Omicron Kappa Epsilon
(The Fraternal Society)
FoundedJanuary 1834; 190 years ago (1834-01)
Union College
Mission statementWillfully suspend ourselves into the balance of spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional capacity by upholding the standards of the founding members.
MottoThe pursuit of friendship, love, and truth.
Colors  Blue and   Gold
PublicationFrater Footsteps
NicknameFraters, O.K.E., Fraternal
Greek Letter MeaningOligoi Kai Eklektoi meaning "Few and Chosen."
CreedThe mission of the Fraternal Literary Society is to willfully suspend ourselves into the balance of spiritual, mental, physical and emotional capacity by upholding the standards of the fathers of our organization.
Headquarters337 College Avenue
Holland, Michigan 49423
United States

Omicron Kappa Epsilon (OΚΕ), commonly known as The Fraternal Society, is a North American fraternity founded at Union College in 1834.[1][2][3] It is the sixth oldest social fraternity still in existence in the United States.[4] The society's only active chapter is at Hope College, where it is the oldest fraternity on campus.[1][4]


Omicron Kappa Epsilon was founded at Union College in Schenectady, New York. Before fraternities gained popularity, literary societies with Greek names were present at many colleges and universities.[5][6] At Union College, Kappa Alpha Society, Delta Phi, and Sigma Phi evolved and organized as "secret" societies, now considered the first collegiate fraternities in the United States.[6][7][8][9]

By the end of 1833, these fraternities presented their constitutions to Union's president, Dr. Eliphalet Nott. Nott authorized the fraternities for membership by juniors and seniors, despite opposition from some students and faculty members.[5] After Nott's speech outlining the conditions and benefits of such organizations, students John Dales, Hiram Gibbons, and Robert Hume discussed the new opportunity, wondering if their friendship could lead to a small society for "mutual good".[5] This led to the formation of Omicron Kappa Epsilon and its Latin acronym Oligoi Kai Eklektoi, meaning "Few and Chosen."[4]

In January 1834, Dales, Gibbons, and Hume met with James Beattie, Robert Beattie, Henry Northrup, Frederick Pollard, Adam Smith, and Charles Stillman to formally establish Omicron Kappa Epsilon to promote peace, friendship, and virtue.[5] They appointed a committee to draft a constitution which was later adopted and signed by all nine men, along with James Nichols.[5] Thus, the ten founders of Omicron Kappa Epsilon are:

In May 1834, Pollard suggested the name Fraternal Society or Societatis Fratrum in Latin; the group unanimously accepted the name.[5] Each member also contributed to the design of the fraternity's badge, the decorative paddle.[5]

In 1858, the Fraternal Society decided to affiliate with a national fraternity and searched for a like-minded group not already located at Union College.[10] In early 1859, sixteen members of the society and a tutor signed a petition to establish a chapter of Alpha Delta Phi at Union.[11] Richard Salter Storrs, president of Alpha Delta Phi, issued a charter for Union chapter on June 14, 1859.[10][11] After Union chapter's installation, Omicron Kappa Epsilon ceased to exist.[12][11] The new chapter of Alpha Delta Phi held its first meeting on July 15, 1859, and decided not to admit the many alumni of Omicron Kappa Epsilon, only accepting five men: George Adlington Brandreth 1847, William Root Adams 1851, Lewis Collins 1853, John A. De Remer 1857, and Alexander McAllister Thorburn 1857.[10][11]

In 1863, Rev. Phillip Phelps Jr., an Omicron Kappa Epsilon alumnus from Union College, re-activated the Fraternal Society at Holland Academy in Holland, Michigan.[13][5] Two years later, Holland Academy became Hope College, with Phelps as its first president.[14] Since then, the society has continued to operate as a local social fraternity at Hope College.[1] In January 1928, the society announced its plans to build a $40,000 centenary memorial fraternity house, becoming the first fraternity at Hope College to have a chapter house.[15][16]


Omicron Kappa Epsilon's colors are blue and gold.[17] The society's Greek letters, OΚΕ, stand for Oligoi Kai Eklektoi in Latin, meaning “Few and Chosen.”[18] Its motto is "the pursuit of friendship, love and truth".[17][4]

Its crest is a shield topped by a yellow and blue "rope that binds the men of Fraternal" and a gold "sun that never sets on Fraternal." On the gold shield are a blue and white book of knowledge, a red lion representing strength, and a blue lion that represents courage.[18]


Omicron Kappa Epsilon's activities include social events, charitable and service projects, sports, and scholarly lectures.[4][19][20][21][22][23][24]


Following is a list of Omicron Kappa Epsilon chapters. Active chapters are indicated in bold. Inactive chapters are in italic.

Chapter Chartered/Range Institution Location Status References
Fraternal Society (Alpha) January 1834–1859 Union College Schenectady, New York Withdrew (ΑΔΦ) [12][a]
Fraternal Society 1863 Hope College Holland, Michigan Active [1][b]
Fraternal Society Alumni Association Holland, Michigan Active [13]
  1. ^ Chapter merged with Alpha Delta Phi, becoming its Union chapter on June 14, 1859.
  2. ^ Chapter formed as the Fraternal Society at Holland Academy, which became Hope College in 1865.

Notable Alumni

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Lurding, Carroll and Becque, Fran. (April 9, 2024) "Hope College". Almanac of Fraternities and Sororities. Urbana: University of Illinois. Accessed June 6, 2023.
  2. ^ Hough, Franklin Benjamin (1876). Historical Sketch of Union College: Founded at Schnectady, N.Y., February 25, 1795. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 42 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Some sources date the fraternity to January 1834 when its constitution was approved. However, the oldest sources use 1833 when its founders first met.
  4. ^ a b c d e Milestone. Vol. 43. Holland, Michigan: Hope College. 1951. p. 132. Retrieved June 6, 2023.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h "Omicron Kappa Epsilon (Fraternal Society) - Hope College - Holland, Michigan". Waymarking. September 25, 2015. Retrieved May 8, 2023.
  6. ^ a b Baird, Wm Raimond (1883). American College Fraternities (2nd ed.). New York: Frank Williams. p. 5.
  7. ^ "Fraternities + Sororities at Union | Union College News Archives". Retrieved 2023-06-06.
  8. ^ Confessore, Nicholas (2007-07-29). "Fraternizing". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-06-06.
  9. ^ "Union College | Schenectady, New York, United States". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2023-06-06.
  10. ^ a b c "Union Alpha Delta Phi Alumni About Us". Union Alpha Delta Phi Alumni. Retrieved March 19, 2023.
  11. ^ a b c d Phi, Alpha Delta (1899). Catalogue of the Alpha Delta Phi Society. New York: Executive Council of the Alpha Delta Phi Fraterity. p. 569 – via Google Books.
  12. ^ a b Lurding, Carroll and Becque, Fran. (May 4, 2023) "Union College" Almanac of Fraternities and Sororities. Urbana: University of Illinois. Accessed June 6, 2023.
  13. ^ a b "About". The Fraternal Society Alumni Association. Retrieved 2023-06-06.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g "The History". The Fraternal Society Alumni Association. Retrieved March 19, 2023.
  15. ^ "The Industrial Week Throughout Michigan". The Herald-Palladium. Benton Harbor, Michigan. 1928-01-23. p. 7. Retrieved 2023-06-06 – via
  16. ^ "Hope Fraternal Society Planning Its Centennial". The Minden City Herald. Minden City, Michigan. 1933-01-20. p. 6. Retrieved 2023-06-06 – via
  17. ^ a b "Omicron Kappa Epsilon | Greek Life". Hope College. 2023-09-29. Retrieved 2023-06-06.
  18. ^ a b "The Fraternal Society Alumni Association". The Fraternal Society Alumni Association. Retrieved 2023-06-06.
  19. ^ "Holland City". Detroit Free Press. Detroit, Michigan. 1874-11-25. p. 3. Retrieved 2023-06-06 – via
  20. ^ "Fraters Present 'Frolics' at Percy Jones Hospital". The Holland Evening Sentinel. Holland, Michigan. 1948-03-13. p. 3. Retrieved 2023-06-06 – via
  21. ^ "Big Hallowe'en Party to Start Tonight at 6:30". The Holland Evening Sentinel. Holland, Michigan. 1952-10-31. p. 1. Retrieved 2023-06-06 – via
  22. ^ "Hope Fraternity Plans Annual 'Frater Frolics'". The Holland Evening Sentinel. Holland Michigan. 1954-04-14. p. 14. Retrieved 2023-06-06 – via
  23. ^ "Fraternal Society Wins Hope Tennis Tournament". The Holland Evening Sentinel. Holland, Michigan. 1955-10-28. p. 6. Retrieved 2023-06-06 – via
  24. ^ "Fraters Get Honor Award at College". The Holland Evening Sentinel. Holland, Michigan. 1966-10-03. p. 8. Retrieved 2023-06-06 – via
  25. ^ "Collection: Dimnent, Edward Daniel (1876-1959). Papers, 1892-1972. | Joint Archives of Holland". Hope College. Retrieved 2023-06-06.
  26. ^ "Necrology". The Concordiensis. Schenectady, New York. November 4, 1898. p. 7. Retrieved June 6, 2023 – via NYS Historic Newspapers.
  27. ^ "Presidents of Kalamazoo College". Retrieved 2023-09-24.
  28. ^ "Mayo A. "Mike" Hadden, Jr. oral history interview (Part 1 of 4) ·". The Museum of Flight - Digital Collections. Retrieved 2023-06-06.
  29. ^ "Mayo Hadden - Recipient -". Retrieved 2023-06-06.
  30. ^ "Professor Gerrit J. Kollen". Retrieved 2023-06-06.
  31. ^ Sharma M, Madhugiri V, Nanda A. "James L. Poppen and surgery of the 'seat of the soul': a contemporary perspective." World Neurosurg. 2014 Sep-Oct;82(3-4):529-34. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2013.02.004. Epub 2013 Feb 9. PMID 23403342.
  32. ^ "James L. Poppen". Congress of Neurological Surgeons. 1963-07-01. Retrieved 2023-06-06.
  33. ^ "Alumni". The Concordiensis. Schenectady, New York. December 10, 1904. p. 12. Retrieved June 6, 2021 – via NYS Historic Newspapers.
  34. ^ "Calvin A. VanderWerf; Educator, 71". The New York Times. 1988-07-26. p. B7. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-06-06.
  35. ^ "Rev. Dr. Ame Vennema; Former President of Hope College Dies In Passaio N. J. at 67" (PDF). The New York Times. 1925-04-28. p. 21. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-06-06.