Phi Delta Theta Seal
Phi Delta Theta (ΦΔΘ), also known as Phi Delt or the Phis, is an international social fraternity founded at Miami University in 1848 and headquartered in Oxford, Ohio. Phi Delta Theta, along with Beta Theta Pi and Sigma Chi form the Miami Triad. The fraternity has about 185 active chapters and colonies in over 43 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces and has initiated more than 251,000 men between 1848 and 2014. There are over 142,000 living alumni. Chartered house corporations own more than 120 houses valued at $80 million. There are nearly 100 recognized alumni clubs across the U.S. and Canada.
The fraternity was founded by six undergraduate students: Robert Morrison, John McMillan Wilson, Robert Thompson Drake, John Wolfe Lindley, Ardivan Walker Rodgers, and Andrew Watts Rogers, who are collectively known as The Immortal Six. Phi Delta Theta was created under three principal objectives: “the cultivation of friendship among its members, the acquirement individually of a high degree of mental culture, and the attainment personally of a high standard of morality”. These cardinal principles are contained in The Bond of Phi Delta Theta, the document to which each member pledges on his initiation into the fraternity.
Among the most well-known members of the fraternity are Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd President of the United States, Adlai Stevenson I, the 23rd Vice President of the United States, Baseball Hall of Fame member Lou Gehrig, actor Burt Reynolds, architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.
Phi Delta Theta Badge
History — Founding
In 1839, Beta Theta Pi was founded at Miami University in Ohio. In protest against the president of the university, members of Beta Theta Pi and another fraternity, Alpha Delta Phi, blocked the entrances of the main educational and administrative building in what became known as the Great Snowball Rebellion of 1848.
After the president expelled most of the students involved in the uprising, Phi Delta Theta was formed by six men staying in a dormitory the day after Christmas. Robert Morrison, a senior, proposed to classmate John McMillan Wilson that they form a secret society together; the two subsequently invited juniors Robert Thompson Drake and John Wolfe Lindley and sophomores Ardivan Walker Rodgers and Andrew Watts Rogers to join them. These men are known today as “The Immortal Six.” The first meeting was held in Wilson’s room at Old North Hall, now called Elliott Hall.
During the early meetings, the Founders wrote The Bond of Phi Delta Theta, which is the fundamental law of the fraternity. It has remained unchanged ever since, and it is believed to be the only document of any fraternity of such a nature. Morrison designed the shield form of the badge, with the eye as an emblem, while Wilson suggested the scroll with the Greek letters on it. The first branch of Phi Delta Theta was founded at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1848. Fearing punishment from the university, the activities of the fraternity were sub rosa for its first three years of existence. Phi Delta Theta also took an unusual step, unique among all fraternities, of splitting into two chapters at both Miami and Centre College, so their meetings would be smaller and attract less attention. Eventually, as the organization attracted new individuals into their membership including prominent university officials, members began to openly wear their badges indicating their affiliation.
Phi Delta Theta Logo
History — Early Years
Phi Delta Theta held its first convention in 1851 in Cincinnati, Ohio when the organization had only four chapters. The event was attended by seven members. Despite the limited number, positive steps were taken for the establishment of new chapters by forming an expansion committee. It was also during the first convention where the chapter at Miami University was designated as the Grand Chapter whose duties were to oversee the overall fraternity operations. Subsequent conventions were held again in Cincinnati five years later; Bloomington, Indiana in 1858; and Danville, Kentucky in 1860. Another convention was held in 1864 in Bloomington during the American Civil War. The Civil War was difficult for all fraternities. Battles put fraternity brother against fraternity brother. Fifty Phis fought on the side of the Confederacy while 231 Phis fought for the Union Army.
It was not until the 1868 Indianapolis convention that the first steps in the creation of an overall administration took place. The convention was regarded as the first “National Convention” as permanent convention rules were adopted during this time. Twelve years later, the most important of all Phi Delta Theta conventions took place. The Indianapolis Convention of 1880 established new ritual, insignia, and customs that are still used today. Moreover, the convention saw the creation of the General Council, the governing body of the fraternity, with Walter B. Palmer, Emory-Vanderbilt 1877, and George Banta, Franklin-Indiana 1876, becoming the president and historian, respectively. The convention also called for the organization of groups of chapters into provinces, which were to be headed by province presidents.
A housing movement began to form during this time. The movement arose out of necessity because it was pointed out that chapter meetings were being conducted in rented halls. Even though the housing movement had been gaining momentum, it was not until the 1892 convention that a resolution was passed that advocated that all chapters rent or own at least one house. In the last two decades of the 19th century, over 50 chapter houses were acquired.
For a brief period a resolution was set forth to allow chapters to initiate women. First proposed in 1869, this was considered a radical idea both from a fraternal standpoint and social one as well since women were not allowed to vote until 1920. Although it was met with strong opposition, the issue would not be settled for several years.
During the two decades from 1870 to 1890, the growth of the fraternity was rapid, due principally to the efforts of Palmer and Banta. The two were given the title “Second Founders” for their work. In the 1870s alone, 34 new chapters were established, but this was also a period of uncertainty because of the anti-fraternity sentiment held by many faculty in schools where Phi Delta Theta had chapters. Several chapters became dormant because of this. The fraternity continued steady growth, and by 1889, there were 66 chapters in 27 states.
— Read More History on Phi Delta Theta on Wikipedia
Phi Delta Theta (ΦΔΘ)
- Founded On: December 26th, 1848 – Miami University, Oxford, OH
- Type: Social/Secret Fraternity
- Colors: Azure and Argent
- Flower: White Carnation
- Nicknames: Phi-Deltas-Phi-Delts
- Chapters: 185 Chapters
- Website: www.phideltatheta.org
- Motto: Ένας άνθρωπος είναι κανένα άτομο — “One Man is No Man”