The Theta Eta chapter was founded in a similar fashion to that of Sigma Chi itself. Tom Dancu and David Starzyk originally pledged different fraternity, but decided to de-pledge due to differences. They remained interested in fraternities, however, but none of the organizations on campus met their ideals of what a fraternity should be. Tom knew some men who were members of Sigma Chi at Northern Illinois University and David had friends who were Sigs at Mizzou, so they began to consider the possibility of starting a Sigma Chi chapter at UMR.
After talking with Dr. Tomlinson Fort, Provost of UMR and an alumnus of Sigma Chi, who agreed with their assessment and plan, they decided to start a Sigma Chi chapter at UMR.
In order to become a chapter of Sigma Chi, the first step is to develop into an officially recognized organization on campus. Realizing this, Dancu, Starzyk, and five other men founded what became known as Sigma Chi Mu on December 3, 1980. These seven men are known as the First Faction of the founding of the Theta Eta chapter. They are (in pin number order):
Thomas Eugene Dancu
Timothy David Starzyk
David Timothy Gordon
Dennis Alan Roberts
Michael Joseph Gansmann
Christopher Joseph Nisbet
Warren Keith Miller
The Mu in Sigma Chi Mu was chosen to represent Missouri University. All Sigma Chi petitioning local chapters must pick a name such as Sigma Chi Omega, Sigma Chi Alpha, Beta Sigma Chi, etc.
Dr. Tomlinson Fort became Sigma Chi Mu's first chapter advisor, and is known as the Second Faction in the founding of the Theta Eta Chapter. After a period of time, Dr. Fort accepted a job at another university and had to leave the area, letting Michael Dallmeyer take the reigns. He later assisted in the founding of another Sigma chapter, and has since been elected to the Order of Constantine.
Dallmeyer, a member of the Eta Kappa chapter of Sigma Chi at Southwestern Missouri State University, and a transfer student, took over the job of Chapter Advisor, and is known as the Third Faction of the founding of the Theta Eta Chapter. He was one of the youngest chapter advisors in Sigma Chi's history.
Sigma Chi Mu was just like any other fraternity. They had actives and pledges. They conducted meetings and attended to chapter business. In the early days, the men did not have a chapter house, so they used Thomas Jefferson Hallís south lounge for their meetings. At the beginning of the 1981-82 school year they finally had enough money to move into their first house. It was now time for them to begin the process of becoming an Active chapter in the Sigma Chi Fraternity.
The Sigma Chi Mu's were given Norman Shields to study and to learn what the foundations and beliefs of Sigma Chi were. From this, the members of Sigma Chi Mu designed their own Ritual, based on the ideals of Sigma Chi, and guidance given by Mike Dallmeyer. They used this Ritual to initiate new members into Sigma Chi Mu.
Soon, Sigma Chi Mu began to build a name for itself by getting a large number of people to join, by having good pledge retention, dominating intramural sports and a number of other things that Sigma Chi likes to see in a petitioning local.
After establishing itself as a credible organization on the UMR campus, the men of Sigma Chi Mu sent their Declaration of Intent to the Sigma Chi Headquarters. They also made up brochures that described Sigma Chi Mu, its people, and its accomplishments. After sending this information in to Sigma Chi Headquarters, they were investigated by George Jerenegin, an Assistant Executive Secretary from Headquarters.
Sigma Chi Mu then sent their brochures to all the active chapters of Sigma Chi. The active chapters then voted whether or not to allow Sigma Chi Mu become an active chapter of Sigma Chi. After receiving the majority vote from the chapters, the Headquarters of Sigma Chi accepted Sigma Chi Mu's petition on June 17, 1983.
On August 27, 1983, Sigma Chi Mu received its charter and became the Theta Eta chapter of the Sigma Chi Fraternity (the 181st chapter). John Wilmes was the Consul at the time that Sigma Chi Mu received its charter. Due to the large amount of work Tom Dancu put into the founding of the Theta Eta chapter, he could not finish school at UMR. Because of this fact, the number one pin number is left open to honor him.