For 100 years, Oklahoma Alpha’s chapter homes have served as a space where Oklahoma State brothers gather in camaraderie. Thanks to a decade-long effort by volunteers, 80 chapter brothers continued that tradition in a brand-new home in the fall of 2018.
Back in 2008, the chapter’s alumni and volunteer corporation (AVC) realized its current chapter facility, which had been built in 1978, was showing its age. Oklahoma Alpha volunteers weren’t alone in their desire to replace their outdated facility. Between 2012 and 2016, Greek organizations on campus were building homes at a rapid rate. Consequently, SigEp’s chapter facility had begun to look outdated to potential members.
After completing a feasibility study, the AVC launched a capital campaign in 2012 to raise funds for the project. By 2016, the AVC had acquired over $1.1 million in pledges, and Mike Reddout ’85, was serving as head of a newly formed building committee. Other members of the committee included Darrell Pulliam ’84, Mike Daniel ’85, Jerry Dow ’86, David Mayfield ’90, Lance Miller ’95 and Trevor Davenport ’14. The team set out to raise additional dollars to make a down payment on the home.
To do so, the housing committee knew it needed to brag on the chapter’s successes. In the previous 10 years, Oklahoma Alpha had won three Buchanan Cups, placed no lower than third in intramurals and won various campus awards, including numerous Top 10 Freshmen awards. These achievements were reinforced by strong member development programming and summer recruitment. In addition, the chapter’s facility had been substance-free since 2005.
Hearing about the chapter’s success impressed alumni and got them excited about how much more the men could achieve if supported by the right kind of facility. With support from the AVC, the building committee raised an additional $600,000. This funding enabled the AVC to demolish the 39-year-old facility in June 2017 and begin construction.
In September 2018, over 400 alumni, undergraduates and guests gathered to celebrate the dedication of the chapter’s new $4.8 million, 23,000-square-foot facility. Architect Jon Kucera, Virginia ’69, and Gary Bridwell, Oklahoma State ’74, worked closely on the project. Kucera’s design for the chapter home was inspired by building styles he and Bridwell observed while touring the campus and the Karsten Creek Golf Course clubhouse in Stillwater. The home’s 30 bedrooms can accommodate up to 80 brothers in an assortment of two-, three- and four-man rooms. The house includes three stories and a basement, two study rooms with wall-to-wall white boards, and a resident scholar/house mother suite.
Other amenities include a full-service kitchen and dining room that seats around 100 people, a laundry room equipped with six washers and dryers, and a large elevated front porch that has become a coveted spot for hanging out with brothers and/or having lunch when the weather’s nice. The exterior boasts covered parking and the largest front yard of all the Greek houses on campus.
Chapter President Kase Anderson, ’22, said the new facility has had a positive effect on the chapter. “Brotherhood has increased due to the number of brothers able to live in-house, and chapter academics have improved through the benefit of ample study space in the facility.” Anderson noted that the chapter’s GPA, which was at 3.21 just a few years ago, has been at 3.30 or above every semester since the chapter moved into its new home.
In his remarks at the dedication ceremony, then-District Governor Glenn Ezell, North Texas ’87, observed, “The national Fraternity recognizes the importance of a chapter home, as over 90 percent of an undergraduate’s experience is outside of the classroom. Our chapter facility is the impetus for our men’s professional, personal and academic development.”
As Reddout congratulated volunteers and the chapter on a job well done, he summed up the significance of their achievement. “The commitment we make today cannot be underestimated — it will have a far-reaching effect on the lives of Oklahoma Alpha brothers for years to come. Sigma Phi Epsilon will continue to provide a quality living environment that supports, nurtures and develops outstanding young men with the skills and confidence to face an ever-changing world.”