In the fall of 1850, a typhoid fever epidemic hit Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Many students left school, but two brave young men who remained were William Henry Letterman and Charles Page Thomas Moore. They chose to care for their classmates who were stricken with the contagious disease, and a strong bond was formed. In the following school year, Letterman and Moore, not satisfied with the existing organizations on campus, decided that a society was needed based on "the great joy of serving others,” and on February 19, 1852, they founded the brotherhood of Phi Kappa Psi (Phi Psi).
Since its founding over 160 years ago, Phi Psi has grown to encompass over 100 chapters and colonies across the United States, has initiated more than 119,000 members, and is one of the top ten fraternities nationwide. The tenacity and honorable behavior displayed by the founders has inspired countless Phi Psis over the years, but many have truly excelled in their careers of choice, becoming examples of us all, including Jerry Yang (Yahoo! Co-Founder and former CEO), James Whitcomb Riley (Writer & Poet), Zach Braff (Actor, Director, Screenwriter, & Producer), and Woodrow Wilson (28th President of the United States). With Brothers like these, it is easy to see why so many men want to wear the Phi Psi red and green!
Considering the principles on which the Fraternity was founded, service to others is of the utmost importance to the Brothers of Phi Kappa Psi, and it is because of this that they have devoted their time and energy to their philanthropic partner, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. In the 2011-2012 academic year alone, Phi Psis volunteered over 27,000 hours and raised over $100,000 to help the Boys & Girls Club of America to fulfill its motto, “To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.”
The Phi Kappa Psi Creed states that all Brothers are “honor bound to strive manfully for intellectual, moral, and spiritual excellence.” In achieving these goals, members support each other in becoming better men, in making their world a better place, and in finding true joy in service to their communities.