In 1972, Gamma Sigma Sigma service fraternity established a chapter at the University of Maine. It would be the last new fraternity chapter to charter at Maine for the next 25 years. That long stagnant period in the history of Maine's Greek system ended on May 3, 1997, when Pi Kappa Alpha installed the Kappa Tau Chapter.
The chartering festivities began on Friday night, May 2, when 44 members were initiated as founding fathers of Kappa Tau. The initiations were performed by representatives from Iota Chi Chapter (Connecticut), which served the colony as host chapter. The next day it was off to Bangor to celebrate the occasion with a black tie chartering banquet.
The banquet was attended by numerous friends and parents of the new chapter members. International President John Michael Williams (Oklahoma State, Gamma Chi '68) presided over the chartering ceremony and delivered a keynote address at the banquet. North Atlantic Regional President Howard Goldstein (Lehigh, Gamma Lambda '83) also offered comments on the occasion.
The chartering was the culmination of two years of hard work and perseverance on the part of the founding fathers. Not only was their effort rewarded with the granting of a charter, the new chapter was also recognized as the fraternity of the year on the Maine campus. This recognition was bestowed on the men while still in colony status.
The Maine colony was formed in the late spring 1995 by then expansion consultants Chris Hough (Pittsburgh, Gamma Sigma '89) and Shad Williams (Oklahoma State, Gamma Chi '90). Initially, 29 men were recruited to work toward becoming Kappa Tau Chapter. Charles Allen was chosen as the colony's first president. Two more initial colony members would go on to become presidents. Todd DiPietro was president up until the chartering and he was succeeded by Sundance Campbell.
As is the case with most colonizations, there were bumps and bruises along the way. The colony met every challenge with determination. After a brief summer break, the colony returned in fall 1995 to find that several members had lost interest, while others were difficult to track down. The colony worked through these setbacks and by mid-semester they were rolling again with a new permanent meeting facility and an escalating public image.
In the end, the highlights of the road to chapterhood stand out far above any temporary setbacks. The colony emerged as a leader in community service, athletics and academics, while its social preference steadily climbed. After twelve short months the colony had already claimed the man miles award for attendance at the North Atlantic Regional Conference and the all-fraternity sports trophy on campus.
Housing has always been a key factor for long term success in the well established Maine Greek system. The colony and its advisors had the foresight to plan for the eventual need for competitive housing. As a result of their planning, this fall the Kappa Tau Chapter will occupy one of the more prominent houses on campus. The chapter will initially rent, but has the option to buy the land and improvements at a future date. This is unique, as most other fraternities' houses stand on University-owned land.
After a great run as a colony, Kappa Tau Chapter is prepared to excel. They have set their sights high and expect to be a force on the Maine campus and within Pi Kappa Alpha for many years to come.