About Psi U
Our fraternity is a select group sharing similar ideals, hopes, and purposes; bound together by deep friendship and mutual understanding. Such a bond provides the foundation which enables the college student to become a poised and self-confident adult equipped with a keener mind, a greater appreciation, and broader sympathies.
This bond is further fortified by a group of true and understanding friends who will stand by him throughout life. The outward manifestation of the philosophical underpinnings of Psi Upsilon are the ways in which we treat ourselves, each other, and those around us.
Psi Upsilon is a way of life. It is friendships, brotherhood, leadership opportunities, social functions, community service, growth and personal development, hard work, academic endeavors, and many other things. The "Psi U experience" each member has is likely to be different from that of a member of another chapter or even a brother in the same chapter. Although the experience may differ, Psi Upsilon itself, as defined by its values, is constant. It is the fundamental nature of these values which has given Psi Upsilon the strength to flourish since its inception in 1833.
The Phi Delta chapter of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity has been an integral part of the Mary Washington and Fredericksburg communities since its founding in 1996. Throughout its history (and presently) Psi U brothers have held a variety of positions in student government, played club and NCAA sports and have been actively involved with numerous other student organizations at UMW, including Students for Helping Honduras and the annual Relay For Life walk. Psi U brothers of the Phi Delta chapter recognize the privilege of strong ties to two lifelong endeavors: to our great fraternity, and to our great university.
The founding of the Phi Delta Chapter in many ways mirrors the founding of Psi Upsilon in 1833 at Union College. Both organizations were started by men with like minded goals and ideas; they desired a better social outlet at their respective schools. Both were met with opposition by campus administrators, both involved the exchange of new ideas for the betterment of their members and both relied on men that were strong willed, diverse, and had the ability to reach out to others on their campus that would join them in continuing the development of the brotherhood that they started. One could say that the Phi Delta chapter has become the organization that it is because of an unforeseen and often overlooked connection to the seven founding fathers that started Psi U over 160 years ago.
The Phi Delta had its humble beginning like so many other great inventions of the world, through the exchange of thoughts and the desire for change on a college campus. I was not there at the first talks of the Phi Delta but I have been told that it was a rather casual event among brothers Jim King, Chris Grussendorf, John Richard, Ross Sparacino, Hon. Brother Chuck Witham and others. As many of you do today these men were sitting around their dorm and discussing the lack of social outlets at MWC. As the evenings talks progressed the tone of the hour shifted towards the lack of a Greek system at MWC. Many of those involved in the conversation had seen the benefits of
Greek life and some had experienced it at other schools. At the close of the evening the men decided that action must be taken and thus the road to bringing a fraternity to MWC was built.
Hon. Brother Chuck Witham was a member of Phi - Delta Theta and provided much assistance in putting the MWC men in touch with possible Greek sponsors. The Brothers also made contact with the MWC administration but were told that we would not have Greeks at MWC and those who had tried in the past had failed. This was just the motivation that the group needed to get started. It was almost like a challenge had been set forth and they were determined to succeed because for many of them their love life, academic life, and all hopes of sobriety had failed them long ago. For God's sake they needed something to prove to them that they were not the worthless losers their parents, priests and professors had labeled them long ago!
Many fraternities were very hesitant about expanding to MWC because of the lack of a pre existing Greek life. At this time a young Psi U graduate form William & Mary was working as a field director in the Psi U national office, his name was Brendan Owens. Brendan had gone to high school with brother Jim King and was looking for a challenging school with quality men to expand the chapter of Psi U. By chance Brother King and the others were looking for a fraternity to sponsor them at MWC. After much discussion the men at MWC were granted a provisional chapter status by Psi U and began their campus recruitment.
Some of the first meetings of Psi U were held in the spring of 1994 in the lobby of Willard Hall - people showed up via word of mouth, fliers, and curiosity. Some of the early Phi Delta events included bar-b-q, campus golf, football games, movie nights, cigar smokers, and socials. The group met, held meetings, elected officers, established rules, and progressed. This group is know today as the founding fathers or as some of you say those cheap alumni bastards who never had to go through pledge period and come down here and drink all of our beer on alumni weekend.
Once the founding fathers had established the provisional chapter the next order of business was to recruit new members into the brotherhood, so in the fall of 1994 the first Phi Delta rush /pledge period began. For the next few semesters the Phi Delta chapter worked towards the goal of earning full chapter status. We recruited, did community service, prepared budgets and constitutions, learned the history of Psi U , held social events, attend conventions, and some did jail time. We gained new brothers lost some others but we had stared to work as a group and many of us saw for the first
time what it meant to be brother. Then on a cool night in the early spring of 1996 we were all requested to meet at the amphitheater and it was there that Archon Jim King announced that we had become a full chapter in Psi Upsilon. There was much excitement, champagne and on some peoples part for no good reason but being dirty perverts there was nakedness.
That was a few years ago and we are still here today with a growing brotherhood and an organization that I am proud to say I helped start. We have not only become part of a very historic organization but everyone involved in the Phi Delta has made history, and for this we should be proud. You have just heard how the Phi Delta chapter was started; now I would like you to take a minute to reflect on why you joined Psi U, what Psi U means to you and what you can do to help Psi U continue to flourish. It is the input of fresh ideas and a desire to lead that has brought us here today.
When we first get involved in Psi U we come out for different reasons and different brothers focus on different but important aspects of Psi U. Some may like the social aspect, others like to network and meet new people, and others may like the history. These are all things that we talk about and of course our trusty college tablets us what it means to be a Psi U. I am not disregarding these things as unimportant but I bet we all have story to tell that involves our Phi Delta brothers in a way we would have never expected when we came out for our first rush event.
I bring this up not to point out what great people we are but rather to present a view of Psi U that you may not have seen before. As an undergraduate I tended to focus on the short term aspects of Psi U, things like comparing parties, dates, the perfect martini, how to steal stuff from other chapters etc. That's not to say that I did not look at long term things such as our history, recruitment, housing and the like. As an alumnus I have had the opportunity to reflect on my Psi U experience at the Phi
Delta. When I look back I am reminded of the great parties, the good times, the new experiences and the skills I learned in Psi U. But my most vivid and lasting memories of my Phi Delta times are those of the deep bonds I made with my fellow brothers, and it is not just saying "oh yeah we made some good friends" but rather being able to say that many of us have established a connection of brotherhood that many of our piers at MWC will never have.
This connection being made in an organization that many thought would fail but with over 160 years of history you have all forged bonds of brotherhood with men of integrity, respect, forgiveness, humor and honor. Yes in many ways the Phi Delta chapter is very similar in its beginnings to that of Psi U itself. We have faced many struggles and trials, we have partied and grown together, and we have learned much and lived even more. In the end we can all look into each one of our brothers eyes extend our arm and shake hands with the confidence that this man is a true brother and that your bond of brotherhood will last well beyond your last faint faltering breath.
-Jon Carter '98 (Founding Father), 2/18/98