Georgia Tech History


The Georgia Tech Gamma Tau chapter was established in 1969, and is going strong today. We Phi Kaps focus on the five developmental pillars of our fraternity: spiritual, fraternal, intellectual, social, and leadership. By exemplifying these characteristics, the brothers of Phi Kappa Theta form a close-knit family. This lets us lean on each other in the academic challenges that we all face as students of Georgia Tech, as well in the challenges of daily life. Through intramural sports, camping trips, campus involvement, and other activities, Phi Kappa Theta helps build character in the parts of life that academic effort cannot. Overall, Phi Kappa Theta encourages the inherent social nature of man, and develops brothers who are outgoing, giving, and confident.

National History

 

Phi Kappa


It was a brisk day on October 1, 1889 when a group of nine men met to discuss a new fraternity on the Brown campus. It was because of their Catholic Religion that they were denied admission to established fraternities and they took it upon themselves to establish a new, Catholic fraternity of men. They called their fraternity Phi Kappa Sigma, meaning “fraternity of Catholic Students” and elected the first president to be James M. Gillrain.

On April 29th, 1892, the fraternity structure was reorganized; the rituals and a new constitution were created and adopted thanks to the work of M. Joseph Harson. Phi Kappa Sigma grew in membership and prominence on the Brown campus for ten years.


Finally on April 29, 1902, known as “Founders Day” Phi Kappa Fraternity was made national by the State of Rhode Island. They had been forced to drop “Sigma” because Phi Kappa Sigma was already an established fraternity. They would prosper and grow for the next several decades.

Theta Kappa Phi


In 1915 at Lehigh University, members of the Newman Club decided they needed a stronger link between the members. Three of the members, August Concilio, Peter Carr, and Raymond Bobbin decided they would form a new fraternity called Theta Kappa Phi meaning “the Catholic fraternity”. They remained a small group but broke up when members joined the armed forces.


A group of remaining students on campus heard these ideas and met on October 1, 1919 to form “the X Club” because they weren’t sure about what their objectives were. This day is recognized as the official founding of Theta Kappa Phi. Concililo was elected as the first president and soon became nationally recognized.

 

The Merger

In the aftermath of WWII there was a dramatic expansion of fraternities nationwide. In an effort to survive, the fraternities of Phi Kappa and Theta Kappa Phi began to collaborate and pioneer a merger; an act unheard of in the fraternal world. The first meeting occurred in 1957 at Ohio State, beginning what would become an involved two year process. Finally, on April 29th, 1959, after much discussion, unifying of rituals, and unifying of ideals, the two fraternities merged into one entity: Phi Kappa Theta. With the national merger completed, the WPI chapter of Theta Kappa Phi became Phi Kappa Theta, which it remains to this day.


A merger is unheard of in the fraternity world, yet Phi Kappa Theta is the first and only fraternity to do so. It wasn’t easy, in fact, the first attempt to merge resulted in a rivalry between the two for the next couple decades. This rivalry ended up bringing the two fraternities closer together and the two fraternities finally sat down at Ohio State in 1957 to discuss the possible merge. They agreed and the next few years were spent drafting up unified rituals and ideals. On April 29th, 1959, the 70th anniversary of Phi Kappa’s Founders Day, the two fraternities officially merged to become Phi Kappa Theta.


Phi Kappa Theta is now open to members of all races and creeds. Historically, both Phi Kappa and Theta Kappa Phi were founded on Judeo-Christian ethics, religious ideas, and the brotherhood.