Gentlemen, Scholars, and Jolly Good Fellows | Calculate Your Chapter Bill

Organization History

The founding of delta kappa epsilon

On June 22, 1844 at Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut, a number of men of high character and scholastic attainment founded the first chapter Delta Kappa Epsilon. The open motto being “Kerothen Philoi Aei,” which in English means “Friends from the Heart, Forever.” The DKE pin was also created with the Greek letters of DKE on a white scroll upon a black diamond with a gold rope trim and a star in each corner, as well as the colours crimson, blue, and gold.

June 22 1844

DKE is founded at Yale University by 15 sophomores. For membership qualifications, they decide “The candidate most favored is he who combines in the most equal proportions the gentleman, the scholar, and the jolly good fellow.” The open motto is “From the Heart, Friends Forever.”


DKE expands rapidly, opening chapters at Bowdoin, Princeton, Colby, and Amherst within two years of our founding.


The first fraternity lodge in North America is built, the DKE Lodge at Kenyon College.


Robert Todd Lincoln, oldest son of President Lincoln, joins DKE at Harvard. Legend has it that he wrote his father for permission to join DKE, and it was granted by the President.

July 2, 1863

Charles Taylor, Omicron 1865, Lieutenant in the PA Volunteers, is killed while leading his battalion in action at the Wheatfield on Day 2 of the Battle of Gettysburg. He is honored with a monument for his heroic actions.


Frederick Thayer, Alpha-Harvard, invents the catcher’s mask


The Shant opens in Ann Arbor, where it serves until 2017 as a meeting place for our Omicron chapter at Michigan


The first Delta Kappa Epsilon Quarterly is published. Its name is changed to The Deke Quarterly in 1947.


The DKE Club of NYC is established.


William Randolph Hearst, Alpha-Harvard, assumes control of the San Francisco Chronicle, and begins to build one of the largest media empires in U.S. history.


In a sensational trial involving a multiple axe-murder, Lizzie Borden is found not guilty of killing her father and step-mother. Borden’s attorney is Andrew J. Jennings, Upsilon-Brown.


DKE becomes an International Fraternity, when the Alpha Phi chapter is chartered at the University of Toronto.


Theodore Roosevelt, Alpha-Harvard, is sworn in as the 26th President of the United States of America.


Harold Hitz Burton, Theta-Bowdoin, is named to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.


President Theodore Roosevelt, Alpha-Harvard, wins the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese War.


Robert E. Peary, Theta-Bowdoin, is the first to reach the North Pole


John Hessin Clarke, Beta Chi-Case Western Reserve, is appointed by President Wilson as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.


Samuel F.B. Morse, Phi-Yale, purchases coastal property in California, where he later develops and builds Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Cypress Point Golf Clubs


Bill Tilden, Delta Kappa-U Penn is the greatest tennis player of his era, winning 14 majors including six consecutive US Opens in the 1920’s. Brother Tilden is elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1959


Harvey Cushing, Phi-Yale, wins the Pulitzer Prize for Biography. Brother Cushing is most famous as the “Father of Modern Neurosurgery.” He developed many of the basic surgical techniques for operating on the brain.


Three consecutive Presidents of Amherst College are Dekes, Stanley King (1932-46), Charles Cole (1946-60), Calvin Plimpton (1960-71)


Fred Smith, Phi-Yale founds FedEx


George Roy Hill wins the Oscar for Best Director for The Sting. He also directs Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

August 9, 1974

Gerald R. Ford, Omicron-Michigan, is sworn in as the 38th President of the United States


J. Lucian Smith, Chi-Mississippi, becomes President of Coca-Cola.


Mark McClung, Delta Phi-Alberta, is named the first Director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).

January 20, 1989

George H. W. Bush, Phi-Yale, is sworn in as the 41st President of the United States and J. Danforth Quayle, Psi Phi-DePauw is sworn in as the 44th Vice President. This is the first and only time that a sitting President and Vice President were members of the same Fraternity. Brother Bush is sworn in by Justice Potter Stewart, also a Yale Deke.


Smash TV series Hill Street Blues premieres on ABC. Creator and Producer is David Milch, Phi-Yale. Hill Street Blues runs for 11 seasons.


Kyle Young, Lambda-Kenyon, becomes CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame, a position he still holds.


Terry Stewart, Phi Chi-Rutgers, is named as CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH. He serves for 14

January 20, 2001

George W. Bush, Phi-Yale, is sworn in as the 43rd President of the United States.Terry Stewart, Phi Chi-Rutgers, is named as CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH. He serves for 14


Roger K. Deromedi, Gamma-Vanderbilt, becomes CEO of Kraft Foods.


James McNerney (Phi-Yale) is named Chairman, President and CEO of Boeing, the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft.


Mad Men premieres on AMC. In 8 seasons as a hit series, Mad Men stars two Deke Brothers, Bryan Batt (Tau Lambda-Tulane) as Sal Romano and Harry Hamlin (Theta Zeta-Cal) as Jim Cutler. Additionally, one of the show’s main characters, Pete Campbell, plays a Deke.


“Garden and Glass,” a museum of Dale Chihuly glass art works, opens next to the Space Needle in Seattle and quickly becomes a top attraction. Chihuly, Kappa Epsilon-Washington, is the world’s leading pioneer in glass art, and his work is displayed worldwide.


Mike Babcock, Tau Alpha-McGill, coaches the Canadian men’s hockey team to the Olympic Gold Medal. He also coaches the 2010 Gold Medal team, and wins the 2008 Stanley Cup with the Red Wings. Brother Babcock is currently head coach of the Maple Leafs


The NCAA reinstates 112 wins for Joe Paterno, Upsilon-Brown, making him the winningest football coach in NCAA history


Brett M. Kavanaugh, Phi-Yale, is sworn in as a United States Supreme Court Justice. Kavanaugh becomes DKE’s fourth Supreme Court Justice, more than any other fraternity.


Jim Allison, Omega Chi-Texas, wins the Nobel Prize for Medicine, for his work in fighting cancer through immunology

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Friends From the Heart, Forever.

he chapter started with it’s 15 founders deeming itself Phi of Delta Kappa Epsilon. Since that time, DKE has grown to over 64 chapters and initiated over 85,000 members across North America. “The Gentleman, the Scholar, and the Jolly Good-Fellow” has become our motto. The fraternity is inextricably linked to the history of the United States of America, as its members include a whopping 5 of the 44 presidents, including both George Bush’s, Rutherford B. Hayes, Teddy Roosevelt, and Gerald Ford.