Warhawk Almanac: Happy 100th Phi Chi Epsilon! – 1921

In the late fall of 1921, Leonard Sheahan enlisted the help of William Olson, Clark Larkin, and Clyde Jungbluth to start the Whitewater Normal School’s first local fraternity. Together they became the four founding members of Phi Chi Epsilon. Shortly after their initial organization, Phi Chi Epsilon accepted their first two pledges Dwight Warner and Henry Van Duser. By April of 1922, membership in the fraternity had grown to nine and continued to expand steadily.[1] Phi Chi Epsilon is still an active participant of UW-Whitewater’s Greek society and is approaching its 100th anniversary.

“Six Original Members of Phi Chi Epsilon.” Epsilonian scrapbook. Phi Chi Epsilon Records – UWW MSS 16. Anderson Library Archives and Area Research, Anderson Library, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Whitewater, WI. 

 Today’s chapter of Phi Chi Epsilon is known for its academic excellence and dedication to community service.[2] However, the chapter in the 1920s had a different claim to fame. In true Roaring 20’s fashion, the Phi Chis were notorious for their ability to organize a party. According to the local newspaper, Phi Chi Epsilon not only had good music and refreshments, but they also had the best decorations. For their annual formal in 1925, the Phi Chi brothers created an artificial moon that produced enough light for all 40 couples to dance by.[3] It’s safe to say no one ever left a Phi Chi party disappointed by a lack of creativity.


 “Epsilonian Title Page.” Epsilonian scrapbook. Phi Chi Epsilon Records – UWW MSS 16. Anderson Library Archives and Area Research, Anderson Library, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Whitewater, WI. 

[1] Epsilonian scrapbook, Phi Chi Epsilon Records – UWW MSS 16, Anderson Library Archives and Area Research, Anderson Library, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Whitewater, WI.

[2] “Home,” Phi Chi Epsilon, Accessed February 4, 2021. http://phichiepsilon.weebly.com/.

[3] “Normal School Fraternity Gives Delightful Party,” Whitewater Register (Whitewater, WI.), May 14, 1921.

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1 Response to Warhawk Almanac: Happy 100th Phi Chi Epsilon! – 1921

  1. Chuck Heinrich says:

    In the years, 1966-68, Phi Chi’s held Bundle Parties, G.I. Parties and the one of kind, Funeral Party. For a Phi Chi Bundle Party, the Phi Chi and his date provided clothing to their partner to be worn, with size the only thing discussed beforehand. A lot of crazy outfits were then “modeled” at the party. The G.I. Party saw lots of US Army and other branch of services clothing being worn both by brothers and their dates. The unique Funeral Party included one brother willing to be put in a casket and mourned in the living room of the fraternity house by all. The decorations were typical of a funeral home as candles had been lit, dead flowers had been placed in baskets about the room, funeral music played and yet another fraternity brother acted as a preacher, giving testimony to the “deceased” and the great life he had lived. The culmination of this Saturday evening extravaganza was the carrying of the casket out the front door onto Main Street and placing it into a waiting hearse. Another fraternity brother had bought the hearse a year earlier as his transportation, never knowing how functional it might be. Drivers of cars on Main Street could not believe what they were seeing, stopped and tried to comprehend as all of the “bereaved relatives, (brothers and dates) dressed in their best funeral attire” filed out of the fraternity house to pay their respects as the casket was being carried by pallbearers and loaded into the hearse The fraternity house in those days was at 451 W. Main Street, at the triangle intersection and near to the Birge Fountain. Yes, there have been some great social events!

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