Kappa Kappa Psi • The Alpha Chapter

Serving the OSU Bands and Striving for the Highest Since 1919

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Steve Nelson's History Snippets


Snippet #25 - "A Brief History of Kappa Kappa Psi" by William A. Scroggs, taken from a 1925 issue of The Baton.

Steve Nelson:  "This is a more complete account of the founding of the Fraternity, written by W. A. Scroggs in a later issue of The Baton in 1925."

A Brief History of Kappa Kappa Psi

    Our Grand President, Brother Squyers, asked that I reveal the history as it actually developed from the beginning and the progress made by our organization.  This fraternity of ours has known but one condition, and that is unit of purpose and rapid but conservative development.  Since we have as our foundation the super-rocks of Character, Musical Ability, Personality and Service, we could only expect rapid development and an organization that is outstanding in the Honorary fraternal world.

    Every one dislikes to hear a person commenting on things that are directly the outgrowth of his own work.  Even though it may be outstanding and I am no exception to the rule, so I hesitate in commenting upon the founding and development of Kappa Kappa Psi.  But if you will bear with me that the purpose of this is to let you know first hand the history and development of Kappa Kappa Psi.

    After spending two years in the Oklahoma State College band as a preparatory student and making some very dear friends I felt that to have such an organization that would bind such friendship together indefinitely would be a desireable accomplishment, so the next step was to make that dream materialize.  I worked on this proposition during the school year 1918-19 and the summer of '19.  The work was principally upon the constitution.  Not being a member of any fraternal order at that time, it was decided to organize a club of the students in the band, who were affiliated with almost every secret organization on the campus and various lodges. My every effort was given over entirely to the work of the organization during the summer of 1919 while I was in the hay fields on my father's farm.  Every spare moment was spent in building good features and eliminating those that were not absolutely essential for the uniting and harmonization of a real democratic and inexpensive fraternity.

    I planned to reveal my "secret dream" and the work thus far accomplished to the new President of the band, A. Frank Martin, and Professor Makovsky, early in the fall of 1919.  Since Brother Martin spent his summer vacation in Stillwater, I told him of my plans and received the promise of his hearty support.  This gave me a new impetus and resulted in my having the work in good shape for presentation in the early fall.

    Immediately after the opening of the College in September, I went to Professor Makovsky with my plans and received much encouragement and a promise from him to help put it across.  He helped to select ten of the outstanding individuals of the band, Scholarship, Character, Musical ability and organization ability being the corner stones on which these selections were made and upon which selections are made today.  These men selected who were outstanding on the campus in student activities and in every phase of College work were:  A. Frank Martin, Raymond Shannon, Clayton E. Soule, Clyde Haston, Dick Hurst, Carl Stevens, Asher Hendrickson, Wm. A. Coppedge, Hawthorne Nelson and as organizer, I made up the tenth member of the charter members.

    These men were called together the later part of November and the proposition thoroughly explained.  All were over-enthusiastic concerning the proposed new fraternity and a local organization was immediately perfected.  The group honored me with the first presidency, Raymond Shannon was elected Vice-President, Clayton E. Soule, Secretary and Treasurer.  Committees were appointed on different phases of the work.

    A. Frank Martin headed the Ritual Committee and long with him Clayton Soule and Col. F. D. Wickham assisted.  It was my plans to have four degrees at first, one for each year in College, but we soon saw the inconsistency of such and three degrees were decided on as a logical and adequate work.  To Col. Wickham goes the credit of the plan and work of the first degree.  After this was completed, four fellows were selected as pledges and the work tested.  The work on this degree or any following degree has been changed but little.

    The first degree completed, Clayton Soule was appointed chairman of the second degree work and A. Frank Martin of the third degree.  No one will ever know and appreciate the vast amount of work accomplished by these two brothers, but to sit back and watch the work staged with the thought that the degrees had to be worked without a definite goal in view, knowing that "That Something" had to be incorporated in order to give to the neophyte that inspiring and emotional feeling that must arouse the inner man to exert his utmost for humanity, in order to make of him a real man and citizen, will create in you an appreciation in a slight way, the many long hours that were spent thereon.  As president, I had a hand in every degree such as submitting lectures and arrangements of the later part of the third degree, in which I will always take great pride, but to Brothers Martin and Soule and Col. Wickham should go the real praise and honor.

    Brothers Clyde Haston, Carl Stevens, and H. I. Jones, worked out the design of pin or badge and crest, name of the Fraternity and our motto.  Brother Coppedge worked out the oaths.  Brother Shannon and myself worked principally upon the Constitution and by-laws and the perfecting of the National organization.  This work completed we elected our First National officers:  A. Frank Martin, First Grand President; Carl A. Stevens, First National Secretary; Clayton E. Soule, First Grand Treasurer; Clyde Haston, First Vice President and W. A. Scroggs, Grand Editor and Assistant Secretary and Treasurer.

    Ten letters were sent to as many Universities and with several replies, petitions came from Washington first and Montana a month or two later.  This was the fall of 1920.  Brother Shannon and myself were elected to go and install the first chapters of the fraternity, this was completed in the month of December of 1920.

    To put the organization over in the first class condition, I knew a publication would be necessary and as Editor, I consulted our National President, who ordered a National Publication in the spring of 1922.  This work I did single handed with no financial support from one or any group.  I borrowed the money from a bank, who very kindly loaned me the necessary amount on the strength of my father's credit, I suppose, for I know it would have been impossible to have gotten it otherwise.

    As much data was collected as possible from the four existing chapters at that date and by scraping, here and there, enough material was collected to print a very credible publication.

    The wonderful spirit that has been manifested since organization seems to be lacking in no degree whatever, but is going forward with a momentum that will lead us to the very height of Fraternal honor and prestige.  That spirit to do or die is ever present.  All are well acquainted with our very rapid progress since 1922 under the very able and efficient administration of the present, and to be on the inside and see the many organizations that are scrambling to be instructed in the mysteries of Kappa Kappa Psi, certainly gives one a great pride and satisfaction to know that he is a member of an organization whose ideals and standards are as high or even higher, than any other fraternal organization to be found in our great American Universities today.

W. A. SCROGGS - Founder.