Delta Upsilon History


In the Fall of 1834, 20 men from the sophomore and junior classes at Williams College decided to act against the tyranny of the two existing secret societies. Together with eleven men of the freshmen class they called a meeting for the evening of November 4th, 1834. Although the records of this first meeting were destroyed in a fire seven years later, it is known that these men gathered in the Freshman Recitation Room of the Old West College, a building still standing today.

They chose a name: The Social Fraternity. “Social” didn’t mean entertainment events, as many fraternity men mistakenly believe today. Instead, it was much broader. It meant an interest in life’s interactions among people, and how society would better itself through group action. The following days brought much ridicule from the established secret societies, yet The Social Fraternity flourished. Chapters were established at surrounding colleges within five years.

In 1847, four of the chapters met in Convention at Troy, NY and formally established the Anti-Secrecy Confederation with the Greek motto, Ouden Adelon, “Nothing Secret.” The Convention of 1864 formally adopted the name “Delta Upsilon” and the fraternity’s badge as it remains today.

As the 1800s rolled on, Delta Upsilon expanded rapidly, adding chapters across the United States and in 1898, a Canadian chapter at McGill made Delta Upsilon an International Fraternity. In 1909, Delta Upsilon was incorporated under New York law. Delta Upsilon’s growth over the course of the 20th century lead to the installation of its 150th Chapter at Northwestern State in Nachitoches, LA, in 2001. Most recently, Delta Upsilon initiated its newest chapter, and the first of the 21st century, at the University of North Florida making it the 151st chapter in the history of the fraternity.