Delta Phi

Last updated
Delta Phi (St. Elmo)
FoundedNovember 17, 1827;195 years ago (1827-11-17)
Union College
Affiliation NIC
Motto"Semper Ubique" ("Always Everywhere")
Colors  Columbia blue and   White
Symbol Maltese Cross
Patron saint St. Elmo
Chapters12 active
NicknameSt. Elmo / St. Elmo Hall / Elmo
Headquarters120 Providence Rd., Ste 102
P.O. Box 4633

Chapel Hill , NC 27514
Website Official website

Delta Phi (ΔΦ) is a fraternity founded in 1827 at Union College in Schenectady, New York consisting of ten active chapters along the East Coast of the United States. The fraternity also uses the names "St. Elmo," "St. Elmo Hall," or merely "Elmo" because of its relation to Erasmus of Formia with some chapters known almost exclusively by one of these names on their respective campuses. Delta Phi was, after the Kappa Alpha Society and Sigma Phi Society, the third and last member of the Union Triad.



Delta Phi was officially founded on November 17, 1827 at Union College by nine upperclassmen. [1] Delta Phi and the other Union Triad fraternities were established during a time of strong Anti-Masonry sentiment in the United States and became targets of the Anti-Masonry movement. This led Phi Beta Kappa, the original fraternity, to abandon secrecy and become a strictly honor society. [2]

In the early 1830s, Dr. Eliphalet Nott, president of Union College, called for the dissolution of all fraternities. Before this policy could be enacted, John Jay Hyde, a member of Delta Phi, argued the benefits of the fraternity system so convincingly that Dr. Nott relented and permitted the organizations to remain in existence. Hyde went on to design the badge still worn by members of Delta Phi today, which includes a Maltese Cross, a symbol used by the Knights of Malta.

This connection to the Knights of Malta led Delta Phi to become known as "St. Elmo", a name first used by the Omicron chapter at Yale, which since has transformed into a senior secret society known as St. Elmo Society that is no longer associated with Delta Phi. Beginning at some point shortly after the Omicron chapter's inception in 1889, the brothers there used the name of St. Elmo, the patron saint of mariners and the Knights of Malta. [3] On some campuses, Delta Phi chapters are known almost exclusively as "St. Elmo," "St. Elmo Hall," or simply "Elmo."


In 1838, the Beta chapter of Delta Phi was founded at Brown University and Delta Phi finally became a “national” fraternity. Next, the Gamma chapter was established at New York University in 1841, followed quickly by the Delta chapter at Columbia University in 1842, [4] the Epsilon chapter at Rutgers University [5] and the Zeta chapter at Harvard University, both in 1845, [4] and the Eta chapter at University of Pennsylvania in 1849. [5] In 1844, Delta Phi held its first convention, only the second fraternity to have such a meeting and was held under the auspices of the Alpha chapter but was held in Troy, New York. The next convention was held in New York City and, seeing the growth in the organization, authorized the fraternity to undertake its first printed publication, a complete catalogue of the membership up to 1847.

Delta Phi left its base in the Northeast and expanded into what was then still the northwest of the young country, establishing the Iota chapter at University of Michigan in 1855 and southward to charter the Kappa chapter at the University of North Carolina that same year. [4]

Delta Phi today

Delta Phi Badge.jpg

Delta Phi remains a small fraternity with ten active chapters and few chapters with more than a couple dozen members. It has resisted expansion in order to create an "intimate, personal experience" [6] for its members. The fraternity's current expansion policy is to reactivate dormant chapters. [6] As a member of the Union Triad, Delta Phi is the third oldest fraternity and the oldest continuous fraternity in the United States.

Governance and organization

Owing mostly to its development in the early 19th century, Delta Phi organizes itself federally. Individual alumni chapters still exercise significant power over chapter governance. Those powers that are given in the national organization are vested in the Board of Governors. [7] The board consists of one member appointed from each alumni chapter plus two undergraduate representatives elected at the annual leadership conference the fraternity sponsors. [7] Among the duties given to the board is hiring the Executive Director who oversees day-to-day management of the fraternity. [7]

In addition to the national governing organization of the fraternity, Delta Phi alumni have also established the Saint Elmo Foundation which, among other things, sponsors the annual leadership weekend and provides scholarships to undergraduate members of Delta Phi. [8]

Alumni membership

Overall alumni participation among active chapters remains strong, with chapters hosting several social events throughout the year. [9] [10]

On or around November 17 of every year, the national organization sponsors the Founder's Day Dinner at the Saint Elmo Club where undergraduates and alumni celebrate the founding of the fraternity. [11]



These are the chapters of Delta Phi. Active chapters noted in bold, inactive chapters noted in italics. Two chapters have withdrawn from affiliation with the national fraternity, but remain active on their campuses; their dates of withdrawal are noted. [12] [13] [14]

AlphaNovember 17, 18271999 Union College Schenectady, NY Inactive
Beta18381856, 18681877, 18811966, 19832011 Brown University Providence, RI Withdrew [lower-alpha 1] [lower-alpha 1] [lower-alpha 2]
Gamma18412019 New York University New York, NY Inactive
Delta18422001 Columbia University New York, NY Inactive
Epsilon18451999, 200x ? Rutgers University New Brunswick, NJ Active [15] [lower-alpha 3]
Zeta18451848, 18851901 Harvard University Cambridge, MA Inactive
Eta18491871, 1882 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA ActiveCo-ed (1979) [16] [lower-alpha 4]
Theta18541877 Princeton University Princeton, NJ Inactive
Iota18551874, 19231936 University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Inactive [lower-alpha 5]
Kappa18561861 University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, NC Inactive
Lambda1864 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY Active [17]
Mu18741876 Colgate University Hamilton, NY Inactive
Nu18842015 Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA Inactive [18] [lower-alpha 6]
Xi18851916, 1921 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD Active [lower-alpha 7]
Omicron18891925 Yale University New Haven, CT Withdrew [lower-alpha 8] [19]
Pi18912018, 2022 Cornell University Ithaca, NY Active [20]
Rho1908 University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA Active
Sigma19171965, 19822001 Trinity College Hartford, CT Inactive [lower-alpha 9]
Tau19202009 University of Illinois Champaign, IL Inactive [lower-alpha 10]
Upsilon19261965 Williams College Williamstown, MA Inactive [lower-alpha 11] [lower-alpha 11] [lower-alpha 12]
Phi1940 Kenyon College Gambier, OH Active [lower-alpha 13]
Chi1950 Hamilton College Clinton, NY Active [21] [lower-alpha 14]
Psi19601974, 19862007, 2015 Pennsylvania State University State College, PA Active [lower-alpha 15]
Omega1968 University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, PA Active [22] [lower-alpha 16]
Omega Alpha1987 College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA Active [23] [24]
Omega Beta19942001 Wabash College Crawfordsville, IN Inactive


  1. 1 2 This chapter is active under the name of Delta Phi and uses the fraternity's crest, but is disaffiliated from the national fraternity.
  2. At its 1966 reorganization, Beta chapter was created from Delta Phi Omega (local).
  3. Epsilon chapter was revived with a 2003 recolonization.
  4. Eta chapter was revived in 1882 when it absorbed Delta Beta Phi (local), which had formed in 1878.
  5. Iota chapter was revived in 1923 when it absorbed Kappa Beta Psi (local), which had formed in 1912.
  6. Nu chapter had its origin as Alpha Gamma Phi (local), which had formed prior to becoming a chapter of Delta Phi.
  7. Xi chapter was revived in 1921 after a brief dormancy, when it absorbed Beta Beta (local).
  8. Omicron chapter dissociated with Delta Phi and is now known as the St. Elmo Society at Yale.
  9. Sigma chapter had its origin as Iota Kappa Lambda (local), which had formed in 1829.
  10. Tau chapter had its origin as the Iris Club (local), which had formed in 1908.
  11. 1 2 Williams College banned all fraternities in the 1960s, phasing them out by 1970.
  12. Upsilon chapter had its origin as Alpha Tau Alpha (local), which had formed in 1925.
  13. Phi chapter had its origin as Alpha Pi Tau (local), which had formed in 1927.
  14. Chi chapter had its origin as Alpha Chi (local), which had formed in 1947.
  15. Psi chapter had its origin as the Beaver Society (local), which had formed in 1935.
  16. Omega chapter had its origin as Lambda Sigma Rho (local), which had formed in 1965.

Notable alumni

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">North American Interfraternity Conference</span> Trade association of collegiate mens fraternities

The North American Interfraternity Conference is an association of intercollegiate men's social fraternities that was formally organized in 1910, although it began at a meeting at the University Club in New York City on November 27, 1909. The power of the organization rests in a House of Delegates in which each member fraternity is represented by a single delegate. However, the group's executive and administrative powers are vested in an elected board of directors consisting of nine volunteers from various NIC fraternities. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, the NIC also operates a small professional staff.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dartmouth College Greek organizations</span> Host to Greek organizations

Dartmouth College is host to many Greek organizations, and a significant percentage of the undergraduate student body is active in Greek life. In 2005, the school stated that 1,785 students were members of a fraternity, sorority, or coeducational Greek house, comprising about 43 percent of all students, or about 60 percent of the eligible student body. Greek organizations at Dartmouth provide both social and residential opportunities for students, and are the only single-sex residential option on campus. Greek organizations at Dartmouth do not provide dining options, as regular meals service has been banned in Greek houses since 1909.

While the traditional social fraternity is a well-established mainstay across the United States at institutions of higher learning, alternatives – in the form of social fraternities that require doctrinal and behavioral conformity to the Christian faith – developed in the early 20th century. They continue to grow in size and popularity.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tau Delta Phi</span> North American collegiate fraternity

Tau Delta Phi (ΤΔΦ), whose members are commonly known as Tau Delts, is a national social fraternity founded on June 22, 1910, in New York City. Since its inception, dozens of chapters have been founded and thousands of men initiated into its membership. Today, Tau Delta Phi fraternity operates five active chapters and colonies located primarily in the northeastern United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Theta Upsilon Omega</span>

Theta Upsilon Omega (ΘΥΩ), was a national collegiate fraternity in the United States. Representatives of several local fraternities at a December 1, 1923 meeting of locals, organized by the National Interfraternity Conference, determined to form a new national through amalgamation, resulting in the creation of Theta Upsilon Omega on May 2, 1924.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Phi Chi</span>

Phi Chi (ΦΧ) is one of the oldest and largest international medical fraternities of its kind in the world. Phi Chi evolved from the merging of two professional medical fraternities bearing the same name. Phi Chi Society was founded on March 31, 1889, at the University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt. Phi Chi Medical Fraternity was founded on October 26, 1894, at the Louisville Medical College, Louisville, Ky. These two organizations did not know that they shared a similar name when they were founded. On March 5, 1905, in Burlington, Vt., Phi Chi Society and Phi Chi Medical Fraternity, Inc., were consolidated taking the name Phi Chi Medical Fraternity, Inc.

Phi Alpha Gamma (ΦΑΓ) is a professional fraternity founded at the New York Homeopathic Medical College, March 25, 1894, by Thomas D. Buchanan, Thomas F. Davies, Edmund M. De Vol, Robert M. Jones, Brooks DeF. Worwood, Arthur B. Smith and Harry S. Willard. Beta chapter was founded at the Boston University School of Medicine, November 26, 1896. In January, delegates from these chapters met delegates from a similar society called KT, which had been established the month before at the Hahnemann Medical College of Philadelphia, and the societies were joined under the name of ΦΑΓ. The Minnesota and Iowa chapters were formed from the two chapters of a fraternity called ΠΚΤ, established with the view of confining it to homeopathic schools of medicine.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Phi Beta Pi</span>

Phi Beta Pi (ΦΒΠ) medical fraternity is a professional fraternity founded in 1891 at the West Pennsylvania Medical College.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fraternities and sororities at the University of Virginia</span> American Greek life system

Fraternities and sororities at the University of Virginia include the collegiate organizations on the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. First founded in the 1850s with the establishment of a number of fraternities, the system has since expanded to include sororities, professional organizations, service fraternities, honor fraternities, and cultural organizations. Fraternities and sororities have been significant to the history of the University of Virginia, including the founding of two national fraternities Kappa Sigma (ΚΣ) and Pi Kappa Alpha (ΠΚΑ).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Phi Rho Sigma</span>

Phi Rho Sigma (ΦΡΣ) is a professional fraternity founded by medical students at Northwestern University in 1890.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gamma Eta Gamma</span>

Gamma Eta Gamma (ΓΗΓ) is a professional law fraternity and was a member of the Professional Fraternity Association.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Beta Kappa</span>

Beta Kappa (ΒΚ) was a Social Fraternity founded at Hamline University in 1901, which merged with Theta Chi in 1942.

Beta Sigma Omicron (ΒΣΟ) is a defunct national sorority. It was founded on December 12, 1888 and merged with Zeta Tau Alpha on August 7, 1964.


  1. "History". Delta Phi Fraternity. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  2. "PBK - History of Phi Beta Kappa". The Phi Beta Kappa Society. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  3. "History". The Delta Phi Fraternity. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  4. 1 2 3 "Inactive Chapters". The Delta Phi Fraternity. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  5. 1 2 "Active Chapters". The Delta Phi Fraternity. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
  6. 1 2 "Delta Phi Fraternity". Archived from the original on August 3, 2007.
  7. 1 2 3 "Delta Phi Fraternity". Archived from the original on August 3, 2007.
  8. Archived February 8, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  9. "The Delta Phi Fraternity - Omega Alpha Chapter | the Delta Phi Fraternity - Omega Alpha Chapter". Archived from the original on September 15, 2006. Retrieved 2008-06-10.
  10. "Delta Phi at Cornell - Calendar of Events". Archived from the original on December 31, 2010.
  11. "Delta Phi Fraternity". Archived from the original on February 5, 2005.
  12. "Active Chapters - Delta Phi Fraternity".
  13. "Inactive Chapters - Delta Phi Fraternity".
  14. William Raimond Baird; Carroll Lurding (eds.). "Almanac of Fraternities and Sororities (Baird's Manual Online Archive)". Student Life and Culture Archives. University of Illinois: University of Illinois Archives. Retrieved 6 October 2022. The main archive URL is The Baird's Manual Online Archive homepage.
  15. Epsilon chapter website Archived 2008-10-09 at the Wayback Machine
  16. "HISTORIES OF EARLY PENN FRATERNITIES, Delta Phi (St. Elmo)" . Retrieved 2022-10-06.
  17. "Delta Phi Lambda Chapter".
  18. "Lehigh Delta Phi loses recognition". 23 Feb 2015.
  19. The oldest traditional fraternities (~junior societies) at Yale named their buildings with "Hall" nicknames, by which they wished to be known on campus: Thus Delta Phi was known at Yale as St. Elmo's AND as a Delta Phi chapter until its disassociation. Similarly, Psi Upsilon became the Fence Club. Phi Gamma Delta was Vernon Hall which later became Myth and Sword . Sigma Delta Chi (local) was renamed the Cloister Club which soon became Book and Snake . Theta Xi's chapter was Franklin Hall, Phi Sigma Kappa adopted the name Sachem Hall, Delta Psi adopted the name St. Anthony Hall which spread to their entire small but old national fraternity. Chi Delta Theta (local literary honorary) established the Manuscript Society , and finally, Chi Phi was York Hall.
  20. "Llenroc – at Cornell University". Retrieved 2020-12-26.
  21. "Delta Phi - Home - Hamilton College".
  22. Omega chapter website, accessed 6 Oct 2022.
  23. "Delta Phi at William and Mary".
  24. "Notice Regarding the Omega Alpha Chapter of Delta Phi". William & Mary. Retrieved 2022-02-21.
  25. "The Undergraduate Record: Columbia College. A Book of Statistical Information". 1881. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  26. "Delta Phi - Founders".
  27. "Delegate Jay Jones".
  28. 1 2 "ALUMNI".
  29. Various objects (incl. ring and tankard), George M. Low Gallery, Low Center for Industrial Innovation, Troy, NY.
  30. Hamilton, Reeve (July 1, 2019). "Low Gallery at Rensselaer Provides Insight Into Man Behind the Moon Landing". Rensselaer News. Retrieved January 27, 2022.
  31. Breen, Matt. "New Phillies GM Ned Rice is closely tied to old GM Matt Klentak".
  32. Freeland, Arthur G., ed. (1907). Delta Phi Catalogue, 1827–1907. Chapel Hill, NC: Delta Phi Fraternity. p. 131 via Google Books.
  33. "Columbia Spectator 20 December 1940 — Columbia Spectator". Retrieved 2021-08-31.
  34. Pace, Eric (2002-04-06). "Wylie F. L. Tuttle, 79, Force Behind Paris Tower". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved 2021-08-31.