The Texas Theta
Interest Group came to be in the fall of 2001, after a 6 year absence at West
Texas A&M University. Texas Theta, who at one time was one of the largest Phi
Delt chapters in the country with 100 plus membership, was returning to a much
different campus than they left. The percentage of Greek students on campus had
dwindled to 3 percent and the average fraternity size was now in the low
twenties. Things would not be easy.
A group of alumni (led by Bill Bandy, Don Bode, Jimmy Campbell, Rit Christian,
Dick Gaither, Tim Henderson, Gary Hyatt, Steve Kincaid, Joe Valdez, Jerry
Wooldridge) from the Amarillo/Canyon area began the
interest group process. After receiving the approval of West Texas A&M the
alumni group began recruiting on campus. Eleven hand selected men comprised that
first pledge class of the Texas Theta Interest Group. The alumni recruited men
within already existing student organizations. This strategy proved to be very
successful. These organizations included the WTAMU Herdsmen and the WTAMU Farm &
Ranch Club. Recommendations from local alumni were also key to the success of
the recruitment effort.
Operations ran smooth for the Texas Theta Interest Group due to
outstanding alumni support. Brothers Dick Gaither ‘67 and Jerry Woldridge ‘73
took on the role of chapter advisor and eleven alumni were selected to be “big
brothers” for the new Phikeia. Members of the interest group were introduced to
the colonization process and Greek life. Throw in an unforgettable social event
with the ladies Zeta Tau Alpha and the group was off to a good start.
Under the direction of Brent Ferguson ‘03 things continued to
move forward and once again with the help of several alumni spring recruitment
was a success. At the conclusion of the spring 2002 semester the Texas Theta
Interest Group was colonized with 26 men and became, once again, officially
recognized by Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity. At the time of
colonization Texas Theta was the largest fraternity on campus, tops in grades,
tops in recruitment and University Sing champions alongside Chi Omega.
The image of the new Texas Theta Phis began taking shape at this
point. The Colony was comprised of mostly small town farm kids from the Texas
Panhandle and eastern New Mexico. Phi Delta Theta immediately impacted the Greek
community at West Texas A&M. The colony offered students a fresh alternative to
the existing fraternity chapters at WT. Although Texas Theta was striving on
campus we faced an uphill battle in IFC. The Texas Theta Colony, even though it
was the largest fraternity on campus, would not be voted in as full members of
IFC until late October 2003.
In the fall of 2002 the colony, under the direction of Tim Bynum
’05, began to focus more on its relationship with the General Fraternity and
taking steps through the colony organization process to fulfill the requirements
set forth by Phi Delta Theta to regain the charter. Texas Theta was dominating
on campus but meeting the requirements for membership of Phi Delta Theta was
difficult on a campus like West Texas A&M. Although the Texas Theta Colony was
the premiere fraternity at WT, our first charter petition was denied by the
General Council of Phi Delta Theta.
The Bond of Phi