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Original Members in 1924


In September of 1922, the new incoming freshman class, as well as a number of students transferring from other schools, opened the Fall Quarter at the University of Florida.  As it turned out, three of the newly transferred students had previously been initiated as brothers of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity while at their former schools.  These three “stray brothers” of Pi Kappa Phi were Russell P. Cureton from Stetson University, (Chi #37), Lee Hartwell Poe from Georgia Tech (Iota #124) and James Lloyd Knight also from Georgia Tech (Iota #119). Poe and Hartwell, who obviously knew each other from their days at Georgia Tech, soon became aware of Russell Cureton’s presence on campus and sought him out.  The three, quickly decided that they would like to continue their affiliation with Pi Kappa Phi, however there were two obstacles which had to be overcome.First, there was no Pi Kapp chapter on campus at Florida at that time, and secondly, there was no formal standardized method in place at that time for colonizing a fraternity. So instead of starting a Pi Kapp colony, they first founded Phi Beta Psi as a local fraternity. The name Phi Beta Psi was taken from Russell Cureton’s former “local fraternity” at Stetson…which had officially become the Chi chapter of Pi Kappa Phi in 1921.  The first meeting of the new organization was held on October 1, 1922 at the Law School Building on the campus of UF.  Joining brothers Cureton, Knight, and Poe were 11 students and 2 professors. Soon after, on January 1, 1923, a temporary Chapter House was rented and the plans were put in place for a newer house which would be located  on University Avenue and only a short distance from the school. The group closed out the school year with the understanding that fourteen men would return in the Fall and plans were put in place to continue to grow the organization.However, two of the original founders, Russell Cureton and James Knight graduated in the Spring 1923, and as it turned out, Lee Hartwell Poe transferred back to Georgia Tech. As a result, none of the three “stray brothers” returned to school in the Fall of 1923.   So Thomas A. Steele (Chi 56, Stetson), who at the time was the only official Pi Kapp in residence, stepped up in a leadership capacity and  took it upon himself to keep this fledgling  group of young men together.In the Fall of 1923 Brother Steele wrote a petition to National Office of Pi Kappa Phi, seeking a charter for a new chapter of the  national fraternity at the University of Florida. A charter was soon granted and Phi Beta Psi officially became the Alpha Epsilon chapter of Pi Kappa Phi with 26 charter members.

On February 23, 1924, Alpha Epsilon became the twenty-ninth chapter of Pi Kappa Phi  and the eighth chapter of a national fraternity on the University of Florida campus. The installation ceremony was conducted by Supreme Secretary George M. Grant (Omicron 10a, U of Alabama), and Robert T. Overstreet (Eta 68, Emory).Charter Members:Mr. Elbridge Gerry AdamsMr. John Capron BabsonMr. Floyd H BainMr. Herbert Edward BehrensMr. Walter Herman BeislerMr. John Curtis ByrdMr. Edward Coe CarpenterMr. James Walter ChamblissMr. George Walker CoeMr. Lawrence Evans CraryMr. Byron Lilius EddyMr. Harry Alfred EdwardsMr. William Hyde FisherMr. Robert George GilroMr. Gordon Dwight HamiltonMr. Paul Williams HillsMr. Samuel Charles McCormickMr. Frank Oswald Miller, JrMr. Clyde Haley NortonMr. Thomas Hubert ParhamMr. James Martine PearceMr. Joseph Leon RobertsMr. James Gibson Sharon, JrMr. Fred C. SiviaMr. Alfred William SmithMr. Charles Carrol Swoope


Current Chapter in New Chapter House

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Today, the Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi is one of the top fraternities at the University of Florida and is an organization which is based on a foundation of leadership. We believe in maintaining the legacy of those who have come before us by following the road that they have paved.  We are committed to providing opportunities for all of our members to become leaders not only within our organization, but also throughout the university itself.Steeped in history, and boasting alumni such as Florida agricultural magnate, Ben Hill Griffin Jr.; Congressman Sydney Herlong, All American Charlie LaPradd, Florida Supreme Court Justice, Benjamin Overton, Navy Seal James Suh, Dean Frank Maloney as well as the current Chief Executive Officer of Pi Kappa Phi, Mark Timmes, the Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi strives to live up to its mission of becoming the flagship chapter of not only our National Organization…. but of the University of Florida as well. The young men of our chapter continue this legacy today through their involvement in Florida Blue Key, the Inter-fraternity Council and Student GovernmentAs a social fraternity on the campus of the University of Florida, we all share a common goal of advancing the development of our members.  However at Alpha Epsilon, we like to think of ourselves as a bit different.  Different from the standpoint in that we believe that a critical ingredient to success in life, is to always strive to do your best.  It is not so much about winning or losing, as much as it is about being able to look back and know that you put it all out there.  That in itself is a measurement of success. Whether consistently finishing in the ranks of the top ten chapters in GPA, finishing an undefeated intramural seasons, raising thousands of dollars for our own and other philanthropies, or bring smiles to the faces of those who are less fortunate then others,  we as Pi Kapps have proven ourselves committed to the holistic advancement of each other.The bottom line…as an organization, we strongly prescribe to the ideology of conducting our fraternity “the right way,” inspiring change through our campus leaders, propagating the necessity of respect toward those we interact with, and strengthening the bonds of brotherhood that we strive for among our members.  

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