Phi Kappa Psi

Phi Kappa Psi
Phi Kappa Psi
Phi Kappa Psi coat of arms.png
Founded February 19, 1852 (1852-02-19) (159 years ago)
Jefferson College
Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
Type Social
Scope  United States

Conjugati Amicitia,
Vindicate Honore,
Et Ducti Vero,
Vivimus et Vigemus.

United by friendship,
sustained by honor,
and led by truth,
We live and we flourish.
Maxim The great joy of serving others.
Member badge
Phi Kappa Psi member badge
Pledge pin
Phi Kappa Psi pledge pin

     Cardinal red

     Hunter green
Phi Kappa Psi's flag
Jacqueminot Rose
Publication The Shield (quarterly)
Philanthropy Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Chapters 101 active
Colonies 6
Members 4,754 collegiate
112,796 lifetime
Headquarters Indianapolis, Indiana 46226, USA

Phi Kappa Psi (ΦΚΨ, Phi Psi) is an American collegiate social fraternity founded at Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania on February 19, 1852.[3] There are over a hundred chapters and colonies at accredited four year colleges and universities throughout the United States.[2] More than 112,000 men have been initiated into Phi Kappa Psi since its founding.[2] Phi Kappa Psi and Phi Gamma Delta, both founded at the same college, form the Jefferson Duo.



In the Fall of 1850, a typhoid fever epidemic hit Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Many students left school. Among those who remained were William Henry Letterman and Charles Page Thomas Moore. They chose to care for their fellow classmates who were stricken with the contagious disease, and a strong bond was formed. In the following school year, Letterman and Moore decided to found a fraternity based on "the great joy of serving others" that they experienced during the epidemic. On February 19, 1852, Phi Kappa Psi was founded.

Executive Council

The Executive Council of Phi Kappa Psi is composed of the President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and 6 Archons.

Since 1886, Phi Kappa Psi has been controlled by undergraduates. This unique system of governance is achieved by a governing body, the Executive Council, which is made up of a majority of elected undergraduates. These undergraduates, known as Archons, represent the six Districts of Phi Kappa Psi, which divide the nation into roughly equal parts based on the number of chapters represented. Archons are elected during meetings of each District during Woodrow Wilson Leadership Schools, held during odd-numbered years. Four alumni also serve on the Executive Council and are elected at Grand Arch Councils, held during even-numbered years.

Grand Chapters

Phi Kappa Psi's first form of government centered around a Grand Chapter.[4] One chapter at a time was designated the Grand Chapter, and it was responsible for governing the national fraternity.[4][5] This lasted until 1886 when a new constitution changed to the current form of government.[6]

In 1992, Phi Kappa Psi began to award one exceptional chapter with the Grand Chapter Award. Its name is derived from the fraternity's first form of government. This award was initially granted biennially at Grand Arch Councils. 2001 marked the first time that this award was granted in an odd-numbered year, and it has been an annual award ever since.[7]

Grand Arch Councils

{{List of Phi Kappa Psi Grand Arch Councils}} The supreme governing body of Phi Kappa Psi is the Grand Arch Council (G.A.C.). The first convened in 1853, one year after the Fraternity's founding. They would then convene at an irregular schedule, until an entirely new form of government was ratified in 1886.[8] Beginning in 1888, nearly all G.A.C.s have been regularly scheduled, and have occurred biennially, with the sole exception being that the 1944 G.A.C. was cancelled due to World War II.[9]

The Order of the S.C.

The Order of the S.C., formed in 1920 at the Grand Arch Council held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is regarded by Phi Kappa Psi as a "fraternity within a fraternity". Entrance can only be gained by attending at least seven Grand Arch Councils and performing, to the satisfaction of the Order, one or more acts of benefit to the Fraternity. The Order meets every two years, during Phi Kappa Psi's biennial Grand Arch Council. The words which the initials "S.C." represent are held secret by its members, and there are currently more than one hundred living members of the Order who guard its traditions and carry out its work.


Phi Psi logo

The coat of arms as adopted in 1905 has a sable (black) field, but today it is most often seen as shown at the top of this page.

The fraternity flag is in the proportions of eight and one-half feet wide by six feet high; the colors are the official fraternity colors; the design is three vertical stripes of equal width, a hunter green in the middle, flanked on either side by a cardinal red stripe. A smaller version is available with proportions roughly three and one-half feet wide by two feet high.

Phi Kappa Psi Foundation

The Phi Kappa Psi Foundation was formed to aid, encourage, promote and contribute to the education and scholastic attainments of Phi Psis and other students across the country. Organized in 1914, the Phi Kappa Psi Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, public educational foundation. As such, the Foundation is the only charitable arm of Phi Kappa Psi entitling donors to a full tax deduction within the limits set by the Internal Revenue Code.

The Foundation provides funds for a variety of programs and services which assist college students in meeting their educational objectives through scholarships, grants, fellowships and assistantships, while promoting learning, high ethical standards and constructive citizenship. Today, the Foundation has assests of over $38,000,000, making it one of the largest fraternal foundations.


The mission of the Phi Kappa Psi Foundation is to foster the development of leaders and promote academic excellence in higher education.

The Foundation is governed by 15 Trustees who serve six year terms as volunteers, at their own cost. These individuals serve on committees that are responsible for planning and implementing investment and spending strategies as well as fundraising and donor cultivation efforts. They are also committed to the idea that Phi Psi's young members are the future of this nation and need every opportunity to succeed. The Trustees bring their considerable experience in business, investing, management, planning and public relations to their stewardship and support of the Foundation.


Phi Psi chapter house at Syracuse University

The Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity is composed of chapters and alumni associations, the former of which is the scope of this section. Each chapter is chartered to an individual host institution. These host institutions must be accredited four year degree granting colleges and universities in a state, province, territory, or federal district of Canada or the United States. To date, chapter charters have only been granted to groups at U.S. institutions.

When Phi Kappa Psi is extending to an institution that does not currently have a chapter, a probationary group called a "colony" is formed. After criteria are met, that colony receives its charter and becomes a chapter.

A chapter becomes inactive when it relinquishes its charter, or the charter is revoked by the fraternity.

Chapter naming convention

The chapter naming convention is composed of the top level subnational division of that chapter's host institution, and a Greek letter in alphabetical order from when the charter was originally issued. For example, the first Phi Psi chapter is from Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. The first letter in the Greek alphabet is Alpha. The chapter name is Pennsylvania Alpha. The second chapter was installed at the University of Virginia, so it is the Virginia Alpha chapter. The third chapter was installed at Washington & Lee University, in Virginia, so it is the Virginia Beta chapter. The George Washington University chapter is the only chapter ever chartered in the District of Columbia, so it is the District of Columbia Alpha chapter.

If borders change, the chapter name does not. Virginia Delta was chartered at Bethany College in 1859. After the Civil War, Bethany College was in West Virginia, but the chapter remained Virginia Delta.

Chapters are named based on when the charter is granted, not when it is installed. As a result, there have been rare instances when the chapter naming convention may not appear to be consistent with the charter dates. For example, four charters have been granted in Iowa. The second granted was the fourth installed, so Iowa Beta chartered after Iowa Gamma and Iowa Delta.


An active member of the fraternity is a full-time enrolled student at his chapter's host institution at the undergraduate, graduate, or post-graduate level; all others, including members who have graduated or transfer to a school without a Phi Psi chapter, are considered alumni.[10] Men may be initiated into Phi Kappa Psi either by an active chapter, or as part of a colony that is being installed as a chapter. Members typically join Phi Kappa Psi when a chapter extends an offer to enter into a probationary period known as pledgeship, which lasts for several weeks and concludes with initiation.

Membership is normally only granted to men who are enrolled as full-time students at a chapter's host institution.[10] There have been three exceptions to this:

1. Alumni of a colony which became a chapter after their graduation, and for two years after.
2. Men who have been of service to a chapter, but not students at the institution.
3. Honorary membership extended to men of prominence, a practice that was banned in 1885.[11]

See also


  1. ^ Gorgas 1952, pp. 126–127.
  2. ^ a b c Collinsworth 2010, p. 6.
  3. ^ Anson & Marchesani 1991, p. III 83.
  4. ^ a b Van Cleve 1902, p. 61.
  5. ^ Van Cleve 1902, p. 64.
  6. ^ Van Cleve 1902, p. 85.
  7. ^ Collinsworth, Shawn (2009). "2009 Woodrow Wilson Leadership School award winners" (pdf). Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. pp. 22–23. Retrieved May 9, 2010. 
  8. ^ Van Cleve 1902, p. 88.
  9. ^ Phi Kappa Psi 1997, pp. xii-xiii.
  10. ^ a b Harper 1989, p. 226.
  11. ^ Van Cleve 1902, p. 114.





External links

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