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Fraternities founded from 1825-1859

This group of fraternities share a number of things in common. Colleges at this time in history were almost exclusively for white Anglo-Saxon Protestant upper-class males. The predominant curricula available was for the ministry, medicine, or law. All of these organizations were student-derived, being founded by students without any assistance from adults. Most of these organizations were founded as a protest against domination of student activities dictated by a strict university administration. As one group formed, others sprang up to compete. These groups developed primarily because students wanted to have some control over their lives and activities and because they wanted to complement what was being dogmatically taught in the classroom. These organizations fostered independent thought and creativity. The student activities were highly structured by the administration, the curriculum was lock-step or prescribed by the university, most of the regulations  were very strict, and there were few opportunities for students to have any social interaction. These organizations, out of necessity, were highly secretive. The faculty felt threatened by these groups and the members were often sought out for punishment or expulsion. All of these groups were sectarian.




Kappa Alpha Society




part of Union Triad, 2 founders were members of Phi Beta Kappa, not to be confused with Kappa Alpha Order

Sigma Phi Society




part of Union Triad, first of the existing college fraterntieis to establish a branch chapter

Delta Phi Fraternity






part of Union Triad, 5 of the 9 founders were members of Phi Beta Kappa, first of the secret organizations to use the name of fraternity rather than society

Alpha Delta Phi






first college social fraternity to establish a chapter outside of New England, at Miami University, Oxford, OH, Divided in 1832 as co-ed literary society and fraternity

Psi Upsilon




Social Fraternity of William's College




Founded as an anti-secret organization. It has no secret grip, ritual, or oath. Still non-secret and is known as Delta Upsilon.

Beta Theta Pi




the presence of Alpha Delta Phi prompted its formation

Chi Psi




badge contains many masonic symbols


Delta Kappa Epsilon





founded when 15 sophomores were not invited to join one of the junior class societies at Yale


Alpha Sigma Phi




founded as a sophomore class society at Yale


Delta Psi





highly secret group, even the officers are not known outside of the chapter, St. Anthony is the patron saint of this group; chapter houses are often referred to as St. Anthony's Hall

Zeta Psi




secret works incorporates many elements of Freemasonry

Theta Delta Chi






6th and last social society to be founded at Union College, first founded as a literary society, it later changed to a secret social fraternity

Phi Gamma Delta




all of the founders were Masons and all became attorneys

Phi Delta Theta


Phi Delta Theta is the second member of the Miami Triad (Beta Theta Pi, and Phi Delta Theta, and Sigma Chi) founded at Miami University (Ohio). Today, Phi Delta Theta is an international fraternity with more than 180 chapters. Phi Delta Theta was the first fraternity to use a guide or "pledge manual" for new members. They were also the first fraternity to use a "pledge pin" for new members. Phi Delta Theta is included in the top 5 fraternities nationally and is the largest international fraternity.

Phi Kappa Sigma






Founded at Philadelphia. Operated sub rosa after the University banned all secret societies. Most of the expansion was in the South until the Civil War. The only fraternity for which a college was named (Phi Kappa Sigma Male College at Monticello, AR.

Phi Kappa Psi



founded by two men who became friends as they nursed fellow students during a typhoid fever epidemic

Chi Phi





founded by 3 students at Princeton. In 1874, 3 groups calling themselves Chi Phi merged. An alternative date for founding is 1824 at Hobart College

Sigma Chi






first example of members of one group being involved in the founding of another. It was founded by 7 men, 6 of whom resigned from the DKE chapter on their campus. The original name was Sigma Phi.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon






the only fraternity founded in the South before the Civil War,


Theta Chi






the second example of one group assisting in the founding of another, A Chi Psi helped select the secret motto and badge design, initiation Ritual is highly influenced by the Episcopal worship liturgy

Delta Tau Delta




several of the founders were Masons and did not intend to form a national college fraternity


Note: All the information provided above is for informational purposes only. Every attempt has been made to provide accurate information. Updated information with appropriate references/links would be greatly appreciated. Please send to history@sigepsouth.org

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Last Updated: 2008-03-14 18:23
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