Many fraternities and other social organizations throughout the country were started to establish a place where like minded individuals could support one another. The fraternity of Delta Kappa Epsilon was established for that same purpose. Delta Kappa Epsilon, or DKE as it is commonly referred to, was started by 15 young men on the campus of Yale University in 1844. All of the founding 15 members were sophomores at the time, and some of them had been invited to join Alpha Delta Phi or Psi Upsilon.
On June 22, 1844 the founding members of DKE met and discussed the open and secret motto of the organization. At this meeting in Old South Hall on the Yale campus, the secret handshake and fraternity pen were also created. The founding members of DKE wanted to create a fraternity that had less restrictive membership requirements and was more fraternal in nature. The original founding chapter currently stands as the only fraternity at Yale that has never gone into an inactive status.
The 15 founding members of Delta Kappa Epsilon are William Woodruff Atwater, Dr. Edward Griffin Bartlett, Frederic Peter Bellinger, Jr., Henry Case, Colonel George Foote Chester, John Butler Coyngham, Thomas Isaac Franklin, William Walter Horton, William Boyd Jacobs, Edward Van Schoonhoven Kingsley, Chester Newell Righter, Dr. Elisha Bacon Shapleigh, Thomas Du Bois Sherwood, Albert Everett Stetson and Orson William Stow. Currently DKE has chapters on over 64 campuses and over 85,000 members. Several former presidents, vice presidents and Supreme Court justices have been members of DKE.
The official philanthropy of DKE is the Rampant Lion Foundation. The Rampant Lion Foundation provides scholarships to members of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.
The open motto for Delta Kappa Epsilon is “Friends from the heart forever.”
- Official fraternity colors are crimson, blue and gold
- Fraternity symbol is the rampant lion
- Nickname for the fraternity is DKE or Deke
- Famous members of the fraternity include five U.S. Presidents and four vice presidents
- Three Supreme Court justices have been members of DKE
- U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes
- U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt
- U.S. President Gerald Ford
- U.S. President George H.W. Bush
- U.S. President George W. Bush
- Dick Clark (American Bandstand Host)
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