In September 1907, six students founded a club “to break up a political clique that was controlling campus positions.” The men set up high ideals of scholarship, fellowship, and leadership. The group adopted the Spanish word Adelante which means “forward.” The Adelante Club was incorporated as Adelante Fraternity on November 11, 1912. From almost its beginning, Adelante had many offers to join national organizations and although for many years it was considered that going national was in Adelante’s best interest, they declined all offers, and decided to remain Iowa State’s only unaffiliated local fraternity. Additionally, Adelante is the longest, continuously running local fraternity in the nation.
The founders of Adelante are: Henry Haefner, Rex J. Davidson, Don T. Griswold, Harold F. Luick, Walter H. Leckliter, and George Godfrey.
The seeds of Adelante were sown during the 1906-07 school year at a boarding house on Lynn Avenue known as West Parker, where the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house now stands. West Parker housed 16 men and contained eight bedrooms, a dining room, a kitchen, and cook’s quarters in the basement. Several of the men who roomed there decided to stay together the next school year; and rented a house on Stanton Avenue for the 1907-08 school year. Here the name of Adelante was coined, and a start was made toward an organization based on present needs rather than with the thought of forming a permanent fraternity.
During the next year, 1908-09, Adelante was located in the Jones house on Hyland Avenue. For the next several years the Adelante moved several times, living at 208 Stanton from 1909-12, 2811 West Street during 1912-13 and at 141 Campus Avenue from 1913-23. From the fall of 1923 until 1972, Adelante was located at 304 Welch Avenue. This was the first house that was owned and built by Adelante. Since 1972, Adelante has been located at 318 Welch Avenue. In the beginning, the group had rather strict ideas – no drinking, no smoking, and no dancing! Emphasis was placed on scholarship in those days. Social privileges (i.e. dating and reading of novel and popular magazines during extra hours) were suspended for any members not maintaining good grades.
During World War I, the Adelante became rather inactive because only two Adelante men were living in the house at the time, (the rest of the space was occupied by the Student’s Army Training Corps) although several other Adelante’s were scattered throughout the campus. To keep the fires of Adelante burning, the parlor of the 304 Welch house was secured as Adelante’s headquarters.
During the depression years money was very tight and this affected pledging drastically. House bills had to be cut to induce men to pledge. So poor was the financial situation, that it was suggested that Adelante merge with other fraternities. For various reasons, however, this idea was rejected.
During World War II, things were also difficult for Adelante. In the spring of 1943, all fraternities on campus agreed to move out and allow women to occupy the houses. Two members could live in the cook’s room and the men were allowed to use the basement. In the fall of 1944, the men were back in the house but no meals were served for the first year of reoccupancy.
From almost its beginning, Adelante had many offers to join national organizations and although for many years it was considered that going national was in Adelante’s best interest, they declined all offers, and decided to remain a local fraternity.