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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 Rebellion.

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 Hall.

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 Fraternity.

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 others.

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 fraternity.



The Kentucky Eta Chapter of Phi Delta Theta was founded May 7, 1996 by Bill Hatter.



The Fraternity 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.

The fraternity 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.

Membership in 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.



The 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.

Every member 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 Phikeia Button
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 Coat of Arms
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
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 Fraternity Flag
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.

Fraternity 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 was chartered.

Fraternity Seal
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.

Legion Buttons and Charms
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 side.

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 Phi.

The Diamond 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
The Alumnus Charm is of the same design as the pledge button, except that the Greek letters FDQ replace the word FIKeIa.

The Recognition Button
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.

Pallas 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.

The Badge of Mourning
Adopted in 1872, the badge of mourning consists of black and white crepe worn under the badge.


"International History", "Phi Delta Theta Today" and "Listing and Description of Insignia and Symbols" are from the Phi Delta Theta International Headquarters web site at

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