Greek life at the University of Georgia

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Main article: University of Georgia
Greek Life Office
Type Fraternities
Headquarters Athens, Georgia
Associate Dean
Claudia Shamp
Website Official site

Greek life at the University of Georgia comprises more than three dozen active chapters of social fraternities and sororities. While most of the groups are chapters of national organizations, including members of the North-American Interfraternity Conference, National Panhellenic Conference and National Pan-Hellenic Council, independent groups and those with other affiliations also exist. The Greek Life Office was located in Memorial Hall for many years but moved to the Tate Student Center in late 2008 as a result of the expansion to the Tate Center.

According to self-published records of the UGA Panhellenic Council students with Greek affiliation made up 23 percent of the undergraduate student body as of 2007, including 21% of the males and 24% of the females.[1] Perhaps the most prominent features of Greek life at the University are the large, mostly Greek Revival and Victorian, mansions maintained by the national fraternities and sororities as chapter houses and lodges lining Milledge Avenue and South Lumpkin Street and the ubiquitous t-shirts worn by students on campus commemorating Greek social events.


A historic picture of Phi Kappa Hall

While the first collegiate fraternities were founded in the early 19th century, Greek letter fraternities did not find their way to the University of Georgia until after the American Civil War (the Mystical Seven Secret Society was founded at UGA in 1846, but it was Hebrew in nomenclature, not Greek). This was due, in large part, to the existence of the long-established literary societies, Demosthenian and Phi Kappa which served many of the social needs of the early student body. The first Greek letter fraternity to charter at the university was Sigma Alpha Epsilon in 1865. By the 1870s, a number of fraternities existed on campus, presenting a challenge to Demosthenian and Phi Kappa. The trustees of the university, in a move common during that time, outlawed the groups in favor of the literary societies. While some continued sub rosa, many died out. In 1878, Patrick Hues Mell was asked to become chancellor of the university, and did so only on the condition that the fraternities be allowed back on campus. The modern Greek system at the university then began to take shape, and eight groups were represented by the end of Chancellor Mell's tenure. Mell himself was said to have accepted honorary membership in Sigma Alpha Epsilon.[2][3]

Since then, women's fraternities—also known as sororities—have joined the system, as well as numerous groups focused on particular ethnic and cultural backgrounds. The first sorority to charter at the school was Phi Mu in 1921. The University of Georgia was home to the first chapter of the Alpha Sigma Rho, the first Asian-interest sorority. The second chapter of Alpha Sigma Rho was established at nearby rival, Georgia Tech.[4]

Demosthenian Hall at the University of Georgia

Many leaders in the state of Georgia and the United States have had their roots in the University of Georgia's Greek system, and many campus leaders also emerge from the Greek houses.[citation needed] The overall grade point average of Greek undergraduate students is consistently higher than the campus as a whole. Approximately 84% of Greek women earned a GPA of over a 3.0.[5]


Perhaps the most prominent features of Greek life at the University of Georgia are the large, mostly Greek Revival and Victorian, mansions maintained by the national fraternities and sororities as chapter houses and lodges lining Milledge Avenue and South Lumpkin Street. Some members of the community have raised concerns about Greek houses, particularly fraternity houses which often fall into disrepair, becoming a bad influence on neighborhoods. The latter sentiments resulted in a 2006 moratorium passed by the Athens-Clarke County government that prevented new construction of fraternity and sorority houses in areas zoned for multi-family residences and commercial businesses until August 2006.[6][7] Now all new Greek housing built in those zones require special approval.[8]

In 2005 the University announced that five of the fraternities on Lumpkin Street would need to be relocated by June 2008. The school plans to build academic buildings on the house sites, which the University owns and the fraternities lease. UGA offered to relocate the Lumpkin fraternities and two others to River Road, located on east campus. Kappa Alpha, Chi Phi, and Alpha Tau Omega did not take up the offer and have decided to move off campus. In October 2008, Pi Kappa Alpha, Phi Delta Theta, Tau Epsilon Phi and Sigma Nu broke ground for the new Greek Park located on River Road. The four new houses were complete August 2009 for fall rush. Sigma Chi, having signed a renewable 40-year land lease with the University in 1996,[9] continued to maintain their house next to the Zell B. Miller Learning Center. However, in fall of 2012, Sigma Chi's housing lease was up for negotiation with UGA administration. The fraternity's property was to be relocated off-campus to accommodate new academic buildings for the Terry College of Business.[10] Construction of the new Business Learning Center began its planning phase in early 2013. Ground will be broken in December 2013.


Fraternities and sororities have formed governing councils which are advised by the Office of Greek Life. The Interfraternity Council or IFC, which governs fraternities, was originally known as the Panhellenic Council. It changed its names in the 1940s to distinguish it from the governing council for the sororities, which is also called the Panhellenic Council. Several former IFC presidents have gone on to achieve political prominence, including Governor and United States Senator Herman Talmadge, Governor Ernest Vandiver, Governor Ellis Arnall and State Senator David Shafer.

A number of University of Georgia organizations began as IFC projects. The Pandora yearbook was first published by the IFC. Homecoming was created by the IFC. The Miss UGA Scholarship Pageant and Miss Georgia Football Pageant were both sponsored by the IFC. The IFC also operates the IFC Scholarship Fund, which was created in the 1940s from war bonds purchased by the fraternity chapters.

Honorary organizations and secret societies[edit]

The university is home to a chapter of the Order of Omega, an honor society which selects the top 3% of Greek students for membership.[11] A group unique to University of Georgia is the men's secret society known as the Order of the Greek Horsemen which annually inducts five fraternity men, all leaders of the Greek system. Its purpose and function remains a closely guarded secret.

The Panhellenic sororities also have secret societies known as Trust of the Pearl, which inducts five accomplished sorority women each spring. Another secret society within the Panhellenic sororities at the university is the Palladia Secret Society. Twelve women are invited to join the Palladia. It has been said that members of the Pearl often wear a single strand of pearls and red g-strings when gather in public. A lesser known secret society at the University of Georgia is Silver Rose Society. It is said to have started in 1983. [12] the Mystical Seven Secret Society was founded at UGA in 1846.

The origin of secret societies at the University of Georgia are filled with mystery. The first known reference to secret societies at the University of Georgia was somewhere between 1866 and 1871. It was known that secret societies existed before the Civil War, but it isn't clear if the societies existed previously. Urban legends have it that secret societies at the university stem far before the 1860s. The university was established in 1785. Many point to the university's founder, Abraham Baldwin, for the origin of societies. Baldwin was an alumnus of Yale University, home to one of the most well-recognized secret society in the nation, Skull and Bones.[13]

List of chapters[edit]


The following groups are considered to be a part of the University of Georgia's Greek Life. They are listed in order of their chapter's founding at the University of Georgia.

  • Panhellenic Council
Organization Nickname Local founding date
Phi Mu 1921
Chi Omega Chi O 1922
Alpha Gamma Delta Alpha Gam 1923
Kappa Delta KD 1924
Sigma Delta Tau Sig Delt 1924–1929, 1945–present
Alpha Delta Pi ADPi 1933
Delta Delta Delta Tri Delta 1934
Alpha Omicron Pi AOPi 1935
Kappa Alpha Theta Theta 1937
Alpha Chi Omega AChiO 1938
Pi Beta Phi Pi Phi 1939
Kappa Kappa Gamma Kappa 1948
Zeta Tau Alpha Zeta 1949
Delta Zeta DZ 1961
Sigma Kappa Sig Kap 1964
Delta Gamma DG 1968
Gamma Phi Beta Gamma Phi 1983
Delta Phi Epsilon DPhiE 2015
  • Not in Panhellenic Council
Xi Delta Xi Delt 1991
Sigma Alpha Omega SAO 2004


The following groups are members of the Interfraternity Council (IFC). They are listed in order of their chapter's founding at the University of Georgia.

Organization Nickname Local founding date
Sigma Alpha Epsilon SAE 1865
Chi Phi 1867
Kappa Alpha Order KA 1868
Phi Gamma Delta FIJI 1871
Phi Delta Theta Phi Delt 1871
Sigma Chi Sigmachi 1872
Sigma Nu SNu 1873
Alpha Tau Omega ATO 1878
Delta Tau Delta Delt 1882
Chi Psi 1890
Zeta Beta Tau ZBT 1905 (as Phi Epsilon Pi)
Pi Kappa Alpha Pike 1908
Lambda Chi Alpha Lambda Chi 1915
Pi Kappa Phi Pi Kapp 1915
Tau Epsilon Phi Tep 1918
Alpha Epsilon Pi AEPi 1926
Alpha Gamma Rho AGR 1927
Sigma Pi 1948
Theta Chi 1948
Phi Kappa Tau Phi Tau 1949
Sigma Phi Epsilon Sig Ep 1963
Phi Kappa Theta Phi Kapp 1965
Tau Kappa Epsilon Teke 1972
Phi Kappa Psi Phi Psi 1976
Beta Theta Pi Beta 1984
Delta Sigma Phi Delta Sig 2003

Historically black sororities and fraternities[edit]

The following groups are members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council. The University of Georgia has active chapters of 8 of the 9 historically black Greek letter organizations in NPHC.



Other fraternities and sororities[edit]

The following groups are members of the Multicultural Greek Council.

Delta Phi Lambda and Lambda Phi Epsilon, along with Sigma Beta Rho, went on to establish the Multicultural Greek Council at the University of Georgia. Currently eight other national organizations have joined the Multicultural Greek Council and have been servicing the University community through various events and community service. The Multicultural Greek Council is composed of Delta Phi Lambda, Lambda Phil Epsilon, Sigma Beta Rho, Lambda Theta Alpha, Lambda Sigma Upsilon, Sigma Sigma Rho, Lambda Theta Phi, Gamma Eta, Delta Phi Omega, Delta Epsilon Psi, Alpha Sigma Rho, and Xi Kappa.

Christian Greek-letter social organizations include Beta Upsilon Chi fraternity and Sigma Alpha Omega sorority.

Xi Delta is an independent local social sorority and is not associated with any specific culture or heritage.

Zeta Beta Tau, a chapter of Phi Epsilon Pi from 1905 until its merger into ZBT in 1970, previously closed in 2004, was re-established and recognized as a colony by IFC in 2010.

Greek-letter service organizations include Gamma Sigma Sigma sorority and Alpha Phi Omega co-ed fraternity. UGA is also home to a chapter of Phi Sigma Pi honor fraternity.

Co-ed business fraternities on campus include Delta Sigma Pi and Alpha Kappa Psi.

The Alpha Tau chapter of Gamma Phi Delta sorority, chartered at the University of Georgia in 2009, is a sorority for business and professional women. Gamma Phi Delta is open to all majors.

The UGA School of Music accommodates two professional musical organizations, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia fraternity and Sigma Alpha Iota sorority. Kappa Kappa Psi, national co-ed band service fraternity, installed a chapter in 1999.

In 2000, UGA's chapter of Sigma Alpha, the professional agricultural sorority, was chartered. As of 2015 there are approximately 90 members currently enrolled at UGA. It is considered one of the premier College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences organizations.

Inactive organizations[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]









  1. ^ Panhellenic Council | Welcome
  3. ^ Life of Patrick Hues Mell
  4. ^ "Chapters & Colonies". Alpha Sigma Rho. Retrieved February 26, 2013. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ | UGANews | Greek building curbed 08/03/06
  9. ^ Joe Mason (2006-11-01). "Frats question building costs". The Red and Black. Retrieved 2012-12-08. 
  10. ^ "UGA in talks to buy out Sigma Chi's lease". Red & Black. Retrieved February 23, 2013. 
  11. ^ Greek Life Forms & Policies
  12. ^ "Top College Secret Societies". Retrieved February 26, 2013. 
  13. ^ Walter Reed, Thomas Walter Reed (1974). "Uncle Tom" Reed's Memoir of the University of Georgia (1. Vintage Books ed.). Athens, GA: U. of Georgia P. 

External links[edit]