One of our nation’s most honored fraternities had its beginnings, oddly enough, as the Non-Fraternity Association, also known as “Phrenocom,” at Miami University, in Oxford, Ohio. The four honored founders, Taylor A. Borradaile, Clinton D. Boyd, Dwight I. Douglass, and William H. Shideler, wished to give independent, non-fraternity men a voice on campus, and for that purpose, banded together on March 17, 1906. As their fellowship evolved into a national organization, so did the name, and on March 9, 1916, Phrenocom became the fraternity we know today as Phi Kappa Tau (Phi Tau).
Since the early days of the four honored founders, Phi Tau has grown to encompass more than 147 active chapters, 4,200 undergraduate members, and 90,000 overall initiates. With their mission statement, “To champion a lifelong commitment to brotherhood, learning, ethical leadership, and exemplary character,” it is no surprise that many members have gone on to accomplish great things, such as Mitch McConnell (U.S. Senator), William F. Kirby (Former Chairman, Dow Jones & Company, editor of The Wall Street Journal), Paul Lauterbur (Nobel Prize, Physiology or Medicine), and Paul Newman (Actor & Philanthropist). With Brothers like these, it’s no wonder why so many men want to wear the Phi Tau red and old gold.
The members of Phi Tau understand that childhood is a time for fun and enjoyment, which is why it’s especially unfortunate when that time is interrupted by serious illness. For this reason, the men of Phi Tau have chosen the SeriousFun Children’s Network as their official philanthropy. Founded by fellow Brother, Paul Newman, SeriousFun provides a safe and enjoyable summer camp experience for children faced with major illness and life-threatening medical conditions. Through philanthropic events such as bowl-a-thons, haunted houses, celebrity basketball tournaments, and car shows, Phi Kappa Tau chapters collectively raise and donate approximately $100,000 each year to the SeriousFun Children’s Network.
Through their commitment to academic achievement, leadership, and charitable works, the Brothers of Phi Kappa Tau strive to fulfill their vision statement, “To be recognized as a leadership organization that binds men together and challenges them to improve their campuses and the world.” While the world may not be a perfect place, it is immeasurably improved by the efforts of the men of Phi Kappa Tau.