Indiana Normal School and College of Applied Science was founded in 1905. Greek-lettered organizations were founded during this time, but historical records do not offer many details. However, records did state that in 1907, the president, Francis M. Ingler, decreed all fraternities to be disbanded. The cause behind this decree was the hijinks of Phi Sigma Theta having a cow roaming through their fraternity house.
After the community’s efforts to sustain a small teacher-training school failed, the Ball brothers purchased the land and buildings of the defunct institution and donated them to the State of Indiana. This gift became the Indiana State Normal School Eastern Division, which opened on April 4, 1918.
Within a year of the school being founded the first Greek organization was established: the Navajo social club which would later become Lambda Chi Alpha in 1951. With the inaccuracy of records prior to the Navajo social club’s founding, Ball State University celebrates 1919 as the founding year for the Greek community at Ball State. The Navajo social club specifically did not use 'fraternity' in their name since they remembered the old injunction by President Ingler in 1907.
Also in 1919, the Girls Club was started, which followed the tradition of the organization at Indiana State Normal School in Terre Haute. All girls were eligible to be a member and local sororities started in sections of the club beginning with Alpha sorority in 1920, which later became Alpha Chi Omega.
Ball State did not have a large contingent of national organizations until the mid 1950s when many of the local organizations affiliated with national fraternities and sororities.
In 1946, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was established as the first African-American sorority at Ball State University and in 1953, the first African-American fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc, was founded. The remaining members of the Divine Nine begin to establish chapters over the next 50 years with Iota Phi Theta colonizing in 2001.
Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority, Inc. became the first Latina sorority at Ball State University when the local chapter was established on September 10, 1994. During spring 2008, Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity. Inc. became the first Latino fraternity.
In 1957, Woodworth Complex opened and provided eight sorority suites. Records listed the names of five current sororities that moved into the suites: Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Omicron Pi, Chi Omega, Delta Zeta and Pi Beta Phi. The tradition of sorority suites was changed in January 2008 when four sororities relocated to university owned houses on Riverside Ave. for the first time.
Throughout the community’s history, more than 45 national and international Greek organization chapters have called Ball State University home.