History of Phi Kappa Psi

Founded over 150 years ago, Phi Kappa Psi boasts a rich history at many of the nation’s top colleges and universities.

William H. Letterman and Charles P.T. Moore founded Phi Kappa Psi in the little college town of Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, when they were nursing their stricken friends during an epidemic of typhoid fever at their college. It was through these long night vigils that an appreciation of the great joy of serving others came into their lives.

Calling a number of others to join them, a Brotherhood was founded on February 19, 1852.  It flourished, and gradually extended to other colleges and universities throughout the country. Idealists all, these founders of Phi Kappa Psi taught a new fraternity – a Fraternity that would complement the work of the university by cultivating those humanities without which the educated man fails of his greatest usefulness.

At the time of our founding, Jefferson College was considered one of the “Big Three” in what was known as the “Jeffersonian Cradle.” The other two institutions comprising this group, Harvard, and Princeton, were of nearly equal size and equal high esteem. These institutions all graduated predominantly ministers, lawyers and physicians from academic curricula based on classical literature, religious doctrine, and basic sciences.

Phi Kappa Psi recognizes the need and value of the best and broadest education possible and encourages that goal within our membership. However, unless actuated by a proper love for and service to mankind, the educated man may often waste his talents. It is to counteract this tendency that Phi Kappa Psi was founded to encourage the best in men, to inspire and assist them to reach their potential as students, brothers, men and citizens.

Phi Kappa Psi at the University of Kansas

This past February marked the 140th year that Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity has been a part of the University of Kansas. Since 1876, the men of the Kansas Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi have been an integral part of the University for three separate centuries. Each year, our Chapter adapts and develops to become an even better organization than the previous year. For over 135 years, the men of Phi Psi have promoted the Fraternity’s highest ideals through continuous individual and group improvement year in and year out.

The Kansas Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi exemplifies excellence at both a national and local level. Our National Fraternity consistently recognizes us as the hallmark Chapter of Phi Psi. Although consistently recognized by our National Fraternity, we have never been satisfied with complacency. It has continually been the goal of our Chapter over the past years to distinguish ourselves at the local level.

Over the years, we have developed a system to help continuously exceptional young men mature throughout their college experience. Whether it is through scholarship, membership development, or financial management, we have excelled in every phase that defines a student organization. Year in and year out, our members are known leaders on campus. It does not matter if a member is the President of the Interfraternity Council, an active Student Senator, or a varsity athlete, each member contributes constructively to improve both the Chapter and the University every day. Improvement and development are the cornerstones that define the Kansas Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi as a chapter of excellence.

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Current  Members: 135
GPA Requirements: To be recruited by our Chapter, a student must graduate high school with at least a 3.00 cumulative GPA. To become an Initiated Member, a student must receive a 2.50 GPA during his semester as a New Member.

A member can be rewarded for his GPA each semester in a variety of ways.  Our Endowment Association awards scholarship money to members, who while living in the house, excel scholastically. The rewards available are for Highest Grades in the Chapter, Highest Grades in the Pledge Class, 4.00 G.P.A., between 3.75 – 3.99 G.P.A., between 3.50-3.74 G.P.A., and Most Improved Grades in the Chapter.

Scholarship Resources

Library or Study Room

Our Chapter House has a total of three rooms for primarily academic purposes.  Our main library is located on the main floor and contains four large study tables, two small study tables, two couches, and four wing-backed chairs, which 34 people can occupy. We also have two other small study rooms that can seat eight people each. These rooms are used by individuals who want a small, quiet, and isolated area to study.

Chapter-owned Computers

Our Chapter House has a computer room equipped with three computers and two printers/copiers/faxes. Each computer has high-speed Internet and is connected to the main printer in the room. The room also contains several other Internet hookups. Every room in the chapter house has at least two Ethernet hookups. Because personal laptops/computers can be linked to the main printer, there is no need for any member to purchase a separate printer for their room unless specifically desired. Sunflower Broadband Company operates our Internet. Additionally, we have a secure WiFi network that encompasses the entire house.

Tutoring Provided by Members                                            ­

At the start of the fall semester, each freshman from the pledge class is assigned an active member mentor. It is the active member’s job to keep track of the freshman’s academic progress during his first semester at KU. Also, our chapter offers a tutoring reimbursement system. The chapter will pay for half of the cost of tutoring for as many classes as needed.

Study Hours

The freshmen pledge class is required to attend study hours from 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm every night Sunday through Thursday during the fall semester. Any freshman or active member who fails to receive a 2.50 GPA  is required to attend study hours Sunday through Tuesday the following semester. Study hours are always in the Chapter’s library or at one of the various libraries on campus.