Honorary Fraternities at Davidson College
Gamma Sigma Epsilon | Gryphon Society | Mimir Society | Mu Beta Psi | Omicron Delta Epsilon
Omicron Delta Kappa | Omega Phi Alpha | Phi Beta Delta |Phi Beta Kappa | Phi Eta Sigma
Phi Mu Alpha, Sinfonia | Pi Gamma Mu | Psi Chi | Red and Black Masquers | Scabbard and Blade
Sigma Delta Pi |
Sigma Delta Psi | Sigma Pi Sigma | Sigma Upsilon | Theta Upsilon Omega
Alpha Epsilon Delta Fraternity (1936-)
The NC Alpha chapter of Alpha Epsilon Delta, a national co-ed premedical honor society, was founded in 1936. AED works closely with Davidson College’s Pre-Medical Society on such activities as bringing speakers to campus and organizing mentor programs.
Preceding the founding of AED, Davidson housed a chapter of Pi Delta Alpha (pre-medical fraternity), which was founded in 1931. In 1936, the members of petitioned AED for membership and that was granted, thus AED arrived at Davidson.
Even earlier still, the Aesculapian Club preceded Pi Delta Alpha as the “medical club” at Davidson. Although the date of the club’s founding is not clear, the earliest picture of the club is in the 1916 Quips and Cranks.
Alpha Phi Omega – Nu Chi Fraternity (1962-? [1991-2007])
Alpha Phi Omega is a national service fraternity; the Nu Chi chapter was founded at Davidson College in 1962.
Alpha Psi Omega- Iota Kappa Fraternity (1944-)
The Iota Kappa chapter of Alpha Psi Omega was founded at Davidson College in 1944. The society honors men and women who distinguish themselves in college theatre productions.
Beta Gamma Phi Fraternity (1939-1940)
Beta Gamma Phi, a local music honorary fraternity, was organized in 1939 by the officers of the Symphonic Band, the Little Symphonic Orchestra, and the Glee Club. In 1940, they applied for and were granted a charter with Phi Mu Alpa Sinfonia.
A student reads about honorary fraternities
Blue Pencil Society Fraternity (1915-1970)
The Blue Pencil Club was organized in 1914 at Davidson College as a local literary honor society In 1915, it became the Blue Pencil Chapter of the national literary honorary fraternity Sigma Upsilon.
Delta Phi Alpha – Epsilon Fraternity (1930-)
The Epsilon chapter of Delta Phi Alpa was founded at Davidson College in 1930. The society enencourages and honors excellence in the German language.
Delta Pi Kappa Fraternity (1920-?)
An honorary journalistic fraternity founded at Davidson in 1920 by William P. Cumming ’21 and Danner L. Mahood ’22.
Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha Fraternity (1953-?)
A national forensic honorary fraternity, a chapter was founded at Davidson College in 1953.
Eta Sigma Phi – Alpha Nu Fraternity (1929- )
The Alpha Nu chapter of Eta Sigma Phi was founded at Davidson in 1929. Eta Sigma Phi is the national honorary collegiate society for students of Latin and/or Greek. Students are elected into the Society based on excellence shown in their classical studies. The purposes of the Society, in the words of the Constitution, are “to develop and promote interest in classical study among the students of colleges and universities; to promote closer fraternal relationship among students who are interested in classical study, including inter-campus relationship; to engage generally in an effort to stimulate interest in classical study, and in the history, art, and literature of ancient Greece and Rome.”
Gamma Sigma Epsilon Fraternity (1925-1940)
The honorary fraternity of Gamma Sigma Epsilon was founded at Davidson College in 1919. Founding members were L.P. Good, Manley A. Siske, and M.R. Doubles. Professors H.B. Arbuckle and O.J. Thies assisted the students in the founding. The organization was designed to stimuate and encourage the study of chemistry. The Davidson chapter became inactive in 1972.
Gryphon Society Fraternity (1913-1917)
The Gryphon Society was founded at Davidson College in 1911. It recognizes student leadership and scholarship. In 1917 it merged with the fraternity of Omicron Delta Kappa.
Mimir Society Fraternity (1915-1923)
Founded at Davidson College in May 1915, the Mimir Society required a 92.5 average for the first three years of college work. In 1923, the society became the Gamma chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.
Mu Beta Psi – Beta Fraternity (1929-1931)
The Beta chapter of Mu Beta Psi was founded at Davidson College in 1929. Often called the “service fraternity of music,” Mu Beta Psi encourages musical fellowship.
Omicron Delta Epsilon – Beta Fraternity (1963-1996?)
Omicron Delta Epsilon is a national honor society for economics. The Beta chapter was established at Davidson College in 1965.
Omicron Delta Kappa – Delta Fraternity (1917- )
The Delta chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa was founded at Davidson College 1917. At that time, it merged with the local Gryphon Society (founded at Davidson College in 1913). All members of the Gryphon Society were initiated into ODK, except for Samuel Reeves Keesler, who had volunteered for the army and was killed in combat at Verdum, France. The Omicron Delta Kappa society recognizes student leadership and scholarship.
Omega Phi Alpha Fraternity (1924-1934)
The Omega Phi Alpha Philosophy Fraternity was established at Davidson College in 1924. It was a local fraternity honoring students especially interested in philosophy and psychology.
Phi Beta Delta –Gamma Pi Fraternity (1996- )
The Gamma Pi Chapter of Phi Beta Delta was established at Davidson College in 1996. The society honors international scholars (those who have add meaningful international experiences and have achieved scholastic success. College faculty and staff are also eligible for membership if they have been involved in significant international endeavors.
Newly elected Phi Beta Kappa members.
Phi Beta Kappa – Gamma Fraternity (1923- )
Davidson College first applied for a Phi Beta Kappa charter in 1916. The Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa was founded at Davidson College in 1923.The chapter was an outgrowth of the Mimir Society, a local society for the recognition of attainment in scholarship which had been organized May 24, 1915, under the direction of Dr. Joseph Moore McConnell, Professor of History. The Charter Members of the Chapter were Davidson College President William J. Martin; W. L. Porter, professor of Biology; Edwin F. Shewmake, Professor of English, and W.W. Wood, Professor of Applied Mathematics and Astronomy. The first students inducted were Robert F. Davidson, William A. Gamble, W. Gettys Guile, Dunbar H. Ogden, and Hugh H. Smith, all members of the class of 1923. This society honors scholastic achievement. The Vice-President for Student Life and Dean of Students oversees the activities of Phi Beta Kappa at Davidson College.
Phi Eta Sigma Fraternity (1962-? [1985-1991])
The Davidson chapter of Phi Eta Sigma was founded in 1962. The society encourages and rewards scholastic attainment among freshmen. Women were admitted in 1974.
Phi Mu Alpha, Sinfonia – Gamma Kappa Fraternity (1940-1964)
The Gamma Kappa Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha, Sinfonia was established at Davidson College in 1940. Beta Gamma Phi, a local music honorary fraternity petitioned for the charter. The first members were installed on November 10, 1940. Phi Mu Alpha sponsored concerts, performances by visitings artists, and interfraternity sings. The club went to inactive status in 1961 and ceased in 1964.
Pi Gamma Mu – NC Gamma Fraternity (1938-1943)
The NC Gamma chapter of Pi Gamma Mu was founded at Davidson College in 1938. Its purpose is to increase study and fellowship in the fields of social science.
Psi Chi Fraternity (1999- )
Psi Chi is a national honor society in Psychology; the Davidson College chapter was founded in 1999 by Chris Martin ’99. In 2007, the Davidson Psi Chi chapter was cited as a “model chapter.”
Red and Black Masquers Insignia 
Red and Black Masquers Fraternity (1920-1995?)
The Red and Black Masquers was founded at Davidson College in 1920 as a local honorary theatre fraternity. It was similar in purpose to the national honorary fraternity Alpha Psi Omega.
Founded by a new English professor Edward Jones Edwin ’06, the fraternity was originally called the Davidson College Dramatic Club. Their first play was the orginal “Wildcat Minstrels,” and they continued to perform both classic and original works. “casts for all productions are always open to anyone… Those showing special talent in finished productions are bid to membership in the Masquers.” [Quips and Cranks 1948]
In 1926, the fraternity changed their name to the Red and Black Masquers. In the 1940s, they adopted both an insignia (designed by Clara Lawton Smith) and drew up a new constitution (the original had been lost). Their new statement of purpose read: “It shall be the purpose of the fraternity to foster an interest in dramatics, to develop fraternal spirit among its members, to encourage loyalty to Alma Mater, and to recognize outstanding work in theatrical ability.”
Between 1969 and 1995, they were also known as the Vagabonds, Davidson Players, and the New Vagabonds. Over that time, the Red and Black Masquers were absorbed into the growing theatre department.
Scabbard and Blade – B Co., 4th Reg. (1923-? [1991-2007])
The Bravo Company of the 4th Regiment was founded at Davidson College in 1923. Scabbard and Blade is a national military society for men which honors scholarship, leadership, initiative, and character.
Sigma Delta Pi – Omega Fraternity (1931- [1991-2007])
The Omega chapter of Sigma Delta Pi was founded at Davidson College in 1931. It is the only national society exclusively for students, both men and women, of Spanish.
Sigma Delta Psi Fraternity (1934-? [1991-2007])
The Davidson chapter of Sigma Delta Psi was founded in 1934. The society promotes and recognizes total fitness for college men, with special emphasis on physical fitness.
Sigma Pi Sigma national Physics Honor Society tablet
Sigma Pi Sigma Fraternity (1923- )
Sigma Pi Sigma is a National Honorary Society for Physics founded at Davidson on December 11, 1921. Originally a local organization, a second chapter was established at Duke University in 1925. In 1996 there were 460 active chapters with a total membership of 75,000.
Sigma Upsilon – Blue Pencil Fraternity (1915-1970)
The Blue Pencil Club was organized in 1914 at Davidson College as a local literary honor society In 1915, it became the Blue Pencil Chapter of the national literary honorary fraternity Sigma Upsilon. The fraternity was active until the 1950s and its main purpose was to encourage creative writing on campus.
Theta Upsilon Omega – Kappa Alpha Fraternity (1923-1924)
The Kappa Alpha Chapter of Theta Upsilon Omega Fraternity was formed in 1924 as a reorganization of a local fraternity, Phi Alpha Pi. The group ceased to exist in 1934.
Honorary Fraternities – Works Cited
“Alpha Epsilon Delta.” Excerpt, 1977. Alpha Epsilon Delta Davidsoniana file. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.
Anson, Jack L. and Robert F. Marchesani, Jr, ed. Baird’s Manual of American College Fraternities, Twentieth Edition. Indianapolis, Indiana: Baird’s Manual Foundation, Inc, 1991.
Delta Pi Kappa Davidsoniana file. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.
“Eta Sigma Phi.” Excerpt, 1977. Eta Sigma Phi Davidsoniana file. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.
Finding aid. Record Group 6/14.05. Phi Beta Kappa. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC
Finding aid. Record Group 6/14.06. Omicron Delta Kappa. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC
Finding aid. Record Group 6/14.7. Red and Black Masquers – Records, 1949. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC
Finding aid. Record Group 6/14.13. Phi Delta Theta. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC
Finding aid. Record Group 6/14.18.Sigma Nu Fraternity. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC
Finding aid. Record Group 3/5.19 Theatre Department – Records, 1920-. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC
Finding aid. Record Group 6/14.20. Sigma Upsilon Literary Honor Society. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC
Finding aid. Record Group 6/14.22. Sigma Chi Fraternity. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC
Finding aid. Record Group 6/14.24. Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honor Fraternity. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC
Finding aid. Record Group 6/14.25. Omega Phi Alpha Philosophy Fraternity. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC
Finding aid. Record Group 6/14.27. Theta Upsilon Omega Fraternity. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC
Finding aid. Record Group 6/14.38. Phi Beta Delta. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC
Finding aid. Record Group 6/14.39. Omicron Delta Epsilon – Beta Chapter. 6/14.39. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC
Finding aid. Record Group 6/14.43. Gamma Sigma Epsilon. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC
Finding aid. Record Group 6/14.46. Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Davidson College Archives, Davidson College, NC
“Phi Eta Sigma.” Excerpt, 1977. Phi Eta Sigma Davidsoniana file. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.
“Premedical society and AED starts new programs.” The Davidsonian. September 27, 1999.
“Red and Black Masquers.” Davidson College. Quips and Cranks. Davidson: Davidson College, 1947
Shaw, Cornelia Rebekah. Davidson College. NY: Fleming H. Revell Press, 1923.
“Sigma Delta Psi.” Excerpt, 1977. Sigma Delta Psi Davidsoniana file. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.
Tau Kappa Alpha Davidsoniana file. Davidson College Archives, Davidson, NC.
“The Mask.” Red and Black Masquers program, c. 1947. Red and Black Masquers Davidsoniana file. Davidson College Archives., Davidson, NC.
Author: Tammy Ivins
Date: April 2008
Cite as: Ivins, Tammy. “Honorary Fraternities at Davidson College” Davidson Encyclopedia April 2008 <http://libraries.davidson.edu/archives/encyclopedia/honorary-fraternities/>