Archon Scholarship Continues a Legacy of Community Service

As the oldest fraternity at Rio Grande, the Fraternal Order of Archon, or Alpha Chi Nu, has always prioritized giving back to the university. For Brad Varney (’82), President of the Archon Alumni Association, being an Archon was about paying it forward.

“When I was a student, people like Dean Brown and Peg Thomas went out of their way to help me be successful, and I wanted to pay that back somehow,” he said.

The Archons began in 1957 as a service group called Beta Rho Gamma, or the Boys of Rio Grande. In the first year, they completed community projects that benefited both the college and the village of Rio Grande. The president was impressed by their positive influence on campus and approved them as the Greek organization in 1959.

Since then, their mission has been to support the college and its members. In the early days, they helped build sidewalks, host weekend dances to keep students on campus and construct homecoming floats. Archons later became trusted partners in the community by helping with the Bob Evans Farm Festival, May Day and fundraising for the Lighting the Way campaign.

Many notable Archon alums profoundly impacted Rio’s growth, including Nick Kostis, Ron Glover and the late Dean Brown, who led the Bell Tower fundraising and started the original Archon Alumni Scholarship.

Today, that scholarship is at the heart of what makes the Archons unique. Unlike national fraternities, the Archons have remained exclusive to the University of Rio Grande.

“The Archon fraternity has been local from its founding,” Varney said. “We are only at Rio Grande and want to stay that way. National fraternities are too spread out. By staying local, we can focus on taking care of our own. It’s something special we can do that others can’t, and the scholarship is part of that.”

The Archon Alumni Scholarship is available to active fraternity members and encourages community involvement and academics.

“Like the university, our scholarship helps create better opportunities for Appalachian students,” Varney said. “That’s because the scholarship is based on need and involvement. First and foremost, it’s a way to help an active Archon get a degree, and we want to make sure they have that opportunity. It’s gratifying to see someone who can stay in school by getting that scholarship.”

As a 5013c nonprofit, the Archons have become their own charitable organization. This helps them fund a wide range of causes, including their scholarship. The Archons hope their efforts are seen as a way to increase enrollment and keep students engaged and active in their thriving on-campus community.

“For a small organization, we do big things,” said Varney. “We help the university and the students, and we challenge other groups on campus to do what we do. It makes everything better. It also gets everybody involved, and that’s what it should all be about. Rio has a bright future, and we’re proud to be part of it.”