Delta Tau Delta National History

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Gentlemen, We Are Delts

        Legacy of the Esquires and of the

Epsilon Zeta Chapter of Delta Tau Delta


Legacy is a synonym of Heritage, the name of a Sam Houston State University magazine. In reading the magazine, one is struck with what an incredible debt of gratitude we owe those who formed a college in Huntsville in 1879 and named it after the "Hero of San Jacinto."

In reflecting on that notion of legacy, two separate instances of heritage made it possible for EZ Delts reading this piece to call each other brother: In 1858, twenty-one years before the Austin College building became Sam Houston Normal Institute, at another small college in faraway Bethany, West Virginia, eight students decided to right a wrong and formed a new group they called Delta Tau Delta. They talked about honor and justice but in the end they just wanted to make their alma mater a better place for themselves and for future students. Eighty years later in 1938, another group of young students in Huntsville, Texas formed the first men's social club to promote school spirit at Sam Houston State Teachers College. They called themselves the Esquires and soon established traditions of service, fun, and camaraderie that were prized by generations of Sam Houston students.

Twenty years later, Dean of Men W.E. Lowry wanted the Esquires to become members of his national fraternity, Pi Kappa Alpha. He even sent a group of Esquires to Washington, D.C. to the Pike convention. But 16 other national fraternities wanted the Esquires, too. And on a fateful night before the vote was to be taken, Colorado Delt Eldredge C. Thompson drove up from Houston to make another presentation on behalf of Delta Tau Delta. The rest is history: the legacies of those men from Bethany to Boulder to Huntsville were left to those of us initiated after the Esquire Club became the Epsilon Zeta Chapter on January 9, 1960, making us the first men's Greek Fraternity on campus. The first Delt House was located adjacent to Pritchett Field on 17th St. at Ave. N. It is now called the Baldwin House for academic scholarship students.

Someday those who are bequeathed this legacy will tell the stories of their youth and enjoy the reverie of the moment like the one about Esquire Larry Storrs whose rendition of "White Sport Coat" sung to the ladies of Belvin Hall is considered a classic! That one and hundreds more over the half century of Deltism at Sam Houston are priceless. They speak to brotherhood that most unique bond between men of different generations and colleges, even different regions of the country that gives us something in common we value and want to continue for those who follow us.

Important Epsilon Zeta Events

1858 - Foundation of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity at Bethany College

1938 - Foundation of the Esquires Social Club at Sam Houston State University

January 9, 1960 - The Esquire Become Epsilon Zeta Chapter of Delta Tau Delta

1988 - Epsilon Zeta Chapter Wins a Court of Honor Award (Top 20 of all Delt Chapters)

1989 - Epsilon Zeta wins a Hugh Shields Award (Top 10 of All Delt Chapters)

2011 -  Epsilon Zeta Wins The Most Outstanding Social Fraternity at SHSU (SHSU SAMMY Award)

2012 - Epsilon Zeta Chapter Wins a Court of Honor Award (Top 20 of all Delt Chapters)

2013 - The Epsilon Zeta Education Foundation opens the Joe "Butch" MacKenzie Shelter

2017 -  Epsilon Zeta Chapter Wins a 5 Star Chapter Award (SHSU Chapter Excellence Award)

2017 - Epsilon Zeta Chapter Wins a Court of Honor Award (Top 20 of all Delt Chapters)