The University of Wisconsin chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho national social and professional agriculture fraternity is located at 233 Lakelawn Place in Madison, just off Langdon Street and on the shores of Lake Mendota.
The property is owned by the chapter's alumni corporation and has been home to members following its purchase in 1969. It has undergone extensive renovations since, including a $1.2 million upgrade in 2007 to bring rooms more into line with the UW's ever-improving dormitory facilities.
Now the 100-year-old Iota chapter is engaged in a "2nd Century Campaign for Excellence" through its education foundation. The foundation, the idea of Madison AGR alumnus Paul Hartwig in 1969, has raised funds to provide scholarships for the fraternity's undergrads and for leadership training. The new campaign is seeking $1 million in alumni support to boost the value and number of scholarships.
In a recent letter to Iota alumni announcing the fund drive, Hartwig, the honorary chairman of the new campaign, writes, "AGR provides an on-campus home and a leadership learning center... The current undergraduate chapter, just like all before them, is as 'Iota Prooud' as ever, with a full house, a top-tier GPA and outstanding on-campus as well as off-campus leadership."
Jordan Gaal of Oconomowoc is the noble ruler (president) of Iota. He comments: “Our mission is the same as it has been since our founding, 'to make better men.' I wholeheartedly believe we accomplish this as one of the premiere organizations at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Iota’s recruitment classes are strong and the chapter is thriving. Our men support each other and we grow together in scholarship and brotherhood. We are active with our alumni and appreciate the support and guidance they provide. They are essential to the functioning of our chapter. It is the men and the brothers who make Alpha Gamma Rho the amazing organization it is.
We continue to rank among the top Greek houses for grade point average, involvement, Homecoming competitions, and ... philanthropic events... The men of Alpha Gamma Rho are continuously regarded by UW-Madison as leaders and examples for others to follow in scholarship and involvement."
Zachary Shulfer, vice noble ruler for alumni relations, says the fraternity's 59 current members are involved in organizations like Tractor Team, Collegiate Farm Bureau, Badger Dairy Club, Crops Club, UW Commodity Trading Team, Varsity Marching Band, National Agri-Marketing Association, Humorology, Renk Agribusiness Institute, Agricultural Business Management Club, Latino Men's Group, Poultry Club, Saddle and Sirloin, CALS Deans Advisory Board, Students Today Leaders Forever, UW Dairy Judging Team and Undergraduate Neuroscience Society.