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 ten 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, and went on to not only survive but expand amid the trials of WWI, the Great Depression, and WWII.
The late 1960s meant social upheaval, and fraternities were among the institutions questioned about their relevancy. Thanks to DU’s non-secret heritage, Delta Upsilon was able to strongly emphasize the personal aspect of fraternity, rather than just its rituals and formalities. During the Civil Rights Movement, DU’s history of both non-secrecy and inclusion proved fruitful as many other fraternities were called upon to amend their governing documents to admit men of different races and religions. With the founding idea of membership based on merit alone, Delta Upsilon had no such restrictive policies to change. Delta Upsilon continued to go, and by the 21st Century, the fraternity had established 155 chapters since its founding at Williams.
Delta Upsilon is one of the oldest fraternities in the world. Our members include a US president, an associate justice of the US supreme court, dozens of Congressmen, Nobel laureates, hall of fame athletes, celebrated authors, astronauts, and trailblazing businessmen. One brother even invented Gatorade. We’re not your typical fraternity, and we proudly share what we stand for. No secrets required.
The McIntire Amphitheater was designed by Fiske Kimball (Harvard 1909), who also oversaw the architecture of Memorial Gymnasium and restoration projects at Monticello. The University Fine Arts Library bears his name, and he is buried at Monticello Memorial Gardens.