Syracuse University Greek Life History

The History of Syracuse University Fraternity and Sorority Community

The American college fraternity concept began in 1776 when Phi Beta Kappa was founded at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. Phi Beta Kappa had all the characteristics of the modern fraternity, the mystery of secrecy, a ritual, oaths of fidelity, a grip, a motto, a badge, a commitment to high ideals, strong ties of friendship and comradeship, and an urge for demonstrating its values through a nationwide expansion. Shortly after its organization, chapters were established at several other institutions, including Yale, Harvard, and Dartmouth.

Syracuse University fraternity system has been a part of campus life since 1871, beginning with the colonization of the Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. The sorority system’s rich history has included the founding of three national sororities at Syracuse, Alpha Phi in 1872, Gamma Phi Beta in 1874, and Alpha Gamma Delta in 1904. During the late nineteenth century, six additional national fraternities and four national sororities established chapters at the University. This trend continued through the 20th century, and as a result, there have been many additions of Interfraternity Council (IFC) and Panhellenic Conference (NPC) organizations to campus.

The first National Pan-Hellenic Conference (NPHC) fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., arrived at Syracuse in 1922; however, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the first NPHC sorority did not colonize until 1973. Latinx organization joined the fraternity and sorority system in 1991 with the founding of Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc. and Sigma Lambda Upsilon Sorority, Inc. in 1992. Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc. became the first Asian-interest sorority in 1997. In 2014, the Syracuse University Community embarked on creating the Professional Fraternity Council (PFC) which supports collegiate professional fraternities and sororities.

The fraternity and sorority community at Syracuse University has changed over time to respond to the evolving needs of the student body.