Theta Chi Fraternity was founded on Thursday, April 10, 1856 at 9:00 p.m. in the Old South Barracks on the campus of Norwich University in Norwich, Vermont. It was the twenty-first fraternity recognized nationally out of the existing sixty-four. Since its inception there have been 214 different chapters installed around the US and Canada, of which 131 are still active. There have been over 150,000 members initiated in total, making Theta Chi the 9th largest collegiate male fraternity (as of May 2007).
The fraternity was founded by two military cadets, Frederick Norton Freeman and Arthur Samuel Chase. The early history of Theta Chi Fraternity is closely connected with the history of Norwich University. In 1866 a massive fire devastated the university, completely destroying the Old South Barracks. This disaster prompted the university to move from Norwich, Vermont to its present location in Northfield, Vermont. During fall quarter in 1881, Norwich University was reduced to only 15 students and Theta Chi membership was reduced to one undergraduate member, James M. Holland. In November of that year, Phil S. Randall and Henry Hersey approached Holland and insisted that they be allowed to join Theta Chi; Holland agreed, thus saving the fraternity from extinction. Theta Chi Fraternity currently has over 150 active chapters and colonies across the United States and Canada and has initiated over 170,000 members since its founding. It is a member of the North-American Interfraternity Conference.
The Creed of Theta Chi
“I believe in Theta Chi, its traditions and its ideals. Born of sturdy manhood, nurtured by resolute men, enobled by high and sacred purpose, it has taken its place among the educational institutions of America as a promoter of knowledge, an advancer of culture and a builder of character.
It inspires true friendship: teaches truth, temperence, and tolerance, extols virtue, exacts harmony, and extends a helping hand to all who seek it.
I believe in the primacy of Alma Mater: in the usefulness of my Fraternity, in its influence and its accomplishments and I shall do all in my power to perpetuate its ideals, thereby serving my God, my country and my fellow-man.”
— Frank H. Schrenk, 1915
Military red and White
Famous Theta Chi brothers include Steven Spielberg, automobile executive Lee Iacocca, Ross Greening and Harold Watson. Greening and Watson are two out of the 32 pilots who participated in the famous Doolittle Raid in April 1942. Theta Chi is also known for having more lawyers than any other social Fraternity in the Nation.