During the holidays of 1848, six friends were stranded on the campus of Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio, due to particularly harsh winter weather that prevented them from returning home. They passed the time discussing the idea of a new brotherhood, one based upon their shared ideals of cultivating the mind and maintaining a high standard of morality, and on December 30th the “Immortal Six” put their signatures to “The Bond of Phi Delta Theta.” While many fraternal documents have been altered extensively since their original drafting, The Bond is of such character that it remains unchanged to this day, embodying the timeless ideals held by all Brothers of Phi Delta Theta (Phi Delt).
Since its beginnings over 160 years ago, Phi Delt has grown into a leader in the fraternity world, having initiated more than 240,000 members, 160,000 of them living, with nearly 170 active chapters across the United States and Canada. While the goals of the founders may seem unattainable to some, Phi Delts are never daunted by a challenge, and many have gone above and beyond, becoming leaders in their fields, including Neil Armstrong (Purdue ’55; Astronaut & First Man on the Moon), Lou Gehrig (Columbia University ’25; First Baseman, New York Yankees), Frank Lloyd Wright (Wisconsin 1889; Architect), and Burt Reynolds (Florida State ’57; Actor). With Brothers like these, it is easy to see why so many men want to wear the Phi Delt azure and argent!
To a Phi Delt, community service and concern for their fellow man are an integral part of fulfilling the legacy of their founders. Each chapter has the opportunity to create its own unique service projects, designed to best benefit their individual communities, as well as working with their national philanthropic partner The ALS Association. Established in 1985, The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization leading the way in research, care services, public education, and public policy for Lou Gehrig’s Disease. In striving to further the cause of The ALS Association, Phi Delts have found a way to both better the world and honor their Brother.
The characteristics of Phi Delt, academic achievement, leadership, and concern for others, are symbolized by the shield, sword, and scroll found in their Badge, a badge that has not been changed since the Convention of 1871. This esteem for the past, for tradition, is evidenced by the seriousness in which each Brother of Phi Delta Theta takes the charge of the founders to, “Become the greatest version of yourself.”