The Delta Colony of Phi Gamma Delta at Western Kentucky University was colonized on October 23, 2008 as 40 men accepted bids to join an elite group of scholars, athletes, and gentlemen. Thirty brothers were initiated into the Colony in January 2009, with three more classes of men joining them in late 2009 and early 2010 to become Founding Fathers.
On May 1st 2010, exactly 162 years after the founding of the first chapter of Phi Gamma Delta, 48 men from the four classes of Founding Fathers were initiated into the newly chartered Chi Eta Chapter.
In its short existence, the Chi Eta Chapter has won several homecoming and Greek Week competitions and maintained the highest GPA of all fraternities on campus for every year. For the 2012 calender year, Chi Eta was awarded the prestigious Cheney Cup, the highest award given in the international fraternity.
From the start, philanthropy has played a huge part in Chi Eta’s history. In the early years, Chi Eta raised over $4700 for the American Red Cross from its Rivalry Run philanthropy event. During the summer of 2010, brother Tyler Jury (Class of ’12), began one of the most impacting legacies in the chapter. Affected by the loss of his grandfather to Alzheimer’s disease, Tyler was inspired to raise Alzheimer’s awareness by starting a bike ride across the country, called “Fijis Across America.” A small group of Fijis from both WKU’s and UK’s chapters biked to many cities across the country, raising $56,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association. In 2012, a group of 12 Chi Etas decided to continue the tradition, re-branding the bike ride as “Bike4Alz” and traveling 3,000 miles from International Falls, Minnesota to Key West, Florida. Bike4Alz has become a biannual tradition in the chapter. The 2014 Bike4Alz group traveled from Long Beach, California to Washington, D.C. and raised over $85,000 for Alzheimer’s Research.
A mission to end Alzheimer’s disease has inspired other philanthropy traditions. In Fall 2012, brother Kyle Stewart (Class of ’15) changed the fall philanthropy from the Rivalry Run to a Color Run 5K to raise money toward Alzheimer’s research. Now called the Purple Run, this 5K has been a successful event for three years. The most recent Purple Run, held at Kereiakes Park on October 11, 2014, raised around $5,400 for Bright Focus, which sent all proceeds to Alzheimer’s research.
The last of Chi Eta’s Founding Fathers graduated spring 2014, launching a new page in the chapter’s history. The current undergraduate chapter remains determined to continue and improve upon the legacy begun by those founding fathers. The current undergraduate chapter recently pledged 17 men in the Nu class and presently stands at just under 80 undergraduate members.