Theta Chi

Theta Chi

Infobox Fraternity | name = Theta Chi Fraternity
letters = ΘΧ
crest =
motto = Θηρόποσα Χείρ
maxim = Alma Mater First, and Theta Chi for Alma Mater
colors = Military Red and White
symbol = Rattlesnake
flower = The Red Carnation
colors = Military Red and White
birthplace = Norwich University
founded = birth date and age|1856|4|10
chapters = 225 (135 active, 7 colonies & interest groups)
type = Social
scope = United States, Canada
address = 3330 Founders Road
city = Indianapolis
state = Indiana
country = USA
free_label =
free =
homepage = []

Theta Chi Fraternity (ΘΧ) is an international college fraternity. It was founded on April 10, 1856 as the "Theta Chi Society", at Norwich University, Norwich, Vermont, U.S., and was the 21st of the 71 North American Interfraternity Conference men's fraternities [] .


Founding and Early Years At Norwich

Theta Chi Fraternity was founded on Thursday, April 10, 1856 at 9:00 p.m. in the Old South Barracks on the campus of Norwich University in Norwich, Vermont, by two military cadets, Frederick Norton Freeman and Arthur Chase. A third man, Egbert Phelps, is considered to be the "assistant founder" for lending his help and advice to Freeman and Chase although he was never an undergraduate member himself (he was a member of the Chi Psi Fraternity). The first initiates after the founders were Edward Bancroft Williston and Lorenzo Potter. The early history of Theta Chi Fraternity is closely connected with the history of Norwich University. In 1866 a massive fire devastated the university, completely destroying the Old South Barracks. This disaster prompted the university to move from Norwich, Vermont to its present location in Northfield, Vermont. During fall quarter in 1881, Norwich University was reduced to only 15 students and Theta Chi membership was reduced to one undergraduate member, James M. Holland. In November of that year, Phil S. Randall and Henry Hersey approached Holland and insisted that they be allowed to join Theta Chi; Holland agreed, thus saving the fraternity from extinction.


The fraternity was incorporated in Vermont in 1888, and acquired its first chapter house two years later. However, it remained a single entity for forty-six years until the Beta Chapter was installed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1902. A Grand Chapter was organized in 1908 to direct the fraternity and promote its growth. In 1942, Beta Kappa Fraternity joined Theta Chi Fraternity, bringing 16 undergraduate chapters and approximately 6,000 undergraduate and alumnus members into the ranks. The Foundation Chapter was established in 1953 as a charity to provide educational scholarships and assistance. In 1965, the Zeta Gamma Chapter was installed at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, making Theta Chi an International Fraternity.

Theta Chi Today

Theta Chi Fraternity currently has over 150 active chapters and colonies across the United States and Canada and has initiated over 170,000 members since its founding. It is a member of the North-American Interfraternity Conference. As of May 2007, Theta Chi was the 9th largest collegiate male fraternity. Hazing has been prohibited since 1920, and in 1998 undergraduates and alumni of the fraternity mandated that nearly all undergraduate chapter houses be alcohol-free by 2003.

In June 2006, Theta Chi's 150th Anniversary Convention was held at the Norwich University campus in Northfield, Vermont.

The fraternity's International Headquarters is currently located in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Ideals and Traditions

The Greek motto of Theta Chi is θηρόποσα Χείρ, which is officially translated as "An Assisting Hand." Theta Chi's motto was secret from the founding in 1856 until the 1930's at which time it was made public and incorporated into the fraternity's coat of arms.

When Freeman and Chase founded Theta Chi in 1856 they very clearly spelled out the purpose of the Fraternity in the original Constitution. Article I stated that the objects of Theta Chi were to “bind by closer bonds the members to each other and the mutual assistance of each of its members;” “the advancement and carrying out of any measures at the institution in which it shall be established which shall be of importance to its members,” and “the mutual benefit and improvement of all its members.”

The fraternity's maxim is "Alma Mater First and Theta Chi for Alma Mater," and refers to one of the founding ideals of the Fraternity: loyalty to one's college or university as well as academic achievement.

The fraternity's colors are military red and white. Its flower is the red carnation. The national alumni publication is "The Rattle", named for the rattlesnake that appears on the fraternity's coat of arms and badge. It has become a Theta Chi tradition to celebrate Founders Day on April 10, usually as an alumni gathering.

Creed of Theta Chi

Frank Schrenk, Kappa/University of Pennsylvania '15, wrote the Creed of Theta Chi. It is both an affirmation of the founding principals of Theta Chi and a mission statement for the Fraternity:

"I believe in Theta Chi, its traditions and its ideals. Born of sturdy manhood, nurtured by resolute men, ennobled by high and sacred purpose, it has taken its place among the educational institutions of America as a promoter of knowledge, an advancer of culture and a builder of character."

"It inspires true friendship: teaches Truth, Temperance and Tolerance, extols virtue, exacts harmony, and extends a helping hand to all who seek it."

"I believe in the primacy of Alma Mater; in the usefulness of my Fraternity, in its influence and its accomplishments and I shall do all in my power to perpetuate its ideals, thereby serving my God, my country and my fellow-man.

The Creed is recited by members at chapter meetings, and is often used in new member education programs to teach the new members the values and ideals of the Fraternity.

Badge of Theta Chi

[From the Theta Chi Website] The original Theta Chi badge was designed by Egbert Phelps, assistant founder of the Fraternity, sometime before the founding date. The records show that the first badges were ordered by Freeman from a Boston jeweler on April 12, two days after the founding. The members, by vote, decided to wear the badges in public for the first time on June 9, 1856.

Coat of Arms

[From the Theta Chi Website] Sometimes mistakenly called the crest, the Fraternity Coat of Arms is described in heraldic phraseology, as: "Or on a bend gules, a nowed serpent between two swords, points downward, pale wise, all of the first. On an Esquire's helmet the crest an eagle displayed Or". The crest is actually the eagle,a part of the Coat of Arms.

New Member Pin

[From the Theta Chi Website] New Member/Pledge Button: An insignia worn at appropriate times by men who have pledged Theta Chi Fraternity. Our pledge button is a small metal oval, red in color, with a white edge, and crossed diagonally with white stripes forming an "X".

Recognition Pins

[From the Theta Chi Website] Recognition Button(s): A small button which is worn on a coat lapel. The recognition button comes in three forms. The official recognition button is a small reproduction of the official badge. A second version is a miniature coat of arms, while a third version utilizes the fraternity letters.



[From the Theta Chi Website] Our alumni are the greatest resource we have in Theta Chi. Through their leadership, encouragement and direction, chapter houses are erected or improved, financial operations are developed and stabilized, problems are addressed and resolved, young leaders are helped in making sound decisions, opportunities to learn are made available, perspective is developed, and an appreciation for Theta Chi as a fraternity for brothers of all ages is established.

Alumni are a product of their chapter. If the chapter stresses 'Theta Chi for Life', if they consider the status of alumni to be respected, if they determine that they will be undergraduates for a few years and Theta Chi alumni the rest of their lives, then and only then will we have good alumni relations. - George Kilavos, Delta Xi/Valparaiso University - 1955

Notable Alumni

Theta Chi Fraternity has had many exceptional brothers in a variety of different fields:

- Armed Services
- Arts & Entertainment
- Business & Industry
- Engineering
- Government
- Higher Education
- Insurance
- Journalism
- Judiciary & Law
- Religion
- Research
- Service Associations
- Sports

External Links

* [ Theta Chi] The Official Website of Theta Chi Fraternity
* [ The National Eagle] The Official Blog of Theta Chi Fraternity
* [ The Rattle] The Official Magazine of Theta Chi Fraternity
* [ Circle of Brotherhood] Theta Chi's Official inCircle Community


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