In 1946, universities and colleges across the United States experienced a surge in enrollment, as World War II veterans, utilizing their G.I. Bill benefits, attended school. Having served in the United States military and, in some, cases, having practiced careers before joining the armed forces, many of these new students were older than the typical college student.
At Ohio University, a group of these men formed the Trowel Fraternity in 1946. Most of these men were former masons and came together because of their former careers to form this social organization. Initially, the Trowel Fraternity had approximately twenty members, and Ohio University recognized the group as an actual fraternal organization on the campus in 1947. In 1949, the Trowel Fraternity became the Ohio University chapter of the Acacia National Fraternity.