National ΑΓΡ History

  • The Founding of the National Chapter


    A group of seven college students at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio decided to bind together their cords of friendship and organize a fraternity. Surveying and plans developed slowly and on the first Sunday in October, 1904, Alpha Gamma Rho was born. While the agricultural group at The Ohio State University were developing a fraternity similar action was taking shape at the University of Illinois. During the fall of 1905 the students at Illinois discussed the formation of an agricultural club. By the spring of 1906 the idea had sprouted and Delta Rho Sigma came into being. The interactions between the two fraternities started at the International Livestock Show in Chicago during the fall of 1906 when the embryonic livestock judges met and discovered they had a common bond. Correspondence ensued during the winter, but true love was not smooth and the groups drifted apart. However, negotiations were reopened in April when the Illinois fraternity invited two delegates from Ohio to visit. In time things became serious, and on April 4, 1908, they were united in a public ceremony at the Claypool Hotel in Indianapolis.

    Records show that the University of Illinois took the name of the Ohio State organization, Alpha Gamma Rho. In turn for giving up their namesake, the Illinois men received the distinction of Alpha Chapter. Brother A. B. Sawyer was initiated by Delta Rho Sigma in 1906 and participated in the marriage of Alpha Gamma Rho and Delta Rho Sigma. Fortunately he kept the minutes of the first meeting. The finding of this record solves the mystery of the time and place of the first convention, as well as the names of the first National officers.

    According to Brother Sawyer, the minutes were written on two paper place mats bearing the name of the Hofbrau, Chicago. The first page was written by H. E. Allen, Beta, temporary secretary, and the second page by Brother Sawyer, after he had been elected Grand Secretary. At this first National Convention on November 30, 1908, Brother Sawyer recorded the rest of the first official officers as: Grand President, Brother Charles A. Stewart, Alpha; Grand Vice President, Brother S. S. Hart, Beta; Grand Secretary and Treasurer, Brother A. B. Sawyer, Alpha and General Registrar, Brother C. P. Trotter, Alpha.