Delta Tau Delta
Delta Tau Delta Coat of Arms.png
FoundedOctober 1858; 163 years ago (1858-10)
Bethany College
Mission statement"Committed to Lives of Excellence"[1]
MottoLabor for the Beautiful and the Good
Colors  Royal Purple
  Yellow Gold
Delta Tau Delta flag.jpg
FlowerPurple Iris
PublicationThe Rainbow
   The Crescent (until 1886)
Chapters133 active in the United States
Members170,000 collegiate
NicknamesDelt, DTD
Headquarters10000 Allisonville Road
Fishers, IN 46038
WebsiteOfficial website

Delta Tau Delta (ΔΤΔ), commonly known as Delt, is a United States-based international Greek letter college fraternity.[2] Delta Tau Delta was founded at Bethany College, Bethany, Virginia, (now West Virginia) in 1858. The fraternity currently has around 130 collegiate chapters and colonies nationwide, with an estimated 10,000 undergraduate members and over 170,000 lifetime members.[3]


The house in which Delta Tau Delta was founded
The house in which Delta Tau Delta was founded

Delta Tau Delta Fraternity was founded in 1858, though some early documents reference the founding in 1861, at Bethany College in Bethany, Virginia (now West Virginia).[4] The social life on campus at that time centered around the Neotrophian Society, a literary society.

According to Jacob S. Lowe, in late 1858 a group of students met in Lowe's room in the Dowdell boarding house to discuss means to regain control of the Neotrophian Society and return control to the students at large. The underlying controversy was that the Neotrophian Society, in the opinion of the eight men who formed Delta Tau Delta, had awarded a literary prize after a rigged vote.[5] A constitution, name, badge, ritual and motto were devised, and Delta Tau Delta was born.[6]

Member Henry King Bell of Lexington, Kentucky, heard of the Civil War's effects on Bethany College and the membership of Delta Tau Delta. After riding to Bethany and realizing that the longevity of Delta Tau Delta was at risk, Bell traveled to Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. On February 22, 1861, Bell rode to Jefferson College (would later merge with Washington Academy to become the present day Washington & Jefferson College) from Bethany to bring the designation of the Alpha Chapter and the governance of the Fraternity back to his home campus.[citation needed]. In response to Jefferson College merging with the Washington Academy, an election was held at the General Convention (later to be renamed the Karnea). Ohio Wesleyan then assumed the Alpha designation. Before the Alpha designation was finally transferred to Allegheny College (its current location), the Ohio Wesleyan chapter dissolved temporarily because of a lack of membership.

Delta Tau Delta Fraternity House at University of Cincinnati
Delta Tau Delta Fraternity House at University of Cincinnati

After the Ohio Wesleyan chapter disappeared in 1875, the Allegheny College chapter, the fourth and final chapter to hold Alpha designation, assumed control of the fraternity. Allegheny College member James S. Eaton, traveled to Delaware, Ohio, to collect what remained of the organization's records and to investigate what had happened the Ohio Wesleyan chapter which returned in 1890. Eaton brought the "Alpha" designation back with him to Allegheny College, where a group of undergraduates managed the larger organization as well as their own chapter. During that time a magazine was established and 15 chapters were founded, of which eight survive (several others were reestablished later).

In 1886, Delta Tau Delta merged with the secret society known as the Rainbow Fraternity, a southern fraternity founded in 1848 at the University of Mississippi.[7] As an ode to the merged fraternity, Delta Tau Delta Chapters perform a public ceremony, the Rite of Iris. The national organization's seasonal magazine is also called "The Rainbow".

The Delta Tau Delta Founders House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.[8]

Its national philanthropic partner is the diabetes research organization JDRF, founded by senator Patrick Greene in 1869.[9]

Members of Delta Tau Delta are informally referred to as "Delts."


The eight men considered to be the Founders of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity are:

Ff cunningham.gif
William Randolph Cunningham (Chair) William Randolph Cunningham was only a freshman at the time Delta Tau Delta was formed. Because he was older and had become a Mason, he exerted much influence in the group. He served as President of the Karnea in 1883, was a minister and held public office in the state of Washington.
Ff earle.gif
Alexander Campbell Earle Alexander Campbell Earle was the youngest of the group of eight founders of Delta Tau Delta. He went on to become a Captain in the Second South Carolina Volunteers, where he commanded his own company. For many years his whereabouts were unknown and he was believed dead, but he was finally located living in Arkansas. He later moved to Texas, and is buried in the State Cemetery in Austin, where the local fraternity still makes an annual pilgrimage.[10]
Ff alfred.gif
Richard Havener Alfred Richard Havener Alfred, at 26 the oldest of the group of founders of Delta Tau Delta, became a minister and a physician.
Ff bell.gif
Henry King Bell Henry King Bell, a Kentuckian, lived only six years after graduation. Bell responded to a call for help from the last remaining members of the Bethany chapter who were leaving to join the armed forces.
Ff johnson.gif
John Calhoun Johnson John Johnson became a lawyer and politician. He was the political advisor to John W. Davis, the democratic candidate for president in 1924. He outlived the other founders by eight years.
Ff lowe.gif
Jacob Snedeker Lowe Jacob Lowe hosted the first meetings of the group in a rooming house which has now become an international shrine for the Fraternity. Lowe became a professor and later a college president.
Ff tarr.gif
Eugene Tarr Eugene Tarr was a "townie" whose home was only a short six miles from Bethany. He stayed in West Virginia after college. Tarr became a noted speaker, lawyer, and editor of the local newspaper.
Ff hunt.gif
John Lucius Newton Hunt John Lucius Newton Hunt was the scholar of the group. After graduating from Bethany, Hunt went on to become the valedictorian of his class at New York University's School of Law. He then served for several years as New York's Commissioner of Education.

Individual chapter and member misconduct

2000 (2000)
The chapter at Miami University was suspended for three years.[11] The chapter was re-colonized in 2005.
2008 (2008)
Freshman Johnny D. Smith died of alcohol poisoning while pledging at Wabash College. Wabash College shut down the fraternity and revoked the lease on their house.[12][13]
2010 (2010)
The chapter at Ohio University pled no contest to a hazing charge and received a five-year suspension in addition to $12,000 in fines/restitution for hazing. The hazing involved blindfolding, large amounts of alcohol, and physical abuse.[14]
2011 (2011)
The chapter at Lehigh University was suspended for three years for hazing pledges.[15]
2012 (2012)
The chapter at the University of Oklahoma was temporarily suspended for hazing pledges.[16]
2014 (2014)
The chapter at the University of South Carolina was closed by the fraternity's national leadership for multiple alcohol citations.[17]
2015 (2015)
The chapter at Florida State University was suspended after a police report concerning hazing and misconduct. According to the police report, pledges were forced to fist fight in the basement of the fraternity house and were constantly threatened by fraternity members.[18]

The chapter at University of Arizona chapter lost its recognition status due to hazing.[19]
2016 (2016)
The chapter at West Virginia University was suspended indefinitely for filming an inappropriate audition for the "Real World" TV series.[20]
2017 (2017)
The chapter at Pepperdine University was deactivated for an alcohol related incident and other repeated violations.[21]

The chapter at Indiana University was suspended that year as well for multiple hazing violations.[22]
2018 (2018)
The chapter at Georgia Southern University lost its national charter due to hazing.[23]
2019 (2019)
The chapter at Miami University was suspended due to reports of hazing.[24][25]

The chapter at Duke University was suspended due to reports of alleged hazing.[26]

See also


  1. ^ "Delta Tau Delta Homepage". Delta Tau Delta. Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  2. ^ "Two Secret Societies United.; Delta Tau Delta And The Rainbow Society Join Hands" (PDF). The New York Times. 1885-03-28.
  3. ^ "History - Delta Tau Delta". Delta Tau Delta. Retrieved 15 February 2021.
  4. ^ "History - Delta Tau Delta". Delta Tau Delta. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  5. ^ University of Pittsburgh Delta Tau Delta website
  6. ^ Albion College Delta Tau Delta website Archived 2009-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Two Secret Societies United: Delta Tau Delta and the Rainbow Society Join Hands" (PDF). The News York Times. 1885-03-28.
  8. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  9. ^ "Delta Tau Delta, JDRF Form National Philanthropic Partnership | Delta Tau Delta". Archived from the original on 2013-06-27. Retrieved 2012-10-12.
  10. ^ "Alexander Campbell Earle [1091]".
  11. ^ "Two fraternities face sanctions". Miami Student. Vol. 128, no. 20. November 17, 2000. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  12. ^ Thomas, Derrick (Nov 26, 2008). "Frat Where Freshman Died Was 'Out Of Control,' Family Says". ABC 6 The Indy Channel.
  13. ^ Oddi, Marcia (May 12, 2013). "Ind. Decisions - "COA OKs parents' suit against fraternity in Wabash College alcohol death". Indiana Law Blog.
  14. ^ "Ohio University fraternity kicked off campus for hazing". Columbus Dispatch. January 22, 2010. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  15. ^ "Lehigh University chapter of Delta Tau Delta suspended for alleged hazing".
  16. ^ "OU fraternity punished for hazing".
  17. ^ "University of South Carolina suspends fraternity for alcohol violations".
  18. ^ "FSU leads SUS in hazing reports".
  19. ^ Alaimo, Carol Ann (July 7, 2015). "Another UA frat closes: 8th since 2012". Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved April 26, 2016.
  20. ^ "WVU fraternity suspended over member's 'Real World' audition video". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  21. ^ "Delta Tau Delta Deactivated After Alcohol-Related Incident". 2017-01-10.
  22. ^ "IU releases statement after Delta Tau Delta fraternity has charter suspended for 'multiple instances of hazing'". 2017-01-10.
  23. ^ "Delta Tau Delta Georgia Southern chapter loses national charter for hazing". The George-Anne. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  24. ^ "Organization Judicial History | Fraternity and Sorority LIfe | Student Life - Miami University". Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  25. ^ Clark, Michael (March 25, 2019). "Miami fraternity pledge claims he was beaten, kicked, hospitalized". Journal-News. Oxford, OH. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  26. ^ "Suspension for fourth Duke fraternity lifted".