One of the oldest men’s college fraternities in the United States was founded on April 10, 1856, at Norwich University, in Norwich, Vermont. Two young cadets, Frederick Norton Freeman and Arthur Chase, met in Freeman’s room in the university’s Old South Barracks, and took oaths declaring each other “true and accepted members” into their new society, and the very next evening they accepted their first two initiates, Edward Bancroft Williston and Lorenzo Potter. Though the early years were precarious, the Fraternity survived both the War Between the States and a massive fire that destroyed the Norwich campus in 1866, to become the brotherhood we know today as Theta Chi.
Since its founding more than 155 years ago, Theta Chi has grown in its traditions, ideals, and fellowship to include over 160,000 lifetime initiates, 6,000 undergraduate members, and 143 chapters and colonies across North America. The tenacity of the founders is reflected in the success and achievements of every Theta Chi, especially Anton “Tony” Hullman (owner, Indianapolis Motor Speedway), Lee Iaccoca (former CEO, Chrysler Corp. and former president, Ford Motor Corp.), Mark Murphy (CEO, Green Bay Packers), and Steven Spielberg (writer, director, producer). With Brothers like these, it is no surprise that so many men want to wear the Theta Chi red and white!
Although they have adopted an official national philanthropy, service to others plays a significant role in the lives of every Theta Chi. In fulfilling their motto, “An Assisting Hand,” each chapter goes to great lengths to support and further the causes of myriad preferred philanthropic organizations, such as The Kyle Charvat Foundation, The National Bone Marrow Registry, The Foundation Chapter of Theta Chi Fraternity, Inc., The Lee Iaccoca Foundation, The Starlight Children’s Foundation, and ReMIND. Through these diverse organizations, Theta Chis are able to improve the lives of countless people and make a noticeable difference in the world.
Founded on the principle of friendship through the mutual assistance of every member, Theta Chi aims to provide its members with a fulfilling experience that teaches them valuable lessons about leadership, friendship, standing up for what is right, and helping others. These are skills that build the strength of Theta Chi as an organization, as well as the successful lives of its Brothers as they set out on their individual paths after graduation.