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Theta Chi Fraternity (ΘΧ) is an international college fraternity. It was founded on April 10, 1856 as the Theta Chi Society, at Norwich University, Norwich, Vermontmarker, U.S.marker, and was the 21st of the 71 North-American Interfraternity Conference men's fraternities [95474].


Founding and early years at Norwich

Theta Chi Fraternity was founded on Thursday, April 10, 1856 at 9:00 p.m. in the Old South Barracks on the campus of Norwich University in Norwich, Vermont, by two military cadets, Frederick Norton Freeman and Arthur Chase. A third man, Egbert Phelps, is considered to be the "assistant founder" for lending his help and advice to Freeman and Chase although he was never an undergraduate member himself (he was a member of the Chi Psi Fraternity). The first initiates after the founders were Edward Bancroft Williston and Lorenzo Potter. The early history of Theta Chi Fraternity is closely connected with the history of Norwich University. In 1866 a massive fire devastated the university, completely destroying the Old South Barracks. This disaster prompted the university to move from Norwich, Vermont to its present location in Northfield, Vermont. During fall quarter in 1881, Norwich University was reduced to only 15 students and Theta Chi membership was reduced to one undergraduate member, James M. Holland. In November of that year, Phil S. Randall and Henry Hersey approached Holland and insisted that they be allowed to join Theta Chi; Holland agreed, thus saving the Fraternity from extinction.


Theta Chi's International Headquarters is currently located in Indianapolis, IN
The Fraternity was incorporated in Vermont in 1888, and acquired its first chapter house two years later. However, it remained a single entity for forty-six years until the Beta Chapter was installed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1902. A Grand Chapter was organized in 1908 to direct the fraternity and promote its growth. In 1942, Beta Kappa Fraternity joined Theta Chi Fraternity, bringing 16 undergraduate chapters and approximately 6,000 undergraduate and alumnus members into the ranks. The Foundation Chapter was established in 1953 as a charity to provide educational scholarships and assistance. In 1965, the Zeta Gamma Chapter was installed at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, making Theta Chi an International Fraternity.


Initially, the Alpha Chapter and Grand Chapter volunteered to maintain all records of the Fraternity until 1923, when the first Executive Office was established in New York City. In 1928, the headquarters was moved to Huntington, West Virginia. In 1932, the third headquarters moved to Trenton, New Jersey. Today, Theta Chi Fraternity's international headquarters is currently located at 3330 Founders Rd, Indianapolis, Indiana since 1990.

Ideals, traditions and symbols

The Alpha Chapter of Theta Chi Fraternity was founded here in 1856

The Greek motto of Theta Chi is Θηρόποεα Χείρ, which is officially translated as "Assisting Hand." Theta Chi's motto was secret from the founding in 1856 until the 1930s at which time it was made public and incorporated into the fraternity's coat of arms.

When Freeman and Chase founded Theta Chi in 1856 they very clearly spelled out the purpose of the Fraternity in the original Constitution. Article I stated that the objects of Theta Chi were to “bind by closer bonds the members to each other and the mutual assistance of each of its members;” “the advancement and carrying out of any measures at the institution in which it shall be established which shall be of importance to its members,” and “the mutual benefit and improvement of all its members.”

The Fraternity's maxim is "Alma Mater First and Theta Chi for Alma Mater," and refers to one of the founding ideals of the Fraternity: loyalty to one's college or university as well as academic achievement.

The Fraternity's colors are military red and white. Its flower is the red carnation. The national alumni publication is The Rattle, named for the rattlesnake that appears on the fraternity's coat of arms and badge. It has become a Theta Chi tradition to celebrate Founders Day on April 10, usually as an alumni gathering.

Badge of Theta Chi

The original Theta Chi badge was designed by Egbert Phelps, assistant founder of the Fraternity, sometime before the founding date. The records show that the first badges were ordered by Freeman from a Boston jeweler on April 12, two days after the founding. The members, by vote, decided to wear the badges in public for the first time on June 9, 1856.

Coat of Arms

Sometimes mistakenly called the crest, the Fraternity Coat of Arms is described in heraldic phraseology, as: "Or on a bend gules, a nowed serpent between two swords, points downward, pale wise, all of the first. On an Esquire's helmet the crest an eagle displayed Or". The crest is actually the eagle, a part of the Coat of Arms.

New Member Pin

New Member Button: An insignia worn at appropriate times by men who have joined Theta Chi Fraternity as New Members, having yet to be initiated into the fraternity. The New Member button is a small metal oval, red in color, with a white edge, and crossed diagonally with white stripes forming an "X".

Recognition Pins

Recognition Button(s): A small button which is worn on a coat lapel. The recognition button comes in three forms. The official recognition button is a small reproduction of the official badge. A second version is a miniature coat of arms, while a third version utilizes the fraternity letters.

Creed of Theta Chi

The Flag of Theta Chi Fraternity
Frank Schrenk, Kappa/University of Pennsylvaniamarker '14, wrote the Creed of Theta Chi. It is both an affirmation of the founding principals of Theta Chi and a mission statement for the Fraternity:

I believe in Theta Chi, its traditions and its ideals. Born of sturdy manhood, nurtured by resolute men, ennobled by high and sacred purpose, it has taken its place among the educational institutions of America as a promoter of knowledge, an advancer of culture and a builder of character.

It inspires true friendship: teaches Truth, Temperance and Tolerance, extols virtue, exacts harmony, and extends a helping hand to all who seek it.

I believe in the primacy of Alma Mater; in the usefulness of my Fraternity, in its influence and its accomplishments and I shall do all in my power to perpetuate its ideals, thereby serving my God, my country and my fellow-man.

The Creed is recited by members at chapter meetings, and is often used in new member education programs to teach the new members the values and ideals of the Fraternity.

The Monument of Theta Chi

The Monument of Theta Chi Fraternity
On August 29, 1931, the day of Theta Chi's 75th Anniversary Convention, a stone monument was dedicated at Norwich, Vermontmarker. It is a remembrance of the founding of Theta Chi Fraternity:

On a site 200 feet northeast of this monument in the Old South Barracks of Norwich University, Frederick Norton Freeman, '57, and Arthur Chase, '56, founded Theta Chi Fraternity at 9 p.m., April 10, 1856

Theta Chi Today

Theta Chi Fraternity currently has over 130 active chapters, as well as 7 colonies and interest groups across the United Statesmarker and Canadamarker and has initiated over 170,000 members since its founding. It is a member of the North-American Interfraternity Conference. As of May 2007, Theta Chi was the 9th largest collegiate male fraternity. Hazing has been prohibited since 1920, and in 1998 undergraduates and alumni of the fraternity mandated that nearly all undergraduate chapter houses be alcohol-free by 2003.

In June 2006, Theta Chi's 150th Anniversary Convention was held at the Norwich University campus in Northfield, Vermont, with keynote addresses by the Governor of Vermont and the president of Norwich University.

Today, Theta Chi Fraternity's undergraduate members are extremely involved, on their respective campuses with a multitude of leadership organizations, holding membership and positions of leadership in Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK), the Order of Omega, Student Government Association (SGA), Phi Beta Kappa, NCAA athletics, and multiple philanthropies, including the Children's Miracle Network, the American Red Cross, Relay for Life, as well as various organizations that support the U.S. military overseas.


Colonies and Interest Groups

Fall of 2009 shows that Theta Chi Fraternity currently has 9 interest groups and colonies in various stages of development. Included are groups at Ohio State Universitymarker, University of South Floridamarker, Clemson Universitymarker (Clemson, SC), University of Nebraska, Oklahoma State Universitymarker, University of Wisconsin–Madisonmarker, Bucknell Universitymarker (Lewisburg, PA), University of Rhode Islandmarker (Kingston, RI), and University of Pittsburghmarker.

Recent efforts to install, or re-install chapters have been successful at Florida State University (2006), Indiana University (2006), University of Central Florida (2006), Northern Arizona University (2006), University of Southern California (2006), Longwood University (VA)(2007), Rutgers University (NJ)(2008), Stephen F. Austin State University (TX)(2009), Florida Southern College (2009), and The University of Missouri (2009).

Notable alumni

"Alumni are a product of their chapter. If the chapter stresses 'Theta Chi for Life', if they consider the status of alumni to be respected, if they determine that they will be undergraduates for a few years and Theta Chi alumni the rest of their lives, then and only then will we have good alumni relations." - George Kilavos, Delta Xi/ Valparaiso University - 1955
Theta Chi Fraternity has had many exceptional brothers in a variety of different fields:

  • Armed Services
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Business & Industry
  • Engineering
  • Government
  • Higher Education
  • Insurance
  • Journalism
  • Judiciary & Law
  • Religion
  • Research
  • Service Organizations
  • Sports

External links


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