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Delta Phi Epsilon (ΔΦΕ) is the only national professional foreign service fraternity and sorority. Founded at Georgetown Universitymarker on January 25, 1920, the fraternity's mission is to promote good fellowship among persons studying or engaged in foreign service. The Alpha chapter went on to colonize at many other universities throughout the country in the first half of the twentieth century. Many chapters have since become inactive due to the fraternity being identified with "The Establishment" during the Vietnam War era, as well as a subsequent decline in interest in foreign service. The fraternity has notable members in a variety of fields.

As of 2009, there are six active chapters. Active chapters are Georgetown'smarker Alpha chapter, New York University'smarker Beta Chapter, George Washington University'smarker Eta Chapter, University of California, Berkeley'smarker Epsilon Chapter, American University'smarker Pi Chapter, and University of Pacific'smarker Psi Chapter. Other chapters are currently in the process of being chartered and re-chartered.

The current president of Delta Phi Epsilon's national board is James-Michael von Stroebel and the current acting president of Alpha Chapter is William Wallace Smith. The Alpha, Beta, Eta, and Pi chapters do not admit women, but in 1973 the Alpha Chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority was founded at Georgetown University. Since its creation, the sorority has grown to include chapters at several additional universities, such as Eta chapter in 2006 and Pi in 2009, and has inducted notable national sisters including former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.


The fraternity was founded in the wake of World War I, in a time of increased U.S. interest in world politics and solving global issues with diplomacy. In 1919, Edmund A. Walsh at Georgetown Universitymarker founded the School of Foreign Servicemarker (SFS) and in 1924, the Rogers Act formed the basis of the United States Foreign Service. During this time, other groups with similar missions, such as the Council on Foreign Relations, were also founded as were international bodies such as the League of Nations.

The four founders of the fraternity are Alfred O. Arsenau, Wesley O. Ash, Samuel C. Bartlett, and T.J. Patrick O'Connell. The first three, undergraduates in Georgetown's SFS, at first held in common only their experience in overseas military service and their interest in foreign service careers. Later they were drawn together by their common vision for a professional foreign service fraternity for future graduates of the School of Foreign Service and others in the field. The fourth founder had developed a similar vision independently, which he discussed with Arsenau. Later these men joined with seven interested undergraduates (future brothers Sandager, Butts, Ash, MacKenzie, Brooks, Sullivan Scott, and Bates) and signed the Articles of Agreement. After choosing a name and nominating officers, Delta Phi Epsilon Foreign Service Fraternity was founded at the Catholic Community House on E Street on January 25, 1920.

Early expansion focused on East Coast schools, but after World War II, the fraternity saw greater expansion into new institutions across the United Statesmarker. There was also pressure for the fraternity to admit women. In 1956 the National Board of Directors reached a compromise and created the Delta Phi Epsilon International Society of Business and Foreign Affairs, which was to be open to all. The society however failed to develop or resolve the issue. In the 1960s the fraternity began to see a decline in members. In 1972 the National Board resolved to allow female members to boost flagging numbers, though this amendment failed as it was not carried forward by following Conventions. In 1973, Alpha Chapter aided in the formation of a companion Sorority, a pattern that was followed by Eta Chapter in 2006 and Pi Chapter in 2009.

Further decline in the 1970s caused the folding of twenty-one chapters, including the new sorority, leaving only the original Alpha Chapter fraternity active. This decline is attributed to two major factors: a national decline in professional fraternities and a negative perception of the foreign service. During the Vietnam War, the foreign service was closely associated with contemporary U.S. foreign policy, which was protested against at many member institutions. In the 1980s, Alpha Chapter, which was briefly inactive in 1982, was sustained in part due to the leadership of new National Secretary Terrence J. Boyle. After numerous attempts during the 1990s, some of these defunct chapters were revived in the 2000s. The Alpha Chapter sorority was also revived from 1990 to 1995, and again in 1998.


3401 Prospect Street is home to Alpha Chapter
Alpha Chapter is the longest-lived active chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon. The short-lived reactivation of Gamma Chapter at Boston University in May 1993 was followed by the reactivation of Epsilon Chapter, inactive since 1972, in 2003 at the University of California at Berkeley as a co-educational fraternity and the reactivation of Eta Chapter, inactive since 1969, in November 2005 at George Washington University. The Fraternity also saw the addition of the first new chapter in thirty-two years, at the University of the Pacificmarker in 2008. New York Universitymarker's Beta Chapter and American Universitymarker's Pi Chapter were also revived in 2009.

Active chapters

*1973, Alpha Chapter Sorority
*2006, Eta Chapter Sorority
*2009, Pi Chapter Sorority

Defunct chapters

Famous members

Alpha Chapter has inducted several notable Georgetown faculty members as national brothers, including former U.S, Ambassador and Deputy Secretary of State Howard Schaffer, former Ford executive Philip Karber, who also served as Special Advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and renowned Jesuit scholar Father Thomas King.


  1. Sisters_List.html
  2. Delta_II_Directory
  3. Eta_VI_Directory
  4. Alpha Alumni Directory IV
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. Thelema Lodge Calendar for August 1999 e.v

External links

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