Photo Journey: Kappa Psi Beta Xi History
A brief history of the School’s oldest fraternity, told through photos and historical documents
Story by Ryan McDaniel | Photos courtesy of Kappa Psi Beta Xi| Published January 10, 2023
Kappa Psi was the first pharmaceutical fraternity established at the UNC over 100 years ago. Officially the Beta Xi chapter, the fraternity is still going strong today. Click through the slider below to explore the chapter’s history from it’s early beginnings, through a major challenge in the 1960s, to its latest pledge class.
The Spatula Club
The precursor to the UNC chapter of Kappa Psi was The Spatula Club, started, in part, by Professor John Grover Beard, who would serve as the School's second dean between 1931-1946. The organization was granted a charter in 1915 as the Beta Xi chapter of Kappa Psi. Kappa Psi's paper, The Mask, announced the chapter in their April, 1915 issue and installation ceremonies of the chapter took place in Chapel Hill on the evening of May 1, 1915.
Professor Beard's First Beta Xi Letter
In his role as the chapter's historian, Professor Beard wrote a letter detailing plans to fund a house for the fraternity and also announced the induction of seven new members to the fraternity, including Dean of the School of Pharmacy, Edward Vernon Howell.
Kappa Psi "has its back to the wall"
Kappa Psi found a home at 117 West Rosemary Street, a house which the fraternity leased. In 1968, though, the house's owner decided to lease the house to the City of Chapel Hill to build a parking lot - a fact fraternity brothers only learned in reading the newspaper. Suddenly, long-standing plans to build a new house had to be thrown into overdrive. Regent Fred Rachide wrote a plea to all Kappa Psi alumni asking for assistance in raising funds to build the new house. The estimated cost of the house was $150,000 - the equivalent of $1,280,000 in 2022.
Plans for the New Kappa Psi House
The brothers of Kappa Psi were able to negotiate an extra year on their house lease. They also secured a 99-year lease from the University for land on Finley Golf Course Road. Brothers traveled across the state selling bonds to alumni and friends to raise funds for the $45,000 down payment on the new house. Thanks to their efforts and the support of alumni, Kappa Psi succeeded in raising enough money and construction began on the new house in 1969.
Kappa Psi's New Home
In March, 1970, the new house was completed and the brothers of Kappa Psi moved into their new home. The story of the Beta Xi chapter's milestone achievement received nation-wide attention as a cover story for Kappa Psi's national publication, The Mask. Kappa Psi has occupied the house at Finely Golf Course ever since.
The Fraternity Becomes Co-ed
In the 1983-84 academic year, Kappa Psi became a co-ed fraternity, admitting women for the first time in its history.
Left: At the 1986 Province III Assembly at Myrtle Beach, Kappa Psi Beta Xi won the Chapter of the Year Award. Right: Kappa Psi brothers enjoy watching the Tar Heels play.
Celebrating 75 Years
In June 1990, Kappa Psi celebrated 75 years as a chapter. As part of the celebration, the fraternity hosted its 11th annual Tunnel Party.
In 1994, the brothers of Kappa Psi donated toys and gifts for local families in need. They also raised $10,000 through fundraising and donations for the Jennifer Gwen Stroud Scholarship, in memory of a brother who passed away.
For many years, Kappa Psi has hosted its famous Tunnel Party, constructing an elaborate cardboard labyrinth at the house. 1995 was no exception, with the brothers hosting their 16th annual Tunnel Party.
When the School of Pharmacy moved to the new PharmD curriculum as the entry-level degree, the brothers of Kappa Psi noted that pledging was more difficult. However, this didn't stop them from having a fun and successful year.
The brothers of Kappa Psi claimed a new title in the new millennium - Intramural Baseball Champions!
Brothers participate in Adopt-a-Highway cleanup and welcome students to the pharmacy school information session.
Upkeep on the Kappa Psi House
In 1996, the University mandated that all fraternity houses have sprinkler systems by the end of 2001. Through the fundraising efforts of the brothers, Kappa Psi raised enough to install their needed sprinkler system in the house just in time. Photo of the 2001 chapter members.
Photo of the 2004 Beta Xi Chapter of Kappa Psi. The fraternity welcomed six new brothers in 2004.
Photo of the Beta Xi brothers attending the 2007 Atlantic Province Spring Assembly.
As with every year, Kappa Psi promotes both philanthropy and fun.
The 2009 Beta Xi brothers welcome back Kappa Psi alumni to celebrate the fraternity together during their Alumni Day.
At the spring 2011 Province III conclave, Beta Xi won the Academic Excellence Award.
Beta Xi celebrated their 100th anniversary on May 2, 2015. Over 230 alumni and guests attended, including Kappa Psi national representation.
The COVID-19 pandemic didn't slow down the brothers of Kappa Psi. They kept up their philanthropic efforts, including helping out with their annual flu clinic and participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer's.
Leading Vaccine Efforts
Beta Xi brothers led COVID-19 vaccine efforts on various rotations, at various jobs, and at the annual Kappa Psi Vaccine Clinic.
In 2021, Beta Xi welcomed 28 new pledges - its largest pledge class ever!
Kappa Psi Beta Xi 2022-23
Welcome to the new brothers of Kappa Psi Beta Xi!
Thank You for Reading
Thank you for joining us on this photo journey through Kappa Psi Beta Xi's history. To keep up with Kappa Psi's current happenings, find them on Facebook and Instagram. We look forward to bringing you more content on this and other fraternities and sororities at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy.