Phi Kappa Sigma
FoundedOctober 19, 1850; 173 years ago (1850-10-19)
University of Pennsylvania
United States
MottosStellis Aequus Durando (“Equal to the Stars in Endurance”)
Colors  Black
  Old Gold
SymbolMaltese Cross
FlowerYellow Chrysanthemum
PublicationMaltese Cross
PhilanthropyLeukemia & Lymphoma Society
Chapters62 active, 16 colonies
Headquarters716 Adams St
Carmel, IN 46032
United States

Phi Kappa Sigma (ΦΚΣ), also known as Phi Kap, Skulls, or Skullhouse, is an international all-male college secret society and social fraternity. Commonly known as “Skulls”, the name is inspired by the skull and crossbones on the fraternity's badge and coat of arms. Members are often recognized by the solid gold membership pin depicting the fraternity’s symbol, a Maltese Cross surrounding a human skull. The fraternity is one of the world’s oldest and most successful social fraternities, developing generations of leaders in politics, law, business, professional sports, and military service. From 1886 through 1980, there was at least one Skull serving in the United States Senate. The 94-year history of Skull’s involvement in the upper chamber was broken when Richard Schweiker (Psi Chapter, 1954) retired from the Senate to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services under the administration of President Ronald Reagan.

Phi Kappa Sigma was founded by Dr. Samuel Brown Wylie Mitchell at the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League university based in Philadelphia. Mitchell recorded the initial concepts of Phi Kappa Sigma on August 16, 1850. He then began to discuss the idea with other students, first Charles Hare Hutchinson, and then Alfred Victor du Pont (son of Alfred V. du Pont), John Thorne Stone, Andrew Adams Ripka, James Bayard Hodge, and Duane Williams. The seven men formally founded the fraternity on October 19, 1850 becoming the founding fathers of Phi Kappa Sigma[1]

Phi Kappa Sigma is a charter member of the North American Interfraternity Conference, and since 2017, is headquartered in Carmel, Indiana. Prior to relocating its headquarters to Carmel, Indiana the fraternity was based in Philadelphia, Valley Forge, and Chester Springs.


The fraternity's badge was designed by its founder, Dr. Samuel Brown Wylie Mitchell. Outside of changes in size, its official design has remained the same. In the shape of a cross pattée, the badge is old gold with black decoration. The center of the cross is anchored by a skull and crossbones. The four leaves of the cross display, individually, the Greek letters Phi, Kappa, and Sigma, starting at the left leaf and rotating counter-clockwise. The fourth and top leaf display a six-pointed star. The back of the badge has an engraved serpent echoing the serpent from the fraternity's coat of arms.

Chapter listing

See List of Phi Kappa Sigma chapters

Notable members

See also


  1. ^ "Phi Kappa Sigma International Fraternity – History". Archived from the original on October 28, 2002. Retrieved March 20, 2007.
  2. ^ "NASA Bio of Chaffee". Archived from the original on July 23, 2011. Retrieved April 4, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Famous Phi Kaps, Greek 101". Retrieved 2008-04-06.
  4. ^ "National Security expert discusses current threats". 28 December 2022.
  5. ^ "Prairie Business Magazine December 2022 Page 18".
  6. ^ "Phi Kappa Sigma Maltese Cross 2003" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on May 15, 2008. Retrieved April 4, 2008.