HISTORY OF THE THETA CHI CHAPTER
Theta Chi chapter's formation process began when Omega men in the Prairie View, TX area came together in the spirit of brotherhood before an official charter was processed for approval. The first meeting was held in June 1954 where the names of all brothers in the area were collected. Brothers (Dr.) Edward Martin, Dr. Avis Dunson, and Danny Brooks met initially to form the nucleus of the soon to be chartered chapter. They established the communications process to determine the level of interest in forming a new chapter and they added Brothers Archie Walker and Carl Weems to their esteem working group. Under the leadership of these 5 Brothers, in conjunction with diligent support from the 9th District Representative, Bro F. Ribers Barnwell the chapter began to take shape. After several meetings to plan the process, the charter application was submitted to the Ninth District Representative on October 6, 1954. On February 1, 1955, in a meeting of the Supreme Council, the charter was approved under Bro. John F. Potts, the 22nd Grand Basileus, and the Ninth District Representative Bro. Barnwell.
The official charter was presented to the chapter's 5 charter members on February 28, 1955. Before the formal presentation, provisional officers were appointed to manage the affairs of organizing and coordinating for future actions with the Ninth District and the national organization. These brothers made up the core of the organization and were instrumental in putting together a solid foundation to establish a viable, fervent organization.
The chapter’s formation continued to grow when the Charter Members invited other distinguished graduate Brothers that lived and worked in the surrounding communities to join as members of Theta Chi. These Men, the majority who were employed at Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU), were already prominent leaders in Omega, at PVAMU and the community at large, helped Theta Chi develop the vision of the Chapter to serve as a beacon, emitting an intense inspirational beam of light fully illuminating the road to true Brotherhood and community uplift. Theta Chi was unique in that it was composed of an assortment of brothers initiated at several undergraduate chapters from around the country devoted to the principles of Omega.
During the early days, the chapter developed a project to provide aid to indigent families as its first philanthropic endeavor. Five families were identified and the brothers of Theta Chi provided anonymously donated food items to needy families during the Christmas Holidays. Theta Chi continued to grow and through certain provisions established by the 9th District leadership was able to initiate brothers into the graduate chapter, and also initiated undergraduates as well that were attending PVAMU. In later years, the members of Theta Chi were at the forefront of establishing Rho Theta chapter on the Prairie View A&M University campus after the initiation of a 1968 Theta Chi line of undergraduate brothers that are considered the 'Founding Fathers' of Rho Theta chapter.
Theta Chi quickly became a force in the 9th District and on the National level. However, due to the migration of numerous members of the chapter, Theta Chi became inactive in the late 1980s. The chapter was resurrected by a group of brothers who were led by Brother Lawrence Allen in 1989 and relocated to neighboring Prairie View, TX in the suburban Houston area. The chapter soon had an initiation process in 1990 to help revive the reformed chapter. After relocating to Prairie View, the chapter continued its great works. One of the first programs started was to support local youth in their educational pursuits. Theta Chi’s aim was to uplift the downtrodden, so as a chapter they continued to take the initiative to help and support the local youth with proactive and comprehensive programs that encouraged them to succeed. The chapter accepted this challenge and worked diligently supporting Houston’s youth through the chapter’s scholarship program. The scholarship program—still today—identifies deserving students who have excelled across a spectrum of categories.
Theta Chi’s scholarship is carried out in conjunction with the Fraternity’s National Scholarship Program mandate and supports the efforts of Houston’s enterprising youth in the pursuit of furthering their educational aspirations. Over the years, the program has recognized, rewarded, and encouraged hundreds of students to share their innovative ideas with the chapter and the world. The program promotes critical thinking practices by giving challenging topics that will engage and lead students to the pursuit of knowledge. The program also helps to develop problem-solving skills and other creative endeavors that provide a window into the foundation from which the student and society will benefit in the future. From the beginning, the scholarship program has included many categories that showcased some of the most advanced students in the Houston area in science, engineering, mathematics, technology, and other creative areas.
In 1995, Theta Chi held the first Que-Nic Scholarship Fund Raiser. Later named the Mary Grant-Henry Scholarship Fund in 1997 and then changed to Dr. Marion and Mary Henry Scholarship Fund in 2013. This scholarship was established to support the efforts of Houston’s enterprising youth in the pursuit of furthering their educational aspirations. An ever effective and needed means of promoting scholarship is the extension of financial aid to students of established achievement and promise. The brothers of Theta Chi chapter recognized this fact and has worked to perpetuate excellence with the stimulatory monetary awards presented through the chapter’s Essay Contest to several local achieving students. The hemorrhaging of the world’s economy forced many families and their potential scholars to forgo their educational pursuits. It is often difficult for families to balance life’s competing priorities and ensure that their children’s education is adequately sufficient to meet today’s societal challenges. Theta Chi helps to bridge this financial chasm and improve overall competency throughout the Houston area with copious scholarship events—such as the Que-Nic.
Today, a major civic program is the Theta Chi Quarterly Blood Drive. The chapter has established a partnership with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center to make a difference in people’s lives. They do this by bringing together courageous and inspiring individuals to donate blood and produce a safe and ample blood supply while advancing cutting-edge research and embracing continuous quality health improvement. This very important action helps local hospitals and medical centers in the Houston area transform the future of health care. With every drive, we help to turn science into practical benefit and turn hope into reality. The chapter accomplishes this through support for exquisite care, innovative research and vital education focused on eliminating blood shortages and increasing the success of major operations. The chapter supports this great cause by establishing blood drive donation days and also provides referrals of potential donors to the Blood Center Representative. The donors that the chapter recruits to our blood drives are instrumental in saving lives. Additionally, the chapter encourages Houstonians to Commit for Life by donating and enrolling in the Center’s Commit for Life Program. With this program, donors can give at a variety of locations throughout the Houston area.
Theta Chi chapter continues to focus on service to the local community; we have the wherewithal to change the landscape of how Houstonians envision their future. This concerted effort has the ability to influence people at all levels to be resilient, self-motivated and display a can-do attitude.