There are five Phi Delta Theta undergraduate chapters and one colony in the Washington, DC area. Please visit the General Fraternity website for a full list of Phi Delta Theta chapters and alumni clubs located across the United States and Canada.
In early Spring 2016, Phi Delta Theta was invited to present to The George Washington University as part of their ongoing fraternity expansion efforts. On Wednesday, April 13, 2016, Sean Wagner, Phi Delta Theta’s COO and Tucker Barney, Director of Expansion, traveled to Washington, DC from General Headquarters and were joined by local Phi Delt DC alumni for a formal presentation and discussion with leaders of the GWU IFC and Greek community. It was announced in early June 2016 that Phi Delta Theta had been officially selected to expand to GWU.
Recruitment efforts for the District of Columbia Alpha Colony began in early October 2016. About a month later, a group of 26 men began their Phi Delt journey after attending an on-campus colonization ceremony in the Marvin Center on Sunday, December 11, 2016. The colony members are currently focused on campus involvement, philanthropy and recruitment en route to an expected Fall 2017 chapter installation.
Although there are several local area chapters in Maryland and Virginia, this is the first expansion for Phi Delta Theta in the District of Columbia since the fraternity’s founding in 1848.
Nu Sigma Omicron, a local fraternity at the University of Maryland, was organized in January 1916 with nine undergraduates and two faculty as charter members. In November 1920, the group petitioned Phi Delta Theta for affiliation. Maryland Alpha was later installed on November 11, 1930. They have come to be known as the “Gentleman’s Fraternity.”
The chapter house sits on College Avenue and has been exclusively occupied by Phi Delts since 1926. To date, over 2,000 men have been initiated at Maryland Alpha including A. James Clark (Clark Construction), Ralph Friedgen (Head Coach, UMD Football), Gary Williams (Head Coach, UMD Basketball), Adam Hasner (State Representative, Florida House Majority Leader), Bob “Turtle” Smith (Berger Cup recipient, UMD Baseball) and Bob Fitzpatrick (retired Senior VP, Fannie Mae).
A local group at Western Maryland College by the name of Pi Alpha Alpha was founded in 1923 as the “Black and White” club, which later evolved into a fraternity. The club published the college’s first newspaper, which is still in existence, and gave the local it’s nickname, the “Black and Whites.”
Boasting an undergraduate roster of 59 members and over 350 alumni, Pi Alpha Alpha was the largest fraternity on campus when they approached Phi Delta Theta to affiliate. Their strength, however, was not limited to their number alone. Included among their ranks were various campus leaders such as the student body president, senior class president and vice president, IFC president, Men’s Council president, and the chairman of the Honor Court.
Colony status was approved by the 1970 Phi Delta Theta Convention in Washington, DC. 61 WMC undergraduates and three alumni signed the Bond of Phi Delta Theta on April 23, 1971. The next day, the group received their charter and Maryland Beta was proudly added to the fold.
On May 10, 2002, Western Maryland College officially changed its name to McDaniel College in honor of WMC alumnus and past president, William Roberts McDaniel.
Washington College, Chestertown, MD
In the Fall of 1989, a group of students who were frustrated with the deteriorating state of the Greek system at Washington College, met to discuss the possibility of starting a new fraternity that would focus more on leadership and service, rather than alcohol.
The men chose to affiliate with Phi Delta Theta due in part to the fraternity’s reputation as an international fraternity, as well as the encouragement from Stephen J. “Tio” Kleberg, a Phi Delt from Texas Tech. His son, Chris Kleberg, was a member of the Washington College interest group and would later become Bond #1 at Maryland Gamma. The Kleberg family owns and operates the world famous King Ranch in Kingsville, Texas.
The Maryland Gamma chapter of Phi Delta Theta was installed on April 24, 1992. From this date forth it has been the goal of the men of Maryland Gamma to uphold the integrity and character of Phi Delta Theta in everything they do.
In September 2008, JHU students clicked on targeted Facebook advertisements placed by Phi Delta Theta General Headquarters. The first email inquiry came from Justin Shen, a sophomore at Johns Hopkins University, who visited Phi Delta Theta’s expansion website after seeing the ad. He then contacted Robert Turning, the Greek Advisor at Johns Hopkins who also happened to be an Akron Phi Delt and Gamma South Province President.
Shen was attracted to Phi Delta Theta’s strong sense of values and felt that there was a great need for such an organization on the Johns Hopkins campus. He quickly began to identify several of his peers to join him in forming JHU’s newest fraternity. In just a few weeks time, the group had grown to over 25 members, appointed officers, and under Shen’s leadership as President begun to fastidiously work on their petition to become a colony. By the time of their colonization as the Maryland Delta colony on February, 13, 2009, the group had grown to 36 Founding Fathers. Taking great pride in diversity and involvement, the colony drew members from different ethnicities, nationalities and faiths and quickly became one of the most involved fraternities on campus. The colony also maintained a 3.28 cumulative GPA during their first semester as a colony.
In September of 2009, the Maryland Delta colony petitioned Phi Delta Theta’s Survey Commission and General Council for formal recognition as a chapter and received unanimous approval. On November 20, 2009, 45 Founding Fathers were initiated into the Bond of Phi Delta Theta in a ceremony attended by alumni and undergraduate Phis from the University of Maryland, Washington College, University of Louisville, Widener University, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, University of Akron, Centre College, Cameron University, Chico State, Northern Arizona University, University of Cincinnati and Tennessee Tech. The next day, Maryland Delta was formally installed in a ceremony presided over by David Almacy, Chairman of the Survey Commission, who presented Brother Shen with the charter and an engraved gavel to commemorate the momentous occasion.
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
In 1873, three members of Phi Delta Theta petitioned the Virginia Alpha chapter at Roanoke College to establish a new chapter at the University of Virginia. Two of the members, F.H. Terrill and M.M Hardgrove, were Roanoke Phis, while R.S. Salusbury was an alumnus of the Georgia Beta chapter at Emory. The charter was granted on November 18, 1873.
In the spring of 2000, the charter was suspended and plans were made for an immediate return in the Fall of 2000. Although the former chapter continued to operate as a local fraternity under the name of “Phi Delta Alpha”, the members were no longer affiliated with the General Fraternity.
After an extremely successful recruitment, 32 men accepted their invitation to join the re-colonization effort with a vision to create a fraternity which would set “The Standard” for all others. Virginia Beta was re-colonized on February 19, 2001 and on September 14, 2001, 31 new brothers were initiated. The next day, in the Dome Room of the Rotunda, Virginia Beta received the charter from the General Council and Phi Delta Theta officially returned to the University of Virginia.
Local Phi Delt alumni, faculty, students and guests attend the Virginia Beta Installation Ceremony in the Dome Room of the University of Virginia’s Rotunda in Charlottesville, VA on September 15, 2001.