Chi Psi's History

The Beginning 

Chi Psi has a rich history. As the first “social fraternity” ever founded, history considers it the standard to which many other organizations are created. Its storied legacy reaches back over 175 years. In fact, it was the eighth social fraternity instituted in the United States.

Ten students dreamed of a society that would strengthen the standards of brotherhood throughout their entire lives. They established Chi Psi at Union College in Schenectady, New York, on May 20, 1841. Philip Spencer, Robert McFaddin, Jacob Farrell, John Bush Jr., Samuel Taber, James Witherspoon, William Terhune, Alexander Berthoud, James Duane, and Patrick Major came together in search of camaraderie and friendship. 

The brothers of ΧΨ were also the first to adopt a designated fraternity house, added officially at the University of Michigan within 16 years after they began. These buildings are called “Lodges” to this day to honor the unique structure. Other firsts in the group’s history include offering an educational program and having a traveling leadership consultant.

Chi Psi has grown significantly since then, although the focus is always on quality over quantity. Members hold potential new recruits to high standards, and the attitude of all Chi Psi brothers is to display the definition of a “Gentleman.” More than thirty active “Alphas” are sprinkled around the country at institutes such as Hamilton College and Wesleyan University. Alpha is the unique term for a chapter in ΧΨ.

Recognizing the Brothers

Chi Psi is far older than many of today’s fraternities. Hence, it has fewer symbols. The ones that they use have withstood the test of time and inspired many other organizations as well. The ΧΨ brotherhood uses a seal instead of a coat of arms, as do the oldest groups like the Freemasons. A purple circle is the base for Chi Psi, which a golden rope trim surrounds. Within that, their name is declared across the top and the founding date on the bottom.

A smaller circle is nestled in the confines of the words and encloses their letters. Chi is superimposed over Psi and marked with seven large white circles and ten smaller ones. The Psi has several small symbols drawn on its surface. At the top is a Christian cross, and each of the side arms bears flowers and vines. The bottom shows a skull and crossbones situated below three daggers. There’s significant symbolism in each item, although this is kept secret.

Designers use purple and gold in more than just the seal, however. They’re the official colors too, and brothers and family alike proudly display them. Many royal families have used these colors throughout history.

Encouraging Excellence

Chi Psi works to support their brothers across the nation and cultivate the meaning of being a gentleman. The Program for Excellence is their outreach program to do so. The brothers use seven categories and take notes of the activities that successful men and Alphas partake in. Inductees study and cultivate these habits, giving each member an exceptional environment for personal and professional development.

Chi Psi takes pride in its progress, striving to give leaders top training for recruitment and outreach that adapts to a changing society and the associated challenges. However, ΧΨ will always remain committed to the ideas and principles its founders delineated. The fraternity is determined to provide an environment that “nurtures integrity, dignity, and maturity while enjoying shared experiences and college sociability.”

Chi Psi Pride

One of the easiest ways to show the world your affiliation is through what you wear. Badges clearly display your association in a formal setting, but what about casual wear? When it’s not appropriate to display your pin, a custom designed t-shirt may be the solution.

Houndstooth Press has more than two decades of experience. We provide incredibly high-quality screen printed shirts, and your design is custom made. We can help create a graphic for special events, such as fundraisers and trips, or our designers can create something that’s perfect for everyday wear. Simply contact us with your ideas or specifics and wait for the impressive results. All of our products are created using high-quality materials and inks, so you’ll be able to look back on these days and your shirts far down the road.



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