Pi Kappa Phi

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Pi Kappa Phi
Pi Kappa Phi crest.svg
Founded December 10, 1904; 109 years ago (1904-12-10)
College of Charleston
Type Social, Secret
Scope United States
Mission statement We Will Lead – Leaders by choice
Vision statement Pi Kappa Phi will redefine fraternity as a lifelong brotherhood of leaders
"Nothing shall ever tear us asunder"
Colors White, Gold, Royal Blue             
Symbol Bell, Star & Lamp
Flower Red Rose
Jewel Diamond
Publication The Star and Lamp
Philanthropy Push America
Chapters 178[1]
Colonies 16[2]
Members 9,892 [1] collegiate
113,148 [1] lifetime
Headquarters 2015 Ayrsley Town Blvd Ste 200
P.O. Box 240526

Charlotte, North Carolina 28224
Homepage http://www.pikapp.org/

Pi Kappa Phi (ΠΚΦ; also Pi Kapp) is an American Greek Letter secret and social fraternity. It was founded by Andrew Alexander Kroeg Jr., Lawrence Harry Mixson, and Simon Fogarty Jr. on December 10, 1904 at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. The fraternity presently has 178 active chapters (162 chartered chapters and 16 associate chapters),[1][2] an average chapter size of 55, and more than 113,000 initiated members.[1][3]

Pi Kappa Phi operates its own philanthropy, Push America, which works with individual chapters to serve people with disabilities. Push America hosts a number of national events including Journey of Hope, a 4,100-mile bicycle ride across the United States, and Build America, a traveling construction team around the U.S. to camps that help children with disabilities. Both raise money and awareness for people with disabilities.[4]


Nu Phi[edit]

In 1904, the College of Charleston was a small, municipal college. The all-male college was the first to be supported solely by city funds, and the eleventh oldest in the United States[citation needed]. In 1897, the college saw the creation of its athletic program, and by 1904, the basketball, football and baseball programs were a popular entertainment outlet. There was also a thriving campus literary society called the Chrestomathics, which allowed students to expand their education. Activities included debating ideas and issues of the times. The college's monthly magazine was staffed by the officers of the Chrestomathics, forming the equivalent of a modern day student government.

In 1904, Andrew Alexander Kroeg Jr. was a 19-year-old senior at the college. His father was an insurance salesman who owned a business on Broad Street in Charleston, South Carolina. Simon Fogarty Jr., a 17-year-old junior, was a friend of Kroeg. Fogarty, the son of a Charleston grocer, lived down the street from Kroeg and was a member of the college's baseball, basketball and football teams. Lawrence Harry Mixson was a 16-year-old sophomore and close childhood friend to Fogarty. Mixson was also on all three of the college's athletic teams. "Harry" had been destined to work for his father in Charleston at the family's successful seed business.

At this time, students at the college were known to be extremely competitive in their endeavors in and out of the classroom. The three friends were no exception to this and set a goal to obtain officer positions within the Chrestomathic Literary Society. In 1904, there were only three chapters of national fraternities on campus and the organizations developed a slate of candidates. All fraternity men were sworn to vote for these candidates, making it virtually impossible for any non-fraternity men to win election.

Kroeg, Mixson, Fogarty, and a group of their friends, all non-fraternity men, were angered by the move and knew they had no chance of election unless an opposition party was formed. Several meetings were held at Mixson's home on Wentworth Street leading to the formation of "Nu Phi", which stood for non-fraternity. The group of 15 men developed an opposing slate and began campaigning.

The group adopted the outline of a hand as its secret symbol. A sketched hand on a classroom chalkboard signified an upcoming meeting. Inside the hand was written the meeting time and the host's last name.

The society elections were heated. The Nu Phis even assigned a member to kidnap those who might vote for the fraternity ticket on election day. However, the Nu Phi ticket was not victorious in the elections. Later, it was revealed that several disloyal members cast their votes for the opposing fraternity slate. Kroeg, determined to see his friends have a chance at winning elections, decided that the only way to gain the influence of the fraternity men on campus was to begin his own fraternity.[5]

Andrew Alexander Kroeg, Jr.
90 Broad St., Charleston, SC


On December 10, 1904, a meeting of the loyal Nu Phis was held at Fogarty's home at 90 Broad Street to establish a new fraternity. There were seven men in attendance at the meeting: Kroeg, Fogarty, Mixson, Anthony Pelzer Wagener, Thomas F. Mosimann, Theodore ("Teddy") Barnwell Kelley, and James Fogarty (Simon's younger brother). All of the original members were students at the college and had grown up together in Charleston.[5]

Wagener was a scholar of Greek and Latin who would go on to teach Greek and Latin at William and Mary. It was he that recommended the letters Pi Kappa Phi and their secret meaning as the official new name of the group. At that first meeting, Harry Mixson wrote out the first minutes of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity in dark green ink.[5]

Because there were so many civic and honorary organizations in the city of Charleston, a visit to a local jeweler offered a great variety of possible fraternity badges from which to choose. Simon was the one who proposed the design of the fraternity's pin. In his words: "...a plain, diamond-shaped block of black enamel, bearing across its short diagonal an arched raised band of gold with scrolled edges projecting beyond the body of the pin. On this band were engraved, in black enamel, the Greek letters of ΠΚΦ. Engraved in gold on the body of the pin, above and below the band respectively, were the figures of a star and student's lamp." Kroeg was selected as the new chapter's first Archon, a term taken from the title of a chief magistrate in ancient Greece. He then began work on a constitution for chapter. The group quickly set out to recruit new members to its ranks. Although H. Klugh Purdy is pictured with the original founders in the first group picture, he did not join until February 1905.[5]

On December 10, 1905, the first anniversary of the fraternity's founding, Mixson's mother cooked the men a special dinner in her home to celebrate a successful first year as a fraternity. Today, chapters of Pi Kappa Phi celebrate "Founders Day" with a dinner or a similar ceremony marking the achievements of the founding fathers. Harry Mixson and Pelzer Wagener penned the fraternity's initiation ritual in 1906. The two men had attended historic St. John's Lutheran Church growing up. Fogarty added a Roman Catholic influence, and the ritual was developed in the "highest ideals of Christian manhood" (although it does not exclude men of other religions). Henry Patrick Wagener, Pelzer Wagener's younger brother, was the first member initiated by means of the ritual on March 24, 1906.[5]


That same year, the group was offered a charter from another U.S. fraternity. Instead, they chose to expand and create more Pi Kappa Phi chapters. The founders of Pi Kappa Phi had made many friends in the upstate of South Carolina at Presbyterian College through sports and other activities. Working off of those contacts, Kroeg was able to create interest in the formation of a second chapter. Alpha Chapter in Charleston, officially granted a charter for Beta Chapter at Presbyterian College on March 9, 1907. Due to a state law banning fraternities at state supported schools, Presbyterian College and the College of Charleston were the only two South Carolina schools where fraternities were allowed.

It was at this time that Teddy Kelley had moved to California to attend the University of California, Berkeley. There, he was able to stir interest in Pi Kappa Phi and the men of Charleston granted a long distance charter to the Gamma Chapter (the "Bastard Chapter"). This was an important charter for the fraternity, as it readily established Pi Kappa Phi as a national fraternity. Gamma was also the first chapter to obtain a house.

At this point, Kroeg was studying law at the College of Charleston. Seeing the need for the fraternity to protect its name and existence, Kroeg developed "Articles of Incorporation" and the name Pi Kappa Phi became legally registered in the state of South Carolina on December 23, 1907.

The interest in Pi Kappa Phi within South Carolina was growing despite laws and policies banning fraternities. In 1909, Delta Chapter at Furman University formed and operated sub rosa (in secret) until state laws changed, allowing fraternal organizations. In 1910, a charter was granted to Sigma Chapter at the University of South Carolina and the chapter was operated as the Sigma Club due to the laws banning fraternities.[5]

Psi Chapter at Cornell University was founded on November 24, 1921. Psi Chapter is very significant to the history of Pi Kappa Phi, as it was the first chapter to be founded in the northern United States, thus redefining Pi Kappa Phi as more than a purely southern fraternity.

Coat of Arms[edit]

In 1909, the fraternity developed its first coat of arms. Originally, the coat of arms had only two stars, and a student's lamp below the chevron. Instead of a lamp and book, the original crest was a hand, holding a red rose. The first motto was the Latin: Nil Separabit, meaning "Nothing shall separate us". It was coined by Teddy Kelley, the founder of the famous Gamma Chapter. (The original motto appeared on three equal sections of the scroll as Nil Separ Abit, without hyphenation.)

The coat of arms was modified many times in the early years as historical symbols of Charleston were incorporated. The current coat of arms is much different from the original. A third star and the swords were added, first turned downward, later upward. The lamp was moved to the crest and the motto was changed to the Ancient Greek: οὐδέν διάσπασει ἡμᾶς (Oudén diáspasei hēmás) “Nothing shall ever tear us asunder”.[5][6]

The Star and Lamp[edit]

With a national fraternity, the founders realized the need for open communication between chapters, particularly with Gamma Chapter. The Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity Journal was begun in 1909, with Henry Wagener as editor. In 1911, the fraternity would change the name of its official publication to the Star & Lamp, a name which endures to this day.[5] The Star & Lamp has received numerous awards from the Fraternity Communications Association (FCA), formerly known as the College Fraternity Editors Association (CFEA). In 2005, in addition to winning several awards for design and content, the Star & Lamp was honored by the CFEA with two special awards: the "Fred F. Yoder Award for Overall Excellence", for the most outstanding magazine of a college fraternal organization; and the "Banta Scholarship for Total Communications".[7]


In the membership education process of all Pi Kappa Phi (Pi Kapps), one of the more commonly stressed notions is that a Pi Kapp is a man of C.L.A.S.S., which stands for: Character, Leadership, Achievement, Scholarship, and Service.[8]

It is these ideals that the national organization and individual chapters strive to attain throughout the recruitment and new member education processes, as well as lifelong objectives of every brother. The national organization adapted this acronym from the original version developed in 1991 by Todd Kline of the Eta Gamma Chapter in Boulder, Colorado. That chapter still recognizes the original acronym which stands for Chivalry, Loyalty, Accountability, Scholarship, and Sportsmanship.[8]



The Omicron chapter at the University of Alabama

Pi Kappa Phi currently reports having over 113,000 members.[1] Pi Kappa Phi has granted 232 charters in 41 states and the District of Columbia. There are currently 160 active chartered chapters plus 16 associate chapters (colonies). Of those associate chapters, 10 are reviving previously inactive charters, and six represent expansion into new territories.[1][2]


  • Sheetz, George; Leake, Howard; Buffington, Perry; Timmes, Mark; Owen, Durward; de Palma, Leonard (2004). The Brotherhood: History of Pi Kappa Phi (1904-2004). Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. 
  • Erickson, Evan; Sullivan, TJ (2002). The White Diamond of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity: A Guide to Brotherhood. Charlotte, North Carolina: Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. 
  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Basic Information: By the numbers". Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. Retrieved 4 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Chapter Locator". Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. Retrieved 18 February 2013. ; as revised/updated by: "Expansion Calendar". Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. Retrieved 18 February 2013. 
  3. ^ "Pi Kapp Facts". Archived from the original on 20 August 2009. 
  4. ^ "Journey of hope". Push America. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Non fraternity". Pi Kappa Phi. Archived from the original on 2008-10-30. Retrieved 2007-12-17. 
  6. ^ οὐδείς in Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert (1940) A Greek–English Lexicon, revised and augmented throughout by Jones, Sir Henry Stuart, with the assistance of McKenzie, Roderick. Oxford: Clarendon Press. In the Perseus Digital Library, Tufts University. Also διάσπασις in Liddell and Scott, and ἐγώ in Liddell and Scott.
  7. ^ "2005 CFEA Award Winners". College Fraternity Editors Association. Archived from the original on 20 August 2008. Retrieved 04 June 2008. 
  8. ^ a b "C.L.A.S.S.". Pi Kappa Phi. Retrieved 8 March 2013. 

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