It was the first fraternity to be founded on the basis of religious and ethnic acceptance. The fraternity's national headquarters are located in Indianapolis , Indiana , at the Fairbanks Mansion, the former home of Charles Warren Fairbanks , the U. Since its inception, Delta Sigma Phi has chartered chapters at different colleges and universities, with actively operating undergraduate chapters and colonies "new chapters" across the United States today. Currently, the fraternity has more than 6, undergraduate active members and more than 85, living alumni members. More than , men have been initiated into Delta Sigma Phi since its founding. At the end of the nineteenth century, most fraternities were exclusively Christian or Jewish, and barred membership to individuals on the basis of religion.
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It was the first fraternity to be founded on the basis of religious and ethnic acceptance. The fraternity's national headquarters are located in Indianapolis , Indiana , at the Fairbanks Mansion, the former home of Charles Warren Fairbanks , the U. Since its inception, Delta Sigma Phi has chartered chapters at different colleges and universities, with actively operating undergraduate chapters and colonies "new chapters" across the United States today.
Currently, the fraternity has more than 6, undergraduate active members and more than 85, living alumni members. More than , men have been initiated into Delta Sigma Phi since its founding.
At the end of the nineteenth century, most fraternities were exclusively Christian or Jewish, and barred membership to individuals on the basis of religion.
When a group of friends at the City College of New York tried to join a fraternity, they were denied membership because their group was composed of Christians and Jews.
In response, they organized the first Delta Sigma Phi chapter on Dec. The chapter was called Insula due to its location in Manhattan. In late , with five members from Insula signing incorporation papers, Delta Sigma Phi was incorporated with the purpose to spread "the principles of friendship and brotherhood among college men, without respect to race or creed.
Delta Sigma Phi recognizes Charles A. Tonsor, Jr. Christian and Meyer Boskey Jewish as its two primary founding fathers. Although Boskey was one of the original members at the City College of New York and Tonsor was one of the charter members of the chapter at New York University, it is believed the fraternity originally was developed by a group of nearly a dozen men. During the short period when men of Jewish faith were barred membership, many of the fraternity's founding documents were ruined.
Given the circumstances, the national organization adopted both Boskey and Tonsor as the "founders" given their lifelong commitment to the fraternity and their service as visionaries for the development of the fraternity's ritual and national expansion. In the two years after the Convention, Delta Sigma Phi almost doubled in size with the addition of 10 chapters.
Hilgard Chapter was named after a dean at the university and is the fraternity's only chapter without a Greek letter designation, taking the place of Xi Chapter. Also in , the fraternity decided to admit only white men of the Christian faith, thus rejecting the founders' vision.
Many Jewish members and other minorities left Delta Sigma Phi or joined others, including Meyer Boskey, who withdrew active participation in the fraternity for an extended period of time. As a testament to the geographic shift of the fraternity, the convention was held in Chicago , Illinois. By this time, Delta Sigma Phi had expanded the number of staff and a national headquarters was created at the Riebold Building at Dayton , Ohio.
During the course of the war better than three-quarters of the fraternity's membership served the government in some capacity with half of that number in combat duty overseas. Publication of The Carnation , the fraternity's magazine, and the and conventions were suspended for the duration of the war.
Even though the colleges and universities remained open during the war many chapters suspended their operations when most of their members were called to service. Some chapters never recovered from the disruptions of World War I. Delta Sigma Phi went through continued expansion during the s, at which time many local fraternities and other social clubs petitioned for fraternity membership.
It was based upon a manual previously published by the Epsilon Chapter at Penn State. The Gordian Knot is considered to be one of the first pledge manuals to be published on a fraternity-wide basis. Today, the Sailors' Ball is an annual event that is a semi-formal counterpart to the Carnation Ball, the fraternity's formal banquet. Despite the financial uncertainties of the time, a traveling secretary was added to the fraternity payroll. During the Great Depression the national fraternity's growth had ground to a halt; college enrollments declined and those who attended college were less likely to be able to afford joining a fraternity.
Several chapters became dormant and lost their equity in chapter properties. It also was during this time Executive Director A. Defenderfer moved the fraternity headquarters to his insurance offices in Washington, DC. Although the fraternity was rebounding by the late s, World War II caused a disruption within the fraternity. Many members joined the war effort, leaving the chapters weak.
It was during this time that the fraternity's only Canadian chapter at McGill University became dormant, with many of its members joining to Commonwealth Forces. By , only 11 of the fraternity's 43 chapters were active. After the war, the GI Bill gave many veterans the opportunity to attend college. With an influx of new students, many of the dormant chapters were re-activated.
Another consequence of the GI Bill was the establishment of many new public universities. With more institutions open to fraternities, Delta Sigma Phi, along with many other Greek organizations, experienced its greatest period of growth in the Post-World War II era. In the late s, college administrators across the country began to refuse expansion to fraternities with restrictive rules on membership.
In response to the new rules, Delta Sig leadership amended the constitution of the national fraternity to remove all references to race or religion. However, the line "the belief in God is essential to our welfare" in the preamble was untouched and remains so to this day. In a compromise to several southern chapters, the amendments to the constitution were approved at the convention while language barring the initiation of non-white and non-Christians was inserted into the fraternity ritual.
Since the ritual was a private document and the constitution a public one, this compromise appeased those who resisted integration of the fraternity while allowing it to expand to new universities. The s were a turbulent time for fraternities and sororities in general. While most of the national Greek-letter organizations still had rules restricting membership, a few chapters bucked the edicts and initiated Jews and African Americans.
Some of those chapters were suspended by their national organizations, while others disaffiliated from their national organizations and "went local. Failure to comply could mean the loss of recognition. Delta Sigma Phi faced these issues at its convention. While the organization was interested in maintaining its California chapters, there was opposition to any plan to integrate the entire fraternity.
Several southern chapters passed resolutions against any relaxation of racial and religious restrictions and threatened to withdraw from the fraternity. A compromise again was reached where the current rules were not to be changed but exemptions were granted to chapters in danger to losing their recognition due to fraternity policies. The California chapters immediately were given exemptions. In , the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education joined the University of California by requiring the integration of its fraternities and sororities.
Exemptions were given to the chapters in Pennsylvania. While exemptions originally were granted to chapters in danger of losing recognition with their universities, the Beta Iota Chapter at Wittenberg University received a special exemption.
It intended to initiate an African American who was an All-American athlete and an outstanding scholar and the fraternity responded by offering an exemption, likely to avoid bad publicity.
The process of full integration was slow and awkward. As a result of a number of compromises the fraternity remained intact on a national level. When Civil Rights legislation was enacted, Delta Sigma Phi was once more a universal brotherhood of man, just as the founders intended. At the convention, the fraternity adopted "Vision ," a plan to transform Delta Sigma Phi into "America's Leading Fraternity" by the year with aggressive goals for leadership training, alumni involvement, and new chapter development.
The goal is for Delta Sigma Phi to rank within the top three to five of any quantitative measurement of national fraternities in the NIC. Members are urged to support the endeavors of the non-profit and raise funds.
Since the adoption of the American Red Cross and "Vision ," Delta Sigma Phi aims to be recognized as "Men of Action" in their recruitment and development philosophy. These are highlighted in the call to action video titled "All In. Among the initiatives laid out in Vision , the fraternity provided leadership education to all of its undergraduates by , developed "The Summit" to train all presidents and recruitment chairmen with professional recruitment techniques, and open between eight and 12 chapters annually with a goal of reaching undergraduate chapters by Rather than closing struggling chapters with small memberships, the fraternity actively redeveloped them as they would develop a brand-new chapter.
Delta Sigma Phi became the first fraternity to create a partnership with Phired Up Productions, a fraternity and sorority recruitment consulting company, to coach its New Chapter Development team. Since the partnership began in , Delta Sigma Phi has broken its record for number of men recruited for a colony three times, most recently in when a group at Arizona State University launched with founding fathers. During the second decade of the 21st Century the fraternity began to see the fruits of its new partnerships and vision.
Twenty-two new chapter developments or redevelopments took place between and , with an average new chapter size of 52 men, one of the highest among NIC men's fraternities. The organization-wide GPA surpassed the 3. The fraternity's staff grew more than 50 percent from to New programs were announced in to launch in including the Presidents' Academy, a service immersion trip The Journey and an online education platform titled "The Lamp" to provide membership and leadership development and training to percent of the undergraduate membership by In , the fraternity announced a partnership with Alpha Phi Alpha and Alpha Omicron Pi to host "Conversations on Race" at institutions where all three organizations have component chapters.
Though Delta Sigma Phi always had a solid and straightforward mission, a process to define what type man the organization wished to recruit and build started in The fraternity reached out to a number of students, alumni, and volunteers to better understand the key character qualities of an ideal member. At the convention in Phoenix, the fraternity revealed the three character qualities of "The Better Man" as mentioned in the fraternity's motto "Better Men.
Better Lives. The new campaign aims to encourage both undergraduate and alumni members to exemplify those principles in all aspects of life. The Sphinx was the first symbol adopted by the fraternity at the time of inception. Chosen for its longevity and stability over centuries.
Other symbols include a lamp , a lute depicted as a lyre , a Gordian Knot , and the Egyptian Pyramids. The white carnation was chosen as the fraternity's official flower because it contains the fraternity's colors; white and nile green as well as being a relatively common and sturdy flower that can grow in almost any climate. The publications of the fraternity are often named after its symbols:. The pledge emblem is a white circle with a green equilateral triangle set inside of it. Gold lines radiate from the center of the emblem to the three points of the triangle in addition to outlining the circle and triangle.
The pledge emblem is very prevalent in the symbolism of the fraternity; not only is the emblem on the pledge pin, but the emblem also graces the flag, the membership badge and the basic design is also the basis of the fraternity's seal. Prior to the adoption of Vision , Delta Sigma Phi was providing leadership training and development to fewer than students annually. With the launch of Delta Sig's online learning management system in the fall of , that number will hit percent of the undergraduate membership by Delta Sigma Phi's flagship leadership program is the Leadership Institute, celebrating its 20th Anniversary in the summer of Members apply to attend LI, however there is no limit to the number of members that may be admitted from each chapter.
It is a 5-day program in Indianapolis each summer though it was moved to Phoenix in to coordinate with the convention for the 20th Anniversary and is free to undergraduate Delta Sigma Phi members. More than 1, men have graduated from the Leadership Institute to date. Regional Leadership Academies RLAs were developed following the adoption of Vision to target a wider audience of the membership and provide development and training on the business and day-to-day operations of chapters.
Delta Sigma Phi
Delta Sigma Phi was the first fraternity to be founded on the basis of religious and ethnic acceptance. Better Lives. As a Fraternity of Firsts, we live up to that motto every day. Our aim is to develop better men and a better fraternal experience. To this day, the Fraternity remains committed to hazing prevention and maintaining a positive, safe environment. Hazing has no place in Delta Sigma Phi, and we continue to develop policies and resources to combat it.
The Gordian knot : pledge manual of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity.
The Gordian Knot is the manual for all new members of Delta Sig. What's a favorite memory from your time initiating? Jump to. Sections of this page. Accessibility Help. Email or Phone Password Forgot account?