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The Origins of Nite on the Nile


In Acacia's early years, the members were mostly faculty and graduate students and formal dances were favorite events. Also popular in the early decades were stag "Smokers," a get-to-know-you precursor to modern day rush events. As implied by the name, cigars were very popular among the men.

As time went by, and Acacia started to recruit more and more undergraduates, theme parties became the big thing. Wisconsin can be credited with starting the first party to spread to multiple chapters. The Wisconsin Nut Party idea (think "crazy" costumes) soon extended to Ohio, Colorado, Illinois and Iowa State. Another big costume party was Oklahoma's Oriental Costume Party. That one, however, never spread beyond that chapter. Other themes included Hard Times, Gangster parties, Playboy parties, and Come-As-A-Song-Title parties.

But you want to know about Nite on the Nile, and that means you have to go back to September 11, 1948. At the Pacific Coast Conference it was decided that at the next Conclave legislation would be drafted for a national party that each Acacia chapter should celebrate that would be "Egyptian in theme." Ron Kilgore of the California Chapter was made the chairman of the committee and each West Coast chapter was represented.

In the Fall 1949 Triad, both the California and Oregon State chapters reported "getting the ball rolling" on the national theme dance.

The first report of the dance came from the Oregon State Chapter in the Winter 1950 Triad:

"We are planning a dance called the 'Night on the Nile' in accordance with the resolutions made during the regional conclave held here this Fall. All of the West Coast chapters are planning a similar dance and we hope that this will be the inception of a National Fraternity social event — a dance that is known throughout the fraternity world as being distinctive of the Acacia Fraternity."

By 1951, the Night on the Nile theme dance had made its way east hitting Colorado, Arizona, Kansas, Kansas State, Penn State, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Wyoming. It wasn't until 1960 that the proper spelling of "Night" was pared down to "Nite," possibly for aesthetic reasons.