Delta Kappa Epsilon

Delta Kappa Epsilon
Delta Kappa Epsilon
Official Crest of Delta Kappa Epsilon
Founded June 22, 1844 (1844-06-22) (167 years ago)
No. 12 Old South Hall, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
Type Social
Scope United States, Canada

Kerothen Philoi Aei

"Friends From The Heart Forever"
Colors Gules (Crimson), Azure (Blue/Navy), Or (Gold)
Symbol Rampant Lion
Flower None
Chapters 54
Headquarters Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA

Delta Kappa Epsilon (ΔΚΕ; also pronounced D-K-E or "Deke") is a fraternity founded at Yale College in 1844 by 15 men of the sophomore class who had not been invited to join the two existing societies (Alpha Delta Phi and Psi Upsilon). They therefore formed their own fraternity to establish a fellowship "where the candidate most favored was he who combined in the most equal proportions the gentleman, the scholar, and the jolly good fellow."



The fraternity was founded June 22, 1844,[1] in room number 12 Old South Hall, Yale College, New Haven, Connecticut. At this meeting, the Fraternity's secret and open Greek mottos were devised, as were the pin and secret handshake. The open motto is "Kerophen Philoi Aei" ("Friends from the Heart, Forever").

The sixteen founders were[2]: William Woodruff Atwater, Dr. Edward Griffin Bartlett, Frederic Peter Bellinger, Jr., Henry Case, Colonel George Foote Chester, John Butler Conyngham, Thomas Isaac Franklin, William Walter Horton, The Honorable William Boyd Jacobs, Professor Edward Van Schoonhoven Kingsley, Chester Newell Righter, Dr. Elisha Bacon Shapleigh, Thomas Du Bois Sherwood, Albert Everett Stetson, and Orson William Stow. This first Chapter was denoted Phi chapter.

The Objects of Delta Kappa Epsilon are:

The Cultivation of General Literature and Social Culture, the Advancement and Encouragement of Intellectual Excellence, the Promotion of Honorable Friendship and Useful Citizenship, the Development of a Spirit of Tolerance and Respect for the Rights and Views of Others, the Maintenance of Gentlemanly Dignity, Self-Respect, and Morality in All Circumstances, and the Union of Stout Hearts and Kindred Interests to Secure to Merit its Due Reward.[3]

Delta Kappa Epsilon administers a charitable organization called the Rampant Lion Foundation. DKE also has championed an organization call Restore Our Associational Rights ("ROAR") which campaigns for the freedom of fraternities and Greek organizations in general to operate without interference and discrimination from university administrations or others.

The pin of Delta Kappa Epsilon shows the Greek letters ΔΚΕ on a white scroll upon a black diamond with gold rope trim and a star in each corner. DKE's heraldic colours are azure (blue), or (gold), and gules (crimson). Its flag is a triband of those colours with a left-facing rampant lion in the middle.


Within three years of the founding at Yale, chapters were founded at Bowdoin, Princeton University, Colby College, and Amherst College. DKE has grown to over 51 chapters and has initiated over 85,000 members across North America.

Traditionally an Eastern Seaboard fraternity, DKE's Yale chapter had an early reputation as a Southerner's fraternity. Two of the original founders were from the South and 13 out of 38 members of 1845 and 1846 were from the South. DKE's first chapter in the South was Gamma chapter founded in 1847 (Vanderbilt University) followed by Psi chapter at the University of Alabama in the same year.

Delta Kappa Epsilon's first West Coast chapter was founded at the University of California, Berkeley on Halloween night, 1876. The DKE chapter at Colgate University (Hamilton, NY) is one of the only DKE chapters having a Temple building, one which only can be entered by Mu DKE members. The Lambda Chapter at Kenyon College in 1854 built the first fraternity lodge in America. The DKE Club of New York was founded in 1885 and is currently in residence at the Yale Club of New York City.[4] Delta Kappa Epsilon became an international fraternity with the addition of the Alpha Phi chapter in 1898 at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Notable members

DKE members have included five of forty-four Presidents of the United States: Rutherford B. Hayes, Theodore Roosevelt, Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush. Theodore Roosevelt was a member of the Alpha Chapter of DKE at Harvard; however, the chapter was de-recognized by DKE International due to the chapter's stance on dual membership with other fraternities.

In the election of 1876, the Republican Party chose between two DKE members, nominating Hayes rather than rival and fellow DKE James G. Blaine. Blaine also ran unsuccessfully for President.

Many American and Canadian politicians, businessmen, sports figures, and artists have been members, including Herb Kelleher, J.P. Morgan, Jr., William Randolph Hearst, Cole Porter, Henry Cabot Lodge, Dick Clark, Tom Landry, and George Steinbrenner. DKE flags were carried to the North Pole by its discoverer, Admiral Robert Peary and to the Moon by astronaut Alan Bean.

During the Civil War, the first Union officer killed in battle was DKE member Theodore Winthrop of Phi. During the Spanish-American War, the first American officer to be killed was a DKE member, Surgeon John B. Gibbs (Rutgers). DKE member J. Frank Aldritch (DePauw University) died when the USS Maine was sunk.

Purpose of Chapters

One of Delta Kappa Epsilon's focuses within each Chapter is on community service in addition to the social aspect that goes along with most social Greek fraternities.

Each Chapter competes for a number of awards that includes leadership, chapter improvements, and community service.[5]. Each of these areas is used in awarding the overall award called the Lions Trophy.

The 2011 Lions Trophy Win was the Delta Kappa Epsilon chapter at the University of Alabama[6]. This chapter (Psi) won this award in the wake of doing a food drive to help give relief to the Tuscaloosa community affected by a Tornado.[7].


In 1967 the New York Times reported on "frat-branding" - the alleged use of a hot branding iron to make a "D" shaped scar on new fraternity members. The fraternity's then president George W. Bush stated that they were "only cigarette burns."[8]

In 1989 Colgate University banned all DKE activities after the officials found members guilty of hazing, blackballing and other violations of university regulations.[9] In 2005 Colgate University barred DKE from campus for refusing to sell its house to the school and join a new student-residence initiative. DKE filed a lawsuit charging that the school violated its right to free association as well as antitrust laws by monopolizing the student housing market.[10] In 2006 the Supreme Court of Madison County found that the fraternity had failed to state a cause of action and that its claim was "time-barred."[11][12]

In 2007 a black student accused members of the DKE fraternity at the University of Mississippi of making racial slurs. The school suspended the chapter for hosting an unauthorized party, assault and disorderly conduct.[13][14]

In 2010 the University of Minnesota's Interfraternity Council banned DKE from homecoming and other Greek-related events for four years based on a report of sexual misconduct by a party-goer.[15]

In January of 2011, the DKE chapter at the University of Alberta had its student group status suspended for five years due to hazing activity. [4]

In October 2010, Yale's DKE chapter came under fire after its members shouted inflammatory and misogynistic chants, including 'no means yes; yes means anal', at an Old Campus pledge ritual.[16] The chapter's president apologized for the fraternity's conduct,[17] but Yale's feminist magazine "Broad Recognition" called for administrative action against the leadership of DKE. As of October 24, 2010, Dean Mary Miller of Yale College has strongly recommended to the DKE National Executive Director, Dr. Douglas Lanpher, that the chapter at Yale be put on probation indefinitely.[18] On May 17, 2011, the chapter was put on suspension for five years.[19] The order bars DKE from conducting any activities on the Yale campus during that time.[20]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ DKE Club of New York home page.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ [3]
  8. ^ Maureen Dowd, Liberties; President Frat Boy?, New York Times, April 10, 1999
  9. ^ Fraternity at Colgate closed for school year, Schenectady Gazette, July 27, 1989.
  10. ^ Alex Kingsbury, Say It Ain't So: Frats Gone Mild, US News and World Report, November 20, 2005.
  11. ^ Whose House? Colgate's House, Inside Higher Ed, March 8, 2006/
  12. ^ Delta Kappa Epsilon Alumni Corp. v Colgate University, 2006 court decision.
  13. ^ Ole Miss frat suspended in racial incident, United Press International, September 15, 2007
  14. ^ Oliver Staley, Miss Burnishes Image as Obama Debate Trumps Riot, Bloomberg L.P., September 19, 2008
  15. ^ Chris Williams, Third assault sparks alcohol ban at U of M frats, LaCrosse Tribune, October 4, 2010
  16. ^ Amanda Raus, Offensive Chants Get Frat Boys in Trouble, NBC News Connecticut, October 15, 2010
  17. ^ Jordi Gasso, Sam Greenberg, DKE apologizes for pledge chants, Yale Daily News, October 15, 2010.
  18. ^ Hannah Zeavin, The Last Straw: DKE Sponsors Hate Speech on Yale’s Old Campus, Broad Recognition magazine, Octo­ber 14, 2010
  19. ^ Barbara Goldberg, Ros Krasny and Tim Gaynor, Yale punishes fraternity for sexist chanting, Reuters, May 17, 2011
  20. ^ Yale suspends fraternity for raunchy chants, CNN, May 19, 2011
  • "A Century and a Half of DKE" The Illustrated History of Delta Kappa Epsilon. Copyright 1997. Edited by Duncan Andrews (Rho, 1957), Published by Heritage Publishers, Inc ISBN 0-929690-33-8 Libray of Congress Number 97-70228 Book information accessible online at [5]

External links

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