Founded in 1824, Chi Phi is the oldest fraternity in the United States. It was founded in December 1824 at Princeton University and has 45,500 living alumni members, as well as 2,800 current undergraduate members. Chi Phi has two orders, the original Princeton Order and the Southern Order, founded at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in August 1858. Originally, the fraternity had a religious element; this was absorbed when the original Chi Phi disbanded. Circa 1854, Chi Phi was resurrected and reorganized when some Princeton undergraduates discovered its old constitution.
Chi Phi also has a Secret Order; it is the third independent fraternity to be named Chi Phi. The Secret Order was first established at Hobart College in Geneva, and its 12 original members were referred to as the “Twelve Apostles.” This chapter is now the Upsilon Chapter.
In 1874, following the end of the Civil War, the Princeton and Southern Orders of Chi Phi merged into one cohesive Chi Phi fraternity. Three members from each order drafted and adopted a cohesive constitution and established a date for the first Chi Phi convention, held on July 23, 1874, in Washington, D.C.
Chi Phi Symbols and Insignia
Chi Phi’s official colors are scarlet and blue. The fraternity didn’t adopt its crest until 1948, largely because of a widely held view that it was an honor to be a Chi Phi – an honor no true gentleman would brag about. The current crest was designed circa 1936. Its shield is blue and divided into three fields, on which are charges including three gold stars and crossed gold swords.
The Chakett, another symbol of Chi Phi, is the insignia that candidates for fraternity membership wear. Once they are initiated, brothers wear the Chi Phi badge, which contains the jeweled Greek letters Chi and Phi. The Chakett is also the name of the fraternity’s magazine.
Chi Phi does not have an official flower, but many chapters claim the yellow rose as their own. The yellow rose symbolizes friendship.
Chi Phi Shared Rhetoric and Songs
Chi Phi is built upon shared rhetoric, including its creed, the Prayer of Chi Phi, and the True Gentleman. They also have three distinct songs. The first of these is “Gather, Brothers,” sung to the tune of “Maryland, My Maryland.” Others are “The Chi Phi Girl” and “Ode to Chi Phi.” The last of these songs is sung to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne.”
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