Acacia, FarmHouse and Triangle Fraternities are the only members of the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) that do not use Greek-letters. The latter two celebrate Founders’ Day on the same day. What’s also interesting to note is that both were formed for students in certain majors. In FarmHouse’s case it was agriculture. For Triangle it was engineering. Both organizations have since expanded membership eligibility criteria.
FarmHouse was founded on April 15, 1905 at the University of Missouri. D. Howard Doane, one of the seven founders, conceived the idea for the fraternity. The other founders are Melvin E. Sherwin, Robert F. Howard, Claude B. Hutchinson, Henry H. Krusekopf, Earl W. Rusk, and Henry P. Rusk. The young men were attending a Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Bible study in the spring of 1905. They discussed organizing a club and renting a house so that they could live together. It was Doane who envisioned a “farmers club,” and developed a plan. A second chapter was formed at the University of Nebraska in 1911 and a third chapter was chartered at the University of Illinois in 1914.
At the 1978 Conclave, the fraternity revised its membership criteria to include students whose subjects of study “can be applied toward a degree in agriculture or related fields, or he has a rural background, or he shares an agricultural interest; or he demonstrates qualities of character, scholarship and professional excellence to which FarmHouse men aspire.”
Triangle Fraternity was founded at the University of Illinois in the fall of 1906. It celebrates Founders’ Day on April 15, the date in 1907 on which the Incorporation papers were granted by the state of Illinois. Sixteen civil engineering students conceived the idea to foster fellowship while in college and later as working professionals. Triangle’s founders are Edwin B. Adams, Wilbur G. Burroughs, Stanley G. Cutler, Ruby O. Harder, Theron R. Howser, Robert Emmett Keough, Thomas E. Lowry, Milton H. McCoy, Meryl S. Morgan, Ernest B. Nettleton, Raymond C. Pierce, Franklin N. Ropp, Arthur Schwerin, Charles M. Slaymaker, Charles E. Waterhouse, and Emil A. Weber.
Triangle became a national organization when similar groups at Purdue University and Ohio State were installed as Triangle Fraternity chapters in 1909 and 1911, respectively. At first, membership was limited exclusively to civil engineering students. In 1920, architecture and all engineering majors were added by a national referendum. In 1961, science students in chemistry, mathematics, and physics became eligible for membership. In 1981, computer science was added to the list.
Triangle Fraternity’s headquarters is in Plainfield, Indiana. It was originally built in 1912 as the town’s Carnegie Library. In 1968, when a new library was constructed, this old library was turned into a private home. In 1991, Triangle purchased the property and turned it into its Headquarters. It’s a headquarters I’d love to visit.