Chi Psi at Ole Miss
In the fall of 1858, two young Mississippians, both of them Chi Psis from the University of North Carolina, were commissioned to found an Alpha of Chi Psi at the University of Mississippi. Before long, 14 of the best men on campus joined the ranks of Chi Psi, and Alpha Gamma was born. Between 1858 and 1861, 46 brothers were initiated, a list rife with distinguished men, including but not limited to future Ole Miss Chancellor Robert Burwell Fulton ’69. When war knocked, these young men answered, at Gamma was closed throughout the duration of the Civil War. The archives were placed in the care of John Calhoun Evans ’62, and when he enlisted, he left them in the care of his mother. Evans fell in the battle of Shiloh, however his mother ensured the documents remained safe, and in 1865 returned them to O. F. Bledsoe ’60, one of the charter members, who undertook the work of again giving life to the alpha. The alpha was steadfast in it high standards of both its perspective members and its own actions, and while small in number, maintained a level of excellence until 1891, at which time it was decided to become dormant until conditions on campus were more favorable on campus.
Chi Psi reestablished at Ole Miss on March 15, 1970 after nearly 80 years dormant. Rededication ceremonies were held at Alpha Gammas new home, a stately building previously owned by Kappa Alpha, which had been completely refurbished for use by Chi Psi. Six members were activated on March 15, and within just a few short years, Alpha Gamma had become one of the most prominent fraternal chapters at Ole Miss, and nationally within Chi Psi. At the Chi Psi National Convention, in June of 1976, Alpha Gamma was nominated for both the Thayer Trophy, awarded to the most outstanding Alpha of Chi Psi, as well as the Founders Trophy, for the Alpha demonstrating the most impressive improvement from the previous year. While it wasn’t awarded either award, the members of Alpha Gamma met following the convention banquet, and swore to devote every effort to bring the Thayer to Mississippi the following summer. Though they only had 25 active members, Alpha Gamma recruited 31 men for its fall pledge class that year, initiating 29 of the men. It was academically very strong, with several of its members also maintaining membership to academic orders, as well as positions in student government and student publications. After a strong year, Gamma was announced as a co-winner of the Thayer Trophy at the convention in 1977, to deafening applause.
Alpha Gamma continued to excel, and was often nominated for the Thayer trophy throughout the last 70’s and 80’s, and continued this high level of achievement throughout the 90s and early 2000’s, before electing to go dormant in 2007. Chi Psi plans to return to the University of Mississippi in the spring of 2013.