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Lambda Chi Alpha
Lambda Chi Coat-of-arms.png
Founded November 2, 1909 (1909-11-02) (100 years ago)
Boston University
Type Social Fraternity
Scope International
Motto Vir Quisque Vir Every Man a Man.

Χαλεπα Τα Καλα Naught Without Labor.

Per Crucem Crescens Crescent in the Cross.

Colors ████ Purple

████ Green

████ Gold

Symbol Cross and Crescent
Flower White Rose
Publication The Cross and Crescent

The Paedagogus

Philanthropy North American Food Drive
Chapters 200+ active[1]
Members ~10,100 [1] collegiate
270,000+ [2] lifetime
Phone (317) 872-8000
Headquarters 8741 Founders Rd.
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Lambda Chi Alpha (ΛΧΑ) is one of the largest men's general fraternities in North America, by its own count, having initiated more than 270,000 members[2] and held chapters at more than 300 universities.[3] It is a member of the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) and was founded by Warren A. Cole, while he was a student at Boston University, on November 2, 1909. The youngest of the fifteen largest social fraternities, Lambda Chi Alpha has initiated the third highest number of men ever, based on NIC statistics. Lambda Chi's National Headquarters is located in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Lambda Chi Alpha seeks to promote higher education by providing opportunities for academic achievement and leadership. Its open mottos are Vir Quisque Vir (Latin) Every Man a Man; Per Crucem Crescens (Latin) Crescent in the Cross; and Χαλεπα Τα Καλα (Greek) Naught Without Labor. Its members are referred to as "Lambda Chi's".



The Creed of Lambda Chi Alpha

We believe in Lambda Chi Alpha, and its traditions, principles, and ideals. The crescent is our symbol — pure, high, and ever growing; and the cross is our guide — denoting service, sacrifice, and even suffering and humiliation before the world, bravely endured if need be, in following that ideal.

May we have faith in Lambda Chi Alpha and passion for its welfare. May we have hope for the future of Lambda Chi Alpha and strength to fight for its teachings. May we have pure hearts, that we may approach the ideal of perfect brotherly love.




Lambda Chi Alpha began as the dream of one man, Warren Albert Cole. Cole was a young man of pleasing personality, ordinary means, limited experience, and no unusual talents except a dogged determination to found an international college fraternity. After many failed attempts at starting a fraternity: "The Lodge," "Tombs," and "Lambda Pi," Cole met with his first cousin and a more distant relative on November 2, 1909. This date was later selected as the first formal step in Lambda Chi Alpha, but in later years, Cole said that the date had little significance. Lambda Chi Alpha, or "Loyal Collegiate Associates," as it was known was born.

Cole boldly approached many local groups at colleges and universities throughout the Northeast in hopes of finding others willing to join his new fraternity. Before the acquisition of Lambda Chi Alpha's first functioning chapter, Cole had corresponded with or visited 117 institutions.[4]


Early in 1912, Cole, wrote to a student at Massachusetts Agricultural College (MAC) in Amherst, was the University of Massachusetts, asking the names of the Greek-letter fraternities on campus and the names of at least two "good, non-fraternity men." Herbert E. Cole responded with the names of six Greek-letter groups and two names, including that of Lewis Drury. Warren Cole wrote to Drury asking if he was interested in forming a Greek-letter society. Apparently Drury was quite interested, as he had his Agronomy professor write a letter of recommendation to Warren Cole.

The MAC petition was duly submitted and quickly approved—after all, it was Cole's first success in attracting a group after more than one hundred futile efforts. Lambda Chi Alpha's first established chapter, Gamma Zeta, was born.[5]

During the spring of 1912, Albert Cross, a student in the department of civil engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, received a letter from Warren Cole indicating that he had received Cross' name from a mutual acquaintance and that he would like to form a chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha at Pennsylvania.

Cross liked Cole's idea and began talking with some of his friends. One of these friends was John E. "Jack" Mason, whom Cross had met in a French class that summer. Mason, who had hardly been interested in existing fraternities at Penn, suggested to another friend, Raymond Ferris, that they "take a shot at" establishing a chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha.

Thus, with colossal nerve, Cross, Mason, Ferris, and five other men dared to launch a fraternity chapter on a campus with an abundance of long-established national fraternities. But with determination, Epsilon Zeta began.

Following the addition of Zeta Zeta at Penn State, the infant fraternity now felt confident in contacting established local groups. Cole made the acquaintance of members of Sigma Phi Delta at Brown University and won its affiliation. A "picked delegation" at MIT proved successful. By the beginning of 1913, Delta Upsilon at Maine was admitted as the seventh chapter.[6] On March 31, 1913, Sigma Zeta at the University of Michigan was founded, being the first chapter installed with the Mason initiation ritual.[7] Within a decade of Cole's funding, the fraternity grew to 53 chapters spanning from Maine to California and from Michigan to Texas. Cole accomplished this largely by traveling to schools and finding local fraternities that aspired to affiliated with a national organization. Since these groups were largely ignored by other established fraternities, Cole's method was quite successful.

In 1927 Lambda Chi Alpha became an international fraternity with the founding of Epsilon-Epsilon Zeta at the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[8] Today the Fraternity is represented by three more Canadian chapters in addition to Epsilon-Epsilon: Epsilon-Rho Zeta at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Alberta); Iota-Iota Zeta at McGill University (Montreal, Quebec); and Delta-Eta Zeta at the University of Western Ontario (London, Ontario).[9]

Theta Kappa Nu

Theta Kappa Nu Fraternity was formed by the union of 11 well-established local fraternities on June 9, 1924 in Springfield, Missouri. The pinnacle of the Springfield Grand Chapter was the signing of the League and Covenant-the instrument that embodied the ideals of the various groups and would bind them together to form one organization. Those present at the founding meeting were asked to come forward and sign the document. Each delegate realized that the signature meant the end of his local fraternity. In silence each delegate present came forward, removed the badge of the local from over his heart, placed it on the table, and signed the League and Covenant. Theta Kappa Nu was born.

With the help of the National Interfraternity Conference in identifying local groups and Theta Kappa Nu's policy of granting charters quickly to organizations with good academic standards, the young national fraternity grew quickly, and boasted 2,500 initiates in 40 chapters by the close of 1926. This record expansion remains unequaled in the fraternity world.[10]

As the Great Depression was drawing to a close, many fraternities were struggling in terms of membership and finances. Theta Kappa Nu began seeing its chapters shut down for the first time in the early 1930s, and was forced to reduce fees in 1933 and again in 1935 to maintain its membership. Meanwhile, Lambda Chi Alpha had lost one third of its membership. In 1938 a merger committee was formed.[11]

In 1939, Lambda Chi Alpha merged with the Theta Kappa Nu Fraternity. The ceremony was held at the Howard College, now Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, chapter of Theta Kappa Nu, where the documents were signed. The merger increased the number of chapters from 77 to 105[12] (or 78 to 106)[13] and the number of members from 20,000 to 27,000. At the time, this was the largest merger in fraternity history.[12] All Theta Kappa Nu chapters became Lambda Chi Alpha chapters and were given chapter designations that began with either Theta, Kappa or Nu.[14] At schools where chapters of both fraternities previously existed, the two merged and retained Lambda Chi's Zeta recognition. For example, the University of California at Berkeley was home to a chapter of both and is still denoted Mu Zeta.

Associate Membership and Fraternity Education

Perhaps the most fundamental change which was made at this Assembly was the complete elimination of pledgeship, and the adoption of fraternity education to replace pledge education. ... We feel in fact that this action is one of the most significant changes by any fraternity in the past fifty years. — George W. Spasyk following the 1972 General Assembly

Associate Membership

When Lambda Chi Alpha ended its pledging program in 1972, it was the first fraternity to do so.[15] The Associate Member program was created to take its place. An Associate Member (AM) of Lambda Chi Alpha is entitled to all of the rights and privileges of a fully initiated member. Accordingly, he also bears the same responsibilities as a brother. An AM is prohibited from few things before he is initiated: he may not run for the office of Ritualist (High Phi); he may not serve as the Official Delegate to the General Assembly, and he may not vote on his own initiation or the disassociation of an initiated member. Unlike most pledge programs, however, AMs do not have separate meetings or officers. Indeed, there is no Associate Member Class as the entire concept of the AM program is designed to encourage chapter, rather than class, unity. That principle also implies that there is no separate dress code or work responsibilities for AMs. An AM may wear the letters and regalia of the fraternity.

Fraternity Education

Beginning in August 1969, the concept of "fraternity education" replaced "pledge education."[16] The fraternity education program is designed to include all members of the chapter equally. The program of fraternity education should be designed to integrate the new member into the chapter as a whole, develop a standard of treatment that treats associate members and initiates completely equally, and should continue throughout a member's undergraduate years and throughout a member's life.[17]

Anti-hazing policies

Lambda Chi Alpha's first stance against hazing was in 1928 at a North-American Interfraternity Conference meeting when the fraternity condemned the practice. Today Lambda Chi Alpha prohibits hazing of any form, on or off campus, by any of its members. The fraternity's definition of hazing is broadly defined as "any action taken or situation created intentionally to produce physical discomfort or mental discomfort by embarrassment, harassment, or ridicule.”[18] Lambda Chi Alpha is one of the founding members of the Greek Anti-Hazing Hotline, 1-888-NOT-HAZE (1-888-668-4293).[19] The line is available to those who think they, or someone they know, have been or may become victims of hazing.

True Brother Initiative

Lambda Chi Alpha General Fraternity recognizes its role as an educational institution, partnering with colleges and universities in providing key elements in the journey of personal, manly development. The True Brother Initiative is a comprehensive concept of Associate Member, Brother, and Alumni Development rolled out by Lambda Chi Alpha General Fraternity in 2007. The Initiative explicitly and publicly states the seven core values of Lambda Chi Alpha:

  • Loyalty
  • Duty
  • Respect
  • Service and Stewardship
  • Honor
  • Integrity
  • Personal Courage

Further, the Initiative prescribes ways that these core values should be used in every aspect of life within the fraternity, for individual members as well as for the chapter, from Recruitment, Associate Member Education, Pre-Initiation week activities and through the initiation ritual—all functions of the brotherhood referred to as the Outer Circle.

It is no coincidence that the initials of the seven core values are an abbreviated version of the word “LeaDeRSHIP.” Once a man has learned and applied Lambda Chi Alpha’s seven core values as an Associate Member and/or as an initiated brother, the next step of the journey begins: learning and fulfilling the four roles of Brotherhood: Faithful Steward, Servant Leader, Leader of Character, and Lifetime Brother. Not every brother will fully understand or integrate his understanding of these four roles—but every Associate Member and Initiated Brother strives to gain a pure, true understanding of what it means to be a True Brother.

One aspect of the True Brother Initiative that makes it stand above all other programs in the fraternity world is that the Initiative does not stop with the induction ritual. Once inside the Inner Circle, Lambda Chi Alpha recognizes that the development of the man and the brother should continue throughout a man’s time as an undergraduate and his entire life. The True Brother Initiative offers additional tasks that are designed to engage the initiated brother in further developmental, applied tasks that may be undertaken to enhance his personal development as well as his understanding and application of the four roles of brotherhood. Accomplishing these tasks and gaining greater understanding of these roles is recognized and celebrated by additional ritualistic ceremonies that are drawn from the original research, direction and intent of our early founding fathers.

Throughout the entire Initiative, both Outer Circle and Inner Circle elements, learning is based on a model of Continuing Education/Knowledge, Experiential Learning/Skill Building, and Personal Growth and Reflection, all leading to Adopting the True Brother Identity.

  Lambda Chi Alpha’s Seven Core Values


Unswerving allegiance to the organization and its laws, ideals and defining principles prevents us from misplacing out loyalties;


Delineates the sum total of all laws, rules, and customs that make up our organizational, civic, and moral obligations;


Denotes the regard and recognition of the absolute dignity that every human possesses, and indicates compassion and sensitivity to the feelings and needs of others;

Service and Stewardship

Signifies the proper perspective that the welfare of the Fraternity and our broader communities come before the individual’s; Stewardship is the holding of something of value in trust for others;


Circumscribes the complex of all values that comprise the public code of the individual while providing for action and adherence to a public moral code.


Encompasses the sum total of a person’s private moral code—breaching any of these would damage this person’s integrity;

Personal Courage

Depicts the premier virtue that enables us to take responsibility and to persevere despite fear, danger, or adversity.

Lambda Chi Alpha’s Four Roles of Brotherhood Faithful Steward Lambda Chi Alpha is a precious gift that is given to each of us and, paying homage to our past and investing in our future, it is our duty to be good stewards for its welfare all of our lives. Servant Leader Service is the essence of effective leadership. A Servant Leader is committed to self-improvement, life-long learning, and personal growth. A Servant Leader is also committed to the development of others through teaching, mentoring, role modeling and striving to meet the legitimate needs of others. Leader of Character A Leader of Character leads with conviction and courage from a base of values. By internalizing the Seven Core Values, a Leader of Character will always have a compass to orient him toward the right decision. A Leader of Character also understands that leadership has nothing to do with title, position, or power, but that leadership is engrained in earned trust and motivated by the desire to serve. Lifetime Brother The True Brother sees Lambda Chi Alpha to be a lifelong calling, understands the solemn oaths that we freely took during our rituals, and seeks ways to continue to serve so that others will be able to share in the gift of fraternity and Lambda Chi Alpha.

The True Brother journey is designed to support the successful development of young men, understanding the significant developmental tasks of this period of life, maximizing the positive influence of peers and mentors, and moving our brothers towards an increased capacity for self-reflection and self-awareness, empathy, altruism, and intimacy.

This program sets up goals of leadership, stewardship, learning and service, and explicates a range of core values associated with being a true brother, which when pursued, leads toward a better tomorrow for Lambda Chi Alpha.

North American Food Drive

North American Food Drive.gif
Year Pounds
1993 256,416
1994 415,000
1995 551,570
1996 835,588
1997 1,127,845
1998 1,900,000
1999 2,500,000
2000 2,800,000
2001 2,900,000
2002 2,938,000
2003 2,087,126
2004 2,938,012
2005 3,033,759
2006 2,320,155
2007 TBA
Total 27,000,000

“On November 6, 1993, Lambda Chi Alpha began a philanthropy project that has collected more than 27 million pounds of food for the needy across North America. Called the North American Food Drive, this annual event has become the largest single-day philanthropic project sponsored by a collegiate organization. Its success is so impressive that Lambda Chi Alpha became the first fraternity to receive the Summit Award from the American Society of Association Executives in 1995, an award presented annually to associations and companies nationwide as part of its Associations Advance America Awards Program.”[20] Lambda Chi Alpha won its second Advance America award in 2005.[21]

The Food Drive began as the "Pantry Raid" at Millsaps College in the early 1980s. Though the "Pantry Raid" was not the only food drive in Lambda Chi Alpha at the time, the general fraternity used it as a model for a fraternity wide philanthropy. The fraternity chose "Brothers Feeding Others" as its theme and began promoting a one day food drive. Though the initial goal for the first food drive was 100,000 pounds, it was far surpassed. 256,416 pounds of food were collected and donated to needy food banks. The philanthropy has continued to expand and grow yearly. The fraternity collected over 1 million pounds for the first time in 1997 and had its first 2 million pound year in 1999. In 2005 over 3 million pounds of food were collected.

"The North American Food Drive touches the lives of more and more community members each year. With an increased effort in helping those who are less fortunate, brothers continue to uphold the ideals of the Fraternity for all to see by making a difference for the needy in your community."[20]

Notable members

Since its founding in 1909, dozens of Lambda Chi Alpha members have gone on to fame and accomplishment in the fields of academia, acting, athletics, business, government, music, politics, science, and other fields.


Chapter locations

Chapters of Lambda Chi Alpha represent the fraternity in nearly all of the contiguous United States. Four of Canada's ten Provinces also are home to several chapters and/or colonies. In addition, Lambda Chi Alpha previously had a colony in Alaska, but that has since been disbanded.

Chapter naming

Most Fraternities and sororities in the U.S. name their chapters using the Greek alphabet. The order usually follows one of two patterns: one which names chapters alphabetically nationally, e.g., Alpha-Beta chapter; the other by state, e.g., Indiana-Alpha chapter. Lambda Chi Alpha is unique in its naming scheme. The order in which they are named is not alphabetical, but, rather, a variation on the Greek alphabet. Chapters of Lambda Chi Alpha are known as "Zetas". Thus, a member of Alpha-Beta chapter would say he was a member of Alpha-Beta Zeta.

At the fraternity's inception, the founder Warren Cole assigned Greek letters to petitioning groups that had not yet been chartered. Predictably, not all of these groups were chartered. As a result, the first seven chapters were designated: Α, Γ, Ε, Ζ, Ι, Λ, and Β, in that order. John E. Mason created a twenty-four word mnemonic device with words representing each Greek letter once — the first seven words were in the order that the chapters were already named.

A good energetic Zeta is Lambda's boast; ‘Strength from Delta Pi’, our motto, to each through union; excellent character only, knowing no retreating steps.

Therefore, the chapters are named in the order: Α, Γ, Ε, Ζ, Ι, Λ, Β, Σ, Φ, Δ, Π, Ο, Μ, Τ, Η, Θ, Υ, Ξ, Χ, Ω, Κ, Ν, Ρ, Ψ. After the twenty-fourth chapter, the sequence was continued with a prefix following the same sequence (Α-Α, Α-Γ, Α-Ε, ... Γ-Α, Γ-Γ, Γ-Ε, ... Ε-A, etc.)

When Theta Kappa Nu merged with Lambda Chi Alpha in 1939, a scheme was adopted to name the new chapters, and the original scheme was modified, as well. The former Theta Kappa Nu chapters were all given chapter designations prefixed with Θ, Κ, or Ν. The second letter of their chapter name was assigned in the order mentioned above and applied to the chapters in order of their precedence in Theta Kappa Nu. On twenty-one campuses, chapters of both Lambda Chi Alpha and Theta Kappa Nu existed. In those cases, the chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha kept its original designation, and the letter which would have been assigned to the chapter of Theta Kappa Nu was permanently retired.

A singular exception, the chapter at Georgia Tech, Β-Κ Zeta, was named in recognition of its existence as a chapter of the national fraternity Beta Kappa, whose other existing chapters merged with Theta Chi in 1942.[22]

Headquarters Locations

Notes and references

External links


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