The University of North Texas has been home to a rich and vibrant Greek community since 1952. Currently, UNT supports over 40 fraternities and sororities under four councils; organization members have made a significant impact in areas such as community service and academic excellence. But even before 1952, UNT students organized and gathered in various social and academic clubs and societies, usually segregated by sex.
At the turn of the 20th century, an energetic group of students gathered in the chapel to organize the school’s first society. Due to an inability to agree on the proposed constitution, the school’s first society quickly split into two separate groups: the Kendall-Bruce Literacy Society (known affectionately as the K-B), and the McKinley Society. After a few name changes and a trial co-ed integration, the McKinley society disbanded. In 1902 a rival literary society formed; the Reagan Literary Society regularly engaged in debate functions against the K-B, and the two rival groups met for a joint session in 1907 to form the Oratorical Association of the North Texas State Normal. Female students weren’t excluded from these activities for long, and the Mary Arden Club was founded in 1902. Originally created as a literary club for women and devoted to the study of Shakespeare, the club also provided its members various training opportunities in club work and social activities. In 1922 the members raised enough money through pledges to build the Mary Arden Lodge, described as being “ideally located just east of the library.” The Mary Arden club remained active until 1970, regularly hosting various teas, socials, and literary lectures on campus. The UNT Special Collections Department houses their organizational archive. Read more
On September 16, 1890, a man dressed in a frock coat and top hat stood on the steps of the Denton County Courthouse and addressed the citizens of Denton, Texas. President Joshua Crittenden Chilton’ s speech opened the Texas Normal College and Teachers Training Institute, now known as the University of North Texas. The new educational institution started classes before a site for the campus had been chosen. After the speech students were directed to a structure on the northwest corner of the square that would serve as the school site for the first year. Read more