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History of the Nebraska Chapter

On February 14, 1905, 15 men were initiated as charter members of the Nebraska chapter of Acacia. As only the fourth Acacia chapter (following the University of Michigan, Stanford University and the University of Kansas), the Nebraska chapter has a history almost as long as the International Fraternity itself, which was begun in 1904.

The first chapter house was located at 1325 R Street, a spot currently occupied by St. Marks Church. The chapter occupied a few other locations over the years, finally moving in 1968 to the current location at 2255 Vine Street.

Originally established as a Masonic fraternity, the Nebraska founding members were well-respected leaders on campus, including Roscoe Pound and George Condra, who founded UNL's prestigious Innocents Society, the Chancellor's senior honorary and service organization.

Soon after World War I, the average age of college students was much younger than it had been previously. In an effort to provide the Acacia experience for more outstanding young men, the Masonic membership requirement for initiation into Acacia Fraternity was removed in 1933 a progressive change in which the Nebraska chapter had a significant role.

The Nebraska chapter has operated continuously since its founding, with the exception of a short period during World War II when many Acacians left college to fight in the war effort. Since its founding in 1905, many tremendous leaders and achievers have entered membership in the chapter. Among the more notable Nebraska chapter members are:

  • Dr. Roscoe Pound (initiated 1905): distinguished legal scholar and educator. Served as Dean of both the University of Nebraska College of Law and Harvard Law School. Pound Hall on campus is named for him.

  • George P. Abel, Senior: founder of Abel Construction Company (now known as NEBCO, Inc.). Abel Hall on campus is named for him.

  • William Jennings Bryan (1908): noted American orator and statesman. Known as The Great Commoner, Bryan was a three-time nominee for President of the United States and served as Secretary of State.

  • Dr. Harold Edgerton (1924): pioneer in electronic flash for photography and inventor of the strobe light.

  • Edwin Weir (1925): first Nebraska Cornhusker elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. An All-American in 1924 and 1925 and an NFL All-Pro in 1927. Ed Weir Track and Field Complex named on campus is named after him.

  • Clifton Hillegass (1938): creator of CliffsNotes guides for classic literature.

Many other Nebraska Acacians have become leaders of business, government, education, and most importantly leaders in the improvement of their communities.

Fostering Excellence Then, Now and Into the Future

The principles of Acacia and the meaningful experiences gained by the fortunate members of the Nebraska chapter have improved the lives of many men, who have in turn benefited the people and communities around them. This tradition of excellence has held true for more than 100 years, and continues to prove itself today.