A BRIEF HISTORY of ETA KAPPA CHAPTER of SIGMA NU FRATERNITY
Unlike most other Sigma Nu chapters, Eta Kappa Chapter of Sigma Nu Fraternity was not colonized by Sigma Nu. During the spring and summer of 1960, eight young men formed their own local fraternity in response to their dissatisfaction with the conduct of national fraternities at San Diego State College. Three of the eight had been pledges of other fraternities. The eight adopted the name, fraternity badge and pledging ceremony of a local fraternity that existed only from 1933 through 1938. They had the cooperation of some of the original members and were authorized to use their fraternity name which was Sigma Delta Phi.
During the fall semester of 1960 Sigma Delta Phi developed a positive relationship with the university administration. It was the only local fraternity on campus. There was a growing concern in the chapter about its potential longevity because it was difficult to compete with the large national fraternities. Sigma Delta Phi denied the requests of two national fraternities to take over their SDS chapters, both of which were having serious problems. The Sigma Delta Phi brothers were dedicated to high personal and group principles and were not interested in taking over any problem chapter regardless of the terms of the offers made to them. They soon realized that competition with national fraternities was difficult and they wanted to perpetuate the high personal principles in which they believed. They had discussions with the Dean of Students who recommended several national fraternities which he thought would be a fit for them but, in particular, recommended Sigma Nu Fraternity as the best fit based upon mutual principles.
Coincidentally there was a Sigma Nu Alumni Club in San Diego and they found Sigma Delta Phi. The collegians had begun to look at the principles of Sigma Nu and liked what they saw but had no direct contact with Sigma Nu. The first face to face contact with them was on December 7, 1960. Dr. Edward H. Hashinger, Past Regent of Sigma Nu, came to their rented fraternity house and discussed Sigma Nu with them. They were surprised at his contact and he had found them by a circuitous route. That was the beginning and the young men read everything they could about Sigma Nu history and principles leading to a strong commitment to the idea of becoming a chapter.
In May, 1962, the local fraternity officially became a colony of Sigma Nu Fraternity. After receiving a positive vote of the chapters of Sigma Nu, Sigma Delta Phi – Sigma Nu Colony was chartered as Eta Kappa Chapter of Sigma Nu Fraternity on February 23, 1963. Quickly the new national fraternity at San Diego State made a positive mark on campus in a variety of ways including some becoming strong campus leaders, achieving excellent scholarship as well as enthusiastic participation in IFC sports and a myriad of other Greek based events.
The original Sigma Delta Phi brothers met in homes, at a member’s apartment near the campus or on the campus at the cafeteria. By Thanksgiving of 1960 they managed to rent a small house a mile from SDS. While still a local fraternity they moved to a rental for a month near SDS and then to a house on Campanile Dr. near the campus which they rented from Alpha Xi Delta sorority. The Sigma Nu Alumni Club members formed a house corporation for the chapter in the spring of 1964 and acquired a duplex on Montezuma Rd. for a fraternity house. A chapter room was built on the front and the house to the east was purchased as an investment and sold when the fraternity acquired the sorority house next door to the west and merged its use with the original fraternity house. About 2000 a fraternity house was purchased adjacent to campus at 5505 Aztec Walk which was a fraternity and sorority project as part of a redevelopment by the San Diego State University Research Foundation.
Over the years after 1963 the fraternity continued to grow and serve as an important part of SDSU life. There were many victories for Eta Kappa within the SDSU Greek community. For many decades it was a positive part of the SDSU Greek community. It produced excellent scholars, outstanding students and a plethora of successful alumni who today reside not only in the San Diego area but throughout the nation and world. The alumni brothers are held together by the Eta Kappa Alumni Chapter.
The house corporation that was formed in 1964 is still in operation today but with a change of name to Montezuma Mesa Properties. It is responsible for all aspects of the maintenance of the fraternity house.
After initiating 999 members into Sigma Nu Fraternity, on September 7, 2012, the High Council of Sigma Nu suspended the charter of the active chapter “for at least four years.” The expectation is that Eta Kappa will recolonize in the fall semester of 2016. The executive office of the national fraternity is working with the Eta Kappa Alumni Chapter as the lead organization to return Sigma Nu to the campus of San Diego State University. The effort for the return has already begun.