The History Of Phi Kappa Theta

PHI KAPPA - 1889
In the late 1880's, a group of catholic students at Brown University in Rhode island organized themselves as a social fraternity, based on the fellowship of faith. Their first name was Phi Kappa Sigma, taking the Greek equivalent of the initials of "Fraternity of Catholic Students". (The Sigma was subsequently dropped).

With the help of local alumni, businessmen and a receptive college administration, the group thrived. It decided to become a national fraternity and admitted the Loyola Club of the U. of Illinois as the Beta chapter. Their first convention was in 1914. The first magazine, the Yippa-Yappa of Phi Kappa, was published in 1916.

By 1930 they had 24 chapters linked under their motto, "Loyalty to God and College". After several revisions, their coat of arms and initiation ceremony were standardized by then. Both a real estate holding company and an educational foundation were established in 1954.

In the 1910's, Newman Club students at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania wanted a stronger, more permanent bond than the club afforded. Originally named the "X club", the name was changed to Theta Kappa Phi, for "The Catholic Fraternity".

It formed a national fraternity by admitting Kappa Theta at Penn State in 1922. They too, held conventions and published the "Sun" to all its members. Because of the depression and then World War II, they established their 24th chapter in 1957. The fraternity's ritual gave TKP an esoteric name, which served as their motto.

Because of the dramatic expansion of fraternities following World War II, it became increasingly evident that to stay competitive the 2 fraternities with such similar ideals should combine. By 1957, TKP and PK had a total of 58 active chapters on 54 campuses.

Committees from each group hashed out issues such as the national name and local chapter names, coat of arms, ritual, magazine, constitution, leadership and a host of other issues that had kept the groups divided. Loyalty and fervor were surmounted and the merger was approved at a special convention held at Ohio State in 1958.

The official charter day chosen was April 29, 1959. Its first biennial convention was held in 1961 and first national management school in 1965. The first chapter chartered under the new name was at Belmont Abbey.