Delta Kappa Epsilon's History

The Foundation of Brotherhood

Delta Kappa Epsilon members founded this fraternity more than a century and a half ago, June 22, 1844, at Yale. Dissatisfied with the current options on campus, 15 young men came together to create a new society. These founders are William Woodruff Atwater, Dr. Edward Griffin Bartlett, Frederic Peter Bellinger, Jr., Henry Case, Colonel George Foote Chester, John Butler Conyngham, Thomas Isaac Franklin, William Walter Horton, The Honorable William Boyd Jacobs, Professor Edward VanSchoonhoven Kinsley, Chester Newell Righter, Dr. Elisha Bacon Shapleigh, Thomas DuBois Sherwood, Albert Everett Stetson, and Orson William Stow. They’re recognized and celebrated today for the ideals they brought together.

This group focused on improving the lives of their brothers in many different aspects. From social culture to dignity and self-respect, the aim of ΔΚΕ has always been to produce the finest possible gentlemen. Now there are nearly 90,000 members engaged in the society and 54 chapters spread to various campuses. Delta Kappa Epsilon reached official international status in 1898 when a chapter at the University of Toronto was finalized.

ΔΚΕ has given rise to several notable members, including five separate Presidents of the United States: Rutherford B. Hayes, Theodore Roosevelt, Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush. Franklin D. Roosevelt was also a ΔΚΕ brother, but the organization eliminated this chapter due to dual membership issues.

There are many other figures with ties to Delta Kappa Epsilon, ranging from artists to businessmen and beyond. The fraternity has a long history of exceptional gentlemen.


Aside from their letters, you can find brothers of ΔΚΕ wearing various group symbols. The crest is one such emblem that members proudly display. It features many different items, all tied into the beliefs, bylaws, and secrets of the foundation. Crossed keys, tai-colored stars, an eye, hearts linked by a chain, and the Rampant Lion are a few of the intricate details. While many of the meanings are hidden and restricted to brothers only, the lion is used throughout the fraternity, including its philanthropy.

ΔΚΕ sports three different colors, visible on their crest but also in other parts of their lives. Azure, gold, and crimson make a bold statement to match the valiant efforts and brothers within. The open motto is “Kerothen Philoi Aei,” which translates to “Friends From the Heart, Forever.” This dedication to camaraderie is the basis for all that they do.

Delta Kappa Epsilon has its own publication to keep members informed and give recognition where it’s deserved. Published four times per year, the Deke Quarterly reaches both actives and alumni to keep the bonds of brotherhood strong.

The membership badge for Delta Kappa Epsilon features aspects from its shield. ΔΚΕ is inscribed in gold in the center of a white scroll. The edges of the scroll are also gold, as is the badge itself. The shape is an elongated diamond, and each point is home to a golden star. The background of the diamond is black. Some badges may list the chapter name or extra jewels depending on the brother’s position.

Rampant Lion Foundation

ΔΚΕ uses the Rampant Lion Foundation to support the fraternity. Run on donations from proud supporters, the program is as much historical as helpful. The headquarters is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in a building known as the Shant. In addition to housing meetings for the fraternity, it holds the Gerald Ford Library. These books include writings from the former president. The main purpose of the RLF is to enrich and improve the lives of brothers and their communities.

ΔΚΕ Gear

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