Moving Forward with Sigma Nu

Do You Know Which Brother's Father Designed the Current House? If You're a Gamma Alpha Member, of Course You Do

Rudy's Story: Imagine the Surprise When Dad Walked into the House and Realized He'd Designed It

By Rufus "Rudy" S. Johnson III '72 (#1390)
It was the fall of 1971, and my mother and father had come from our home in Clarksville, Tenn., for a football game and to visit me during my first quarter at Tech. My parents reluctantly agreed to meet me at the Sigma Nu house, where they knew I was going through rush and seriously considering pledging.

They had reservations, particularly my dad, that I would spend too much time socializing rather than concentrating on my studies if I were to join a fraternity. Maybe he was thinking back to his days at Tech when he was an architecture student and charter member of the TKE Fraternity. My parents' concerns eventually led to me waiting until the winter quarter to pledge the Gamma Alpha Chapter of Sigma Nu. However, my not pledging until winter quarter did not prevent me from having too much fun on more than one occasion with the brothers that fall of 1971. But those are war stories for another time.

My mother and father walked in, and my dad had not been in the house for two minutes when he looked at me and said "I designed this house." Imagine our surprise! Later we found out that when Sigma Nu got ready in the early 1950s to build a new house on their vacant lot on Fowler Street, they went to the dean of the School of Architecture to see if they could get an architecture student and/or class to design them a new facility. The chosen drawing was one that had been developed by a young aspiring architect from Clarksville, Tenn., by the name of Rufus Slayden Johnson Jr. More than 20 years later, he still remembered his work and found out, for the first time on that fateful fall day in 1971, that it had actually been used (without any compensation to him, I might add).

As the years passed, my dad and I have enjoyed the notoriety as a result of his design. As an architect myself, I marvel at how well his creation has withstood the use and abuse (remember the Beta Bombs?) for over 50 years. And I still enjoy visits to the house when brothers respond "Oh, I know you..... You're the one whose father designed the house."

Today, with a touch of sadness for me, it's time for "out with the old and in with the new." Let's all look forward to the future. And while I'm not designing the new house, I am honored to serve on the Building Committee and look forward to a new facility that will withstand the test of time that my father's house withstood. Let's all get behind this project and support this Campaign.

Campaign Co-Chairmen
Your Campaign Leaders
From the Campaign Chair
Moving Forward with Sigma Nu
East and West Elevation
Basement and First Floor
Second Floor and Roof
North and South Elevation
Case Statement
Campaign Leaders and Volunteers
Frequently Asked Questions
Our Long and Glorious Past
Projected Giving Pyramid
Methods of Making a Gift
Gamma Alpha-Sigma Nu-Mailing Info
National Creed
Honor Roll of Campaign Donors July 16, 2007