Alpha Gamma Rho – The First 100 Years
The history of Alpha Gamma Rho reflects the character of the organization today – friends coming together across varied walks of life, finding common interests and a common cause, and pursuing a passion for bettering themselves and the industry that they love. It’s a great story.
More than a century ago a group of seven college friends at what is now The Ohio State University, in Columbus, Ohio, decided to “bind together their cords of friendship” and organize a fraternity. Plans developed slowly, and on the first Sunday in October, 1904, Alpha Gamma Rho was born.
While the agricultural group at The Ohio State University was developing a fraternity, a similar vision was taking shape at the University of Illinois. During the fall of 1905, the students at Illinois discussed forming an agricultural club. By the spring of 1906 the idea had sprouted and Delta Rho Sigma came into being.
Interactions between these two fraternities first occurred at the International Livestock Show in Chicago during the fall of 1906. Men from each university serving on their respective livestock judging teams met and discovered they had a common bond. A correspondence ensued, and in April 1907 the Illinois fraternity invited two delegates from Ohio to visit. Over time, the relationship strengthened, and on April 4, 1908, they formally united the two groups in a ceremony at the Claypool Hotel in Indianapolis.
Records show that the University of Illinois took the name of the Ohio State organization, Alpha Gamma Rho. In turn for giving up their namesake, the Illinois men received the distinction of Alpha Chapter.
Brother A. B. Sawyer was initiated by Delta Rho Sigma in 1906 and participated in the joining of Alpha Gamma Rho and Delta Rho Sigma. Fortunately, he kept the minutes of the first meeting. This important record documents the time and place of the first convention, as well as the names of the first National officers.
According to Brother Sawyer, the minutes were written on two paper place mats bearing the name of the Hofbrau, Chicago. The first page was written by H. E. Allen, Beta, temporary secretary, and the second page by Brother Sawyer, after he had been elected Grand Secretary. At this first National Convention on November 30, 1908, Brother Sawyer recorded the rest of the first official officers as: Grand President, Brother Charles A. Stewart, Alpha; Grand Vice President, Brother S. S. Hart, Beta; Grand Secretary and Treasurer, Brother A. B. Sawyer, Alpha and General Registrar, Brother C. P. Trotter, Alpha.
And thus, the journey began. We invite you to come along and help us write the story of our next 100 years.