Epsilon Tau Chapter was founded at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi on April 16, 1977. The chapter closed in 1984.
The University began as The Agricultural and Mechanical College of the State of Mississippi (or Mississippi A&M,; one of the national land-grant colleges established after Congress passed the Morrill Act in 1862. It was created by the Mississippi Legislature on February 28, 1878, to fulfill the mission of offering training in “agriculture, horticulture and the mechanical arts...without excluding other scientific and classical studies, including military tactics.” The university received its first students in the fall of 1880 in the presidency of General Stephen D. Lee.
In 1887, Congress passed the Hatch Act, which provided for the establishment of the Agricultural Experiment Station in 1888. The Cooperative Extension Service was established in 1914 by the Smith-Lever Act. The university has since had its mission expanded and redefined by the legislature. In 1932, the legislature renamed the university as Mississippi State College. By 1958, when the Legislature again renamed the university as Mississippi State University, the Graduate School had been organized (1936), doctoral degree programs had begun (1951), the School of Forest Resources had been established (1954), and the College of Arts and Sciences had replaced the General Science School (1956).
In July 1965, Richard E. Holmes became the first African-American student to enroll at Mississippi State University.
The School of Architecture admitted its first students in 1973. The College of Veterinary Medicine admitted its first class in 1977 and is the largest veterinary school in the nation under one roof. The School of Accountancy was established in 1979. The University Honors Program was founded in 1968 in order to provide more rigorous course curricula for academically talented students, as well as to facilitate guest lecture series, forums, and distinguished external scholarships.
Twenty-nine young women pledged Kappa during the colonization rush at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss., in January 1977. They would be initiated as the charter members of Epsilon Tau Chapter in April 1977.
The decade of the 1970s brought tremendous growth to the university resulting in expansion of the Greek sysstem. At the time of Epsilon Tau’s colonization, there were eight women’s groups in the Panhellenic Council at Mississippi State. Eighteen men’s fraternities completed the Greek organizations on the campus.
The installation of Epsilon Tau Chapter at Mississippi State University was carefully planned by Fraternity Chairman of Pledge Programs Jan Singleton McAllister, Mississippi, installation chairman along with her committees and it went off beautifully April 15-17, 1977. Special touches of southern hospitality were evident throughout the festivities, and a true feeling of togetherness and spirit was felt by all. Patti Gilliard, Oklahoma, graduate counselor, was ill and could not attend the ceremonies and was sincerely missed as she worked so hard in building the colony to its position of enthusiasm and strength.
Province directors Lois Baird Jeffery, Miami (Ohio), Province Director of Alumnae; and Gini Anding LaCharite, William & Mary, Province Director of Chapters; were on hand as was Field Secretary Jan Harenberg, New Mexico. The Delta Rho Chapter at Mississippi had served as big sisters and aided from rush on through installation. Chapter presidents from Vanderbilt, Auburn, Alabama and Kentucky participated in addition to Fraternity President Jean Hess Wells, Georgia, and Sally Moore Nitschke, Ohio State. Representing Fraternity Headquarters was Jean Ebright Elin, Ohio State, and Diane Miller Selby, Ohio State, Editor of The Key.
The banquet was a lovely affair held at the Ramada Inn and preceded by a punch reception. Favors of small felt owls with a magnet back had been made for all by the Memphis alumnae. The banquet speaker was Miriam Locke, Alabama, who said so beautifully the thoughts all were feeling about the beginning of a new chapter. A real highlight of the evening was the chapter picker group who performed three songs.
Dr. James McComas, president of Mississippi State University, extended the official university welcome at the banquet and mentioned that the university would be celebrating its centennial in 1978. Susanne Wade McAlilly, Mississippi, served as toastmistress, and Fraternity President Jean Wells delivered greetings and pinned the president’s badge on Mari Carley. This was a gift from the Jackson alumnae.
Mari Carley, president of Epsilon Tau, presented gifts to the people who had helped the chapter get launched and then had the fun of opening the many gifts given the new chapter. Especially meaningful was the scrapbook Delta Rho, their big sister chapter, gave to them complete with every detail of information about Epsilon Tau since its inception. A true Panhellenic feeling was expressed by the gifts of Delta Gamma, Alpha Chi Omega and Delta Delta Delta, and the knowledge that there were then 11 National Panhellenic Conference members represented on the campus.
Sunday morning, a model chapter meeting gave the new actives a chance to try things for themselves. That afternoon, a campus reception was held in Alumni Hall with a marvelous welcome for the new chapter. The Key, Spring and Summer 1977
Epsilon Tau Surrendered its Charter: It was with deep regret that the Fraternity Council accepted the surrender of the charter of Epsilon Tau Chapter at Mississippi State University in September 1984. It was the hope of the Fraternity Council that the situation at the university would change in the years ahead and make possible the reinstatement of the chapter at some future date.