Lambda Chi Alpha

Lambda Chi Alpha
Lambda Chi Alpha
Lambda Chi Alpha coa.png
Founded November 2, 1909 (1909-11-02) (102 years ago)
Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts
Type Social Fraternity
Scope International
 United States

Vir Quisque Vir Every Man a Man. Χαλεπα Τα Καλα Naught Without Labor.

Per Crucem Crescens Growth through the Cross.

████ Royal Purple

████ Hunter Green

████ Old Gold
Symbol Cross and Crescent
Mascot Lion Rampant

The Cross and Crescent

The Paedagogus
Philanthropy North American Food Drive
Chapters 200+ active[1]
Members ~10,100[1] collegiate
270,000+[1] lifetime
Phone (317) 872-8000
Headquarters Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Lambda Chi Alpha (ΛΧΑ) is one of the largest men's secret general fraternities in North America, having initiated more than 280,000 members[2] and held chapters at more than 300 universities.[3] It is a member of the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) and was founded by Warren A. Cole, while he was a student at Boston University, on November 2, 1909. The youngest of the fifteen largest social fraternities, Lambda Chi Alpha has initiated the third highest number of men ever, based on NIC statistics. Lambda Chi's National Headquarters is located in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Lambda Chi Alpha seeks to promote higher education by providing opportunities for academic achievement and leadership. Its open mottos are Vir Quisque Vir (Latin) Every Man a Man; Per Crucem Crescens (Latin) Growth through the Cross; and Χαλεπα Τα Καλα (Greek) Naught Without Labor. Its members are referred to as "Lambda Chis," or "Lambdas".




The history of the founding of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity resulted from an agreement in late 1912 between Warren Cole in Boston and Albert Cross in Philadelphia, holding that on November 2, 1909, Warren A. Cole, Percival C. Morse, and Clyde K. Nichols met at 22 Joy St., Boston, and swore allegiance to the new fraternity. The meeting had been called, by whom it is not recorded, for the purpose of considering the reorganization of the Cosmopolitan Law Club, a society of law students of Boston University, of which Cole was a member, into the Greek letter society.

The first three members were all close friends before Cole’s withdrawal from the law club, for all had been members of Alpha Mu Chi, a preparatory school fraternity. Cole was also a member of the legal fraternity, Gamma Eta Gamma, and the Grange or Patrons of Husbandry, a society of agriculturalists. The Greek letter name was not used in the Alpha Zeta minutes until April 27, 1910, however, and, as far as is known, this was the first time it was recorded.[4]

Cole approached many local groups at colleges and universities throughout the Northeast in hopes of finding others willing to join his new fraternity. Before the acquisition of Lambda Chi Alpha's first functioning chapter, Cole had corresponded with or visited 117 institutions.[5]


Early in 1912, Cole wrote to a student at Massachusetts Agricultural College (MAC) at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, asking the names of the Greek-letter fraternities on campus and the names of at least two "good, non-fraternity men." Herbert E. Cole responded with the names of six Greek-letter groups and two names, including that of Lewis Drury. Warren Cole wrote to Drury asking if he was interested in forming a Greek-letter society. Apparently Drury was quite interested, as he had his Agronomy professor write a letter of recommendation to Warren Cole.

The MAC petition was duly submitted and quickly approved—after all, it was Cole's first success in attracting a group after more than one hundred futile efforts. Lambda Chi Alpha's first established chapter, Gamma Zeta, was born.[6]

During the spring of 1912, Albert Cross, a student in the department of civil engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, received a letter from Warren Cole indicating that he had received Cross' name from a mutual acquaintance and that he would like to form a chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha at the University of Pennsylvania.

Cross liked Cole's idea and began talking with some of his friends. One of these friends was John E. "Jack" Mason, whom Cross had met in a French class that summer. Mason, who had hardly been interested in existing fraternities at Penn, suggested to another friend, Raymond Ferris, that they "take a shot at" establishing a chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha.

Thus, with colossal nerve, Cross, Mason, Ferris, and five other men dared to launch a fraternity chapter on a campus with an abundance of long-established national fraternities. But with determination, Epsilon Zeta began.

Following the addition of Zeta Zeta at Penn State, the infant fraternity now felt confident in contacting established local groups. Cole made the acquaintance of members of Sigma Phi Delta at Brown University and won its affiliation. A "picked delegation" at MIT proved successful. By the beginning of 1913, Delta Kappa at Maine was admitted as the seventh chapter.[7] On March 31, 1913, Sigma Zeta at the University of Michigan was founded, being the first chapter installed with the Mason initiation ritual.[8] Within a decade of Cole's founding, the fraternity grew to 53 chapters spanning from Maine to California and from Michigan to Texas. Cole accomplished this largely by traveling to schools and finding local fraternities that aspired to affiliate with a national organization. Since these groups were largely ignored by other established fraternities, Cole's method was very successful.

In 1927 Lambda Chi Alpha became an international fraternity with the founding of Epsilon-Epsilon Zeta at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[9] Today the Fraternity is represented by three more Canadian chapters in addition to Epsilon-Epsilon: Epsilon-Rho Zeta at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Alberta); Iota-Iota Zeta at McGill University (Montreal, Quebec); and Delta-Eta Zeta at the University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario).[10]

Theta Kappa Nu

Theta Kappa Nu Fraternity was formed by the union of 11 well-established local fraternities on June 9, 1924 in Springfield, Missouri. The pinnacle of the Springfield Grand Chapter was the signing of the League and Covenant-the instrument that embodied the ideals of the various groups and would bind them together to form one organization. Those present at the founding meeting were asked to come forward and sign the document. Each delegate realized that the signature meant the end of his local fraternity. In silence each delegate present came forward, removed the badge of the local from over his heart, placed it on the table, and signed the League and Covenant. Theta Kappa Nu was born.

With the help of the National Interfraternity Conference in identifying local groups and Theta Kappa Nu's policy of granting charters quickly to organizations with good academic standards, the young national fraternity grew quickly, and boasted 2,500 initiates in 40 chapters by the close of 1926. This record expansion remains unequaled in the fraternity world.[11]

As the Great Depression was drawing to a close, many fraternities were struggling in terms of membership and finances. Theta Kappa Nu began seeing its chapters shut down for the first time in the early 1930s, and was forced to reduce fees in 1933 and again in 1935 to maintain its membership. Meanwhile, Lambda Chi Alpha had lost one third of its membership. In 1938 a merger committee was formed.[12]

In 1939, Lambda Chi Alpha merged with the Theta Kappa Nu Fraternity. The ceremony was held at the Howard College, now Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, chapter of Theta Kappa Nu, where the documents were signed. The merger increased the number of chapters from 77 to 105[13] (or 78 to 106)[14] and the number of members from 20,000 to 27,000. At the time, this was the largest merger in fraternity history.[13] All Theta Kappa Nu chapters became Lambda Chi Alpha chapters and were given chapter designations that began with either Theta, Kappa or Nu.[15] At schools where chapters of both fraternities previously existed, the two merged and retained Lambda Chi's Zeta recognition. For example, the University of California at Berkeley was home to a chapter of both and is still denoted Mu Zeta.

Associate Membership and Fraternity Education

Perhaps the most fundamental change which was made at this Assembly was the complete elimination of pledgeship, and the adoption of fraternity education to replace pledge education. ... We feel in fact that this action is one of the most significant changes by any fraternity in the past fifty years. — George W. Spasyk following the 1972 General Assembly

Fraternity Education

Beginning in August 1969, the concept of "fraternity education" replaced "pledge education."[16] The fraternity education program is designed to include all members of the chapter equally. The program of fraternity education should be designed to integrate the new member into the chapter as a whole, develop a standard of treatment that treats associate members and initiates completely equally, and should continue throughout a member's undergraduate years and throughout a member's life.[17]

Anti-hazing policies

Lambda Chi Alpha's first stance against hazing was in 1928 at a North-American Interfraternity Conference meeting when the fraternity condemned the practice. Today Lambda Chi Alpha prohibits hazing of any form, on or off campus, by any of its members. The fraternity's definition of hazing is broadly defined as "any action taken or situation created intentionally to produce physical discomfort or mental discomfort by embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule.”[18] Lambda Chi Alpha is one of the founding members of the Greek Anti-Hazing Hotline, 1-888-NOT-HAZE (1-888-668-4293).[19] The line is available to those who think they, or someone they know, have been or may become victims of hazing.

North American Food Drive

Year Pounds
1993 256,416
1994 415,000
1995 551,570
1996 835,588
1997 1,127,845
1998 1,900,000
1999 2,500,000
2000 2,800,000
2001 2,900,000
2002 2,938,000
2003 2,087,126
2004 2,938,012
2005 3,033,759
2006 2,320,155
2007 1,956,573[20]
2008 2,076,243[21]
2009 2,966,779[22]
2010 1,236,164[23] partial
Total 33,502,825[23]

“On November 6, 1993, Lambda Chi Alpha began a philanthropy project that has collected more than 27 million pounds of food for the needy across North America. Called the North American Food Drive, this annual event has become the largest single-day philanthropic project sponsored by a collegiate organization. Its success is so impressive that Lambda Chi Alpha became the first fraternity to receive the Summit Award from the American Society of Association Executives in 1995, an award presented annually to associations and companies nationwide as part of its Associations Advance America Awards Program.”[24] Lambda Chi Alpha won its second Advance America award in 2005.[25]

The Food Drive began as the "Pantry Raid" at Millsaps College in the early 1980s. Though the "Pantry Raid" was not the only food drive in Lambda Chi Alpha at the time, the general fraternity used it as a model for a fraternity wide philanthropy. The fraternity chose "Brothers Feeding Others" as its theme and began promoting a one day food drive. Though the initial goal for the first food drive was 100,000 pounds, it was far surpassed. 256,416 pounds of food were collected and donated to needy food banks. The philanthropy has continued to expand and grow yearly. The fraternity collected over 1 million pounds for the first time in 1997 and had its first 2 million pound year in 1999. In 2005 over 3 million pounds of food were collected.

"The North American Food Drive touches the lives of more and more community members each year. With an increased effort in helping those who are less fortunate, brothers continue to uphold the ideals of the Fraternity for all to see by making a difference for the needy in your community."[24]

Notable members

Since its founding in 1909, dozens of Lambda Chi Alpha members have gone on to fame and accomplishment in the fields of academia, acting, athletics, business, government, music, politics, science, and other fields.


Chapter locations

Chapters of Lambda Chi Alpha represent the fraternity in nearly all of the contiguous United States. Four of Canada's ten Provinces also are home to several chapters and/or colonies. In addition, Lambda Chi Alpha previously had a colony in Alaska, but that has since been disbanded.

Chapter naming

Most Fraternities and sororities in the U.S. name their chapters using the Greek alphabet. The order usually follows one of two patterns: one which names chapters alphabetically nationally, e.g., Alpha-Beta chapter; the other by state, e.g., Indiana-Alpha chapter. Lambda Chi Alpha is unique in its naming scheme. The order in which they are named is not alphabetical, but, rather, a variation on the Greek alphabet. Chapters of Lambda Chi Alpha are known as "Zetas". Thus, a member of Alpha-Beta chapter would say he was a member of Alpha-Beta Zeta.

At the fraternity's inception, the founder Warren Cole assigned Greek letters to petitioning groups that had not yet been chartered. Predictably, not all of these groups were chartered. As a result, the first seven chapters were designated: Α, Γ, Ε, Ζ, Ι, Λ, and Β, in that order. John E. Mason created a twenty-four word mnemonic device with words representing each Greek letter once — the first seven words were in the order that the chapters were already named.

A good energetic Zeta is Lambda's boast; ‘Strength from Delta Pi’, our motto, to each through union; excellent character only, knowing no retreating steps.

Therefore, the chapters are named in the order: Α, Γ, Ε, Ζ, Ι, Λ, Β, Σ, Φ, Δ, Π, Ο, Μ, Τ, Η, Θ, Υ, Ξ, Χ, Ω, Κ, Ν, Ρ, Ψ. After the twenty-fourth chapter, the sequence was continued with a prefix following the same sequence (Α-Α, Α-Γ, Α-Ε, ... Γ-Α, Γ-Γ, Γ-Ε, ... Ε-A, etc.)

When Theta Kappa Nu merged with Lambda Chi Alpha in 1939, a scheme was adopted to name the new chapters, and the original scheme was modified, as well. The former Theta Kappa Nu chapters were all given chapter designations prefixed with Θ, Κ, or Ν. The second letter of their chapter name was assigned in the order mentioned above and applied to the chapters in order of their precedence in Theta Kappa Nu. On twenty-one campuses, chapters of both Lambda Chi Alpha and Theta Kappa Nu existed. In those cases, the chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha kept its original designation, and the letter which would have been assigned to the chapter of Theta Kappa Nu was permanently retired.

A singular exception, the chapter at Georgia Tech, Β-Κ Zeta, was named in recognition of its existence as a chapter of the national fraternity Beta Kappa, whose other existing chapters merged with Theta Chi in 1942.[26]

Headquarters Locations

Lambda Chi Alpha's founding in Massachusetts in 1909 lead to the location of its first headquarters outside of Boston until after World War I. Later it was moved by members to Northeastern Pennsylvania and eventually to Indianapolis, Indiana, where many other Fraternity and Sorority national headquarters are located.[27]

Popular culture

The song Keg in the Closet was written by Kenny Chesney and Brett James, which recalls various details of college life in the late 1980s, including a beer keg which was hidden in the closet at Chesney's fraternity house, Lambda Chi Alpha. It is mentioned by name in the line:

"This old guitar taught me how to score... Right there on the Lambda Chi porch"

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c About Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, accessed April 22, 2010.
  2. ^ General Assembly 2006 — State of the Fraternity 2006, accessed 2006.
  3. ^ Lambda Chi Alpha — General Fraternity
  4. ^ History: Founding of Lambda Chi Alpha, accessed April 22, 2010.
  5. ^ Lambda Chi Alpha History Timeline: The Founding of Lambda Chi Alpha
  6. ^ Lambda Chi Alpha History Timeline: Gamma
  7. ^ Lambda Chi Alpha History Timeline: Epsilon
  8. ^ LCA: Sigma Zeta
  9. ^ Lambda Chi Alpha History Timeline
  10. ^ Lambda Chi Alpha Roster of Chapters
  11. ^ Lambda Chi Alpha History Timeline: Theta Kappa Nu
  12. ^ Lambda Chi Alpha History Timeline: The Union
  13. ^ a b Bly, Betsy K. (Ed.) (2005). The Paedagogus (50th ed.), p. 146. Indianapolis, Lambda Chi Alpha.
  14. ^ Bly, Betsy K. (Ed.) (2005). The Paedagogus (50th ed.), p. 11. Indianapolis, Lambda Chi Alpha.
  15. ^ Bly, Betsy K. (Ed.) (2005). The Paedagogus (50th ed.), p. 102. Indianapolis, Lambda Chi Alpha.
  16. ^ Bly, Betsy K. (Ed.) (2005). The Paedagogus (50th ed.), p. 147. Indianapolis, Lambda Chi Alpha.
  17. ^ Bly, Betsy K. (Ed.) (2005). The Paedagogus (50th ed.), p. 19-20,. Indianapolis, Lambda Chi Alpha.
  18. ^ Constitution and statutory code of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity Code VI-10
  19. ^
  20. ^ Brothers Feeding Others Cross & Crescent. December 2007. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
  21. ^ 2008 North American Food Drive Results Cross & Crescent. December 2008. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
  22. ^ North American Food Drive, 2010 November 6, 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
  23. ^ a b 2010 North American Food Drive Results Cross & Crescent. December 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-04.
  24. ^ a b Bly, Betsy K. (Ed.) (2005). The Paedagogus (50th ed.), p. 78. Indianapolis, Lambda Chi Alpha.
  25. ^ ASAE Announces 2005 Associations Advance America Award Winners, April 13, 2005.
  26. ^ Leonard, Edward F., George W. McDaniel, Charles S. Peyser (Eds.) (1987). Ritual: What and Why, p. 28. Indianapolis, Lambda Chi Alpha.
  27. ^ Lambda Chi Alpha Headquarters Locations Cross and Crescent, December 2005.
  28. ^ Location of Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters in Swansea, MA
  29. ^ Location of Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters in Kingston, PA
  30. ^ Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters location in Wilkes-Barre, PA
  31. ^ Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters location in Indianapolis, IN
  32. ^ Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters location in Indianapolis, IN
  33. ^ Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters location in Indianapolis, IN
  34. ^ Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters location in Indianapolis, IN
  35. ^ Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters location in Indianapolis, IN
  36. ^ Lambda Chi Alpha headquarters location in Indianapolis, IN

External links

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