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History

In the spring of 1966, many campus conditions pointed to the need for a sixth fraternity at Hope. March 9th of that year marked the end of spring rush for the five existing fraternities, with 111 men initiated into Greek Life. However, many men were turned down due to lack of openings, such as each fraternity was able to bid only one third of its rushees. The lack of all-campus events and a student union increased the importance of the Greek societies on Hope’s campus. The picture revealed a socially fragmented student body with independent men and women taking the position as outcasts.

On March 16th Paul Verdin, a junior, observing the disappointment of the rushees who failed to receive bids, was determined to do something about it. On the same day he had a conference with the Dean of Men, Corey. He asked him how the administration would view the establishment of a new fraternity. The dean approved providing that the men could be organized and that a constitution could be drafted with the approval of the Student Life Committee.
Paul immediately went to Dave Courtney and introduced the idea to him. Dave stated that his idea had been introduced before. By the next day the news had spread to others. A meeting was quickly arranged for March 18th, in the Kollen Hall study lounge. Nine men attended that first meeting. They secretly went into action discussing ideas and possibilities. The next meeting was held at midnight on March 26th in the science building (now known as Lubbers Hall). It was realized that the Fraternity should exist to serve its members and Hope College in a constructive way, and thereby not limiting the freedom of the future members. Moreover it was thought that the Fraternity should encourage self-expression, individuality, and character rather than limit or inhibit them through group pressure. At this meeting, Hope’s sixth social Fraternity was established by the election of Paul Verdin as president. On April 19th the Student Life Committee approved the Constitution.

Then on May 5th, the Fraternity chose the Greek letters Phi Delta Chi. These letters represented the main goals, which were Brotherhood, Service and Character. Later on the 20th of the same month, the student Life committee unanimously recognized Phi Delta Chi as an official social fraternity. On September 30th the Fraternity voted to adopt Centurian as its campus name. The name was chosen because of its reference to Roman soldiers (one place in charge of one hundred men) and due to the fact that the Fraternity was founded in 1966, the year marking the centennial of Hope College. Phi Delta Chi was soon disappointed to learn that the Phi Delta Chi was a national fraternity and that the Greek letters were protected against use by other organizations. In January of 1967, the Fraternity voted to adopt the Greek letters Alpha Theta Chi.

Flash forward a few years to the 1980-1981 school year. With the Fraternity diminishing in size, and only one active member remaining for this school year the organization could no longer continue. But the Centurian Fraternity saw its formal rebirth in 1986. That year under the leadership of President Greg Keith and Vice President Keith Cowell the Fraternity took its current form. In the spring of 1992 the Kappa Beta Phi sorority and the Centurians were united as brothers and sisters.