In the years that followed World War I, a movement developed among college and university bands, searching for some motivating force that would create a greater interest in band music. This movement sought expression in an effort to develop good will, fellowship and understanding among bands and their members, and to recognize the value of dedicated leadership. Seizing upon this idea, ten members of the Oklahoma A & M College (later to be known as the Oklahoma State University) Band, led by William A. Scroggs and their director, Bohumil Makovsky, drew up a plan for a national honorary society for college bandsmen.
Director Makovsky selected nine men to work with Scroggs to organize the first local club. These ten charter members were: A. Frank Martin, Raymond D Shannon, Clyde Haston, Clayton Soule, Carl Stevens, William Coppedge, Dick Hurst, Asher Hendrickson, and Iron H Nelson. Officers for the local club were elected and William Scroggs was selected as president.
With the local organization complete, a corporation was formed which petitioned the Oklahoma Corporation Commission for a charter. The charter was granted November 27, 1919, and "Kappa Kappa Psi, Honorary Fraternity for College Bandsmen," was established on the Oklahoma State University campus with the local group being known as the "Alpha Chapter."
During the first year of operation as an honorary society the members were kept busy working out and adopting a national constitution, creating and developing the Ritual ceremony, designing the jewelry needed to provide distinctive recognition for the organization, and setting up plans for the expansion of the Fraternity. The Greek name and symbols, "Kappa Kappa Psi," were furnished by Dr. Hilton Ira Jones of the OSU Chemistry faculty, and assistance in the final organization was furnished by Col. F.D. Wickham of the OSU Military Department.
No person is so important to any organization as its constant companion, inspiration, and source of support. Such a man was Bohumil Makovsky, Director of Bands and Head of the Music Department at Oklahoma State University from 1915 until 1945. Affectionately referred to by all who knew him as "Boh," Makovsky provided the strength and encouragement needed by William Scroggs and those nine other bandsmen which saw them successfully through the establishment of a national fraternal society.
Founded by bandsmen for the band member, Kappa Kappa Psi was (and is) a tribute to the dynamic personality of one man. For around this personality there grew a core of student leaders committed to assist him in a program of developing the best college band with the highest performance standards possible. "Boh" was that man, and each incoming member of this Fraternity should be familiar with the man who was officially recognized by the Grand Chapter in Convention assembled as "The Guiding Spirit of Kappa Kappa Psi."
The Iota Omega (ΙΩ) chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi (ΚΚΨ) at Iowa State University was chartered on March 19th, 1994. The sponsoring chapter was Eta Zeta (ΗΖ) at the University of Kansas. There were nine founding fathers: Ed Jackson, John Finch, Gordon Roberts, John Murrow, Chris Reinmenn, Troy Vincent, Joel Fischer, Trent Nelson, and Darian Johnson. Roger Cichy was the sponsor for the colony. The director of bands during colonization and the chapter's early years was Mr. Joseph Christensen who is the namesake of the chapter mascot, Mr. C, a stuffed toy cow.
Around the same time that Iota Omega was founded, a Tau Beta Sigma chapter was as well (ΘΧ). Mr. Cichy was also the sponsor for the Tau Beta Sigma colony and chapter. Theta Xi has always worked closely with Iota Omega with service and brotherhood/sisterhood events.
Throughout the years Iota Omega has increased in membership and had many membership classes of 4-16 prospective members at a time! The chapter's enthusiasm for serving the Music department and ensembles at ISU has never fallen. The Cyclone Honor Band was started by the colonies and continues going strong.
In 2009 the brothers of Iota Omega celebrated their 15th anniversary with an alumni weekend including a brotherhood concert, committee presentations, ritual, and a speech from founding father Ed Jackson. Alumni weekend continues to be a great chance for chapter alumni and active members to share information and memories.
Over its history this chapter of ΚΚΨ has co-hosted the Midwest District convention of Kappa Kappa Psi and Tau Beta Sigma twice in 2006 and 2011 with Theta Xi. Iota Omega has received many honors and serves the ISU bands with pride; in 2005 Iota Omega was named one of the top ten chapters in the nation by a recognition committee at the biennial national convention.
One of the greatest honors was being chosen to guide a colony through the colonization process in 2009 sponsoring the colony at South Dakota State University. The two groups met to do membership education and maintained weekly contact to achieve the goal of membership for the Delta Kappa (ΔΚ) chapter which was completed on May 1st, 2010.
The brothers of Iota Omega will continue to "Strive for the Highest" in all they do.
The Guiding Spirit of Kappa Kappa Psi
Bohumil Makovsky represented a fulfillment of the "American Dream." Imagine, if you will,a time before the turn of the century and a 17-year-old Bohemian boy arriving in New York from mid-Europe on his way to Nebraska to join his sister's family - a young man with little formal education, unable to speak English, but able to eloquently communicate through the language of Music with his improved "Albert System" clarinet. Even though his initial role was that of assisting the family in cigar manufacturing, Boh was within a short time leading a small band that criss-crossed the midlands, playing for fairs, dances, shows, and other entertainments.
In 1903 Boh's band was booked out of Kankakee, Illinois, for an engagement in Davis, Oklahoma Territory. The group arrived by train only to discover that no such engagement existed. Boh paid his men and headed for the closest large town, Oklahoma City. There he played in beer garden bands, gave music lessons, organized and directed "polka" bands in Woodward, Yukon, and Prague, and for ten years furnished band music for Oklahoma State Fairs. In 1915 he was invited by the President of Oklahoma A&M College in Stillwater to become band director. To Boh's surprise, he learned upon his arrival in Stillwater that he was also to serve as Director of Music, an administrative post.
Boh financed pioneer tours of the state by the A&M College Band, composed music for the band, encouraged all phases of public school music, rode the crest of America's band wave, and gradually but surely, captured the imagination both of the citizens of Oklahoma and the student body at O.A.M.C. By studying the Masonic ritual and memorizing large sections of it, Boh was able to enlarge his vocabulary and to master the English language, which he spoke with a colorful accent. He became a citizen of the United States, was elevated to the 33rd degree in Masonry, received an Honorary Doctor of Music Degree, and was elected to Oklahoma's "Hall of Fame" and to "Who's Who in Music" in the United States.
Even though Dr. Makovsky accomplished much in his 72 years, he was unfailingly humble and always expressed great appreciation for how much others had done for him. The pipe he smoked, bent into a miniature saxophone shape, and the uncrushed black bow tie which he always wore, became his trademarks.
Boh was stern on the podium and uncompromising in musical detail and interpretation at each of the Monday through Friday 7 a.m. rehearsal hours, yet he was a sincere friend to all. Many were deeply influenced by their contacts with Boh, and his students perpetuate his teachings and ideals this day.
One can thus readily understand that Bohumil Makovsky was a fulfillment of the "American Dream," and by his constant encouragement and support of the Fraternity, was truly, "The Guiding Spirit of Kappa Kappa Psi."