Phi Gamma Delta

Phi Gamma Delta
ΦΓΔ (official)

FIJI (common)

Founded May 1, 1848 (1848-05-01)
Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania
Type Social
Scope International
Motto Friendship, the sweetest influence.
(Φιλότης Γλυκυτάτη Δυναστεία) [1]
Colors Royal Purple     
Flower Purple Clematis
Chapters 142, 13 colonies
Nicknames FIJI, Phi Gam
Headquarters 1201 Red Mile Rd, P.O. Box 4599
Lexington, Kentucky
Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity house at University of California, Berkeley
Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity house at Ohio University.

Phi Gamma Delta (also known as FIJI and Phi Gam) is a social fraternity with more than 158 active chapters and 13 colonies across the United States and Canada. It was founded at Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, in 1848. Along with Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Gamma Delta forms a half of the Jefferson Duo.[2] Since its founding in 1848, the fraternity has initiated more than 170,000 brothers. The nickname FIJI is used commonly by the fraternity due to Phi Gamma Delta bylaws that limit the use of the Greek letters.


The organization was founded on April 22, 1848, at Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. Six college students gathered in a dormitory room (known by the students as "Fort Armstrong")[3] to establish a secret society.[4] The society they formed was initially called "The Delta Association". The founders, referred to by members as the "Immortal Six", were John Templeton McCarty, Samuel Beatty Wilson, James Elliott Jr., Ellis Bailey Gregg, Daniel Webster Crofts, and Naaman Fletcher.[5]

The first regular meeting of Phi Gamma Delta and the adoption of the Fraternity's Constitution took place on May 1, 1848.[6] Consequently, May 1 was chosen to be "Founder's Day" at the 43rd Convention held in 1891 and has traditionally been celebrated as the founding date of the Fraternity.[7][8]

Contrary to popular belief, the Immortal six were not Freemasons when they entered Jefferson College.[9]


Phi Gamma Delta has chosen not to use the term alumni for members who have graduated; post collegiate members are referred to as Graduate Brothers, to imply that membership extends past the undergraduate experience. Similarly, one of the mottoes used by the organization is, "Not For College Days Alone".[10]

Phi Gamma Delta's mission statement lists five core values for its members: friendship, knowledge, service, morality, and excellence.[11][12] In addition, members are encouraged to live by three priorities in a specific order: first, scholarship, second, fraternity, and third, self. This ordering is because members attend university with the foremost goal of receiving an education, and that Phi Gamma Delta is a fraternity that promotes scholastic achievement amongst its members.[13]

Practices and customs

Use of Greek letters and etymology of "Fiji"

Phi Gamma Delta limits the written display of its Greek letters.[14] In accordance with the fraternity's international bylaws, Fiji chapters and members only inscribe their letters in the following seven locations:[15][16]

  1. On a uniform diamond-shaped member badge
  2. On memorials to deceased brothers
  3. On the Fraternity's official flag
  4. On the Fraternity's official seal
  5. On a chapter house marker
  6. On a brother's official college ring
  7. On a brother's certificate of membership

The fraternity instructs its members to consider the letters sacred and to never display them on an object that can be easily destroyed. Whereas other fraternities often display their letters on clothing or other items, this tradition prevents Fijis from doing so. In place of the actual Greek letters, "Fiji," "Phi Gam," or the English spelling "Phi Gamma Delta" is used in their place.

The Fiji nickname started at New York University as a suggested name for the Fraternity magazine (Fee Gee). It was officially adopted by the national fraternity at the 1894 convention in the belief that the term would be distinctive and appeal to the imagination.[17] Prior to its formal appropriation by the organization at large, nicknames for members of the fraternity varied greatly; ranging from "Phi Gamm" and "Delta" by brothers across the nation, "Fee Gee" in New York, and "Gammas" in the South.[17] As of now though, "Fiji" and "Phi Gam" are considered by the fraternity to be the only appropriate nicknames for Phi Gamma Delta members on the international scale, though local nicknames related to a chapter's Greek name or other colloquialisms do exist.[18]


The fraternity is composed of chapters of two types. Most chapters serve primarily undergraduate students and are established at a single college or university . There are also chapters to serve members of the fraternity who have graduated from college and are established to serve a city or larger region. The chapters are governed by the fraternity's international headquarters in Lexington, Kentucky.

Honors and awards

Each year the Phi Gamma Delta organization gives out a number of awards, both to chapters, and to individual members.[19]

Pig Dinner

The Frank Norris Pig Dinner is an annual graduate dinner held by all Phi Gamma Delta chapters. The dinner is named for author Frank Norris, a member of the Fiji chapter at the University of California, Berkeley where the first Pig Dinner was held in 1893. Pig Dinner is sanctioned by the International Fraternity and it serves to welcome graduate brothers back to their undergraduate chapters.

It is the longest continually running, chapter-based, annual Graduate event in the world of fraternities and sororities.

The International Fraternity stores a list of annual Pig Dinners.

Fiji Islander

Affectionately built upon the "Fiji" nickname, many chapters hold an annual "Fiji Islander" party. These are typically large festivities with tropical themes often using banana and palm trees as decoration, although they can vary widely from chapter to chapter. Some are large parties where alcohol, sand and tropical foliage are present, others may be alcohol free, and some Fiji Islander events are charity projects rather than parties. The tradition made headlines in May 2014 when a University of California, Irvine student of Fijiian descent complained to the university that the fundraiser as well as the fraternity nickname was an offensive example of cultural appropriation.[20]

Hazing allegations

In 1997, as part of an allegedly mandatory hazing event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology chapter, 18-year-old freshman Scott Krueger died as a result of excessive alcohol consumption.[21] Manslaughter charges were brought against the Phi Gamma Delta organization itself, rather than any individuals. In response, the chapter dissolved and the case was suspended.[22] MIT later settled with Krueger's family for 4.75 million dollars.[23]

On September 17, 2010 a prospective member, Matt Fritzie, was partially paralyzed after diving into a shallow pool during a Fiji Islander party in Lawrence, Kansas.[24] In response to the incident, the University of Kansas placed the chapter on a two-year probation for hazing.[25] Fritzie has since sued both the chapter and the national organization.[26][27]

In 2012 West Virginia University banned the fraternity in response to alcohol related hazing.[28] The fraternity reinstated the chapter in 2014.[29]

On April 4, 2014, Michael Evan Anderson, member of the University of Arizona chapter of FIJI died after an unsanctioned FIJI event by falling off the third floor of a dormitory. The investigation of his death by the University Police led to an investigation from the Dean of Students Office which included several counts of hazing, including kicking new members in the stomach, new members cleaning the house before and after parties and performing personal acts of servitude to members.[30]

Founding of Kappa Alpha Theta

Fijis at the Lambda chapter at Indiana Asbury University (now known as DePauw University) played an important role in the founding of Kappa Alpha Theta women's fraternity. Bettie Locke, the sister of George W. Locke (DePauw, 1871), was one of the first women enrolled at DePauw.[31] Bettie had many Fiji friends and one of them asked her to wear his badge. She contended that she would do so only if she knew the secrets behind the letters. The fraternity, after debate, declined to initiate her. So, upon suggestion of her father, Dr. John Wesley Locke, a Beta Theta Pi, she formed Kappa Alpha Theta with Alice Allen, Bettie Tipton and Hannah Fitch; four of the small number of women enrolled at DePauw at the time. Kappa Alpha Theta was founded on January 27, 1870. Phi Gamma Delta later presented Bettie Locke with an engraved silver cake basket as a token of friendship.[32]

Notable Fijis

Chapters and colonies

See also


  1. Phi Gamma Delta's Heraldic Insignia Archived September 29, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. "North American College Fraternities: The 'Jefferson Duo'", page 68. The Purple Pilgrim: The Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta Guide to Brotherhood. 2004
  3. "Phi Gamma Delta: Fort Armstrong". Archived from the original on 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2007-08-24.
  4. "The Phi Gamma Delta Story: The Founding of Phi Gamma Delta", page 85. The Purple Pilgrim: The Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta Guide to Brotherhood. 2004
  5. "The Phi Gamma Delta Story: The Immortal Six", pages 85-92. The Purple Pilgrim: The Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta Guide to Brotherhood. 2004
  6. "The Phi Gamma Delta Story: The Founding of Phi Gamma Delta", page 84. The Purple Pilgrim: The Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta Guide to Brotherhood. 2004
  7. "Phi Gamma Delta: Record of Conventions and Ekklesiai". Archived from the original on 2007-08-14. Retrieved 2007-08-24.
  8. "Fiji Heritage - Customs and Traditions: Founders Day", page 121. The Purple Pilgrim: The Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta Guide to Brotherhood. 2004
  9. "Phi Gamma Delta: Misconceptions". Retrieved 2015-04-27.
  10. "The Not for College Days Alone", page 177. The Purple Pilgrim: The Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta Guide to Brotherhood. 2004
  11. "Phi Gamma Delta: About Phi Gamma Delta". Archived from the original on 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2007-08-24.
  12. "The Purple Pilgrim: The Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta Guide to Brotherhood. 2004
  13. "Scholarship - a Phi Gam's Top Priority", page 135. The Purple Pilgrim: The Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta Guide to Brotherhood. 2004
  14. "Phi Gamma Delta: Our Greek Letters". Archived from the original on 2007-08-24. Retrieved 2007-08-28.
  15. "Greek Letters", pages 123-124. The Purple Pilgrim: The Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta Guide to Brotherhood. 2004
  16. Pledge Education PowerPoint - Week 6
  17. 1 2 "Fiji Heritage - Customs and Traditions: Origins of "Fiji", page 119. The Purple Pilgrim: The Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta Guide to Brotherhood. 2004
  18. "The Origins of 'Fiji'", page 140. The Purple Pilgrim: A Manual for the Education of the Pledges of the Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta. 1984
  19. "Phi Gamma Delta's Awards".
  20. Owens, Eric (06/01/2014). "UC Irvine Leftists Call FIJI Frat Racist For Fundraiser Featuring Coconut Bras, Grass Skirts". The Daily Caller. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  21. Wright, Sarah H. (23 September 1998). "DA details 'reckless conduct' by fraternity in 1997 Krueger death". MIT News. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  22. Tribune News Services (27 October 1998). "Lacking A Defendant, Fraternity Alcohol-death Case Dissolves". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  23. Tribune News Services (14 September 2000). "Mit Settles In Fraternity Death". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  24. "Rehab needed for hazing victim". Associated Press (Topeka Capital Journal). 29 September 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  25. "KU alters policies on hazing after problems". Associated Press (Wichita Eagle). 14 February 2011. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  28. Crum, Travis (27 November 2012). "WVU bans frat over alleged hazing". West Virginia Gazette. Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  29. Haight, Laura (25 February 2014). "FIJI reinstated after suspension". The Daily Athenaeum (West Virginia University). Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  30. McSweeney, Ethan (10 July 2014). "FIJI placed under interim suspension pending UA investigation". Arizona Daily Wildcat. Retrieved 10 July 2014.
  31. "DePauw University: A Pictorial History". Archived from the original on June 8, 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-31.
  32. "Phi Gamma Delta: Phi Gamma Delta and Kappa Alpha Theta". October 1947. Retrieved 17 November 2013.
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