Phi Sigma Delta
Phi Sigma Delta crest, color, predecessor to ZBT.jpg
FoundedNovember 10, 1909; 113 years ago (1909-11-10)
Columbia University
AffiliationNIC (former)
Colors  White and   Purple
Chapters49 active chapters at merger
22 inactive chapters at merger
Merged withZeta Beta Tau (1970)

Phi Sigma Delta (ΦΣΔ), colloquially known as Phi Sig,[1] was a fraternity established in 1909 with a predominantly Jewish membership at Columbia University. It eventually opened at least 47 chapters. The Fraternity merged with Zeta Beta Tau in 1970, retiring its original name.[2]


Phi Sigma Delta was founded at Columbia University by a group of Jewish students who previously "seemed unable to find [a] proper opportunity for the campus fellowship they were seeking.".[3] The first and founding meeting was held on November 10, 1909 at Maxwell Hyman's house at 22 Mount Morris Park West, New York. They met weekly at member homes, designing the constitution, ritual, and badge. Early in 1911 the group's new ritual was employed to usher in the first initiates. By September 1911 a two-room suite chapter home was established in Hartley Hall, a dormitory on the Columbia campus.[3] Eight Founders were honored by the Fraternity:

The Fraternity was incorporated in the State of New York on June 1, 1912.[2]

One of the milestones of the Fraternity came in 1934 when Phi Sigma Delta began a program to shelter German student refugees at various chapter houses around the country. Later, as America entered WWII the national manpower drain led to a standstill of the Fraternity's expansion program. Nevertheless, while some suspended operations 14 chapters continued to operate with reduced manpower. By the end of WWII, nearly 2,000 members had signed up to serve in the US armed forces. Alumni took up a special contribution to pay for memorial plaques for each chapter, noting those who had died during wartime service.[2]

On April 6, 1959, Phi Alpha fraternity merged with Phi Sigma Delta, adding sixteen active chapters, "mostly located in the East," who were given new designations beginning with the Greek letter Phi. The Phi Alpha merger was made easier by the fact that there were only three campuses where both groups had a chapter, two of which "were readily resolved," while on the third campus, one of the groups was released to join another fraternity.[3]

The expanded fraternity added eight more chapters in the subsequent decade, still, another merger was considered and pursued. Negotiations were successfully concluded in 1969 for Phi Sigma Delta itself to merge into the rapidly-expanding Zeta Beta Tau fraternity, finalizing that move in 1970.

At the time of its merger Phi Sigma Delta had 49 active chapter and 22 inactive chapters, with a total of 19,500 initiated (alumni and active) members.[3]

Insignia and traditions

The badge of the Fraternity consisted of the three Greek letters ΦΣΔ joined obliquely (~angled), in gold, with twenty-four crown pearls set into the gold letters.

The pledge pin was round, with a white palm and pyramid set into a purple background.

The official song was the Phi Sigma Delta Hymn, generally known as "We Sing To Thee, Phi Sigma Delta." It was adopted in 1930.[3] Another song written for the fraternity, c.1923, was "Phi Sigma Delta Forever," words by Herbert Morse & Herman Block. Music by Nathan Grabin & Herman Block.

Notable alumni


This is the list of chapters of Phi Sigma Delta fraternity, immediately prior to its merger into Zeta Beta Tau in 1969. Unless otherwise referenced, citations taken from Baird's Manual.[3] On three campuses, active chapters of both Phi Alpha and Phi Sigma Delta existed. Baird's says "two were easily resolved, and the other was released to join another national."

Several additional dormant Phi Alpha chapters had been on campuses where, at the merger, Phi Sigma Delta was active. It may be assumed that alumni from those groups were welcomed to join the existing Phi Sigma Delta chapters.

Name Chartered Institution Location Status Notes Reference
Alpha November 10, 1910 Columbia University New York City, NY Dormant from 1933-1955
Beta 1912 Cornell University Ithaca, NY
Gamma 1913 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy, NY
Delta 1913 NYU (Bronx) The Bronx, NY
Epsilon 1914 Union College Schenectady, NY
Phi Alpha October 14, 1914 George Washington University Washington, DC Founding chapter of ΦΑ
Phi Beta February 22, 1916 University of Maryland at Baltimore Baltimore, MD Originally a chapter of ΦΑ [5]
Zeta 1916 University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA
Eta 1916 University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI
Phi Gamma December 26, 1916 Georgetown University Washington, D.C. Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Phi Delta February 15, 1918 Northwestern University Evanston, IL Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Phi Epsilon April 2, 1919 University of Maryland, College Park College Park, MD Originally a chapter of ΦΑ [5]
Theta 1919 University of Colorado Boulder, CO
Phi Zeta December 7, 1919 Yale University New Haven, CT Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Closed in 1925
Iota 1920 University of Denver Denver, CO
Kappa 1920 Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH
Lambda 1920 University of Texas Austin, TX
Phi Lambda February 19, 1921 DePaul University Chicago, IL Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Closed in 1927
Mu 1921 University of Chicago Chicago, IL
Nu 1921 Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, MA Closed in 1927
Omicron 1921 Ohio State University Columbus, OH
Pi 1922 Wisconsin Madison, WI
Phi Mu April 16, 1922 University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Rho 1923 Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
Phi Nu March 16, 1924 Clark University Worcester, MA Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Closed in 1969
Phi Omicron 1924 University of New Hampshire Durham, NH Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Phi Pi December 14, 1924 Boston University Boston, MA Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Tau 1925 Lehigh University Bethlehem, PA Closed in 1933
Phi Rho February 6, 1925 University of Richmond Richmond, VA Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Phi Sigma October 25, 1925 Brooklyn Polytechnic (now Tandon) Brooklyn, NY Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Sigma 1927 Pennsylvania State University State College, PA
Upsilon 1927 West Virginia University Morgantown, WV
Phi Tau March 31, 1927 College of William & Mary Williamsburg, VA Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Closed in 1954
Phi Phi March 19, 1927 Duquesne University Pittsburgh, PA Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Phi Chi October 15, 1927 Trinity College (now Duke University) Durham, NC Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Closed in 1929
Phi 1928 University of Vermont Burlington, VT
Phi Psi February 20, 1928 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chattanooga, TN Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Closed in 1930
Phi Omega May 11, 1928 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chapel Hill, NC Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Closed in 1943
Chi 1929 Duke University Durham, NC Closed in 1936
Psi 1929 University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, AL Closed in 1939
Phi Alpha Beta May 4, 1929 Temple University Philadelphia, PA Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Phi Alpha Gamma December 7, 1930 Wayne State University Detroit, MI Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Closed between 1942-1961
Omega 1931 University of Missouri Columbia, MO Closed in 1964
Phi Alpha Epsilon 1937 St. John's College Annapolis, MD Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Closed in 1947
Phi Alpha Zeta 1938 St. John's University New York, NY Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Closed in 1941
Phi Alpha Eta 1940 City College of New York New York, NY Originally a chapter of ΦΑ [7]
Phi Alpha Theta 1941 Washington College Chestertown, MD Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Closed in 1942
Alpha Alpha 1943 University of Connecticut Storrs, CT
Alpha Beta 1947 University of Southern California Los Angeles, CA
Alpha Gamma 1947 University of Illinois Urbana, IL
Alpha Delta 1948 Ohio University Athens, OH
Alpha Epsilon 1949 Syracuse University Syracuse, NY
Alpha Zeta 1952 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL Closed in 1966
Alpha Eta 1952 Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO [8]
Alpha Theta 1952 Rutgers University–New Brunswick New Brunswick, NJ
Alpha Iota 1952 NYU (Square) Greenwich Village, Manhattan, NY Closed in 1966
Alpha Kappa 1955 University of Utah Salt Lake City, UT Closed in 1961
Phi Alpha Kappa 1957 Lehman College (Hunter College) Bronx, NY Originally a chapter of ΦΑ
Alpha Lambda 1957 University of Detroit Detroit, MI
Alpha Mu 1957 University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, MA
Alpha Nu 1957 University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Milwaukee, WI
Alpha Xi 1958 C.W. Post University Brookville, Long Island, NY
Alpha Omicron 1959 Pratt Institute Brooklyn, NY
Phi Alpha Mu 1959 CCNY New York, NY Originally a chapter of ΦΑ [7]
Kappa Nu 1961 Brooklyn College (CUNY) Brooklyn, NY
Alpha Pi 1963 University of Rhode Island Kingston, RI [9]
Alpha Rho 1963 Washington University in St. Louis St. Louis, MO
Alpha Sigma 1963 Michigan State University East Lansing, MI
Alpha Tau 1964 Long Island University Brooklyn, NY
Alpha Upsilon 1965 Adelphi University Garden City, NY
Alpha Phi 1965 Parsons School of Design (New School) Greenwich Village, Manhattan, NY

See also


  1. ^ This fraternity was called Phi Sig on those campuses where Phi Sigma Kappa, Phi Sigma Epsilon or Phi Sigma Sigma (sorority) had not previously established usage of that nickname.
  2. ^ a b c Our Antecedent Groups:Phi Sigma Delta
  3. ^ a b c d e f Anson, Jack L.; Marchenasi, Robert F., eds. (1991) [1879]. Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (20th ed.). Indianapolis, IN: Baird's Manual Foundation, Inc. p. VIII–17–18. ISBN 978-0963715906.
  4. ^ "Phi Sigma Delta". New Fraternity Pledges. Daily Pennsylvanian. 1965-01-28. p. 5.
  5. ^ a b The Phi Alpha Quarterly, 1936 talks about the activities of Beta chapter at University of Maryland, Baltimore. There were chapters at both Baltimore and at College Park.
  6. ^ a b St. John's College has two campuses. Its main campus is in Annapolis. Note also, St. John's University is a separate school, in NYC.
  7. ^ a b What is the relationship between the Phi Alpha Eta chapter and Phi Alpha Mu chapter, both listed in Baird's on the CCNY campus?
  8. ^ The CSU Ft. Collins chapter is not listed among ZBT chapters that merged into that Fraternity.
  9. ^ The Rhode Island chapter is listed among ZBT chapters post-merger as the Rho Iota chapter.