March 15 was not a good day for Julius Caesar, but it is a red-letter day for celebrating the founding of five Greek-letter organizations (GLOs). These GLOs are Delta Gamma, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Sigma Kappa, Phi Lambda Chi, and Omega Phi Beta.
Phi Sigma Kappa was founded on March 15, 1873 at the Massachusetts Agricultural College, now known as the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The college was one of the first established under the provisions of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act of 1862. It is the only GLO founded at UMass.
Although the college was officially established on April 29, 1863, the first students, all men, did not arrive until the fall of 1867. In 1875, the first female student was admitted on a part-time basis; it was another 17 years before the first full-time female student was admitted.
By 1873, there were two local fraternities at the college. Six sophomores, led by Henry Hague, sought to form an organization of their own. They met in Old North Hall to create a society to “promote morality, learning and social culture.” Phi Sig’s other founders are Jabez William Clay, Joseph Francis Barrett, Xenos Young Clark, Frederick George Campbell, and William Penn Brooks.
When the six met on March 15, 1873, Hague had a ritual prepared and Brooks had worked up a constitution and symbolism. Clay was elected president. For its first five years, the fraternity had no name, although it had three cryptic characters. Brooks later recalled that outsiders referred to them as “T, double T, T upside-down.”
In 1878, Phi Sigma Kappa was adopted as the name of the fraternity and its Grand Chapter was organized. It was not until 1888 that the Beta chapter was established at Union College in New York. It was quickly followed the next year with the establishment of a chapter at Cornell University.
On August 14, 1985, Phi Sigma Epsilon, a fraternity founded in 1910 at Kansas State Teacher’s College in Emporia, Kansas (now Emporia State University), officially merged. The Phi Sigma Epsilon members became members of Phi Sigma Kappa.
Happy 25th Birthday to Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated! The sorority was founded on March 15, 1989 at SUNY-Albany. Its founders are 17 women from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The founders are: Saida Abrego (Salvadoran); Ileana Adorno (Puerto Rican); Ana E. Almonte (Dominican); T. Lisa Auson (Chinese/Dominican); Bevene B. Bablington (Jamaican); Brunilda Y. Cruz (Puerto Rican); Sarah Delgado (Ecuadorian/Puerto Rican); Nancy Diaz (Dominican); Frances Echevarria (Puerto Rican); Annette A. Ettrick (Panamanian); Lissette Jorge (Dominican); Samantha P. Lopez (Uruguayan); Renee Padilla (Puerto Rican); Grace Rivera (Puerto Rican); Silvia Toledo (Ecuadorian); Michelle Vasquez (Puerto Rican); and Jane M. Vega (Irish/Puerto Rican).
Community service and sisterhood are cornerstones of the organization. The organization’s motto is “Sirviendo y Educando a Traves de Nuestra Diversidad/Serving and Educating Through Our Diversity.” A celebratory convention is currently underway in Miami, Florida.
Phi Lambda Chi was founded on March 15, 1925 at Arkansas State Teachers College (now University of Central Arkansas) in Conway. It began as a local fraternity for high school students and its name was originally the Aztecs. In 1928, the college allowed the fraternities to adopt Greek-letter names and in 1930, the Aztecs became Phi Lambda Chi.
The founders of Phi Lambda Chi are Robert L. Taylor, Robert Clark, Wendell Collums, Grant Collar, William Huddleston, Howard Perrin, Louis Moles, Marvin Crittenden, Jeff Shemwell, Doyle Patton, Lester Adair, and Evan Douglas.
The previous post has information about March 15 being the date on which both Delta Gamma and Phi Delta Theta celebrate Founders’ Day, so scroll down a little to read about their foundings.
© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. All Rights Reserved.