HISTORY | LOCAL HISTORY | PHI
DELTA THETA TODAY | SYMBOLS
The first Greek
letter organization was Phi Beta Kappa, founded Dec. 5, 1776 at
the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. 63 years
later, Beta Theta Pi was founded at Miami University in Ohio. In
protest against the president of the university, members of Beta
Theta Pi and other students blocked the entrances of the main educational
and administrative building in what became known as the Great Snow
A year later,
after the president expelled most of the students involved in the
uprising, Phi Delta Theta was formed. Six men staying in a dormatory
the day after Christmas formed the Greek-letter society. Robert
Morrison, a senior, proposed to fellow classmate John McMillan Wilson
they bond together to form a secret society. They invited juniors
Robert Thompson Drake and John Wolfe Lindley; sophomores Ardivan
Walker Rodgers and Andrew Watts Rogers into the fold. The first
meeting was held in Wilson's at Old North Hall, now called Elliot
During the early
meetings, the founders wrote The Bond of Phi Delta Theta, which
is the fundemental law of the Fraternity. It has remained unchanged
ever since. The Founders also designed the badge, consisting of
a shield, eye and scroll with the Greek letters on it.
Beta Theta Pi,
Phi Delta Theta and Sigma Chi were the first three fraternities
founded at Miami University, so they are known as the Miami Triad.
The first branch
of Phi Delta Theta was founded at Indiana University in 1849. The
Indiana Chapter has the longest continuous existence of any in the
The War Between
the States was difficult for all fraternities. Battles put fraternity
brother against fraternity brother, although fraternal bonds may
have led to the release of many prisoners or better treatment for
During the two
decades from 1870 to 1890, the growth of the Fraternity was very
rapid, due principally to the efforts of Walter B. Palmer, Emory-Vanderbilt
1877, and George Banta, Franklin-Indiana 1876. The two were given
the title Second Founders for their work.
Phi Delta Theta
is known as an international fraternity. The first Phi Delta Theta
chapter in Canada was installed at McGill University April 5, 1902.
Phi Delta Theta now boast 12 Canadian chapters, more than any other
Eta Chapter of Phi Delta Theta was founded May 7, 1996 by Bill Hatter.
DELTA THETA TODAY
now has more than 180 chapters in 43 states and six Canadian provinces.
The Fraternity has initiated nearly 190,000 men since 1848. More
than 120 houses valued at $50 million are owned by chartered house
corporations. There are nearly 70 recognized alumni clubs across
the U.S. and Canada. The Fraternity operates from the General Headquarters
building on South Campus Avenue, across from Miami University in
Oxford, Ohio. At the corner of the campus closest to headquarters,
memorial gates were erected in honor of the Fraternity's 150th anniversary.
The men of Phi
Delta Theta share a commitment--to the intense bond of friendship
between brothers, high academic achievement, and living life with
integrity. A Phi Delt has high expectations of, and for, himself
and his brothers. He believes that one man is no man.
teaches men that these areas of commitment, those outlined in The
Bond of Phi Delta Theta, are not to be viewed as separate ideals,
but as areas of discipline for daily life. Development intellectually,
in leadership, and human service (to name a few) are vital to the
Phi Delt. The Phi Delt will support, and in turn have the support
of, his brothers as these principles are lived out.
Phi Delta Theta goes beyond belonging to a social organization.
The men of Phi Delta Theta tell of the tremendous support that exists
between brothers and how, during their college years, they developed
self-confidence, leadership qualities, and a belief in the strength
of their abilities. They believe their lifetime commitment to the
fraternity is one of the most important commitments they ever made.
AND DESCRIPTIONS OF INSIGNIA & SYMBOLS
Phi Delta Theta Badge
The Phi Delta Theta badge was first made in 1849. It consisted of
a flat gold shield with a scroll in the lower part bearing the Greek
letters FDQ, and an eye in the upper portion. Beginning in 1866,
a sword attached to the shield was commonly worn, but the attachment
was not officially a part of the badge until it was formally adopted
by the Convention of 1871. The badge, except as to size and ornamentation,
has not been changed since then.
The badge is
made of gold or platinum, and consists of a shield, with a scroll
bearing the letters of Phi Delta Theta over the fesse and nonbril
points, an eye over the honor point, and a sword attached by a chain
from the sinister chief point to the hilt. The badge may be jeweled,
and the scroll may be enameled in white and the eye in black. The
sword shall always be worn with the shield, and both may be made
in one piece.
shall wear the badge at all times appropriate. The proper place
for it is over the heart rather than on the coat lapel. The code
provides that only initiated members of the Fraternity, their mothers,
wives, daughters, sisters, or fiancˇes should wear the badge.
The first Phikeia button was adopted in 1894 and was the first pledge
button to be used by any fraternity. The present badge pin was designed
in 1900. It is a square with rounded corners with a white diagonal
bar across it bearing the Greek word FIKeIa. Above and below the
bars are two blue fields with three gold stars in each field.
The present coat of arms was adopted in 1898. The shield is blue
with a diagonal silver bar bearing a gold sword and three silver
stars above and below the bar; a gold helmet with closed visor;
mantling of blue and silver; the crest; a right arm, armored, hurling
a javelin; the open motto on a riband below the shield.
The open motto, EIV avnp oudeIV avnp (Eis aner oudeis aner), was
adopted in 1880 and means literally, "One man is no man," or more
freely interpreted, "We enjoy life by the help and society of others."
The Fraternity colors, azure and argent (heraldic terms for blue
and white), were chosen in 1871.
The flag was first used in 1889 and consisted of three white stars
on a blue field. Its present form was adopted in 1896. It consists
of three vertical bards of equal width; each of the outer bars is
charged with three white five-pointed stars; the middle bar is charged
with the letters of FDQ in blue, reading downward; the width of
the flag is two-thirds the length.
and Chapter Banners
The Fraternity banner was first printed on the cover of The Scroll
in 1884. The form now in use, adopted in 1896, is triangular, and
bears across the body of the word "Miami" over the figures "1848,"
with a F in the upper left, D in the lower corner, and a Q in the
upper right. The body is blue; the lettering is gold. The standard
bar, cord, and tassels are silvered. The chapter banner is of the
same design as the Fraternity banner except that "Miami" and "1848"
are substituted with the name or initials of the college or university
where the chapter was established and the year in which the chapter
Adopted in 1898, the seal consists of the escutcheon of the coat
of arms with the legend: "Great Seal of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity,"
and the figures "1848" in a circle around it.
The white carnation was adopted as the Fraternity flower in 1891.
The Silver Legion recognition button consists of the coat of arms
in silver, above which are displayed the words "Silver Legion" and
the number "25." Similarly, the Golden Legion button is gold, diamond
in shape, and displays the coat of arms with a "5" and "0" to either
Every five years
after the Golden Legion anniversary, an alumnus receives a charm
recognizing the number of years he has been a Phi. The charm, which
attaches to the Golden Legion button, is in the shape of an owl
and displays FDQ and the number of years the alumnus has been a
Legion charm is like the other charms, but is gold and displays
the number "75." The Diamond Legion was established in 1992 and
honors those men who have been Phis for 75 years or more.
The Alumnus Charm is of the same design as the pledge button, except
that the Greek letters FDQ replace the word FIKeIa.
A small gold, silver, or platinum button in the form of a coat of
arms is the badge of recognition. It is used to recognize undergraduates
or alumni who have achieved something exceptional for the Fraternity.
and Her Owl
Pallas Athena, the Ancient GreekÕs goddess of wisdom, is the
tutelary goddess of Phi Delta Theta. The owl, which the Greeks
regarded as sacred to her, is a symbol of the Fraternity.
Adopted in 1872, the badge of mourning consists of black and white
crepe worn under the badge.
History", "Phi Delta Theta Today" and "Listing
and Description of Insignia and Symbols" are from the Phi Delta
Theta International Headquarters web site at www.phideltatheta.org