Site Administration The College of William and Mary

National History

"Over one hundred and seventy-one years ago, on a crisp November evening, nine young men huddled closely against the evening chill underneath the old Scotia Bridge..."

Scotia Bridge

On that night in 1827, our founders contemplated and laid the foundation for the of The Delta Phi Fraternity. When those nine men reconvened in North College Hall at Union College on the seventeenth of November, they consecrated an organization based on study, friendship and lifelong bonds that has lasted to this day.

Delta Phi, along with Kappa Alpha Society and Sigma Phi Society, comprise the Union Triad - the first three social college fraternities. From these three fraternities at Union College (regarded as the "Mother of Fraternities") can be traced the extensive Greek system seen on nearly every college campus today. Much like now, the anti-fraternity sentiment was rampant in the college administration. Adding to the challenges facing the newly formed fraternities was the authority of the man seeking their destruction, Dr. Eliphalet Nott, president of Union College and the most esteemed educator of his day.

Under extreme duress, both Kappa Alpha and Sigma Phi removed their badges and attempted underground existences. Because Delta Phi refused to disband and continued on in the open, it stakes its claim as the oldest, continuous fraternity. Delta Phi took up the defense of the fraternity movement and it was a Delt, John Jay Hyde (Alpha 1832, Union College 1834) who so convincingly argued the case of the fraternities before the faculty that Dr. Nott, rescinded his proscription of fraternities, allowing them to grow, flourish and expand to other campuses. In turn, Nott's own son would join Delta Phi during his college days.

Delta Phi is a national fraternity headquartered in Athens, Georgia and there are currently 14 active chapters nationwide with plans for continued expansion. Delta Phi is nicknamed St. Elmo’s Club, after the patron saint of the fraternity. On many campuses, such as the University of Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania, our chapters are primarily known by this nickname.  At schools such as Princeton and Harvard, Delta Phi has transformed into dining clubs due to anti-fraternity policies that existed on their campuses.  Regardless of each chapter’s status on their campus, there remains a national effort to maintain the traditions the Delta Phi was founded upon.

Delta Phi has many notable alumni, including Charles Scribner, John Jacob Astor, J.P. Morgan, The Harper Brothers, and James Roosevelt.  Other famous alums include CEOs of Motorola and C|Net, a Vice-President, a Supreme Court Justice, a NASA administrator, a Pulitzer Prize winner, a Governor of New Jersey, and even President George W. Bush's younger brother.

For more information on National History.

Other Delta Phi Chapters

Local History

Founded at William and Mary in 1987, the Omega Alpha Chapter of Delta Phi is descended from a long line of chapters in step with the traditions of the oldest continuously active social fraternity, including chapters on prominent Ivy League campuses.  As individuals, you can find us leaders in Residence Life, New Student Orientation, the Student Assembly, the Office of Admissions, club and intramural athletics, One in Four, campus religious organizations, and a variety of other campus and local activities and philanthropies. As a whole, you will find us a closely-knit group of friends dedicated to brotherhood involvement.

Pledge Class of 1987 (Omega Alpha Founders)Our own chapter’s history is relatively short but quite distinguished and fruitful. While maintaining our individual characteristics, we use these traits to forge our indivisible bonds of brotherhood. The true meaning and spirit of the word “fraternity” have not been lost by the brothers of Delta Phi, and we try to elevate this feeling throughout the rest of campus. It is only through the close bonds of our brotherhood that a fraternity our size can be so active academically, socially, philanthropically, and athletically at William and Mary.

In our short time on-campus, over 150 members have initiated into the Omega Alpha chapter. In recent years, we have won many awards including, William and Mary’s Most Outstanding Chapter in 1998, 1999, 2001, 2004, and 2006; and awards for Excellence in Scholarship, Service, Member Education, Member Recruitment, and Risk Management.  Our brothers have also been recognized as "Outstanding New Member" and "Outstanding Greek Man" (source).  While these awards are testaments to the caliber of our brotherhood, the true worth of the bonds we share cannot be fully understood by those outside of our organization. Delta Phi’s tight-knit brotherhood continues to set an example of a true fraternity.

St. Elmo's Hall

Delta Phi is located at 197 Armistead Avenue, next to Sorority Court.  In accordance with our national tradition, our house is named St. Elmo’s Hall, after the patron saint of the fraternity.  The house is owned by the College and was designated as Delta Phi’s housing in the spring of 1994.  Since the acquisition of the house, the brothers have spent many hours painting and restoring the various rooms.  The College works in conjunction with the brotherhood to provide constant maintenance in order to keep this historic house in good condition.

St. Elmo’s Hall houses seven brothers, with three newly-initiated brothers living downstairs and four brothers living upstairs in what are arguably the best singles on campus.  Delta Phi is the only fraternity on campus with its own individual house. The house is wired with cable television, Bose speakers, and the College’s wired and wireless network capabilities.  St. Elmo’s Hall provides a great home for such a unique fraternity, and with the delis and sororities within shouting distance, there is no better location.


       St. Elmo's Hall During a Snowfall

1st Floor                                                     2nd Floor




Brotherhood Badge


John Jay Hyde (Alpha 1932) created the Badge of Delta Phi. This design, worn by members of The Delta Phi continuously since it's adoption in 1833, replaced the fraternity's first badge. This badge, based on the Maltese Cross worn by the Knights of St. John (later, the Knights Hospitallers and finally the Knights of Malta), has many symbolic meanings to members of the fraternity. The design also gave birth to one of the most enduring traditions of The Delta Phi, the use of the name St. Elmo in association with the fraternity.

Semper Ubique!
Always, Everywhere!

Patron Saint:
St. Erasmus (Elmo) of Formiae

197 Armistead Ave X Williamsburg, VA 23185
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