Over 150 years ago, two college students, William H. Letterman and Charles P.T. Moore, in the college town of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, were nursing and watching their stricken friends during an epidemic of typhoid fever. Through the long night vigils, an appreciation of the great joy of serving others came into their lives. Calling a number of others to join them, a Brotherhood was founded on February 19, 1852. It flourished, and gradually extended to other colleges and universities throughout the country. Pragmatic idealists, the founders of Phi Kappa Psi sought a new fraternity – a fraternity that should complement the work of the university by cultivating those humanities without which the educated man fails of his greatest usefulness, founded upon the great joy of serving others.
The centennial anniversary Phi Kappa Psi was at the old home of the Widow Letterman in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, on February 19, 1952. Over 100 members of the Fraternity gathered together for this occasion including three of the grandsons of the Founders. A bronze tablet commemorating the centennial was moved to the Pennsylvania Alpha chapter house. In the Fraternity’s first 100 years, Phi Kappa Psi had grown to 56 chapters, 40 Alumni Associations and 40,000 initiates. Phi Kappa Psi today has ninety-seven chapters in thirty-four states and the District of Columbia with 4,778 active student members. There have been nearly 113,000 men initiated. Unlike most national fraternities, the constitution of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity vests control over its affairs in the student members through the election of six of the ten members of the Executive Council and voting control at the GAC. The Endowment Fund of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity is a foundation that provides financial support for education programs of the Fraternity and financial support through scholarships and grants to its members. The Endowment Fund has approximately $50 million in assets, and ranks largest among the endowments established by other fraternity and sorority organizations.
History of the California Gamma Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi
The California Gamma Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi was originally founded on April 15th, 1899, although due to lack of membership in the 90‘s, the chapter was disbanded. The house was recently recolonized in April of 2009 and officially rechartered in 2010 thanks to a group of dedicated alumni and undergraduates. The chapter has initiated 12 pledge classes since it recolonization, Mu Class being the most recent, with 20 brothers initiated. In 2012-2013 academic year, Cal Gamma initiated 38 members, 25 in the fall and 13 in the spring; the 25 man pledge class is the largest in Cal Gamma history since its first chartering in 1899. Since the recolonization of Cal Gamma, the chapter has grown to its largest membership in its history.