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The Phi Kappa Chapter was established on December 20, 1877, when the undergraduate members of the Phi Kappa Society were initiated into the Alpha Delta Phi in accordance with an agreement signed November 23, 1877.


The Phi Kappa Society had been founded on October 27, 1835, at Trinity College (then Washington College) in Hartford, Connecticut, and was the second secret society established there. During its existence of forty-two years as a local fraternity, it had great influence in the College. Through the establishment of the Phi Kappa Chapter, Alpha Delta Phi became the second international fraternity of the College.


Few relics remain of the old Phi Kappa Society whose members swore that their secrets would die with them. However, their spirit has always been a great source of pride to the Chapter. The long and honorable history of the old Phi Kappa Society was so singly recognized by Alpha Delta Phi when the new Chapter was formed that it was named the Phi Kappa Chapter.


Since the establishment of the Chapter, its history has been dominated by the need of an adequate Chapter House. On January 21, 1886 the Chapter purchased a lot at 122 Vernon Street, facing the College property and ground was broken for a Chapter House in 1890. It was purposely designed as an ordinary home with the exception of the lodge room on the third floor, so that it could readily be sold whenever the erection of a larger and more modern house on another site should seem desirable. Additional strips of land were added to the original property in 1911 and 1922. Plans for a new house were prepared in 1912, but were abandoned because of World War I. The Great Depression of the 1930’s and World War II caused further delays. However, in 1946, a Building Fund was actually started.


At the 125th Anniversary Celebration of the founding of the Phi Kappa Society in 1960, plans were announced for a new Chapter House. At the same time the formation of the Phi Kappa Educational Foundation, Inc. was announced for the purpose of granting financial aid to worthy students and to sponsor educational events at Trinity College. With growing popularity in recent years, the Foundation has sponsored numerous campus lectures and “fireside chats” in the Chapter House living room.


In 1962 both structures on the Chapter property were demolished and construction was started on a two-story brick building. The cornerstone, a simple block of redstone taken from a lintel in the old house and inscribed only with “1962”, was laid on September 29, 1962 at an impressive ceremony, and the new house, which cost $150,000.00, was occupied in January 1963. While lacking dormitory quarters, it contains ample social, dining, and parking facilities.


The house stood basically unchanged until the summer of 1981 when renovations totaling $20,000.00 were made in anticipation of the 149th Convention. This, the fifth convention at Phi Kappa, was a fitting tribute not only to the Chapter and its vibrant activity, but to the College as well. Existing in an atmosphere in which there are some serious challenges to the fraternity system, the Phi Kappa Chapter stands ready to further the spirit and ideals of Alpha Delta Phi.

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