Top 10 College Fraternities

While on the surface fraternities are synonymous with mid-day drinking games and weekend keggers, at their heart, fraternities remain true to the visions set forth by their founders. Fraternities offer college men a place to develop outside of the classroom, offering friendship, leadership development, academic accountability and a firm alumni base post-graduation.

There are 10 fraternities that stand-out as some of the largest and oldest collegiate Greek organizations. We’ll introduce you to those and share their histories, philanthropies and even famous alumni.

Kappa Sigma

Kappa Sigma is one of the oldest fraternities in the country, and also currently a leader in new pledges annually. Kappa Sigma was founded at the University of Virginia in 1869 by five men to promote fellowship, leadership, scholarship and service. Kappa Sig currently leads in donation and service hours over all other Greek organizations, with each chapter choosing its own philanthropy. Famous Kappa Sig alumni include singer Jimmy Buffet and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Lambda Chi Alpha

The Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity was founded at Boston University in 1909, with this year marking its centennial celebration. It was the first fraternity to eliminate pledging and it also takes a fervent stand against hazing, being one of the founders of the Greek Anti-Hazing Hotline. The official philanthropy of Lambda Chi Alpha is the North American Food Drive. Famous Lambda Chis include singer Kenny Chesney and radio broadcaster Paul Harvey.

Phi Delta Theta

Several sororities were also founded at Miami University in Ohio, where Phi Delta Theta came to be in 1848. Since implementing alcohol-free housing in 2000, the fraternity has enjoyed an increase in membership. In 2002 the official philanthropy of Phi Delta Theta became the Amytrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association. Famous Phi Delts include actor Burt Reynolds and astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.

Phi Kappa Psi

Founded at Jefferson College in 1855, the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity was founded as an organization intended to help others. The fraternity creed mentions a brotherhood of honorable men who are cultured, moral and loyal. The official philanthropy of Phi Kappa Psi is the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Famous Phi Psi alumni include actor Zach Braff and Yahoo! co-founder and CEO Jerry Yang.

Pi Kappa Alpha

In 1868, the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity was founded at the University of Virginia to share the ideals of friendship, truth, honor and loyalty. The fraternity takes the education of its members seriously, and has a program called Pike University, which includes leadership development and educational events. There is no official philanthropy, but each chapter supports its own causes. Famous Pikes include the founder of KFC Colonel Harland Sanders and singer Tim McGraw.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon

The fraternity of Sigma Alpha Epsilon was founded in 1856 on the University of Alabama campus, and was the first fraternity to be founded in the South. Suiting their Southern ties, the SAE’s motto is “The True Gentleman.” The official philanthropy of Sigma Alpha Epsilon is the Children’s Miracle Network. Famous Sigma Alpha Epsilon alumni include LA Lakers head coach Phil Jackson and actor David Spade.

Sigma Chi

Sigma Chi fraternity is one of the oldest and largest fraternities, founded in 1855 on the campus of Miami University in Ohio. The two official philanthropies for the Sigma Chi fraternity are the Children’s Miracle Network and the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Sigma Chi was the first Greek society to be honored by the United States Congress for the fraternity’s 150th birthday in 2005. Famous Sigs include actor Brad Pitt and actor John Wayne.

Sigma Nu

Sigma Nu fraternity was founded in 1869 by three cadets at Virginia Military Institute to stand against the hazing they saw taking place on campus. The official philanthropies of the Sigma Nu fraternity are Habitat for Humanity, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Character Counts!. Famous Sigma Nu alumni include former Price is Right host Bob Barker and NFL quarterback Eli Manning.

Sigma Phi Epsilon

Founded in 1901 at the University of Richmond, Sigma Phi Epsilon currently has the highest undergraduate membership of any fraternity in the country. Sigma Phi Epsilon has adopted YouthAids as its official philanthropy. In 1991 the Sig Eps eliminated pledging to fall more inline with their three principles — Virtue, Diligence & Brotherly Love. Famous Sigma Phi alumni include James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, and Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s.

Tau Kappa Epsilon

The Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity was founded in 1899 at the Illinois Wesleyan University as a society for young men to develop mentally, morally and socially. The official philanthropy of TKE is the Alzheimer’s Association, adopted in 2001 in honor of alumnus former President Ronald Reagan. Other famous Tekes include singers Willie Nelson and Elvis Presley.

Also see our list of Famous Fraternity Members.

79 Responses to “Top 10 College Fraternities”

  1. Van Scott says:

    Sigma Nu Fraternity was founded in 1869 at VMI. It was founded by 3 VMI cadets. I have visited many Sigma Nu houses; among them: The U. of: California; U of Missouri; U of Oklahoma; U of Cincinnati; Georgia Tech; Purdue; Drury; William Jewell; Auburn; San Jose State and Washington U.;
    all of them “rolled out the red carpet”, to include: providing a bunk, arranging dates, inviting me to meals in the house and going out to drink with them—-instant camaraderie! In addition, my son is a Founding Father of the Sigma Nu Chapter at Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, Texas.
    To believe in the life of love, to walk in the way of honor, to serve in the light of truth—this is the life, the way and the light of Sigma Nu—this is the creed of our Fraternity.

  2. Bob says:

    DKE is a farm club of Skull and Bones at Yale University. Skull and Bones is only at Yale founded in 1832, DKE founded at Yale in 1932. All Bushes from Yale were DKE’s and Skull and Bones. DKE is the ultimate Fraternity. Although not as large in chapters as in the past NO other Fraternity in the USA has its “world Power”. Don’t believe it? Get an old Bairds Manual of College Fraternities and look through it’s members. It’s a globalists dream. Many people say that Kappa Sigma is an offshoot of DKE. That may or may not be true but DKE and Skull and Bones share many similarities with Kappa Sigma. Their mottos are also eerily similar. Do the research and you will become a true believer. Look up Skull and Bones,, and or .

  3. James Hamilton says:

    I think that delta upsilon is better than some of these fraternities

  4. HopTillWeDie says:

    how tf isn’t omega psi phi on this list this list is bogus.

  5. sara says:

    o to be in a college fraternity. In the UK they dont really have such things, just more lame versions ‘student societies’that they have in the union. am sure it would have been a blast to be in one of these

  6. Max says:

    Any list that dies not include Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity is suspect. It is the largest and most noteworthy Fraternity in the world.
    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Civil Rights
    W.E.B. Dubois: Writer, Historian, Civil Rights Activist
    Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.: Civil Rights Activist
    Thurgood Marshall: Civil Rights Activist, Supreme Court Justice
    Paul Robeson: Activist, Scholar, Singer, Football Player
    Dick Gregory: Comedian
    Quinn Buckner: Former NBA Player and Coach
    Wes Chandler: Former NFL Player
    Todd Day: NBA Player
    Rosie Greer: Former NFL Player
    Charles Haley: NFL Player
    Michael Jackson: NFL Player
    Carnell Lake: NFL Player
    Jesse Owens: Olympic Gold Medalist
    Fritz Pollard: 1st Black Head Coach in the NFL
    Mike Powell: Track Star
    Eddie Robinson: Winningest Football Coach in NCAA History
    Jackie Robinson: First Black Man in Major League Baseball
    Art Shell: Former NFL Player and Coach
    Wes Unseld: Former NBA Player and Coach
    Gene Upshaw: President of the NFL Players Association
    Lenny Wilkens: Winningest Coach in NBA History
    John “Hot Rod” Williams: Former NBA Player
    Reggie Williams: Cincinnati Bengal
    Dennis Archer: Mayor of Detroit
    Richard Arrington: Mayor of Birmingham
    Willie Brown: Mayor of San Francisco
    David Dinkins: Former Mayor of New York
    Rev. Emmanuel Cleaver: Mayor of Kansas City
    Chaka Fattah: Congressman, Pennsylvania
    Ernest Finney: South Carolina Supreme Court Justice
    Earl Hilliard: Congressman, Alabama (7th District)
    Maynard Jackson: Former Mayor of New Orleans
    Earnest “Dutch” Morial: 1st Black Mayor of New Orleans
    Marc Morial: Mayor of New Orleans
    Charles Rangel: Congressman, New York (15th District)
    Robert C. Scott: Congressman, Virginia (3rd District)
    Andrew Young: Former Mayor of Atlanta

    These are all Men of Alpha!! So again, any list that doesn’t have Alpha Phi Alpha is bogus!!

  7. zach garrett says:

    Sigma Phi Epsilon is the shit. SigEp for life

  8. mike burnett says:

    what NO Phi Beta Sigma…
    Jerry Rice
    Emmitt Smith
    Cong. John Lewis
    Cong. Ed Towns
    George Washington Carver
    Rev. Al Sharpton
    Pres. Bill Clinton

  9. Dude says:

    Not sure what you are basing this list off of… but it’s not a very good list. A lot of these don’t deserve top 10 status.

  10. SouthSAE says:

    If you’re not an SAE, you’re nothing.

  11. Tyler says:


  12. Seer says:

    Yall cry more than a bunch of rejected Rushees
    releveance is key boys
    It’s all about the here and now

  13. Nuddy says:

    If my facts are correct, I believe Beta Theta Pi has the most members that have gone on to become CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Why are Betas not represented on this list?

  14. Jimbo says:

    BETA THETA PI… Where the hell is it?. Beta should be the only one up there. The wealthiest most well connected fraternity. This web sight has no validity.

  15. Mr. Alpha Sig says:

    Alpha Sigma Phi, all day, errday.

  16. Cheops says:

    @Since 1844

    A small correction. Deke was not the first fraternity at Ole Miss, nor even the second. Both Delta Tau Delta and the W.W.W. had chapters founded at Ole Miss in 1848, a full three years before Deke was on campus.

  17. Woog says:

    Plus about 3 non betas have already mentioned Beta Theta Pi on the comments… Which shows that even other fraternities acknowledge our brotherhood

  18. Woog says:

    Regie, if you want to go by those standards than Beta should definitely be on this list… Most fortune 500 CEO’s and Olympic Athletes, even politicians haha… A rich tradition whose main objective is to build men of principle…

    Its big, its old, it has tradition, and it has “quality members”….

    There is no reason for Beta to not be on this list

  19. regie says:

    itz not about being oldest and largest its all about the “quality and the unity of the members”. SAE 1856

  20. Tom says:

    No Beta Theta PI? Should be up there. This site is a joke.

  21. Beta Boy says:

    Truthfully, i’m a bit insulted to not see Beta Theta Pi on this list. Beta is not only the fourth oldest college fraternity still in activity, but also one of the largest. It’s definitely larger and more popular than some of the fraternities on this list. We are a fraternity with a great history that has had MANY successful alumni throughout the nation including athletes, CEO’s (maybe a few billionaires), politicians, and even a few actors and writers. Unfortunately, (and fortunately for many) Beta has been labled as big party frat. As a result, we have had many large chapters including some in both state schools and Ivy leagues closed. OF course, this screws our numbers BIG TIME, BUT I don’t think its reason enough to not be put on this list…..

  22. D.A.L.W. says:

    Phi Kappa Psi is a great national fraternity, and I’m very proud to be a member. As Zach Braff said, “High! High! High!”

  23. law says:

    Pi Kappa Phi is the only Greek fraternity founded in the Carolinas, is one of the fastest expanding, operates its own philanthropy, and still has its alpha chapter active at the College of Charleston.. which is maybe one of three alphas left tops.

  24. Regie says:

    Sigma Alpha Epsilon 1856 is the best!

  25. skullsgroup666 says:

    hey all of you no chance to our phi kappa sigma is the oldest and largest fraternity men!

  26. skulls says:

    you all! no one can defeat phi kappa sigma is the oldest and largest fraternity

  27. Since 1844 says:

    Let me add some other things about DKE.

    They are not even in the top 20 when it comes to number of chapters or initiates.
    But they have a disproportionate share of famous alumni and history that is amazing!

    There have been 6 Presidents, if one counts FDR who was a member of the Harvard chapter that lost their charter due to duplicate memberships with ADPhi.
    The next closed fraternity Sigma Chi only has 2 presidents.

    There have been 4 Vice Presidents.

    The first man to reach the North Pole and the 4th man to step on the moon are Dekes.

    According to Baird’s Manual of Fraternities. DKE ranks number 2 in total Olympic athletes produced. Only Beta ranks higher, but they have TRIPLE the number of initiates of DKE.

    DKE was at Alabama (1847) BEFORE Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
    DKE was at Miami (1852) BEFORE Sigma Chi.
    DKE was established in Massachusetts (1846) BEFORE Lambda Chi was at Boston University
    DKE was at Virginia (1852) BEFORE Kappa Sigma or Pi Kappa Alpha.
    DKE was established in the state of Virginia (1852) long BEFORE Sigma Phi Epsilon was at Richmond.
    DKE was established in the state of Virginia (1852) BEFORE Sigma Nu was at VMI.

    DKE was the FIRST fraternity at Alabama, Ole Miss, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Vanderbilt, and Syracuse.

    The mother Phi chapter at Yale has initiated over 5000 men since 1844. This is more than other fraternity chapter in the nation. It also likely has the oldest UNINTERRUPTED existence of any fraternity chapter out there!

  28. jack says:

    Founded in 1865 Kappa Alpha Order is the best!

  29. Harrison says:

    Not going to make a big deal out of this but there are some fraternities on this list that are absolute jokes. Your biggest mistake is not listing Kappa Alpha Order. KA and SAE are the tier-1 fraternities in the south and are about as old row as it gets.

  30. Inquisitive '06 says:

    I am curious to know why there was no mention of (predominately) African-American Fraternities on this list. I find it to be both perplexing and insulting (no disrespect to the wonderful Fraternities on this list).

    African-American Fraternities have amazing histories and have offered much to the fraternal collegiate experience.

    My Fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. has the prerequisite resume to compete with ANY Greek lettered organization. Founded in 1906 on a Ivy League Campus (Cornell University)….ponder that for a minute. 40 some-odd years removed from Slavery and 7 Black “Ivy League” students started a Fraternity in racially charged up-state New York.

    We are the FIRST (and Largest) inter-collegiate Fraternity in the World. We are also the First inter-racial Fraternity in America. We have constantly been FIRST to do many things. Currently, we are building a $120 MILLION Dollar Memorial/Monument in Washington DC to honor our fallen Fraternity brother, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. Once again, this is the FIRST act of this kind by any Fraternity, and the FIRST Monument on the Mall in DC given for an African-American.

    As a Fraternity…..what else do we have to do?

  31. Zack Braff says:

    Phi Kappa Psi was founded in 1852, not 55. High high high!

  32. Ajit Ray says:

    DKE was not the progenitor of Sigma Chi, since progenitor would imply an offshoot of some sort whereas the Sigma Chi founding men were unhappy with DKE and thus started a new fraternity.

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  34. Kappa Sigma Undergrad says:

    Kappa Sigma was founded in Bologna, Italy in 1400 at the University of Bologna campus by Manuel Chrysoloras and a collection of his pupils. William Grigsby McCormick was told about the secret society in his European travels by one of the order’s aging members. McCormick, along with George Miles Arnold, John Covert Boyd, Edmund Law Rogers Jr., and Frank Courtney Nicodemus, created the first American chapter of the order at the University of Virginia in 46 East Lawn on December 10, 1869.

  35. fafaf says:

    is alpha phi omega known in amerika

  36. Wayne says:

    Was Kappa Sigma founded in 1400? Yes, FACT. Why dont other fraternity members know that? Because if your not a Kappa Sig, theres certain Kappa Sig you can’t know. Does Kappa Sigma rock out in rush every year? Yes, FACT. 7 years STRAIGHT. We rock, bow down and recognize.

  37. Tom Andrews says:

    There is a fraternity called “Phi Alpha Pi” at Olivet College that was founded in 1847. Surprised it is not on here.

  38. Josh says:

    Yeah, I wish they’d just drop Dave Thomas from the list of SPE’s famous alums. But you’re still a smart ass.

  39. Ben Baker says:


    Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s, was a high school drop out that finally received his GED in 1993. His membership as a Sigma Psi Epsilon was honorary. Talk about padding your organizational resume’.

  40. Shennan says:

    I don’t agree with your list. There’s so many more that more people recognize. Still don’t understand how you came up with this list.

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  42. sigma nu drej says:

    Just to put out there Sigma Nu is only honor Fraternity and only International Fraterntiy. Rest of the fraternities are just social fraternities…..

  43. BetaAlpha773 says:

    No mention of Pi Kappa Phi? We’re one of the fastest expanding fraternities right now and have a good reputation.We also started our own philanthropy, PUSH America. By the way everyone, be the positive influence and show others that greek life is not the bad image that people see and hear about, but don’t forget to have fun doing it because when college is over, so is the party lol…seriously. You have to work alot and pay back your loans, not cool…

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  47. Tim Dawson says:

    TKE’s UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  48. Tim Dawson says:

    TKE’s UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  50. Buck says:

    @Matthew Kappa Sig was not started in 1400. That is fraternity lore, like one fraternity claiming it was started by the crusaders.

    KE was started in 1869 at Virginia by several guys including one who used to go out and shoot unarmed black people at night for fun. He was from the north but he couldn’t resist the “fun”. Look it up.

    @Jeff The NIC listed Sigma Chi as 3rd, behind SAE and Sig Ep in terms of size. The other reasons why I imagine Sigma Chi is listed is that it has all the Ivy League, all the top 25 colleges that have fraternities, the longest history next to Beta of the large fraternities, and one of the largest chapter counts. Sigma Chi also is probably the most iconic with its Norman Shield, Eagle and Cross. I’m not a Sigma Chi but it is no way you leave them off. TKE however, well, I didn’t invent the saying “if you can’t go Greek go Teke”. That’s really not fair, just an old reputation from when the went on an expansion spree that was only partly successful.

  51. Keith says:

    Phi Kappa Psi was founded in 1852, not 1855. Just wanted to put that out there.

  52. ATO at Nevada says:

    Fraternity Members Who Are Forbes 500s CEOs
    Beta Theta Pi 11
    Sigma Alpha Epsilon 9
    Sigma Chi 9
    Lambda Chi Alpha 8
    Alpha Tau Omega 7

    according to FORBES MAGAZINE

  53. ATO at Nevada says:

    AT? (Alpha Tau Omega) (commonly known as, ATOs, Taus, or Alpha Taus) is a secret American Leadership and social fraternity that annually ranks among the top ten national fraternities for number of chapters, and total number of members. ATO has more than 250 active and inactive chapters with more than 200,000 members and more than 6,500 active undergraduate members. The 200,000th member was initiated in early 2009. The AT? Foundation provides more than $150,000 in annual scholarships to members including scholarships to attend the LeaderShape Institute, Inc. ATO is also one-third of the Lexington Triad, along with Kappa Alpha Order and Sigma Nu.

    Famous Taus:

    Cris Collinsworth: Former NFL wide receiver, sports anchor

    Lee Corso: Sports commentator, football coach

    Frank Fertita, III, USC ’81, is current CEO of Station Casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada, owns UFC, and co-owner of PRIDE FC Worldwide Holdings, LLC, which owns PRIDE

    James P. Hoffa, President of Teamsters Union (Jimmy Hoffa’s son)

    J. Erik Jonsson, Founder, Texas Instruments

    Christopher A. Sinclair, University of Kansas ’71, CEO of PepsiCo

    Guy Fieri: Food Network star host of Guy’s Big Bite and Diners, Drive-In’s, and Dives Nevada-Las Vegas

    Frank Marshall: Film producer/director; co-founder of Amblin Entertainment
    Garry Marshall: Film director (Pretty Woman, Overboard), television producer (Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley) (incidentally, in the latter seasons of Happy Days, Marshall used ATO in the show several times, and an ATO fraternity paddle can be seen hanging on the wall of “Arnold’s”)

    Frank Fahrenkopf: Chair of the Republican National Committee, Fahrenkopf currently is president and CEO of the American Gaming Association Nevada-Reno

  54. ATO at Nevada says:

    Sigma Nu founding was the cause of their founders wanting to join ATO but decided not to take in part of the rituals and hazing, and so they decided they would become their own fraternity four years after ATO started from the Black Foot Society. That is why ATO & Sigma NU chapters celebrate Blackfoot/Whitefoot

  55. ATO at Nevada says:

    I am surprised that Alpha Tau Omega was omitted from this list. We have been included in such top ten lists in the past and we are not even mentioned here.

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  58. pi es says:

    ask only.. why is apo not included in the list??? just asking

  59. pi es says:

    it was founded during 16 AD.. it was the best fraternity founded by a roman soldier….

  60. pi es says:

    Delta Epsilon NU is the best…

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  68. Kenneth Powers says:

    Listing fraternities by size and age are not such a problem because there is less dispute and some factual basis. Prestige doesn’t work because it is there are

    A number of sites that try to include people like J.P. Morgan (who attended the University of Göttingen in Germany and never belonged to any college fraternity. And then there are the honorary members. President Kennedy for instance received an honorary membership in Catholic Phi Kappa Theta, Eisenhower was sent an invitation and protocularly accepted Tau Epsilon Phi, President Rutherford Hayes was given honorary membership to DKE.

    The presidents (besides honorary DKE’s) all have a connection to Yale. Yale had only a handful of northeastern fraternities such as Alpha Delta Phi and Psi Upsilon, the latter two being the most distinguished (if age and blue blood members counts as that) at the time. Even Eisenhower went and begged his way into Yale Law, hanging around the DKE’s there, taking football, baseball and boxing jobs so he could get to know the wealthy and influential men at Yale and finally attend Yale Law.

    In the same spirit, Harvard’s fraternities broke off and formed as final clubs because of their dislike with dealing with others and only Sigma Chi as a chapter of a national remains in any significant way today. I wouldn’t bad mouth Sigma Chi as they are one of the five largest numerically and they also are the most successful at being active at Ivy League schools today (all but Dartmouth I believe, where their chapter went local because of “discrimination”) and they have 230 chapters, 220,000 members and I believe more regional alumni chapters than any Greek letter org.

    DKE was not the progenitor of Sigma Chi, since progenitor would imply an offshoot of some sort whereas the Sigma Chi founding men were unhappy with DKE and thus started a new fraternity.

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  72. Matthew says:

    Just so you know Jeff, Kappa Sigma was founded in 1400 in Bononia, Italy, which is one of the 4 first ever universities. So the others may be older for founding in the States, but overall Kappa Sigma is the oldest.

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  74. achilles says:

    if i have the right to nominate for this category, i will add alpha phi omega, international service fraternity/sorority. i believe that this fraternity had a very large numbers of members including chapters (inside & outside of united states of america). members includes former president of usa bill clinton, first lady michelle obama, secretary robert gates, and many more to mention,…

  75. Brandi says:

    Thanks Jeff for the feedback. We did a lot of research to find the leading fraternities. The information varied source to source, so we had to use our best judgment to compile our list.

    Thanks for pointing out DKE. We’ll add that to our Greek list soon.

  76. Jeff says:

    I agree with SAE but Sigma Chi? Just because Wikipedia says that the fraternity is “one of the largest and oldest” doesn’t make it true. Same with Kappa Sigma, considering half of the fraternity’s on this list alone are older than it. Suprised that DKE, which was the progenitor of Sigma Chi, and a fraternity that has produced 5 US and one Cuban president was omitted.

  77. Brandi says:

    Thank you James. The update has been made.

  78. James J. Ehrmann says:

    Dear Sir or Madam:

    Please note that you have incorrect information listed regarding the philanthropic endeavors of Sigma Nu Fraternity, Inc. Sigma Nu Fraternity counts three charitable organizations as ‘partners’ as part of the Helping Hand Initiative: Habitat for Humanity, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Character Counts! While the organization certainly supports the work any chapters conduct to benefit the American Cancer Society, the fraternity currently has no official partnership. For more information, please see Sigma Nu Fraternity’s web site:

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