Every Greek life organization has an origin story, and in 1969 Ball State University became home to the Indiana Kappa Chapter of Phi Delta Theta. Every March 15 we celebrate our Founder’s Day to honor that date as the inception of our chapter however, as legend will tell you, INK’s history started even earlier.
“I want to say it was 1965 when we started getting groups together that congealed into XKE; I would say the second semester of ’65. Whoa that’s going back,” said Bond 4, Marvin Brethauer.
Deep friendships were the main reason Brethauer cited for the formation of Chi Kappa Epsilon, or XKE. Common backgrounds and living in the dorms helped developed some of those friendships as XKE continued to grow.
“It was a good time and a good brotherhood,” said Brethauer. “There were some other locals [fraternities] as we called them back on campus in that day, and for the most part they didn’t chill like XKE chilled.”
As XKE continued to grow the brothers decided it was time to make their fraternity a charter member of a national organization. Although they had visits from a variety of organizations XKE ultimately decided to become PDT.
“I do remember SAE [Sigma Alpha Epsilon] was an option, but by far the majority of us were leaning toward Phi Delta Theta because it was part of the [Miami] Triad,” said Brethauer. “There were so many family members that were Sigma Chi, Beta Theta Pi or Phi Delta Theta.”
Although many members had family in the three organizations of the Miami Triad, Phi Delta Theta ultimately suited the dynamics and philosophies of XKE.
“Phi Delta Theta was the one we felt best suited our values,” said Brethauer.
Traces of XKE’s legend can still be seen in today’s active chapter of INK. All of the chapter’s intramural teams maintain the tradition of being called “The Phi Delt Jags.” The nickname stems from the chapter’s name, the members’ love of cars and a play on the Jaguar E-Type automobile.
“You guys are from an era of communication and technology, back then the horse was the car,” said Brethauer. “Many of us had our own rides at school, or some kind of crazy automobile sitting at home. We enjoyed that sort of thing and there was enough of us that we decided, with XKE, it reflected our interests.”
Brethauer was glad to see the tradition maintained, and showed excitement over the recent progress of the chapter.
“I think it’s in a good position,” said Brethauer. “I can’t caution you guys on much of anything right now.”