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Chi Psi
Chi Psi Seal.png
FoundedMay 20, 1841; 181 years ago (1841-05-20)
Union College
Schenectady, New York, U.S.
Colors  Purple
Chi Psi flag.jpg
Chapters33 active, 15 dormant
Headquarters45 Rutledge Street
Nashville, TN 37210

Chi Psi (ΧΨ) is a fraternity consisting of active chapters (known as "Alphas") at 33 American colleges and universities. The mission of the Chi Psi Fraternity is to create and maintain an enduring society which encourages the sharing of traditions and values, respect for oneself and others, and responsibility to the university and community.

Chi Psi was founded in 1841 at Union College in Schenectady, New York with the idea of emphasizing the fraternal and social principles of a brotherhood. It was the first Greek-letter organization to be founded on these grounds, rather than the literary characteristics of the seven then-existing societies. In 1846, Chi Psi was the first fraternity in the nation to establish a fraternity house.[1] This was a building at the University of Michigan, which was said to resemble a hunting lodge; hence, Chi Psi now refers to all its houses as lodges.[2]: 70 

Chi Psi's official colors are Royal Purple and Gold. Chi Psi's national headquarters, the Central Office, is in Nashville, Tennessee.


Chi Psi was founded on Thursday May 20, 1841, by 10 students at Union College. The 10 founding members were: Philip Spencer (later hanged on charges of mutiny aboard the brig USS Somers), Robert Heyward McFaddin (1822–1858) of Greensboro, Alabama, Jacob Henry Farrell, John Brush Jr., Samuel Titus Taber, James Lafayette Witherspoon (cousin of McFaddin), William Force Terhune, Alexander Peter Berthoud, James Chatham Duane, and Patrick Upshaw Major.

Values and the Chi Psi gentleman

Chi Psi is founded upon the fraternal aspects of brotherhood and embraces a number of values in its pursuit to establish this brotherhood. These values were first adopted at its founding in 1841, and later, a restatement of principles was given at the 122nd National Convention in 1963. Some of these values are as follows: Chi Psi is defined by the values which are collectively accepted by its members. The extent to which these values are practiced is the measure of our fraternity; Chi Psi is committed to the growth of the individual in a social environment which nurtures integrity, dignity, and maturity while enjoying shared experiences and college sociability; and Chi Psi recognizing that academic achievement is fundamental to the development of the individual, stands for intellectual growth and the attainment of human potential.[3]

Chi Psi also embraces the idea of being a true gentleman, by following the definition of a gentleman as put forward by John Walter Wayland's "The True Gentleman":

The True Gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from goodwill and an acute sense of propriety and whose self-control is equal to all emergencies; who does not make the poor man conscious of his poverty, the obscure man of his obscurity, or any man of his inferiority or deformity; who is himself humbled if necessity compels him to humble another; who does not flatter wealth, cringe before power, or boast of his own possessions or achievements; who speaks with frankness but always with sincerity and sympathy; whose deed follows his word; who thinks of the rights and feelings of others rather than his own; and who appears well in any company; a man with whom honor is sacred and virtue safe.

[2]: 19 

Program for Excellence

In pursuit of the values the fraternity put forth and in order to make up for a lack of leadership opportunities available on college campuses, the Chi Psi Educational Trust has funded the Program for Excellence. Consisting of numerous sessions and workshops the Program for Excellence focuses on instilling the members of Chi Psi with a respect for themselves, the people they are around, and their community.[2]: 36–39 [4]

Purple & Gold

The Chi Psi newsletter, The Purple & Gold was first published in November 1883, and is currently received by all current brothers on a lifetime subscription.[2]: 184 

Local chapter or member misconduct

A pledge named Gordie Bailey died of an alcohol overdose at University of Colorado Boulder in 2004. He was found face down on the floor of the Chi Psi house, where members had drawn slurs all over his body while he was passed out. The Chi Psi chapter was temporarily suspended. A 2017 USA Today article used Bailey's death to illustrate that fraternity chapters frequently continue operations with little interruption after a death.[5]

An apparent staged lynching was conducted in 1971 by Chi Psi at the University of Virginia, with a group of black-hooded students carrying rifles surrounding a black-faced mannequin swinging from a tree. Photographs of the spectacle were published in the university's yearbook, where they were rediscovered by journalists at The Cavalier Daily in 2019.[6]


Chi Psi has active chapters, which are known as Alphas, at 33 American colleges and universities.

Active Alphas

Institution Date founded Name Active since
Union College 1841 Pi 2008
Wesleyan University 1844 Alpha 2012
Hamilton College 1845 Phi 1845
University of Michigan 1845 Epsilon 2022
University of North Carolina 1855 Sigma 1928
University of South Carolina 1858 Beta 1957
University of Mississippi 1858 Gamma 2013
University of Virginia 1860 Omicron 2015[7]
Cornell University 1869 Psi 2017
University of Minnesota 1874 Nu 1874
University of Wisconsin–Madison 1878 Iota 1878
Rutgers University-New Brunswick 1879 Rho 2005
Stevens Institute of Technology 1883 Xi 1883
University of Georgia 1890 Alpha Delta 2011
Lehigh University 1894 Beta Delta 1894
University of California-Berkeley 1895 Delta Delta 1895
University of Illinois 1912 Zeta Delta 1912
University of Colorado at Boulder 1920 Psi Delta 2011
University of Oregon 1921 Eta Delta 2019
University of Washington 1921 Theta Delta 1921
Georgia Institute of Technology 1923 Iota Delta 1923
Yale University 1924 Kappa Delta 2013
Sewanee: The University of the South 1964 Tau Delta 1964
Clemson University 1972 Chi Delta 1972
Washington and Lee University 1977 Omicron Delta 1977
Rollins College 1977 Mu Delta 1977
Texas Tech University 1983 Xi Delta 2000
Wake Forest University 1986 Upsilon Delta 1986
Duke University 1989 Sigma Delta 1989
North Carolina State University 2001 Pi Delta 2001
George Mason University 2003 Omega Delta 2003
Miami University 2005 Rho Delta 2005
University of Kentucky 2016 Phi Delta 2016

Dormant Alphas

Institution Date founded Name Dormant since
Williams College 1842 Theta 1963
Middlebury College 1843 Mu 1994
Bowdoin College 1844 Eta 1993
Columbia University 1846 Zeta 1885
Princeton University 1851 Delta 1859
College of the City of New York 1857 Kappa 1873
Furman University 1858 Upsilon 1898
Brown University 1860 Lambda 1870
Amherst College 1864 Chi 2017
Wofford College 1869 Tau 1906
University of Rochester 1884 Omega 1889
Northwestern University 1892 Epsilon Delta 2012
Stanford University 1895 Gamma Delta 1971
UCLA/UC-Irvine 1949 Lambda Delta 1994
Penn State University 1997 Nu Delta 2004


The President of Chi Psi is known as the #7. The first #7 was elected in 1879, thirty-eight years after the founding of Chi Psi. The #7's are:

#7 Alpha Initiation Year Term Start Term End
Dr. Stephen H. Tyng Jr. Theta (Williams College) 1858 1879 1882
Elbridge Thomas Gerry Zeta ( Columbia University) 1857 1882 1914
Edward C. Swift Epsilon (University of Michigan) 1878 1914 1919
Albert S. Bard Chi (Amherst College) 1888 1919 1921
Vojta F. Mashek Psi (Cornell University) 1889 1921 1923
John Wendell Anderson Epsilon (University of Michigan) 1890 1923 1930
Vojta F. Mashek Psi (Cornell University) 1889 1930 1934
Frank Matthiessen Psi (Cornell University) 1895 1934 1936
Vojta F. Mashek Psi (Cornell University) 1889 1936 1940
Charles E. Merrill Chi (Amherst College) 1908 1940 1949
Clifford H. Williams Theta (Williams College) 1902 1949 1952
John P. Mentzer Epsilon Delta (University of Chicago at the time) 1889 1952 1955
Harold S. Falk Iota (University of Wisconsin) 1906 1955 1958
Stanley J. Birge Chi (Amherst College) 1908 1958 1961
H. Seger Slifer Epsilon (University of Michigan) 1912 1961 1967
Temple Hoyne Buell Zeta Delta (University of Illinois) 1916 1967 1973
Nelson T. Levings Omicron (University of Virginia) 1926 1973 1977
Oliver R. Rowe Sigma (University of North Carolina) 1925 1977 1985
Robert B. Plunkett Iota Delta (Georgia Institute of Technology) 1933 1985 1988
F. Van S. Parr Alpha (Wesleyan University) 1929 1988 1990
Carleton A. Holstrom Iota (University of Wisconsin) 1957 1990 1992
Robert C. Preble Jr. Chi (Amherst College) 1944 1992 1995
Dr. George W. Ray III Alpha (Wesleyan University) 1954 1995 2001
Malcolm D. Jeffrey Theta (Williams College) 1954 2001 2004
Dr. Daniel B. Ahlberg Nu (University of Minnesota) 1967 2005 2014
Verne G. Istock Epsilon (University of Michigan) 1963 2014 2019
W. S. "Bill" Hattendorf Jr. Alpha Delta (University of Georgia) 1969 2019 -

The executive director of Chi Psi is known as the #23. The first #23 was appointed in 1921. The #23's are:

#23 Alpha Initiation Year Term Start Term End
H. Seger Slifer Epsilon (University of Michigan) 1912 1921 1961
William E. LeClere Beta Delta (Lehigh University) 1957 1961 1967
James E. Bray Epsilon Delta (Northwestern University) 1963 1967 1970
Richard D. Elliott Beta (University of South Carolina) 1967 1970 1972
T. Lee Pomeroy II Xi (Stevens Institute of Technology) 1971 1972 1979
William S. Hattendorf Jr. Alpha Delta (University of Georgia) 1969 1978 1983
Herbert P. Carroll Epsilon (University of Michigan) 1945 1983 1988
Michael C. Illuzzi Rho (Rutgers University) 1977 1988 1994
Philip L. Smith Sigma (University of North Carolina) 1964 1994 1995
Donald E. Kreger Epsilon Delta (Northwestern University) 1951 1996 1998
Stephen Gardner Nu (University of Minnesota) 1987 1998 2000
Robert K. Windsor Eta (Bowdoin College) 1955 2000 2002
Samuel C. Bessey Eta Delta (University of Oregon) 1997 2002 2022
Harold G. Arnwine Tau Delta (Sewanee: The University of the South) 1986 2022 Present

Notable alumni

Main article: List of Chi Psi brothers

See also


  1. ^ "About Chi Psi - Chi Psi Fraternity". Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  2. ^ a b c d Hattendorf, Bill (2005). The Chi Psi Story, The Chi Psi Educational Trust and Chi Psi Fraternity
  3. ^ "Governance - Executive Council - Chi Psi Fraternity". Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Educational Programs - Chi Psi Fraternity". Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  5. ^ Rossman, Sean; Hughes, Trevor (December 14, 2017). "'Collateral damage': How fraternities can continue to thrive after pledges die". USA Today. Retrieved August 30, 2021.
  6. ^ Martin, Michel; Morris, Amanda (February 10, 2019). "U.Va. Students Investigate Their Yearbook's Racist History — Starting With Its Title". KUNC. Retrieved August 30, 2021.
  7. ^ "174th Annual Convention in Review". 5 Aug 2015. Retrieved 31 Aug 2015.