Phi Beta Pi
FoundedMarch 10, 1891; 130 years ago (March 10, 1891)
West Pennsylvania Medical College
TypeProfessional fraternity
AffiliationPFA (former)
ColorsEmerald green   & white  
FlowerWhite Chrysanthemum
PublicationThe Talisman (formerly Phi Beta Pi Quarterly)
Headquarters1202 Church Street
Galveston, TX 77550

Phi Beta Pi (ΦΒΠ) medical fraternity is a professional fraternity founded in 1891 at the West Pennsylvania Medical College.


Phi Beta Pi medical fraternity is a professional fraternity founded March 10, 1891, at the West Pennsylvania Medical College, a school that is now a department of the University of Pittsburgh). It was, at its beginning, an anti-fraternity society, reactionary to the more secret groups of the day. At formation it was known briefly as Pi Beta Phi professional fraternity, but changed its name because a woman's fraternity also known as Pi Beta Phi had prior claim to that name.[1]

Its Beta chapter was established at the University of Michigan on April 1, 1898, with its first national general assembly in Ann Arbor on January 6, 1900.

Baird's Manual (20th ed.) reports that Phi Beta Pi absorbed an early, secret medical fraternity named Kappa Lambda, which may have been the first professional fraternity of any account. It had been founded in 1803 at Transylvania University, in Lexington, Kentucky, extending chapters to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York, to Rutgers University Medical School (NJ), the Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, and elsewhere. It continued to be active in New York until the eve of the Civil War, to 1858 or later, "but having no useful purpose faded into oblivion." Baird's reports that what remained of Kappa Lambda consolidated with Phi Beta Pi under that name, even though Phi Beta Pi dates to 1891.[2]

Over three decades the fraternity chartered 53 chapters. Growth slowed, adding ten more by 1955.

Growth was difficult, with probably the single biggest negative factor cited as being the consolidation and discontinuance of medical schools. In 1906 there were 162 medical schools in the United States and Canada, but by 1954 there were 79. Additionally, medical societies were in competition among themselves. Phi Beta Pi for a time gained from others' loss: In 1934 Omega Upsilon Phi medical fraternity, founded at Buffalo in 1894, merged into Phi Beta Pi, bringing with it an additional 24 chapter designations, some of which merged into existing Phi Beta Pi chapters, some closed, and with its Alpha chapter at the University of Buffalo leaving to join rival Phi Chi Medical Fraternity as its Omega Upsilon Phi chapter.

Later, in what was considered a merger of equals, Phi Beta Pi consolidated operations with Theta Kappa Psi, both contributing their remaining chapters to the combined group in 1961, and retaining the names of both national fraternities. Some chapters, notably those in Texas and Manitoba, fought against this merger which at first would have required Theta Kappa Psi to give up its name. These groups began to organize a schismatic and similarly named international group, but this effort failed to launch.

Thirty years later, in the Spring of 1992, Phi Beta Pi-Theta Kappa Psi was dissolved. At the time of dissolution there were only nine active chapters in existence. The only remaining chapter of Phi Beta Pi is situated at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas. It has expressed an interest in rebuilding the national with additional chapters.

Traditions and insignia

Its badge is a diamond of gold with emerald points and pearl edges. A black enamel center with gold skull and pelvis and the letters "ΦΒΠ."[1]


Below is a list of Phi Beta Pi chapters.[1][3]

Chapter Institution Dates Notes
A University of Pittsburgh 1891-?
B University of Michigan 1898-?
Γ Starling-Ohio Medical College 1900–1905
Δ Rush Medical College (University of Chicago) 1901-?
Ε McGill University 1901–1908
Ζ Baltimore College of Physicians and Surgeons 1901-?
Η Jefferson Medical College 1902-?
Θ Northwestern University (Chicago) 1902-?
Ι University of Illinois (Chicago) 1902-?
Κ Detroit College of Medicine 1903-?
Λ St. Louis University 1903-?
Μ Washington University 1903-?
Ν Kansas City University Medical College 1904-?
Ξ University of Minnesota 1904-?
Ο Indiana University (Indianapolis) 1905-? Combined with Alpha Zeta to make Omicron Alpha Zeta
Π University of Iowa 1905-?
Ρ Vanderbilt University 1906-1944
Σ University of Alabama (Mobile) 1906-?
Τ University of Missouri 1906-?
Υ Western Reserve University 1906–1911
Φ University College of Medicine 1906-?
Χ Georgetown University 1906-?
Ψ Medical College of Virginia 1906-?
Ω Cooper Medical College 1906-?
ΑΑ Creighton Medical College 1907-?
ΑΒ Tulane University 1907-?
ΑΓ Syracuse University 1907-?
ΑΔ Medico-Chirurgical College absorbed by University of Pennsylvania[4] 1907-?
ΑΕ Marquette University 1907-?
ΑΖ Indiana University (Bloomington) 1908-?
ΑΗ University of Virginia 1909-?
ΑΘ University of Pennsylvania 1909-?
ΑΙ University of Kansas 1910-?
ΑΚ University of Texas (Galveston) 1910–Present [5]
AM University of Louisville pre-1921-?

Omega Upsilon Phi fraternity merged into Phi Beta Pi 1934. All active chapters became active chapters of Phi Beta Pi except Alpha which joined Phi Chi Medical Fraternity.[6]

Theta Kappa Psi fraternity merged in 1961.


  1. ^ a b c Baird, William, ed. (1915). Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (8 ed.). New York: The College Fraternity Publishing Co.
  2. ^ Anson, Jack L.; Marchenasi, Robert F., eds. (1991) [1879]. Baird's Manual of American Fraternities (20th ed.). Indianapolis, IN: Baird's Manual Foundation, Inc. p. I-19. ISBN 978-0963715906.
  3. ^ Baird, William, ed. (1923). Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (10 ed.). New York: The College Fraternity Publishing Co.
  4. ^ Schools and Hospitals Absorbed by Penn Medicine
  5. ^ This chapter continues under the name Phi Beta Pi, as the Beta Phi chapter, which it took at the national merger. See the University of Texas Medical Branch portal for more information, accessed 9 Dec 2020
  6. ^ Cannon, Daniel H. (1989). The History of Phi Chi Medical Fraternity Inc. Centennial Edition 1889-1989. Phi Chi Quarterly Office.