The History and Purpose of Alpha Gamma Rho
The Purpose of Alpha Gamma Rho is to make better men, by surrounding our members with influences that encourage individual endeavor, resourcefulness, and aggressive effort.
WHAT WE DO
With Alpha Gamma Rho you get the best of both worlds. We're both a social and professional fraternity, and we've been "making better men" for more than 100 years.
AGR brothers are outstanding members of the Penn State community. We give back through community service work and philanthropic projects.
HISTORY OF GAMMA CHAPTER
In the spring of 1910 a group of friends and colleagues of the Alpha Alpha Epsilon Fraternity of the Penn State College began a new chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho.
With the help of Sleeter Bull of Ohio State (Beta Chapter), the group signed the new constitution at the local Bush House Tavern, in Bellefonte, Pa. on February 4, 1911.
The Bush House Tavern in Bellefonte PA before and after it burned down in 2006
In 1911 the brothers moved into their first house in at 501 West College Avenue, where the original house remains to this day. The first house was very crowded, it could only house 15 brothers. While a great bonding experience for those men, the chapter envisioned a bigger and grander house to live in. The brothers pooled their money into savings for 17 years, until in 1928 they had finally saved enough money to build a brand new fraternity house.
The AGR Founding Fathers
At a time when Penn State was one of the premier Agricultural Universities in the world, it became home to the third, or Gamma, chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho.
The current house was constructed at 322 Thompson St. (today, 322 Fraternity Row) in 1929. The new house, built of Pennsylvania Limestone, was built in a timeless style, combining class and functionality.
The Current House, built in 1929
The Original House at 501 West College Avenue
The new house could house up to 50 brothers, and the brothers all slept together in the attic barracks-style. They cooked, cleaned, and maintained the property entirely on their own.
A single designated brother was the house cook, and prepared meals for all the other brothers in exchange for free room and board.
In 1966 the house burned from an electrical fire. The brothers were forced to relocate to a Nittany Halls until the house could be repaired. Only a few items inside were saved. The house's interior was soon rebuilt to its current state in 1968.
As Penn State evolved and expanded to new majors and industries outside of it's agricultural roots, so too did Gamma chapter. While our traditional focus is on Agricultural majors in the Food, Fiber, and Life Science industries, in 1971 we opened up membership to all collegiate majors and industries.
The house property and facility was maintained independently by the brothers for the next 50 years. By the 2000's, after 50 years of wear and tear since the last renovation, the house had seen much better days. In 2008 the chapter began a capital campaign to renovate the fraternity. Construction began in January 2010 while the brothers lived next door in the TEP fraternity.
In the Fall of 2010, Gamma Chapter reopened its doors after undergoing $1.7 million renovations to become one of the best housing facilities at Penn State. The newly refurbished House features all new plumbing and electrical work, as well as an entirely new interior cosmetically - including all new dormitory rooms, bathrooms, wash rooms, chapter rooms, state of the art industrial kitchen, and side deck.
The AGR House in 2010
Our Newly Refurbished Kitchen
New Dining Room Furniture
The Great Hall
The TV Room
In 2011 Gamma Chapter celebrated its centennial anniversary at Penn State in the newly rennovated house. A benchmark for a proud tradition of a 100 years of continuous Brotherhood. To celebrate, Alumni of all ages re-united at the Chapter house to speak and present awards to the generous brothers who donated to the renovations.
Great Hall Presentation
Adam Custozzo plays Pool
Alumni observing the changes to the house
Brian "Greek" Sarris hosting the Ceremony
Bill Yerkes speaking to the Chapter
A celebratory dinner
Alpha Gamma Rho remains a strong and integral institution at Penn State, still recognizable with its limestone and white portico, and still provides social, mental, moral, and physical development for extraordinary young men.