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 at 33 American colleges and universities. 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 fraternities.

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 was founded on May 20, 1841, by ten students at Union College. The founding members were Philip Spencer, Robert Heyward McFaddin, 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.

Chi Psi was founded as a brotherhood that embraces related values that were adopted at its founding in 1841. A revision of the values was adopted at 122nd National Convention in 1963.[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":[2]: 19 

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.

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 chapter houses as lodges.[2] The Chi Psi newsletter, The Purple & Gold, was first published in November 1883, and was named for the fraternity's official colors.[2]: 184  The fraternity's national headquarters is in Nashville, Tennessee.


The Chi Psi Educational Trust has funded the Program for Excellence, consisting of workshops that instill the fraternity's members with a respect for themselves, the people they are around, and their community.[2]: 36–39 [4]


Main article: List of chapters of Chi Psi

Chi Psi refers to its chapters as Alphas.


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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:

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

Executive Director

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

Executive Director (#23) Alpha Initiation Year Term Start Term End
H. Seger Slifer Epsilon 1912 1921 1961
William E. LeClere Beta Delta 1957 1961 1967
James E. Bray Epsilon Delta 1963 1967 1970
Richard D. Elliott Beta 1967 1970 1972
T. Lee Pomeroy II Xi 1971 1972 1979
William S. Hattendorf Jr. Alpha Delta 1969 1978 1983
Herbert P. Carroll Epsilon 1945 1983 1988
Michael C. Illuzzi Rho 1977 1988 1994
Philip L. Smith Sigma 1964 1994 1995
Donald E. Kreger Epsilon Delta 1951 1996 1998
Stephen Gardner Nu 1987 1998 2000
Robert K. Windsor Eta 1955 2000 2002
Samuel C. Bessey Eta Delta 1997 2002 2022
Harold G. Arnwine Tau Delta 1986 2022

Notable alumni

Main article: List of Chi Psi brothers

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]

In 1971, Chi Psi at the University of Virginia conducted a staged lynching with a group of black-hooded students with rifles surrounding a black-faced mannequin swinging from a tree. A photograph of the spectacle was published in the university's yearbook, where it was rediscovered by journalists at The Cavalier Daily in 2019. The Frank Zappa quote, "You know I'm not black, but there's a whole lot of times I wish'd I wasn't white", was displayed on the opposing page and was part of the Chi Psi yearbook entry. So, the objectionable photo, combined with the quote, appears to have been a poorly executed attempt at condemnation of racism and violence against blacks.[6][7]

See also


  1. ^ a b "About Chi Psi - Chi Psi Fraternity". Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  2. ^ a b c d e 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. ^ "Virgo".