• The Theta Kappa House - Trivia, Not Trivial


    What we hope you see below is the demonstration of a total team effort from numerous sources coming together as a brotherhood in a very synchronized manner – alumni, brothers, parents and families doing what they could in order to complete one goal – the construction and completion of the Theta Kappa Chapter home. A house that went from 0-60 in about 3.5 seconds due a dedicated group of alumni – nearly 50% of the alumni (at the time of the construction) participating in the fundraising, gifts, work, and financing of a dream that stands today. In 1989 we had less than 250 living alumni with the oldest alumnus being 40 years old – the age that is in the middle of careers with children not yet in college; we also had less than 10 alumni in the local area that could assist in the decision making. Our motto became (as Dan Murray, ΘΚ 90, so eloquently said at the dedication):


    “Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way!”


  • The Theta Kappa Honor Roll

    ...click below to see our most generous benefactors


    Theta Kappa Honor Roll


  • The Columns

    ...Hartmann-Sanders (Harjung and Kosher)


    The Columns - Hartmann-Sanders (and Harjung)


    A little known fact and piece of trivia is how we got our columns and why we chose Hartmann-Sanders columns (www.hartmann-sanders.com/), arguably the best made and most expensive architectural columns in the world. The columns are made of California Redwood and are guaranteed for life. You will find Hartmann-Sanders columns on some of the finest buildings and houses in America - take a drive down West Paces Ferry in Atlanta - the Georgia Governor's Mansion is an example.


    We chose the Roman Corinthian, Fluted Iconic, a very classic and traditional style - but look at the detail up close and then look at other columns on "Greek Row" - there is no comparison. The story behind it is then Collegiate Brother, Tom Harjung, ΘΚ 248, who was in the first class to live in the house in 1989, both his father (Michael Harjung) and uncle (Pete Koscher) worked for Hartmann-Sanders at the time - they were both serious wood craftsman - Michael (Tom's Dad) made the columns and Pete (Tom's Uncle) was part owner of Hartmann Sanders at the time. They were able to select, build, and get installed at a tremendous discount our ultra-premium columns on the front of the house from Hartmann-Sanders. It made looking at cheaper, fiberglass, metal, or just plain wood columns just seem comical - drive down the row and you will see!


    These columns were one of about 10 reasons we were able to build a fraternity house on "Greek Row" about 5 years sooner than most expected and 4 years before Sigma Chi.


    Thank you Harjung family!


  • Dr. (Dean) Jim Orr

    ..."Keep your friends close and ..."


    The old adage about keeping your friends close and ... - we as the Associate Dean of Students (for Greek Life), we certainly had our good days and otherwise with Dr. Orr. But honestly most members don't realize how valuable he was in helping us get started, avoiding pitfalls, and thoughts around the house design. He definitely steered us away from several issues and helped us economize.


    Dr. Orr was an SAE from Mercer and at the time there was no SAE chapter at GSC. He worked relentlessly with Southern Greek Housing Corporation (SGHC) and the chapters with property on the row to make sure we had a great village – it turned out well, especially given the chapters only started in the late 60s’. We gave him a plaque at the dedication in 1989 and thanked him for his support – the oddest thing happened though during his remarks – the C-130 delivering the parachutists to the game circled the stadium twice and pretty much drowned out his remarks. He took it in stride and we did too.


  • Beers on the Frame

    ...keeping your balance on the rafters of the house


    This became a regular occurrence during the summer of 1988, the summer the house was under construction. Once Mr. Bobo (our builder) got the first floor framed up, we would most every evening or certainly a couple times a week would hoist ourselves up on the framing and enjoy a couple of beers with our brothers. Of course we always cleaned up our mess and never left anything for the workers to find left behind.


    We have not found any pictures of this, so if you have some please let us know or you can scan them and send to alumni@sigmanugsu.com.


  • The Sigma Nu Badge on the Theta Kappa House

    ...never knew a school project could be so awesome


    The badge was designed, created, cast, and sculpted by M. Scott Strader, ΘΚ 252, who was initiated in 1986. This badge was dedicated on November 11, 1989 in conjunction with the opening and dedication of the new house.


    Scott is the co-owner and CEO of Mercury Metals in Atlanta and is at: http://www.stradersculpture.com.


    To find out more about the design and casting click here.


    Thank you Scott and the team at GSU!


  • Major Gifts-in-Kind

    …another approach to holding costs down


    Many don’t realize, but we saved a substantial amount by buying most of the building materials through an alumnus, fixtures/wall covering/shrubbery were donated, and the yard was landscaped with the help of nearby alumni with a 100 man work crew (the chapter of 1988-89), so thank you to all.


    First the building materials were provided at cost by Bill Griffin, ΘΚ 25, who had a family owned a building materials and contractor store in Harlem, GA. Harlem Building Materials provided a large portion of the building materials.


    The lighting and fixtures were donated by Chuck Patrick, ΘΚ 117, who owned Exquisite Lighting in Savannah and for a period of time a small lighting store in Statesboro.


    The wall coverings were donated by John Gilreath (Buggs), ΘΚ 270, an alumni initiate from 1986, who owned a paint contracting and wall covering business. Ever wonder why we have hotel style-commercial grade wall covering in the house?


    The shrubbery and plantings around the house (another first on Greek Row) were provided by Eddie Perkins, ΘΚ 162, who owned a nursery in Vidalia. Eddie provided the shrubbery and helped install it as well.


    And lastly was the landscaping the rest of yard, placement of sod, and completion of our house was donated by Larry Roberts, ΘΚ 329, another alumni initiate from 1989. The house corporation bought the sod, the chapter supplied the labor, Larry leveled and prepared the ground - oversaw the operation, but of course #9 was available to provide input and place sod as well. Afterwards Larry brought out two large oyster roasters and treated collegiates and alumni to a great oyster roast!


  • The Deck - the first addition on Greek Row

    ...it started out small, but then it...

    Most alumni and collegiates of the chapter really never knew Sigma Nu when there was not a house, but also when there was not a deck either, so there is a story. The first few years after the house was opened, we had a back yard - yes with grass and everything - often just mud though. In 1996-97 with the continued growth of the chapter & GSU, we were feeling the pain, but also a little need for crowd control - hence the idea of the deck. We were still struggling financially, so an alumnus stepped forward to fund the expansion.


    The first plans for a deck were pretty cool - something of a gazebo type, where you could propose engagement, but not really have a party with 300 of your closest friends, so we went back to the drawing boards. It was pretty simple – what we needed was defined by our parking lot and sidewalks, plus we needed a ramp for access – brick walls for the fortress, so you didn’t fall off and high enough so you wouldn’t fall over – done. At Homecoming 1997 the latest addition to Greek Row was unveiled – a 3000+ square foot outdoor addition wired for bands was added – now likely taken for granted. We have had many a party there (under the tent) – “the Grapevine”, the old “Swinging Medallions”, the new “Swinging Medallions”, and just about every other type of band. Now they want the music inside, so it is time for another change – see the Vision.


  • The "Roy Room" & Parking Space

    ...a humble approach


    As we were preparing to build the house, cash contributions were critical to getting the financing, but also maintaining the momentum of the campaign. One of our greatest benefactors who help create and rive that momentum had a simple request – this was after we told him that wanted to name something after him – we offered the chapter room and several other rooms, but he had other suggestions for those – he asked men’s bathroom upstairs named after him in simplicity to be called “the Roy Room”. Roy Fowler, ΘΚ 268, who was one of our earliest members of the chapter and who was not available for initiation at chartering in 1970 due to his service in Southeast Asia, returned in 1986 with 14 alumni brothers and was initiated on November 15, 1986. He kicked off the unplanned house fundraiser on the next morning with a generous donation and did so each year for several years.


    After the house was built and the “Roy Room” was named, he frequented the house and parked in the same place each year at home games – after a couple of games in a row in 1989, the chapter took it upon themselves to isolate the parking spot, paint it appropriately, and started the tradition that it was reserved for Roy Fowler, ΘΚ 268, and they began the tradition that no one parked there on game days and alumni event weekends. It was not a request it just became a tradition. The spot is maintained.


  • Our original builder, David Bobo

    …more than a contractor, he became a friend


    When to put together a house that ended up being the first house completed on Greek Row and then you throw in 5-6 major gifts-in-kind to help hold the cost down, financing that is not completed until we opened, and strong local alumni – you need a lot more than a builder – you need an advisor, a confidant, and a friend.


    We found that in David Bobo, who owned PAR Builders, but we got more than that –we got a lifelong friend who continues to steer our repairs, construction, upgrades, and expansion – 25 years later. And we got Miss Patsy as well for no extra charge. David was also given one of Sigma Nu plaques on the day of the dedication, but we think he looks at it every morning when he gets up too.


  • The Dedication of the House Video

    ...sunglasses required


    Brothers Duane Nunnally, ΘΚ 14, and Larry Wood, ΘΚ 13, decided to record the House Dedication on tape to preserve for the future. Duane and Larry recorded the moment for us all. They were definitely not filmmakers, but it is a classic nonetheless – thank you!


  • To be added about "Our House":

    • The Dedication
    • The Other Video (EMO)
    • The Dan Murray Porch
    • The Lot
    • The Commander's Room
    • The Tony Fair Room
    • The first residents
    • The mysteries of our house
    • The White Star Society
    • The House Corporation


  • First House Completed on Greek Row!

    ...not first started - first done!


    Lots of things can be argued about Greek Row, but one of the indisputable facts are the the Theta Kappa House was the first House Completed on Greek Row. It was a total team effort of various alumni pulling their dreams together with the captain of the ship being our chapter advisor, Tony Fair, ΘK 9.


    In 1987 houses were dreams and every chapter had a blueprint that they showed in Rush, but noone started until 1988. In early 1988 ΠKΦ started to the surprise of everyone and while they completed the structure and brothers moved in - they did not complete the house as they ran out of money. No parking lot, the grounds weren't landscaped, and the exterior was not completed. But on June 1, 1988 Theta Kappa started construction - no ground-breaking ceremony, no fanfare, just starting to build - the Greek Community was totally shocked. Our neighbor in 101 had at least 5-6 groundbreaking ceremonies, but never started - Sigma Nu propelled them and many other chapters into action as at the time we were likely the most unknown chapter.


    On February 1, 1989, Theta Kappa finished the project, it was inspected, and we moved in. In true Theta Kappa fashion no fanfare. That weekend an alumnus and founder, Larry Roberts, 

    to alumni@sigmanugsu.com.


  • The 2015 House Refresh & Overhaul

    ...it started with an idea that grew - awesome!


    In May 2015, with the continued progress of the Collegiate Chapter, a small group of alumni met with the House Corporation to discuss how we could update the house. Out of that meeting came an initiative that far surpassed anyone’s wildest dreams – it became known simply as the “House Refresh”. It started in June and completed in September, but most of the work was done before Fall Semester started, so it was ready for a new school year and Fall Rush.

    The refresh updated almost everything in the house, but the highlights were: removal of all wallpaper, reconditioning walls, and a fresh coat of paint; installation of Hardieboard (replace drywall) in the upstairs hallways; removal of “popcorn” ceilings throughout the house with a fresh flat coat of paint; complete renovation of the men’s, women’s, and Commander’s bathrooms; complete gutting and renovation of the kitchen replacing cabinetry and countertops; update and added 2 new larger flat screen TVs for a total of 4; and then an overall refresh, repair, and update throughout trying to make the house more durable, but also keeping up with the times and the chapter. We used current money on deposit, we received some donations, and we received a couple of loans from alumni to make it all happen with the goal to not spend more than we had or would receive in rent this year. We had to table the upstairs common bathroom, except for cosmetic repairs, until next year due to time and funds.


    A lot of things came together to make this happen, but 5 people should be recognized: Brent Myers (ΘΚ 295), Shane Ragan (ΘΚ 254), Bill Griffin (ΘΚ 25), Tony Fair (ΘΚ 9), and John Austin (ΘΚ 120). Shane for his leadership/wrestling issues as the House Corporation President; Tony & Bill for literally being there every day to make sure things happened or do it themselves; John for pushing us to take action and initiating the discussion; and Brent for managing the project, using his business & construction skills/connections, hiring contractors, overseeing as a General Contractor, and seeing it through to completion (at no charge). Brent literally was there every other weekend or week overseeing or checking on things – which is a tall order consider he lives in Cumming, GA and travels almost every week to build hotels around the SE.


    Thank you to you five alumni and several other who will remain nameless. It was a great project and a tremendous success – the chapter responded in the Fall of 2015 with the largest, highest quality recruitment since 1987 (34 new men; 30 initiated; a record).


  • Southern Greek Housing Corporation

    ...a unique landlord and organization


    Most members don’t know much about or maybe even anything about Southern Greek Housing Corporation (SGHC). It is not a fraternity and it is not the school – SGHC is a non-profit organization, educationally focused (and 501c3 for the IRS) that owns the Greek Village land, but its members are one representative from each Greek chapter on the row. The applied for and was granted a property tax exemption to the State of Georgia as they supported educationally directed housing – it was approved and has saved the chapters hundreds of thousands in property taxes.


    Once Bulloch County figured out the impact, they took us to court to get it overturned – it took several years, there was a bit of friction, but finally SGHC prevailed in front of the Georgia Supreme Court. It was a good thing that most of the court were Greek affiliated with a couple of Sigma Nus. Anyway SGHC owns the land and leases it to the chapters for 99 years – the lease renews and the whole organization has made a tremendous impact on each of us. Several universities have modeled their Greek Villages after it. SGHC meets annually, sometimes quarterly, to discuss current Greek Housing issues. Dr. Jim Orr and Attorney Sam Brannen were early leaders for SGHC.


    Brothers Don Turner (ΘΚ 75), Billy Hickman (ΘΚ 62), many others, and every Alumni Commander we had (all under 40) and Collegiate Commanders, were pressed into service with SGHC to participate and help chart the direction of a young Greek organization.


  • Varying Designs for the House

    ...differences of opinion, budget, or need


    To the best of our knowledge there have been three designs for the house – the first was akin to a beach house with a balcony over the chapter room – most of the brothers in the early 80s would remember we would pull that out for rush and alumni meetings. It was a concept, but was not large enough. The second drawing was done by an Associate Professor at GSU (Robert Hagan) who was a designer and had a CAD program – pretty cool for the 80s – we think he drew the Pi Kappa Phi House. It was a good concept, but lacked detail and style - his estimate to finish was comical. We fired him, hired another, he threatened to sue, and then he mysteriously lost his job at GSU – hmmm.


    We ended up hiring an Architectural Firm out of Augusta whose senior partner, Don Kelly, was Tommy Howard’s step-father. Don was an architectural engineer trained at Georgia Tech and Jon Bangs assisted - they were both architects at the Medical College of Georgia at the time. They were credible, they were reasonable, and they put a lot of effort into the design. At the dedication, we gave both the architects Sigma Nu plaques (and of course several checks) for their effort. The firm was Associated Architects of Augusta – Donald A. Kelly & Jonathan F. Bangs, both architects. The mechanical engineer was Coleman, Pruett & Associates; the Electrical Engineer was Electrical Design Consultants. For you internet age boys – this was before you could buy house plans off the Internet, so it was an ordeal. To see the original house plans click here.


    Don and Jon put their all into the design - with 5000 square feet set as a maximum they were able to squeeze in 4996 square feet into the design. They both had much interest and pride in the House, as they knew how much it meant to Tommy and his brothers.


    Does anyone have a copy or picture of the original concept drawing before the current design? Or do you know who the architect was?


  • House_Drawing.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_01.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_02.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_03.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_04.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_05.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_06.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_07.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_08.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_09.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_10.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_11.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_12.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_13.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_14.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_15.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_16.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_17.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_18.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_19.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_20.jpg House_Plans_1988_Page_21.jpg Vision_-_Rear_Elevation.jpg Vision_-_Side_Elevation.jpg Exterior_Elevation_sketch.jpg FLOOR_PLAN_20101202.jpg

    The House Plans

    ...and a 12 pack of beer


    The original plan of the house was drawn up on a piece of graph paper by Chapter Advisor, Tony Fair, ΘΚ 9, and then Commander, Bill Geddy, ΘΚ 219, over a 12 pack of beer. We then handed off the graph paper to a GSU Faculty Member, who had also drawn the Pi Kappa Phi house, to do a formal drawing.


    The drawing was completed and was good - great for showing our alumni, but the design was too basic and lacked imagination, so he was fired and we hired two men who were well known to a few alumni. The firm of Donald A. Kelly and Jonathan F. Bangs of Affiliated Architects of Augusta redesigned the house and completed the drawings. At the House Dedication, at Homecoming 1989, Donald and Jon were given Sigma Nu plaques for their hard work, great efforts, and dedication to our alumni and chapter.


  • Financing of the House/Sea Island Bank

    …a local bank with strong connections


    Being the second Greek Chapter to start building and the first to complete (the first fraternity ran out of money at the 90% stage) securing financing on the house was not a walk in the park – the first bank that financed a Greek House was not available to the second, since money became an issue at the end. We approached Sea Island Bank as several alumni had strong relations there, but there is a hitch in small towns. Most banks are local and in Statesboro they tend to be run by alumni of a strong local fraternity – yes you guessed it.


    Given that that chapter (our neighbor to the right) was not building (they did have 5-7 groundbreaking ceremonies) and the control of the banks – our initial application got disapproved by the loan committee controlled by guess who. Anyway, we had an ace-in-the-hole that few knew about, but since we had mailed newsletters to all local Sigma Nu alumni – even those not from Theta Kappa – as it turned out the Chairman of the Board, CEO, and a major shareholder was a Sigma Nu from Emory University. His name was F. Everett Williams, Ξ 420, and he was in the Xi Chapter with the Sigma Nu Regent at the time. In addition to steering Sea Island Bank, Mr. Everett was a State Senator, a State Representative, and the President of the Georgia Southern University Foundation. He was presented a Sigma Nu plaque for his office at our dedication in 1989 by alumnus Billy Hickman.


  • “Flash the Note” – A Crazy Idea

    …an idea whose time had come


    On Oct. 22, 2005, the Theta Kappa Chapter of Sigma Nu Fraternity made history by paying off their house - the first house to be paid off on campus. It took a while to get there, so here is the rest of the story. In the Summer of 2000, after struggling with mortgage payment on the house and refinancing several times (interest was 14-15% when we first built), an idea was hatched, by no other than Mr. Tony Fair.


    At first it sounded a little kooky to be honest, but once several of the local alumni got their head around the math it really started to take shape. Since the local guys had been the ones that made all the calls to collect donations and to negotiate with the bank – they were looking to take a break from that, so Bill Geddy was recruited to sell the concept to the alumni and act as the Fundraising Chairman. The concept was simple but powerful – recruit 12 groups of alumni to agree to take over the payments for one month for 5 years ($2500 x 5), they could recruit as many members to their team that they wanted, the captains of the team would sign guarantees to refinance and lower the interest rate, the chapter would continue to pay rent, and if everything worked right – we would eliminate $200,000 in principal we still owed.


    Well to make a long story short – the team, captains, and chapter delivered – when teams faltered others stepped into their shoes and on October 22, 2005, we lit the mortgage note on fire on Saturday night – great pictures and we still have a bag of the ashes. The Alumni Officers during 2000-2005 were a group of younger alumni in their late 20s’ and early 30s’ – they were: David J. Whitlaw Jr. (ΘΚ 372), John M. Dowdle (ΘΚ 399), Dirk S. Young (ΘΚ 368), Edward G. Hurst (ΘΚ 280), Raymon E. Ragan II (ΘΚ 254), Preston W. Hobson (ΘΚ 469), and Jeremy J. Stewart (ΘΚ 433) in various positions throughout the campaign. Other alumni driving the campaign were: William B. Geddy (ΘΚ 219), Anthony B. Fair (ΘΚ 9), William R. Hickman Jr. (ΘΚ 62), and Stephen A. Garner (ΘΚ 116). For a complete list of the teams, the captains, the donors, and more articles on this campaign, please go to: "Flash the Note".


  • A Vision for the Future

    ...not as easy as you think


    The original expansion vision was drafted for the "Flash the Note" weekend (2005) by John H Rule, AIA, of Martin Rule & Associates Architects LLC funded by an alumnus, but the second version was improved on by Dimensions, Inc. & DI Construction Services, Inc., which Brent E. Myers (ΘΚ 295) is a partner at. Timing is often everything - in 2005 it was too early, but 2006 the chapter was closed for hazing.


    The question always comes up "when are you going to expand the house?"; it is really simple - start doing the things that ensure we have a future - cut out the nonsense, work collaboratively with the alumni, and build a chapter (hopefully headed towards a Rock Chapter award) that is secure and is sustainable. After a mid-course correction in the Spring of 2013, we seem to be back on track and sustainability is the watchword.


  • Who owns the House?

    ...The Theta Kappa House Corporation


    The Sigma Nu House at Georgia Southern University is owned/operated by the Theta Kappa House Corporation, is a non-profit corporation in the State of Georgia also recognized by the IRS. The corporation is managed by a board of directors, which is self-appointed and comprised of alumni members who have made a substantial financial commitment to the construction and sustainment of the Chapter Home. The House is essentially owned by the alumni and collegiate members of the Theta Kappa Chapter through the House Corporation.


    For more about the House Corporation and to meet the Board of Directors: click here. The House Corporation Board meets several times a year and it another set of volunteers that support the chapter.



  • Sigma Nu Epsilon Tau Tau - For Life