tai Club at Oregon State contacted the Davis and Berkeley Chapters, suggesting that a union with Alpha Gamma Rho be considered. This precipitated a long series of discussions on the subject. It was finally decided to petition Alpha Gamma Rho, with the petitions being accepted at the National Convention in 1923. Davis and Berkeley were initiated as chapters of Alpha Gamma Rho on May 1, and May 2 of that year, respectively.

    The Oregon State group was initiated several years later when their local requirements had been met. The Davis chapter was designated Phi Chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho and Berkeley was designated Chi Chapter. Chi Chapter became inactive in 1940 and was rechartered at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 1975.

    In 1921, Mrs. Augusta Weise, the wife of the President of the Bank of Davis, had built the old chapter house on the Northeast corner of 3rd and F Streets, and leased it to the Kappa Tau for five years with the option to buy it at the end of the lease, which they did.

    The annex (the shack) was originally an old store and saloon, and was used for a residence after being moved onto its Third Street location in 1922.

    During World War II, the house and shack were taken over by the University, which rebuilt the annex foundation and washroom facilities. Both Buildings were used as dormitories for the Signal Corps, and later housed Air Transport Command men and their wives. This was the only time that women lived in the Phi Chapter House. At the end of the war, it was returned to Phi Chapter.

    The old house was torn down on January 15, 1970, and construction on a new facility began in March of that year. Alumni Dean Decarli funded the construction with money gained from mortgaging his farm. The new house was completed by the end of July and was occupied in the fall of 1970. The new chapter house was formally dedicated on Picnic Day, April 17, 1971.

    Phi and Chi Chapters celebrated their 50th anniversary on Picnic Day, April 14, 1973. Over 20 alumni returned for the reunion held at the Woodlake Inn in Sacramento. The men of Alpha Gamma Rho, joined by many alumni celebrated the 75th anniversary in 1998 at the House.

    Alpha Gamma Rho National History