Delta Phi Epsilon (professional)

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This article is about the professional fraternity and sorority. For the social sorority, see Delta Phi Epsilon (social).
Delta Phi Epsilon
Delta Phi Epsilon crest.png
Founded January 25, 1920
Georgetown University
Type Professional
Emphasis Foreign service
Scope National
Motto λατρεύω (Latreuo)
Greek: I Serve
Colors Black and Gold
Flower Morning glory
Chartered Washington, D.C
Chapters 7 active
Headquarters Post Office Box 25401
Washington, D.C. (202) 337-9702

Delta Phi Epsilon (ΔΦΕ) is the only national professional foreign service fraternity. Founded at Georgetown University on January 25, 1920, the society's mission is to promote good fellowship and brotherhood among persons studying or engaged in foreign service. The Alpha chapter went on to colonize at many other universities throughout the country in the first half of the twentieth century. The society has notable members in a variety of fields.

As of 2016, there are seven active chapters. Active chapters are Georgetown's Alpha Chapter, Boston University's Gamma Chapter, University of California, Berkeley's Epsilon Chapter, The George Washington University's Eta Chapter, Michigan State University's Mu Chapter, The American University's Pi Chapter and James Madison University's Chi Chapter. The organization has three chapters in The District of Columbia. Other chapters are currently in the process of being chartered and re-chartered.

The current president of Delta Phi Epsilon's national board is James-Michael von Stroebel, Al-'54. None of the fraternity's chapters admit women, but in 1973 the Alpha Chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority was founded at Georgetown University. Since its creation, the sorority has grown to include chapters at several additional universities, such as Epsilon chapter in 2003, Eta in 2006, Psi in 2008, Pi in 2009, Mu in 2015, and Chi in 2016.


The fraternity was founded in the wake of World War I, in a time of increased U.S. interest in world politics and solving global issues with diplomacy. In 1919, Fr. Edmund A. Walsh, S.J. at Georgetown University founded the School of Foreign Service (SFS) and in 1924, the Rogers Act formed the basis of the United States Foreign Service. During this time, other groups with similar missions, such as the Council on Foreign Relations, were also founded as were international bodies such as the League of Nations.

The four founders of the fraternity are Alfred O. Arsenau, Wesley O. Ash, Samuel C. Bartlett, and T.J. Patrick O'Connell. The first three, undergraduates in Georgetown's SFS, at first held in common only their experience in overseas military service and their interest in foreign service careers. Later they were drawn together by their common vision for a professional foreign service fraternity for future graduates of the School of Foreign Service and others in the field. The fourth founder had developed a similar vision independently, which he discussed with Arsenau. Later these men joined with seven interested undergraduates (future brothers Sandager, Butts, Ash, MacKenzie, Brooks, Sullivan Scott, and Bates) and signed the Articles of Agreement. After choosing a name and nominating officers, Delta Phi Epsilon Foreign Service Fraternity was founded at the Catholic Community House on E Street on January 25, 1920. The fraternity was incorporated in the District of Columbia on April 20, 1920.

Early expansion focused on East Coast schools, but after World War II, the fraternity saw greater expansion into new institutions across the United States. There was also pressure for the fraternity to admit women. In 1956 the National Board of Directors reached a compromise and created the Delta Phi Epsilon International Society of Business and Foreign Affairs, which was to be open to all.[1] However, the society failed to develop or resolve the issue,[2] and in the 1960s, the Fraternity began to see a decline in members.[3] In June 1972, the National Board tentatively voted to re-constitute the Fraternity into a co-ed Society, though this change failed as it was not carried forward by following Conventions.[2] In October 1972, at the suggestion of Alpha Chapter, the Fraternity's leaders began helping to create the national Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Sorority, which was founded on February 24, 1973.[4]

Further decline in the 1970s caused the folding of twenty-one chapters, including the new sorority, leaving only the original Alpha Chapter fraternity active. This decline is attributed to two major factors: a national decline in professional fraternities and a negative perception of the foreign service. During the Vietnam War, the foreign service was closely associated with contemporary U.S. foreign policy, which was protested against at many member institutions.[3] In the 1980s, Alpha Chapter, which was briefly inactive in 1982, was sustained in part due to the leadership of new National General Secretary Terrence J. Boyle. After numerous attempts during the 1990s, some of these defunct chapters were revived in the 2000s. The Alpha Chapter sorority was also revived from 1990 to 1995, and again in 1998.[5] In the summer of 2003, the Epsilon chapter at UC Berkeley was revived and has been active since. In November 2008, Psi Chapter was installed at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Mu Chapter at Michigan State University was re-activated in September 2015.

In 2014, the Fraternity's National Convention endorsed a joint Fraternity-Sorority member project to publish a peer-reviewed Delta Phi Epsilon Journal of Foreign Affairs, operate a scholarship competition for students initiated into Delta Phi Epsilon, and hold an annual symposium to promote alumni and student international relations research. This project developed into the Delta Phi Epsilon Society for Foreign Affairs, which was incorporated and recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2016.[6] The Society for Foreign Affairs is operated by an independent group of Delta Phi Epsilon members to support international relations education, promote public engagement in foreign policy, and provide career development tools to Delta Phi Epsilon brothers and sisters.[7]


Built in 1870 by merchant William E. Seymour, 3401 Prospect Street has been home to Alpha Chapter since 1940. It is a contributing property to the Georgetown Historic District, a National Historic Landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1967.

Alpha Chapter is the longest-lived active chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon, and is the only fraternal organization at Georgetown University with a house. The re-activation of Epsilon Chapter, inactive since 1972, in 2003 at the University of California at Berkeley, was followed by the re-activation of Eta Chapter, inactive since 1969, in November 2005 at The George Washington University and the re-activation of Gamma Chapter at Boston University in April 2016. The Fraternity also saw the addition of the first new chapter in thirty-two years, at the University of the Pacific in 2008. The American University's Pi Chapter was also revived in 2009.[8]

Active chapters[edit]

Defunct chapters[edit]

Notable members[edit]

In addition to the Line Brothers initiated by each chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon, the fraternity has inducted several notable faculty members as National Brothers.


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