A Vision of 6 Samford Men
Which Impacted 300,000 Worldwide
and Continues Today
Samford's Lambda Chi Alpha has a rich history dating back to 1919 when Samford was known as Howard College and was located in Birmingham’s East Lake area. Six men formed a local Howard fraternity, Phi Kappa Nu. Brother George A. Neely wrote the ritual and Brothers James J. Bell, Bolivar B. O'Rear, Walter G. Pledger, Dewey H. McMeans, and J. Ford Robinson designed the brother’s badge. Both the ritual and badge would have major influences on the modern day Lambda Chi Alpha International Fraternity.
In 1924 Phi Kappa Nu joined with ten other local fraternities across the country to form the new national fraternity Theta Kappa Nu. Howard's Phi Kappa Nu was designated Alabama Alpha of Theta Kappa Nu. Neely's ritual was adopted by the new national fraternity. The Phi Kappa Nu brother's badge was slightly modified to reflect the new letters, but the design lived on as the Theta Kappa Nu brother's badge. The national fraternity with roots at Howard has been called the nation's fastest growing fraternity, chartering more than 40 chapters within the first two years
Samford's Lambda Chi Alpha chapter is designated "Theta Alpha Zeta".
Many chapter designations have little significance, but the three words Theta Alpha Zeta tell the story of a chapter and three fraternities' evolution.
Theta Kappa Nu merged with Lambda Chi Alpha in 1939 in what was known as the largest fraternity merger in history. The signing of the official merger document was hosted by Howard's Theta Kappa Nu in East Lake. The chapter then became the Theta Alpha Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha. This chapter designation signified the Howard chapter as the first precedence of the Theta Kappa Nu chapters in the merger. The brother's badge that originated at Howard became the basis of the Lambda Chi Associate Pin and Neely's ritual became the basis of the Lambda Chi Associate Member Ceremony. It was a true merger of organizations with the rich history of both that is to this day intertwined in traditions, rituals, & symbols.