The History of Theta Delta Chi at Stanford
Theta Delta Chi was founded October 31, 1847 at Union College in Schenectady, NY. The Stanford Chapter — called Eta Deuteron, it is the 11th chapter of the national organization — was officially founded on April 25, 1903 by Stanford students Marion Reynolds ’04 and Howell Brown ’04, who conceived of the group while living at Encina Hall as freshmen two years earlier. The purpose of the organization continues to be to help members develop leadership; cooperation; high moral, social, and scholastic standards; and a desire to serve others while inculcating the deepest and abiding principles of friendship.
From 1903-1907, the chapter occupied a house on Mayfield and then on Alvarado Row before moving into the Row house on Lasuen (which the Chapter rented and eventually purchased). For over 50 years, Theta Delta Chi occupied this Row house until the number of students became too large to house every member. Numerous other fraternities on “the Row” experienced similar challenges, prompting the University to offer land in perpetuity if the fraternities would raise the money necessary to build new houses elsewhere on campus. Stanford Theta Delta Chi alumni rose to the challenge and raised over $400,000 from its alumni base, allowing the University to build a new house for Theta Delta Chi at 675 Lomita Drive (source 1, source 2, source 3). The Chapter dedicated the new house on November 10, 1962 in memory of brother Myford Irvine ’21, whose Myford Irvine Foundation provided the bulk of the alumni money raised (the family founded Irvine, CA and UC Irvine is named after Myford). The Myford dedication plaque continues to sit proudly on the wall outside of the House entrance.
In exchange for the understanding that Theta Delta Chi would maintain a right in perpetuity to live in and run the house, the Chapter gave its Row house to the University to use as an administrative building, which the University continues to occupy to this day. Over the years, however, with changing administrations and the passing of alumni from this era, this understanding has given way to a more tenuous relationship between the Chapter and the University. Still, the two sides have acted in good faith over many decades, and in 1991, when the Chapter found itself in considerable debt to the University, the two sides came to an agreement to return the house to the University for 5 years to give the Chapter time to reorganize. Between 1991 and 1994, the chapter pledged 60 new members, re-occupying the house in the fall of 1994.