Delta Kappa Epsilon, formed in 1844 at Yale, is one of the most distinguished and storied fraternities in the U.S. Today there are over 50 active chapters. Prominent alumni of Delta Kappa Epsilon include:
- Five United States Presidents,
- Four United States Vice-Presidents,
- Three Justices of the United States Supreme Court,
- Multiple politicians, businessmen, sports figures and artists including J.P. Morgan, Jr., William Randolph Hearst, Cole Porter, Henry Cabot Lodge, Dick Clark, Tom Landry and George Steinbrenner.
Wesleyan was founded in 1831 and the Delta Kappa Epsilon chapter of Wesleyan was founded 36 years later in 1867. Consequently, the fraternity is almost as old as the University itself.
The DKE house is owned and operated by the Kent Literary Society and is not owned by the University. The property was the former home of Colton Boys’ School, and was leased in 1883 for 5 years. It was purchased in 1888 for $13,500, remodeled in 1897, and totally rebuilt in 1928-29.
Wesleyan’s DKE chapter has produced numerous donors, business leaders, trustees and other strong syupporters of the Wesleyan tradition. Herb Kelleher, President of Southwest Airlines, is, for example, a Wesleyan DKE alumnus.
In 1978-1979, the Wesleyan chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon was awarded the Lion Trophy, which is the highest award that can be achieved by a DKE chapter and is awarded annually to the chapter judged to be best in overall performance.
Wesleyan’s current President Michael Roth graduated from Wesleyan in 1978. While there, he was a member and President of the Alpha Delta Phi society. On July 1, 2007, Roth became the 16th President of Wesleyan. Soon thereafter, President Roth wrote a blog post on May 10, 2008 that included the following:
During the course of this year I’ve heard lectures at Beta and PsiU, had social dinners at DKE and Alpha Delt, listened to a great band at Eclectic and in each instance I’ve been impressed with how the membership is adding value to the educational and co-curricular experience on campus. Each organization has a different personality, and they add significantly to Wesleyan’s overall diversity. My own Alpha Delta Phi was already co-educational when I was an undergrad and the house was the center of my Wes world.
We published the literary magazine, and AD still is filled with musicians, writers and theater people (among others). Other frats are homes for athletes, while some are more cultural in their focus. Most combine these elements in different ways, depending on the membership in a given year.
“Fraternities have historic roots with alumni that are important to maintain, and I believe that the frats (including Eclectic) at Wes can continue to play a very positive role at the university…Wesleyan’s students have a rich choice of social organizations in which to participate, from the very traditional to the most avant-garde. I’m committed to keeping it that way.”
Fraternities in America
College and university fraternities and sororities, also known as the Greek system constitute the largest network of volunteers in the US, with members donating over 10 million hours of volunteer service each year. Today there are 123 national fraternities and sororities with 9 million members total.
The ten largest fraternities in North America have over 2.4 million members and over 2,070 active chapters. The ten largest sororities in North America have over 2.3 million members and over 1,600 active chapters.
Fraternities instill leadership, confidence and success. For example:
- Except two in each office, every U.S. President and Vice-President born since the first social fraternity was founded in 1825 has been a member of a fraternity.
- 76% of all Congressmen and Senators belong to a fraternity. 40 of 47 U.S. Supreme Court Justices since 1910 were fraternity men.
- 71% of those listed in Who’s Who in America belong to a fraternity.
- Of the nation’s 500 largest corporations, 43 are headed by fraternity brothers.
- A U. S. Government study shows that over 70% of all those who join a fraternity/sorority graduate, while under 50% of all non-fraternity/sorority persons graduate.