National Information

National Council: A Brief History

It is unfortunate that much of the written history of the early days of Alpha Psi Fraternity has been lost. Apparently a Directory was created in 1912, revised in 1942 and supplemented in 1960 but most of the information concerning the first chapters is that which was written in 1912. The list of national officers is complete but the minutes of national council meetings prior to 1938 are missing except for biannual meetings in 1910 and 1912.

The loss of the early records can in part be explained by analyzing what was happening in the veterinary medical profession during that period. Apparently confusion existed about what was needed in veterinary education and prior to WWI no standards existed for the awarding of a veterinary degree. Veterinary medicine was predominantly large animal in practice with a high percentage of that being equine. Laws were being written that would help in the control of animal diseases but they were met with resistance by animal owners as well as industry. The advent of motorized vehicles cast a cloud on the economic future of veterinary medicine and while some new schools were created, 41 of the early schools no longer exist. At the end of WWI there were 7 Colleges of Veterinary Medicine in the United States. The depression, which started in 1929, had a further impact and at the end of WWII there were 11 schools, six of which had Alpha Psi Chapters. These were Ohio State (Alpha, 1907), Pennsylvania (Beta, 1907), Colorado State (Zeta, 1910), Auburn (Theta, 1912) and Washington State (Kappa, 1915). In 1996 only three of these Alpha, Epsilon, and Theta) were active. It is assumed, but can't be verified, that there were only a few national council meetings held in the twenties and thirties.

Following WWII veterinary medicine experienced tremendous growth and by 1958 the number of schools was expanded to 18. Schools at California, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Purdue, and Tuskegee and Alpha Psi Chapters were chartered at Georgia (Lambda, 1948), Oklahoma State (Mu, 1954) and Minnesota (Nu, 1957). The next era of expansion occurred in the seventies when the number of schools reached 27. Alpha Psi chapters were added at Florida (Xi, 1981), Tufts (Omicron, 1982), Virginia/Maryland (Pi, 1983), Mississippi State (Rho, 1989), and Tennessee (Sigma, 1992).

Several factors have had an influence on the rise and fall of the number of chapters and members of Alpha Psi. Administrations at some schools have vigorously resisted the establishment of veterinary fraternities, often saying that fraternities would have a damaging influence on the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association (SCAVMA). The facts haven't borne this out over the years colleges with fraternities have had strong SCAVMA programs with good national participation. Another factor of influence on two chapters (Zeta and Kappa) was that they existed as honorary scholastic organizations. Confusion occurred when the Phi Zeta honorary society was established and in spite of advice from the National Council that the Zeta and Kappa should reorganize as social groups they did not and are now inactive. Feminization of the veterinary profession became evident in the early seventies and the National Council voted to remove the "male only" membership requirement from the constitution, allowing membership requirements to be a local option. Competition with Omega Tau Sigma may be viewed by some as a negative factor on their campus but, for the most part, where both are located on the same campus the competition is healthy and beneficial for both organizations. Some college administrators have decreed that only one fraternity can exist at their school, a questionable use of their authority. Certainly a negative influence on some chapters has been the increased cost of higher education and the increased cost for house maintenance and liability insurance which has made it extremely difficult for some of the chapters to survive.

Through the years the time of the business meetings has been changed a few times. In the early days the meetings were biannual, in the spring, but the annual meetings began in 1961. In 1972 the meeting time was moved from the the fall to the winter quarter because of scheduling difficulties in the fall, primarily football weekends. The move to the winter quarter/semester greatly simplified scheduling and improved delegate attendance.

In 1996 Alpha Psi Fraterinty had 11 active chapters and 7 inactive chapters. It is important for the active chapters to accept as their obligation an effort to support each other, to attempt to revive the inactive chapters and to look for expansion opportunities at other colleges.