How Did PTN Get Its Name?

From the Gamma Iota Newsletter Spring 2018

This is the first in a series of articles dedicated to discovering the origins of our Chapter.

Why Psi Theta Nu?

as told by Ken Brown (1965) at WPI Alumni Weekend in 2015.

There were multiple groups that were deciding whether they wanted to form fraternities. After rush season was over, it was one of those “we’re not in one”; but there was no social life; the sidewalks rolled up at 8 o’clock in the evening. If you were not in a fraternity, there was no social life and we didn’t want to be stuffy old engineers all the time if there was a chance to be in a fraternity instead.  There were at least six groups that I knew of, and I ignored all of them. A friend of mine in ROTC was Ken Allard; we called him “Moose” (he was rather short).  He and Paul Sroka were roommates just above me in Sanford Riley Hall. He said: “Would you like to join our group?” and I said: “How many?” and he said: “Two”.  I said: “Sure, what’s involved?” So we went up to his room.

He and Paul were talking about what their vision was; they were the sophomores in the group and I said: “That sounds like it could be a whole lot of fun”. Moose said: “We’re going to try to have a meeting and explain it to other people; but neither of us wants to be responsible for trying to explain it to a crowd.  So, would you like to be spokesman?” I said: “Sure…and what are the initials of this group?”

Moose and Paul said: “It’s going to be Psi Theta Nu”, and I replied “Why?”  The answer was: “They look pretty!!”

So, about a year later, Moose and George Rosquet got together and they went off to the library to work out what Psi Theta Nu ought to spell. The Psi was for psyche, the mind and spirit; Theta was for thorsos [actually “torsos”], or of the body; and noos, for our men. So, Psi Theta Nu was for psyche, thorsos, and noos. Anyone can tell you a different story…they’ll be wrong.

[Editors note: according to Wikipedia, Greek noos, sometimes equated to intellect or intelligence, is a philosophical term for the faculty of the human mind which is described in classical philosophy as necessary for understanding what is true or real. But…I must be wrong.]