Posted by:Dalton Fischer | Published: November 18, 2022

Gamma Sigma Colony Reestablished at Durham

On October 23, 2022, at The Ancient Free and Accepted Masons University Lodge #408 in Chapel Hill, NC, 36 men pledged to join Theta Chi Fraternity, reestablishing the Gamma Sigma Colony at Durham, NC. These young men, who all attend nearby Duke University, come from a range of diverse backgrounds and interests with over twenty different states and three countries (the UK, India, and Pakistan) represented, but a shared vision to rekindle Gamma Sigma Chapter. With International Secretary Alan Copeland serving as Presiding Officer for the recolonization, the following men chose to make their pledge to Theta Chi Fraternity:

Gamma Sigma Recolonization

Pranav Bajpa (2023)

David Billings (2023)

Carson Carranza (2025) – Legacy, Michael Caranza (Eta Omega/Chico, CA 1991)

Kyle Coaker (2025)

Michael Cui (2025)

Rex Evans (2024)

Davis Finfrock (2023)

James Gao (2024)

Sawyer Grovogel (2024)

Brady Hand (2025)

Jacob Hochstein (2024)

Sami Jinich (2025)

Evan Katz (2025)

Matthew Lee (2024)

Tomas Leonardo (2023)

Jonathan Levitan (2024)

Justin Lorenz (2023)

Ryan Lou (2024)

Justin Mandel (2025)

Justin Mashaal (2025)

Aidan McCurry (2023)

Connor McDermott (2024)

David Mellgard (2023)

Affan Naushahi (2025)

Matt Nuzzolo (2025)

Sebastian Ochoa (2023)

JJ Peters (2025)

Nikhil Peterson (2023)

Jackson Peurach (2024)

Raffay Rana (2023)

Brooks Robinson (2024)

Jake Spruance (2023)

Tejas Srinivasan (2023)

Mick Tobin (2025)

Jeremy Yarden (2024)

Jeff Zhang (2023)

Gamma Sigma Pledge Pins

Alumni attending the recolonization included Smokey Hay (Delta Rho/NC State 1979), Ken Updegrave (Delta Rho/NC State 1990), Matthew J. Babian (Eta Kappa/James Madison 2000), Andrew Morba (Alpha Chi/Syracuse 1971), John Adams (Epsilon/WPI 1992), and Sam Prestipino (Iota Alpha/UNC-Wilmington 2002). These men, when given the opportunity to speak, addressed the colony following the ceremony, advising them to continue to hold each other accountable. They stressed enjoying the lifelong friendships they’re currently forming and reminded them to acknowledge that this is just the beginning—there is still plenty of work to be done. Iota Alpha Chapter Adviser and Former Field Executive Kofi Ladans was also in attendance, along with Gamma Sigma Colony Health and Safety Adviser and Former LEC Dr. Corey Esquenazi. Representing the International Headquarters Staff was Senior Director of Growth Zack Brown and Growth Specialists Justin Guseman and Sam Terry

Involvement across campus is abundant, with pledges participating in activities and organizations like club sports and athletics (baseball, water polo, soccer, volleyball, taekwondo, motorsports, fishing, rowing, and tennis), professional and honor societies (Phi Delta Epsilon, Delta Sigma Pi, and Tau Beta Pi), fine arts organizations (marching band and swing dance), student tour guides, religious and political organizations (Duke Student Government, Duke Democrats, Jewish Life at Duke, and Summit Church) and various other student and nonprofit organizations. 

The colony’s origins stem from the shared ideals of a friend group that decided to have their own informal recruitment as an independent local group, which then joined the Durham IFC. The friend group did not appreciate what other fraternities at their university offered, with many organizations’ behaviors not representing the type of men they aspire to become. Some even had offers to join these fraternities officially but declined as they felt joining go against their own personal values and beliefs. In fact, Theta Chi’s “Statement on Human Dignity” was something the entire friend group respected and believed in, striving to represent these values in their own lives. Thus, the interest group to form Gamma Sigma Colony was born, with the ideals of true friendship and the “Assisting Hand” resonating most with the group’s members.

Growth Specialists Justin Guseman and Sam Terry were dispatched to Durham, in the hopes of assisting the men of the interest group in recruiting additional young men in preparation of recolonizing Gamma Sigma. As a collective effort, the team recruited an additional six pledges for the recolonization.

The group is already making an impact in Durham, raising thousands of dollars in support and awareness of suicide prevention in the last spring semester, and plans to continue to do so in the coming semesters. They are promoters of knowledge in their campus’ community, hoping to advance the world and society in their respective majors and fields of study after graduation.

Current goals for the colony include raising money for Theta Chi’s philanthropy partner the USO, continuing recruitment by building off the positive traction they’ve already created, and establishing themselves as positive-minded leaders in the Durham community.

Colony President Connor McDermott is excited at this opportunity to become a colony of Theta Chi, hoping to honor the extensive history of Gamma Sigma Chapter. “I could not be more excited to lead and guide [the colony] to success,” said McDermott. “I am excited to see what the future holds for our group… and to offer the opportunity for new members to be part of something that can bring positive change to Greek Life for Duke Students.”

The returning colony has a wise group of advisors to support these young men as they work toward petitioning to reestablish Gamma Sigma Chapter. Past International President Al Calarco serves as Colony Adviser for the group and Former LEC Dr. Corey Esquenazi serves as Health and Safety Adviser. Other advisors for the colony include Mike Hatfield (Alpha Delta/Purdue 1990), Sam Prestipino (Iota Alpha/UNC-Wilmington 2002), Casey Collins (Delta Rho/NC State 2006), Andrew Hamilton (Eta Gamma/Morehead 1993), Earl Whipple (Pi/Dickinson 1987), John Adams (Epsilon/WPI 1992), and Josh Meza-Fidalgo (Eta Kappa/James Madison 2012).

Stay tuned as the Gamma Sigma Colony works towards their goal of reinstalling Gamma Sigma Chapter. Follow along for updates on their Instagram page here.