In 1871, the current students and alumni of the Omicron Chapter of Delta Kappa
Epsilon, led by then fraternity President White, decided that the fraternity needed a
formal meeting place
In response to this idea, the members and alumni founded The
Omicron Literary Association, a group that, according to its Articles of Association, was
“formed for the promotion of Literary and Scientific pursuits.
However, its first
endeavor was more self-serving: It was to lead an effort to erect a new meeting place, the
first and only fraternity meeting place of its kind on campus at the University of
Fundraising for the project began immediately after the founding of the
association, and within three years, the members and alumni had enough money to begin
They wanted a formal structure, one of elegance, wealth and mystery, a
face the fraternity wished to project.
To facilitate these wishes, the Omicron Literary
Association sought the assistance of the renowned architect William LeBaron Jenny, the
first architecture professor at the University of Michigan.
The Omicron Literary
Association was pleased with the design and decided to go ahead with the $3000 project,
hiring the local contractor, A.R. Hammond, to build the structure.
The fraternity laid the
cornerstone in 1878 and finished the job in only a year, in time for commencement in
The Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity used the Shant to enhance the secrecy and
exclusiveness of the fraternity and its rituals
Delta Kappa Epsilon has always held these
values closely, and promotes “windowless structures in the spirit of the secret society
A century and a half of DKE
Omicron Literary Association, Articles of Association, February 15, 1873
A Century And A Half of DKE
William Le Baron Jenny: A Pioneer of Modern Architecture
The Michigan Argus, May, 1879
Michigan Daily, December 7, 1948
Ann Arbor Observer, November 1990