A Tradition of Excellence
“Over one hundred and seventy-one years ago, on a crisp May evening, nine young men huddled closely against the evening chill underneath the old Scotia Bridge…”
On that night in 1827, our founders contemplated and laid the foundation for a brotherhood that would become the first, longest, and most distinguished fraternity in the country. When those nine men reconvened in North College Hall at Union College on the seventeenth of that May, they consecrated an organization based on study, friendship and lifelong bonds that has lasted to this day. Their brotherhood came to be known by the Greek letters Delta Phi. Over the 180 years since that day, Delta Phi has continued in the exclusive tradition they established to promote a strong brotherhood of men of the highest character and ability.
The Union Triad
The Delta Phi Fraternity, along with Kappa Alpha Society and Sigma Phi Society, comprise the hallowed Union Triad – the first three social college fraternities in North America. From these three fraternities at Union College (regarded as the “Mother of Fraternities”) can be traced the extensive Greek system seen on college campuses today. Much as now, anti-fraternity sentiment was rampant in the college administration. Adding to the challenges facing the nascent fraternities was the authority of the man seeking their destruction, Dr. Eliphalet Nott, president of Union College and the most esteemed educator of his day.
The Man Who Saved the Greek System
Under extreme duress, both Kappa Alpha and Sigma Phi removed their badges and attempted underground existences. However, the brothers of Delta Phi held firm and refused to disband and continued on in the open, establishing the fraternity as the oldest, continuous fraternity. Delta Phi took up the defense of the fraternity movement and it was a Delt, John Jay Hyde Alpha 1832 (Union 1834) who so convincingly argued the case of the fraternities before the faculty that Dr. Nott, rescinded his proscription of fraternities, allowing them to grow, flourish and expand to other campuses. In turn, Nott’s own son would later join Delta Phi during his college days.
The Gamma Chapter of The Delta Phi Fraternity was established on May 1, 1841, making it the second oldest social fraternity at New York University and the oldest continuously active chapter of our national fraternity.
The Gamma chapter relocated when NYU sold the University Heights campus and consolidated downtown at Washington Square. After a formal evaluation of fraternities by NYU and a pitched battle for survival by the undergraduate chapters and alumni associations of various fraternities, the U
niversity decided to renovate on of its buildings and made it suitable to accommodate five chapters. The Gamma Chapter of the Delta Phi Fraternity was housed, for many years, on the fifth floor of this “Vertical Fraternity Row,” in true New York City style.
In 2004, after being relocated from pillar to post bin the early 2000’s by NYU, the Gamma Chapter set out on its own and settled in the west village, making it the only off-campus fraternity house at NYU.
The fraternity currently resides in the east village, only 20 minutes from Washington Square.