Theta Rho International Chapter, “Mother Pearl of Europe”, was chartered in Frankfurt, Germany on August 15, 1962 by fifteen chartered members: Brothers Ernest W. Armstrong, Wilbur L. Beck, Gilbert Kleckley, Henry L. Gibson, Roy L. Goines, Johnnie C. Greer, Samuel R. Harris, Samuel B. Houston, Evander L. Humphrey, Aaron M. Jones, Nathaniel L. Keeling, Russell A. Powell, Robert L. Smith, Dudley L. Tademy, and Joseph E. Washington. These men with extraordinary vision led the first chartering of any Greek lettered Pan-Hellenic organization in Europe. The chapter was inactivated in 1972 and reactivated April 13, 1973 with nine members. The most famous of these Brothers was Major General Matthew Zimmerman who became the U.S. Army’s first African-American Chief of Chaplains.
On July 29, 1988 in Wuerzburg, Germany, local area brothers formed our sister Chapter Phi Gamma Gamma, to eliminate the travel and logistics requirements brothers incurred trying to make fraternity meetings. Phi Gamma Gamma was inactivated in the summer of 2000 and reactivated 2007 with her Charter in Kuwait.
In the early 1990s, the collapse of the “Iron Curtain” and the falling of the Berlin Wall brought about German reunification and a reduction of U.S. Armed Forces in Europe due to the reduced Soviet threat. “Downsizing” of U.S. Forces in Europe coupled with Base Realignment and Closures (BRAC) significantly reduced the number of brothers serving in Europe and affected predominately active Omega areas of Nuremberg, Hanau, Wuerzburg, Berlin and Frankfurt. Today, the “Hub” of Theta Rho now centers around two major cities, Kaiserslautern and Stuttgart.
Theta Rho International Chapter employs an area concept by designating “Area Coordinators” who serve as members of the Executive Council, disseminators and coordinate efforts of area brothers due to our geographical dispersion. Germany is divided into five areas: Gafenwoehr / Vilseck / Honofels / Schweinfurt; Heidelberg / Mannheim, Kaiserslautern / Baumholder; Stuttgart, Wiesbaden; and most recently the United Kingdom. The Chapter is truly international in every sense of the word with financial Brothers in Belgium, Djibouti, Germany, Italy, Liberia, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, as well as those deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait. The chapter leverages technology to remain connected to its Brotherhood in various countries.
The foundation of Theta Rho International Chapter sits firmly on its community service and social action activities, engagements and initiatives that have touched so many communities around the world. These include donations to “Haiti Relief”, Coat Drive for the Salvation Army Homeless Shelter, Clothes Drive for the underprivileged, Partnership with Army Community Service launching their Domestic Violence Campaign, awarding $13,500.00 is scholarships, just to name a few. Theta Rho International Chapter has expanded its community service initiatives and nationally mandated programs to Liberia and the United Kingdom demonstrating its extraordinary vision and ingenuity to reach the broader community where its membership resides. This expansion includes but not limited to Social Action Programs, Scholarships and Talent Hunt. The Chapter also supports its scholarship program for the Department of the Defense Dependent Schools (DODDS) students through numerous fundraising events: Mardi Gras, Boat Ride, 70’s Jam, New Year’s Eve Ball, etc. The Chapter also raises funds through its advertisement campaign to support its Talent Hunt & Scholarship Program.
On November 20th, 2010, Theta Rho International Chapter made history by initiating Brother Shane W. Gillings, the first Omega Man to be made in the United Kingdom. On June 17th, 2011, history was again made when Brother W. Joshua Hallam became the first Omega Man to be initiated on UK soil. Theta Rho continues to shape the annals of Omega history with its preparation to establish the first undergraduate chapter in the United Kingdom and the first Greek collegiate Chapter in all Europe.