Delta Sigma Phi has always prided itself on being the atypical fraternity. Members and Fraternity leaders demonstrate the courage to dare, poise to take action and an unrelenting focus on excellence. This began with our founding.

By the late 1800s, several other fraternities already existed, but none awarded membership to both Christian and Jewish students. Much like the rest of the country, segregation was the norm; it was typical.

But on Dec. 10, 1899 by way of a secret meeting at City College of New York, Delta Sigma Phi was established as the first membership organization to initiate members from a variety of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Our Fraternity was founded on the principles of diversity and good character. Delta Sigma Phi incorporated with the purpose to spread “the principles of friendship and brotherhood among college men, without respect to race or creed.”

Today, our mission continues to embody that of our founding fathers, recognized as Meyer Boskey (an original founder from the Alpha Chapter at C.U.N.Y.) and Charles Tonsor (a recruit of Boskey’s at the Gamma Chapter at New York University), in all that we do today. Delta Sigma Phi has experienced solid growth across the continental United States, seen dramatic increases in Fraternity programming and constantly evaluates how to modernize the fraternity experience for men of high character.

Delta Sigma Phi founders built an atypical group during hostile times. Today, Delta Sig continues to link men of all backgrounds to spark a social movement. He aspires to be significant, communally engaged and atypical. He trumpets cooperation and collaboration with others.


  • 2015

    Delta Sigma Phi launches The LAMP e-learning platform

  • 2015

    Delta Sigma Phi launches national mentoring and networking database and Transition Experience


  • 2014

    The first Presidents’ Academy held

  • 2014

    The Summit renamed the Bruce J. Loewenberg Summit with programming refocusing on Recruitment Chairmen and New Member Educators

  • 2014

    Taggart Mansion sold and Fraternity moves to Fairbanks Mansion at 2960 N. Meridian Street in Indianapolis in December


  • 2013

    Delta Sigma Phi Foundation operations centralized under in-house management after being outsourced for 11 years

  • 2013

    Patrick F. Jessee, J.D., becomes Executive Director & CEO of Fraternity and Foundation


  • 2008

    170 brothers attend the first Summit program for Chapter Presidents and Recruitment Chairmen


  • 2007

    Inaugural Alumni Executive Roundtable held in Hollywood, FL

  • 2007

    Vision 2025 is adopted at Convention


  • 2006

    Songs of the Lute CD developed and sold by Alpha Lambda Chapter (Millikin University)

  • 2006

    The Fraternity’s strategic plan, Vision 2025, is developed


  • 2005

    Delta Sigma Phi Commissioners Program developed to provide support to Fraternity's ACBs

  • 2005

    Inaugural Brotherhood Retreat programs held to educate new initiates about the national Fraternity

  • 2005

    In response to Hurricane Katrina, the American Red Cross becomes Delta Sigma Phi’s national philanthropic and service partner


  • 2003

    First Regional Leadership Academies (RLAs) held to educate chapter leadership on operations


  • 2002

    Scott Wiley hired as Executive Director


  • 2000

    Delta Sigma Phi adopts Alcohol-Free Housing initiative on Dec. 10


  • 1998

    College of Engineered Leadership changes to the Leadership Institute


  • 1997

    Daniel “Tony” A. Smercina appointed the Executive Director of the Foundation

  • 1997

    Jon Hockman becomes the Executive Director of the Fraternity


  • 1996

    Delta Sigma Phi launches first website


  • 1994

    Austin Hastings becomes first undergraduate member of the Grand Council in January


  • 1993

    First College of Engineered Leadership held (now called Leadership Institute)

  • 1993

    Alumni Recognition Ceremony adopted


  • 1991

    Regional Leadership Director program introduced to replace leadership consultants


  • 1989

    Daniel “Tony” A. Smercina becomes Executive Director


  • 1988

    Risk Management Policy adopted, prohibiting use of chapter funds for purchase of alcohol


  • 1987

    David A. Testerman becomes Executive Director


  • 1985

    Pyramid of Excellence implemented, a new award structure for recognizing the top chapters in the Fraternity

  • 1985

    Delta Sigma Phi becomes the first fraternity to ban Little Sister organizations


  • 1984

    Delta Sigma Phi becomes the first organization to provide fraternity experience to deaf students by establishing a colony at Cal State-Northridge


  • 1983

    Taggart Mansion purchased at 1331 N. Delaware Street in Indianapolis; renovation completed in 1984


  • 1982

    Headquarters moves to Indianapolis


  • 1978

    E. Allen James becomes Executive Director


  • 1969

    Mr. Delta Sig Award, the highest honor the Fraternity can bestow, first conferred to William S. Norblitt, University of California, Berkeley

  • 1969

    Headquarters moves to Milwaukee Street in Denver


  • 1967

    The 18-member Board of Governors is replaced by a seven-man Grand Council.

  • 1967

    The District Deputy system is reinstated, but these appointees are now called District Governors, each assigned a district to oversee.


  • 1965

    Outstanding Active Award established (renamed E. Allen James Outstanding Undergraduate Award)


  • 1959

    Delta Sigma Phi votes to end racial and religious discrimination policies (though the policies had not been enforced for much of the time they were in effect)


  • 1958

    Delta Sigma Phi Foundation granted status as a nonprofit educational foundation


  • 1951

    The Delta Sigma Phi Foundation established


  • 1950

    Headquarters moves to Denver

  • 1950

    New flag chosen


  • 1949

    The Fraternity’s five-man Board of Governors becomes an 18-member Board of Governors with a five members of the board elected to an Executive Committee.


  • 1947

    The Carnation becomes a lifetime subscription to each initiate

  • 1947

    Francis Wacker becomes Executive Director


  • 1946

    Harold Balback becomes Executive Director


  • 1942

    Arthur H. Sprague becomes Executive Director


  • 1940

    Headquarters moves from Washington, D.C., to Springfield, Ohio, the home city of Arthur Sprague, the new National Treasurer

  • 1940

    Marcus E. Sharpe becomes Executive Director


  • 1938

    Board of Governors bans Hell Week practices throughout the Fraternity


  • 1936

    First district training school for officers conducted in Chicago


  • 1932

    The Lute Songbook first published


  • 1931

    Harvey H. Herbert Award for distinguished service to the Fraternity first awarded to the parents of Harvey H. Herbert, Arthur Defenderfer, Salvador Roccaforte, R. Guy Smith and J. Harold Weise.


  • 1929

    Fraternity reincorporates in the District of Columbia, where the offices of General Secretary Defenderfer were located


  • 1928

    First Fraternity Manual published


  • 1926

    Board of Governors adopts official Fraternity flag

  • 1926

    The first Sailors Ball held at Alpha Chi Chapter (Stetson University)


  • 1925

    First new member manual issued; now called the Gordian Knot


  • 1923

    The Fraternity initiates its first and only honorary member of the Fraternity when the Honorable James J. Davis, secretary of Labor in the Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover cabinets, was initiated at the request of Omega Chapter

  • 1923

    The Convention adopts a ceremony for the dedication of new chapter houses and instituted the Pilgrims Degree

  • 1923

    The Sphinx, an esoteric publication, first appears


  • 1922

    On May 23 a trademark is granted to Delta Sigma Phi for the quarterly publication, The Carnation


  • 1921

    The Convention establishes a Board of Governors of seven men with full power to manage and direct the affairs of the Fraternity

  • 1921

    The Administrative Council disappeared, replaced by an Endowment Board of Trustees


  • 1919

    Convention changes to meeting biennially instead of annually

  • 1919

    First deputy district system established


  • 1916

    The Convention divides the nation into geographical districts, establishing a system of district deputies to supervise each one


  • 1915

    First Delta Sigma Phi Headquarters opens in the Reibold Building, Dayton, Ohio


  • 1914

    The Ritual first published

  • 1914

    Fraternity restricts membership to men of the Christian faith

  • 1914

    Coat-of-arms, seal, pledge symbol and badge adopted

  • 1914

    Office of national general secretary created at the Convention and Arthur Defenderfer chosen to fill the position


  • 1912

    Convention creates an Administrative Council with the power to grant charters to chapters between Conventions


  • 1909

    Delta Sigma Phi becomes a founding member of the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC)


  • 1908

    Official badge designated at the Convention


  • 1907

    The first issue of The Carnation magazine published in April


  • 1906

    Tonsor and Boskey chartered the Washington and Lee Chapter as Stonewall (Zeta)

  • 1906

    First alumni group charters as the New York Alumni Chapter

  • 1906

    The Convention changes the Fraternity's approach to naming chapters to the present Greek-alphabet designations


  • 1905

    Constitutional Convention held in August at Insula's apartment

  • 1905

    Charles A. Tonsor, Jr. elected President, and Meyer Boskey elected Secretary

  • 1905

    The Convention adopts a Constitution that created national offices and an executive committee to govern between Conventions.

  • 1905

    Two new chapter formally received into the Fraternity during the Convention: Technology (Delta), which had been organized at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1904; and Keystone (Epsilon), organized in 1905 at Penn State


  • 1903

    Third chapter informally established at New York University on Dec. 15

  • 1903

    First national Fraternity dinner held Dec. 26


  • 1902

    Delta Sigma Phi incorporated in New York state on Dec.15


  • 1901

    Second chapter established at Columbia University, called Morningside (Beta)


  • 1899

    Founded at City College of New York, called Insula (the mother chapter, later renamed Alpha), on Dec. 10