A few words
Established in 1827 at Union College, Delta Phi is the oldest continuous fraternity in the United States and is founded on three pillars - Friendship, Morality, and Literature. "No one could tell me where my soul might be; I searched for God, but He eluded me; I sought my brother out and found all three." -Ernest Howard Crosby, Gamma chapter, 1872
Our goal for each chapter is to create an organization built upon a standard of excellence for brotherhood. We recognize the value of a diverse membership, the importance of mutual respect, and the virtue of life-long bonds of brotherhood. We are highly selective in accepting colonization requests. We believe very strongly in accepting only those men who seek to build lasting friendships based in principle, maintained with integrity, and celebrated over generations.
Character is fundamental in establishing and sustaining the bonds of brotherhood. As brothers, we share in each other’s successes, and support each other in struggles. Character and morality are fundamental to leadership in our personal lives, in our brotherhood, and in our community. We strive to create chapters and members marked by their integrity, ability, and trustworthiness.
Since its founding almost 200 years ago, members of Delta Phi have placed a strong emphasis on intellectual vigor and personal leadership. As a brotherhood, we seek men of talent who will benefit from joining our organization. Our brotherhood is dedicated to encouraging and enabling the diverse talents of each member while undergraduates and throughout their lives and careers.
“Over one hundred and seventy-five years ago, on a crisp November evening, nine young men huddled closely against the evening chill underneath the old Scotia Bridge…”
On that night in 1827, our founders contemplated and laid the foundation for a brotherhood that would become the first, longest, and most distinguished fraternity in the Country. when those nine men reconvened in North College Hall at Union College on the seventeenth of that November, they consecrated an organization based on study, friendship, and lifelong bonds that has lasted to this day. Their brotherhood came to be known by the Greek letters Delta Phi. Over the 180 years since that day, Delta Phi has continued in the exclusive tradition they established to promote a strong brotherhood of men of the highest character and ability.
The Union Triad
The Delta Phi Fraternity along with Kappa Alpha Society and Sigma Phi Society, compromise the hallowed Union Triad – the first three social college fraternities in North America. From these three fraternities at Union College (regarded as the “Mother of Fraternities”) can be traced the extensive Greek system seen on college campuses today. Much as now, anti-fraternity sentiment was rampant in the college administration. Adding to the challenges facing the nascent fraternities was the authority of the man seeking their destruction, Dr. Eliphalet Nott, president Union College and the most esteemed educator of his day.
The Man Who Saved the Greek System
Under extreme duress, both Kappa Alpha and Sigma Phi removed their badges and attempted underground existences. However, the brothers of Delta Phi held firm and refused to disband and continued on in the open, establishing the fraternity as the oldest, continuous fraternity. Delta Phi took up the defense of the fraternity movement and it was a Delt, John Jay Hyde, Alpha chapter 1832 (Union 1834) who so convincingly argued the case of the fraternities before the faculty that Dr. Nott rescinded his proscription of fraternities, allowing them to grow, flourish, and expand to other campuses. In turn, Nott’s own son would later join Delta Phi during his college days.
St. Elmo, Patron Saint of Delta Phi
The name St. Elmo has been in use by some chapters of the fraternity for over 100 years (longer than many other national fraternities have existed). The practice started at Omicron (Yale) who sought a distinctive name for their home. Hearkening back to the Knights of Malta, who were mariners, the men of Omicron appropriated the name of St. Elmo, the patron saint of mariners. The practice caught on and at many campuses the names Delta Phi and St. Elmo have become synonymous adding yet another layer of tradition to this unique story.
Delta Phi has remained an exclusive fraternity. Rather than engaging in the wholesale expansion policies that have marked the operation of other Greek letter fraternities, the brothers of Delta Phi choose to establish chapters only at the finest schools and usually with proximity to other chapters. It grants its chapters a substantial degree of local autonomy – allowing them to develop their own traditions and policies within the scope of a larger institution.
Members of Delta Phi have come from every walk of life; social and economic. Its members have reach the pinnacles of business, politics, education, and service. Our fraternity is an organization where names such as J.P. Morgan, Jr., John Jacob Astor, and James Roosevelt are but the start of a long and distinguished list.
Motto: “Semper Ubique” (“Always, Everywhere”)
The Delta Phi Fraternity consists of many parts comprising the whole. It is a federal system, providing guidance from the center and authority from the elements.
The affairs of the Fraternity are administered by a Board of Governors, which is comprised of one governor from each chapter and two additional governors representing the undergraduate membership. Alumni representatives are chosen by the members of their respective chapter alumni organization while the undergraduate governors are elected annually at the Leadership Conference of the Fraternity. Each governor has the privilege of appointing an alternate governor who may attend all Board meetings with full power of participation and deliberation, but with the power to vote only in the absence of the official governor from his chapter.
The Board of Governors, which meets three or four times per year, oversees the general operations of the National Headquarters and makes major operational decisions between conventions of the Fraternity. By directing its attention toward both current issues and long-term priorities, the Board functions for the welfare of the general Fraternity and each of its chapters. The governors are empowered to enforce their policies and directives and to initiate such punitive action as they deem necessary, including action leading to the rescinding of a chapter charter. Such action by the Board may be taken when the brothers of a chapter break Fraternity policy and are unable to maintain a positive presence on campus.
Chapters are expected to enforce the policies of the National Fraternity and their own rules and regulations. When they do, the Board is also empowered to act as an appellate body to hear the cases of members disciplined by local chapters and who feel the case warrants further review.
The President of the Fraternity presides over all meetings of the Board. He, along with the Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary are the officers of the Fraternity and form the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee may also make decisions between meetings may also make decisions between meetings of the full Board. The President appoints standing and special committees.