Fraternity History Summary
Lambda Tau Delta Fraternity (LTD) was founded at Fenn College in Cleveland, Ohio on January 31, 1929 by nine Fenn undergraduates and their Faculty Advisor, becoming the fourth fraternity on the Fenn campus. LTD had the distinction of being the first honorary fraternity at Fenn College. LTD later became a local social fraternity, still maintaining high scholastic achievement as a key objective.
During the 1930-1939 Depression years, LTD grew in manpower, as Fenn College grew. These years saw the acquisition of the Town & Country Men’s Club, that eventually became known as Fenn Tower and the eventual central focal point of the school.
As with most Fenn College Day School fraternities, Lambda Tau Delta became inactive during most of the 1941-1945 World War II years, as many Fenn College men entered into active military service, which depleted the male student population. In July, 1946, Lambda Tau Delta reactivated. In October, 1946, nineteen new members were initiated, most were WWII veterans attending Fenn on the G.I. Bill; this group formed the core for the second fraternity start-up, as well as the base for growth well into the 1960’s.
The 1950’s saw positive growth of the group, and firmly established the LTDs as the fraternity to beat for the Fenn College All-Sports Trophy. Winning the All-Sports Trophy became an annual tradition for Lambda Tau Delta, a tradition that continued into the 1980’s.
By the early 1960’s, the major Fenn local fraternities, except LTD, had elected to join national fraternities. In 1963, a LTD committee was formed to explore this option. After evaluating nearly 50 “nationals”, a match was made between LTD and the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity (SPE or SigEp), a national fraternity founded in 1901 at Richmond College, and headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.
On November 21, 1964, 41 Lambda Tau Delta Brothers became the Charter members of SigEp Chapter #184, forming the Ohio Nu Chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity. Ohio Nu Initiate #184-0001 was Faculty Advisor and LTD Emil Perout, head of the Fenn Metallurgy Department at the time. The then co-Faculty Advisor for the Chapter was Dr. William A. “Doc” Patterson, who became the first Provost of Cleveland State University. Doc Patterson was a long-time advisor for Lambda Tau Delta, and an Honorary LTD.
Also in the Fall of 1964, Fenn College became Cleveland State University, bringing a building program that would drastically re-shape the 24th & Euclid Avenue area of Cleveland for many years, and significantly increasing the number of students enrolled.
With the onset of Cleveland State University, the CSU Greek System initially grew along with the student population. During the late-1960’s, three CSU fraternities, including Sigma Phi Epsilon, boasted 100-man chapters, all supported by their national fraternity headquarters staffs, as well as their area CSU-Fenn alumni associations. During this period, the SigEp chapter acquired its’ first fraternity house, a 100-year-old mansion located at 2074 East 36th Street, next to the private Tavern Club.
The top Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter award is the “Buchanan Cup”, awarded to chapters rated tops on their individual campuses. In 1979, Ohio Nu became the first NE-Ohio Chapter to receive the Buchanan Cup. Since then, only one other NE-Ohio Buchanan Cup has been presented … to the Ohio Sigma Chapter at Case Western Reserve University in 2001.
In the 1980’s Cleveland State became primarily a commuter school, decreasing student interest in fraternities and sororities. The CSU Greek System became less of a priority, and deteriorated. After years of attempts by Sigma Phi Epsilon to contribute financial and manpower resources to shore up the Ohio Nu Chapter, the decision was made to close Ohio Nu on May 19, 1990. The fraternity house was sold, and later torn down by the new owner. Ohio Nu at Cleveland State remained dormant for over 20 years.
During the 2012-2013 school year, Cleveland State University made major commitments to improve the CSU Greek System, and the decision was made to re-open Sigma Phi Epsilon as a “Sigma Epsilon Chapter” (SEC) in the Fall of 2013. The CSU undergraduate SigEp group is currently working towards the re-chartering of the Ohio Nu Chapter.
Fraternity History Summary Compiled 09/20/2014 by:
David L. Huiett, Cleveland State ‘66
Ohio Nu Charter President