The Birth of the Alpha Delta Phi
Alpha Delta Phi was founded in 1832 at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York by Samuel Eells (1810-1842). Founded as a literary society, it evolved into one of the most distinguished of the original American college fraternities. It has retained its focus on its literary roots, by attracting only the best students at only the best colleges and universities in Canada and the United States. Our chapters are leaders on their respective campuses, where some of our chapter houses have been designated architectural or historic landmarks. The Alpha Delta Phi experience has helped a disproportionate number of its 50,000 lifelong members to become top leaders in industry, government, education, and religion.
Samuel Eells, the provident founder of The Alpha Delta Phi, most eloquently expressed the principal purpose of the fraternity. It was his intent that “this new association, with a true philosophical spirit, looking to the entire man, develop his whole being—moral, social and intellectual.” Since its beginning at Hamilton College in 1832, The Alpha Delta Phi has sought to provide a comprehensive growth experience for young men at leading universities and colleges in Canada and the United States.
As lifelong members of a fraternal brotherhood, Brothers unite to participate in an atmosphere of energetic and concerted interaction where the moral, social and intellectual aspects of each man’s character may grow and flourish. Special importance is attached to five areas: enhancing personal self esteem; promoting constructive respect and caring for others with diverse backgrounds and personalities; developing leadership qualities and self discipline; improving scholastic and literary skills; and serving the school and community.
Fraternity involvement is characterized by undertaking responsibilities within a group of peers while at the same time having contact with interested alumni. This process enhances individual self-respect as well as fostering responsible concern for others within the chapter. The Fraternity’s tradition is to seek members from a broad spectrum of backgrounds, interests and skills. In this climate, each Brother develops an appreciation of those different from himself and comes to understand how the viewpoints of others can enrich his own life.
The formulation and pursuit of group goals requires the active and disciplined participation of all Brothers. Responsible involvement in managing the chapter programs and physical plant extends the leadership and team skills of the Brothers.
In addition to chapter-oriented activities, Brothers are encouraged to undertake projects that benefit both school and community. Along with the additional growth in group skills, each Brother comes to appreciate the personal and societal rewards associated with contributing to a larger community.
Standards of behavior and achievement are not rigidly imposed; however, excellence is strongly encouraged. Moreover, there is a strong emphasis on brotherhood and blending one’s personal interests with those of the chapter. The Alpha Delta Phi has many programs and activities directed toward helping chapters and individual Brothers set objectives and realize their goals.
Many special benefits accrue to members of The Alpha Delta Phi. The most obvious and immediate is the unique opportunity for a practical leadership experience while learning to work harmoniously within a group. Over a longer horizon, there is the joy of lifelong friendships with men who hold similar aims and ideals. Many of these friendships span age differences. Undergraduate Brothers often receive their first introduction to a profession or a business career through successful alumni who have had similar experiences. And later on, interested alumni may also foster leadership qualities in the next generation through their participation in chapter advisory boards and in regional activities.