No. 106 – Greek Life

Oswego is often billed as one big family — and you can’t have a family without brothers and sisters.

Greeks have been a part of student life at Oswego since the 1920s, when Ransom Libby and Max Ziel founded Psi Phi Gamma, Oswego’s first fraternity, and Clio was established as the college’s first sorority.

By the early 1940s, Greek life included three sororities — Alpha Delta Eta, Arethusa Eta and Clio — and three fraternities: Beta Tau Epsilon, Delta Kappa Kappa and Psi Phi Gamma.

Sig Gamma guys at Reunion 2010Like any student organization, Greek life draws together students with common interests.

Dick Tallman ’54 was interested in getting his own room when he pledged Psi Phi. So he joined in part out of necessity of shelter, but ended up making memorable bonds with his brothers.

“It was the social highlight of my college experience,” remembers Tallman, who still helps organize Psi Phi reunions. “You made a lot of connections.

“You always had someone to go out with or hang out with,” he says. You could even count on a brother to hook you up with a date when in need. In fact, that’s how he was introduced to his wife and Alpha Delta sister, Judith House Tallman ’57.

Nina Livaccari Hastings ’43 joined Clio as the college and country worked through World War II. The sorority offered a place to have fun, build friendships and do things in the community — like volunteer cleanups and fundraisers — during a difficult era.

“For myself, I came a kid — never been away from home — I was still pretty naïve,” Hastings says. “It gave us all confidence and a willingness to try things; to not be afraid.”

Greeks grew until the early 1980s when numbers leveled at 11 organizations, then peaked in the 1990s, topping out at about 30 groups. Today, 25 are registered with the college.

Each year, members of Greek organizations past and present gather by the hundreds during Reunion Weekend.

2 thoughts on “No. 106 – Greek Life

  1. I pledged in 1962 fall semester. Myself and another Psi Phi brother are trying to find out what finally became of the old Fraternity house on W 36 or 5th I believe. Thanks in advance. Okay to email tcable@cfl.rr.com

  2. Tom,

    Mike Kassal here, Psi Phi F 1991. The House St 30 W 5th St burned to the groins, arson, in DEC 1992, a year after I pledged Psi PhiWeTher Gamma chapter is alive and well. We are holding a reunion weekend in March, please reply to find out details. Lots of guys from the 60s show up each year, regulars after all these years.
    Mikeandsuz@roadrunner.com
    Fraternally,
    Mike Kassal f1991

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