Delta Phi

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Delta Phi (St. Elmo Hall)
FoundedNovember 17, 1827; 193 years ago (1827-11-17)
Union College
Motto"Semper Ubique"
ColorsColumbia Blue and White
SymbolThe Maltese Cross
Patron saintSt. Elmo
Chapters11 active chapters
NicknameSt. Elmo Club / St. Elmo Hall
HeadquartersP.O. Box 4633
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Delta Phi (ΔΦ) is a fraternity founded in 1827 at Union College in Schenectady, New York. Along with the Kappa Alpha Society and Sigma Phi Society, Delta Phi was the third and last member of the Union Triad.


Delta Phi and the other fraternities of the Union Triad were established during a time of strong anti-Masonic sentiment in the United States. Because fraternities were secret societies at the time, they also became targets of the anti-Masonic movement. This led Phi Beta Kappa, the original fraternity, to abandon secrecy and become an honor society.

In the early 1830s, Dr. Eliphalet Nott, president of Union College, called for the dissolution of all fraternities. Before this policy could be enacted, John Jay Hyde, a member of Delta Phi, argued the benefits of the fraternity system so convincingly that Nott relented and permitted the organizations to remain in existence. Hyde went on to design the badge still worn by members of Delta Phi, which includes a Maltese Cross, a symbol used by the Knights of Malta.

This connection to the Knights of Malta led Delta Phi to become known as "The St. Elmo Club", a name first used by the Omicron chapter at Yale University, which since has transformed into a senior secret society known as St. Elmo Society. The brothers there used the name of St. Elmo, the patron saint of mariners and the Knights of Malta. Some of Delta Phi's chapter houses are also known as "St. Elmo Hall".

Delta Phi today[edit]

Delta Phi Badge.jpg

Delta Phi remains a small fraternity with eleven active chapters and few chapters with more than a couple dozen members. It has resisted expansion in order to create an "intimate, personal experience"[1] for its members. The fraternity's current expansion policy is to reactivate dormant chapters.[1] As a member of the Union Triad, Delta Phi is the third oldest fraternity and the oldest continuous fraternity in the United States.

Governance and organization[edit]

Owing mostly to its development in the early 19th century, Delta Phi organizes itself federally. Individual alumni chapters still exercise significant power over chapter governance. Those powers that are given in the national organization are vested in the Board of Governors.[2] The board consists of one member appointed from each alumni chapter plus two undergraduate representatives elected at the annual leadership conference the fraternity sponsors.[2] Among the duties given to the board is hiring the Executive Director who oversees day-to-day management of the fraternity.[2]

In addition to the national governing organization of the fraternity, Delta Phi alumni have also established the Saint Elmo Foundation which, among other things, sponsors the annual leadership weekend and provides scholarships to undergraduate members of Delta Phi.[3]

Alumni membership[edit]

Overall alumni participation among active chapters remains strong, with chapters hosting several social events throughout the year.[4][5]

On or around November 17 of every year, the national organization sponsors the Founder's Day Dinner at the Saint Elmo Club where undergraduates and alumni celebrate the founding of the fraternity.[6]



Active chapters[edit]

There are 11 active chapters of Delta Phi.[7]

[*] An active fraternity that is no longer affiliated with the national organization

Inactive chapters[edit]

There are 16 inactive chapters of Delta Phi, including the Alpha Chapter.[14]

[*] Omicron Chapter dissociated with Delta Phi and is now known as the St. Elmo Society at Yale.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b Delta Phi Fraternity Archived December 15, 2010, at WebCite
  2. ^ a b c Delta Phi Fraternity Archived December 15, 2010, at WebCite
  3. ^ Archived February 8, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 15, 2010. Retrieved 2008-06-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Delta Phi at Cornell - Calendar of Events Archived December 15, 2010, at WebCite
  6. ^ Delta Phi Fraternity Archived December 15, 2010, at WebCite
  7. ^ "Active Chapters - Delta Phi Fraternity".
  8. ^ Epsilon Archived 2008-10-09 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Eta". Archived from the original on 2016-05-26. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  10. ^ Lambda
  11. ^ Chi
  12. ^ Omega
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^ "Inactive Chapters - Delta Phi Fraternity".
  15. ^ [2]
  16. ^ "Llenroc – at Cornell University". Retrieved 2020-12-26.
  17. ^ "The Undergraduate Record: Columbia College. A Book of Statistical Information". 1881. Retrieved September 14, 2019.
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^

External links[edit]