Skip to content. Skip to main navigation.

History of Fraternities & Sororities

How did Greek Life even get started?

Only five months after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Phi Beta Kappa was founded by five students at the College of William and Mary in ancient Williamsburg, VA, on the night of December 5, 1776. So over 234 years ago, this first organization had all the earmarks of our present-day social fraternities: the charm and mystery of the secrecy, a Ritual, an Oath of Fidelity, a Grip (secret handshake), a Motto, and a Badge (pin) for external display.

But more importantly, this first organization had high ideals of morality, scholastic achievement and fellowship. Basically, the growth and expansion of fraternities and sororities have mirrored the changing landscape of America's ups and downs. When times were good economically, America witnessed the founding of several Greek organizations, and when times were rough (especially during the Great Depression) the Greek system suffered as well.


Greek Alphabet