Drake SigEp began as a local fraternity known as Chi Delta at the end of the 19th Century. Chi Delta was originally established as The Dirk's Club in 1898 because, at the time, Greek-letter fraternities were banned at Drake University. Despite the ban, the club was secretly known as Delta Chi. When it was discovered that a national fraternity was already using the same Greek letters, the name was flip flopped and changed to Chi Delta. This chapter thrived during the first half of the 20th Century and was the oldest fraternity on the Drake University campus. Chi Delta members who left the fraternity to serve their country during World War II returned to the campus after the war to re-establish the chapter.
At the time, it was felt that in order to be competitive as a fraternity, the chapter should seek a charter from a national fraternity. Sigma Phi Epsilon colonized at Drake University in the late 1940s, and the Iowa Delta chapter received its charter on May 9th, 1948. The 1950s and 1960s brought high times for the fraternity, and it grew to be Drake's most prominent fraternity. The chapter continued to thrive through the 1970s and 1980s, but following national trends, the chapter suffered from the losses in Greek numbers in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
In May 1996, Sigma Phi Epsilon's Iowa Delta Chapter closed its doors. However, local alumni kept active in Drake University events, and after four years, worked with the national fraternity to re-colonize. On February 14, 2000, 15 men re-colonized Drake University as the new Sigma Phi Epsilon Iowa Delta SEC Colony. Growth has been substantial since the colony's founding and with a new chapter house at 1243 34th Street; SigEp re-established itself as one of Drake's premier fraternities.
The Iowa Delta Chapter of The Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity was rechartered at The Renaissance Savery Hotel in Des Moines, Iowa on November 9, 2002 with 64 members. In attendance were representatives of Drake University, Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity headquarters, alumni of the Iowa Delta Chapter, undergraduate members of the Chapter, representatives from other Chapters in the region, as well as parents of undergraduate members and other guests.
Drake SigEp's motto is "On Beyond Zebra," taken from the book by legendary author, and SigEp brother, Dr. Seuss (Dartmouth `32). This motto means that we will go beyond the typical stereotypes associated with fraternities to establish a brotherhood based on Virtue, Diligence, and Brotherly Love. We hope to attain these ideals while continually striving for personal and academic excellence.