Alpha Xi Delta Sorority Chapter House
The Alpha Xi Delta Sorority House on the campus of the University at Urbana-Champaign is a historic chapter house. It was constructed in 1914 in the Tudor Revival style as the private residence of the banker Matthew Busey based on the design of noted architect Joseph Royer. Bought in 1928 by the sisters of Alpha Xi Delta, the house also represents the flourishing of the Greek Letter Society movement at the Urbana-Champaign campus of the University of Illinois in the 1920s.
Backstory and Context
The Alpha Xi Delta house was originally constructed in 1915 as a private residence for Matthew Busey. Busey was a prominent local banker who served as president of the Busey State Bank for 44 years. In 1905, he was appointed treasurer of the University of Illinois. Busey lived in the house for 13 years until his death in 1928.
The house was designed in the Tudor Revival style by Joseph Royer, a prominent architect who designed numerous buildings in the Urbana-Champaign area including many courthouses and high schools as well as the chapter house of Alpha Chi Rho. Notable external features include brick walls on the first story paired with half-timber and stucco on the upper stories; pitched cross gables on the front facade; tall, narrow windows and tall chimneys of patterned brickwork.
Greek Life at Urbana-Champaign:
The Alpha Xi Delta house is one of 77 fraternity and sorority chapter houses located on or around the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In the 1920s, the University of Urbana-Champaign was one of the leading centers of Greek letter societies in the United States.
It was during this period that university administrators across the country were adopting a more laissez faire attitude towards student life based on the model of the German university. Students were encouraged to exercise their freedom as a means of developing personal responsibility, and extra-curricular activities grew in importance.
As a result of these changes, administrators began to see Greek letter societies as allies in overseeing the physical, moral, and social development of students. The University of Illinois was the first university to create the offices of Dean of Women and Dean of Men, removing the responsibility of overseeing student affairs from the faculty. The first Dean of Men, Thomas A. Clark (1901-27), encouraged the growth of Greek letter societies as a means of keeping in touch with students and establishing norms of conduct.
The Alpha Xi Delta Sorority at Urbana-Champaign:
Alpha Xi Delta was founded on April 17, 1893 at Lombard College in Galesburg, IL. The Kappa chapter was established in Urbana-Champaign on December 15, 1905 and is the only chapter to remain in the founding state of Illinois.
After renting a series of homes, the chapter purchased their current house from the Busey family in 1928. The house is one of many fraternity and sorority houses located in a region to the east of the university campus.
pdfs/201003.pdf Accessed June 26, 2018.