Fraternities at Davidson College
Alpha Omega | Alpha Phi Alpha | Alpha Tau Omega | Alpha Theta Phi | Beta Theta Pi | Chi Phi | Delta Kappa | Delta Theta Chi | Eta Alpha | Kappa Alpha | Kappa Sigma | Phi Alpha Chi | Phi Delta Theta | Phi Gamma Delta | Phi Kappa Pi | Pi Kappa Alpha | Pi Kappa Phi | Sigma Alpha Epsilon | Sigma Chi | Sigma Nu | Sigma Phi Epsilon | Theta Upsilon Omega
It took six years for fraternities to move back on campus, with the construction of Jackson Court in 1928. However, fraternities continued to escape the Davidson bubble, and in 1937 Dean Sentelle led an effort to reduce drinking at the Charlotte fraternity dances. The next year, there was a movement for a new Davidson gym in order to bring parties back on campus and to therefore limit the drinking.
In 1958, the college finished construction of Patterson Court, offering newer and roomer fraternity houses. Like Jackson Court, the houses were for dining and socializing only; fraternity brothers continued to live in college dorms.
In 1971, the process of self-selection was imposed on fraternities. Self selection allows freshmen a personal choice in their fraternities and replaced the previous bidding system. This change resulted in three fraternities losing their charters, and two fraternities moving off campus to avoid self selection rules.
Fortunately by the end of the 20th century, social fraternities and Davidson College have become closer friends, working together to find solutions to problems and provide the best possible experience for students.
The Davidson College chapter of Alpha Omega was established in 1919 but “lasted only a year or two” [Beaty 266]. Another chapter was established on March 9, 1929 and has a page in the 1930 Quips and Cranks. There is no further mention of the fraternity.
In 1990 a group of students began lobbying for a chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, a traditionally African-American fraternity founded in 1906 at Cornell University, to be established at Davidson College. In 1992 the fraternity approved the petition, but withdrew its offer due to a lack of student interest. The Tau Omicron Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity was finally chartered at Davidson College on November 9, 2003.
Alpha Tau Omega began as a fraternity at Davidson College in 1950. After losing its charter with the move to self-selection in 1971, the Davidson chapter took the name Apple-Turn-Over and continued as a Davidson eating house. It closed its doors in 1983.
Originally named the Campus Club, this local fraternity was founded at Davidson College in 1947 as an alternative to fraternities. For an unknown period of time circa 1952, the Club operated in the Eumenean Society Hall (paying rent to the college). In 1956-1957 it changed its name to Alpha Theta Phi but folded a year later.
The Phi Alpha chapter of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity was founded in 1858. It was the first fraternity at Davidson College, and it enjoyed several years of great success. The original constitution was written by Robert Hall Morrison Jr. (former president of Davidson College, at that time a Board of Trustees member). When news of war broke out, the chapter’s constitution was stored in one of the columns of Old Chambers, and the chapter was disbanded. After the war the documents were recovered, but the faculty refused to allow fraternities to be reestablished at Davidson.
In 1880 the chapter’s charter was formally revoked, and the Phi name was transferred to the University of Pennsylvania. In 1884 a group emerged on the Davidson campus known as the Sword and Shield Temple of the Mystic Seven Fraternity. In 1890, following a wave of anti-fraternity sentiment, the Mystic Seven Fraternity combined with Beta Theta Pi, forming the Phi Alpha Chapter of Beta Theta Pi at Davidson College. The group flourished for many years, until the installation of the self-selection policy at Davidson. The concept of allowing a freshman to enter the fraternity merely because he so desired contradicted one of the founding principles of Beta Theta Pi. The national charter was revoked, and the fraternity folded.
The Gamma Chapter of Chi Phi fraternity was initially founded at Davidson College on March 29, 1859. The chapter ceased meeting in 1862 but was reorganized in 1867 by John Lawrence Caldwell. Two years later faculty regulations closed all fraternities on campus and Chi Phi returned its charter.
Delta Kappa local fraternity was founded at Davidson College in 1946 for the sole purpose of obtaining a national fraternity charter. In 1948 the group became the Delta Lambda chapter of Sigma Chi fraternity.
The Delta Theta Chi was a local Davidson College fraternity. It was replaced by Phi Delta Theta in December 1928.
In 1957 the local fraternity Eta Alpha was formed at Davidson College for the sole purpose of becoming a chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity. In 1958 the charter was granted.
The Sigma chapter of Kappa Alpha fraternity was established at Davidson College in 1880 but operated in secret until 1884, when the faculty granted it rooms in Chambers. Kappa Alpha moved onto Patterson Court in 1958 as one of the original houses.
The Delta chapter of Kappa Sigma fraternity was established at Davidson College in 1890. In 1971, due to the newly-established self-selection system, the chapter’s charter was revoked. In the 1980s a group attempted to revive interest in the fraternity. Kappa Sigma moved into their Patterson Court House in 1987, and in 1988 the chapter was re-chartered.
A chapter of Phi Alpha Chi was founded at Davidson College in 1887, but nothing more is known. The national fraternity, based in Virginia, was short-lived.
The North Carolina Gamma chapter of Phi Delta Theta was founded at Davidson College in December 1928, replacing the local Delta Theta Chi fraternity. Phi Delta Theta moved onto Patterson Court in 1958 as one of the original houses.
In the fall of 1913 the Bachelor’s Club at Davidson College was formed. In 1921 the group began petitioning to become a chapter of Phi Gamma Delta. The charter was granted in 1923. Phi Gamma Delta moved onto Patterson Court in 1958 as one of the original houses and remained there until 1971. In 1971 the fraternity moved off the Davidson College campus to avoid having to comply with the self-selection requirements. In 1989 the chapter recolonized. In 2003, the fraternity moved back onto Patterson Court.
In 1924 a group of Davidson College students briefly held a charter for Phi Kappa Pi. They would go on to found the Davidson College chapter of Theta Upsilon Omega.
The Beta chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity was founded at Davidson College in 1869, only the second chapter in the country. Faculty disapproval led the chapter to return its original charter. The group reformed in 1893. Pi Kappa Alpha moved onto Patterson Court in 1958 as one of the original houses.
The fraternity of Pi Kappa Phi was chartered at Davidson in 1912 and disolved in 1917. It was re-established in 1924 but lost its charter in 1971 due to the new self selection policy.
The North Carolina Theta chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon was established at Davidson College in 1883. Sigma Alpha Epsilon moved to Patterson Court in 1958 as one of the original houses.
Delta Kappa local fraternity was founded at Davidson College in 1946 for the sole purpose of obtaining a national fraternity charter. In 1948 the group became the Delta Lambda chapter of Sigma Chi fraternity. In 1967, Mike Maloy ’70 was accepted as a pledge by Sigma Chi Fraternity and became the first Black member of a fraternity on campus. In 1969, Sigma Chi Fraternity voted for disaffiliation with its national chapter as a result of the national organization’s refusal to acknowledge Black pledges (“Sigma Chi Disaffiliation Dissention Splits House.” October 17, 1969 Davidsonian). Sigma Chi was reimagined as a “selective social and eating club without ritual initiation.” (October 6, 1969 Davidsonian) and called themselves the “Machis.” Sigma Chi rejected the college’s proposal of self-selection and ceased operations in 1971 (“Fraternities Plan For Self-Selection System,” December 11, 1970 Davidsonian).
In 1957 the local fraternity Eta Alpha was formed at Davidson College for the sole purpose of becoming a chapter of Sigma Nu fraternity. In 1958 the charter was granted and the chapter enjoyed many years of success. In 1971, following the installation of the self-selection policy at Davidson College, the chapter’s charter was revoked.
In 1929, the Pyramid Club of Davidson College petitioned Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity for a chapter charter. The North Carolina Epsilon chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon was established in 1930. In 1972 the fraternity moved off the Davidson College campus to avoid having to comply with the self-selection requirements. In 1985, the fraternity moved onto Patterson Court.
The Davidson College chapter of Theta Upsilon Omega was founded in 1924 and dissolved in 1934.