National History

At 9 p.m. on April 10, 1856, Theta Chi Fraternity was founded by two military cadets in the Old South Barracks of Norwich University in Norwich, Vermont. Their names were Frederick Norton Freeman and Arthur Chase, and together they laid the foundation for an organization that thrives today, more than 150 years after they first took oaths declaring each other “true and accepted members” of Theta Chi.

The Fraternity encountered many hardships in its early years, including being nearly eradicated by the Civil War—in which 750 Norwich cadets served—and an enormous fire that devastated both the University and the barracks in which Theta Chi was founded. By 1866, enrollment at Norwich had dropped to only 19 men.

Just 25 years after Freeman and Chase founded Theta Chi, the Fraternity found itself on the brink of extinction once again. Were it not for the efforts of James Michael Holland, who, in 1881, was the organization’s only remaining member, Theta Chi would have ceased to exist.

With the installation of Beta Chapter at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1902, Theta Chi officially became a national fraternity. The vast majority of our membersip was affected by war once again in the 1940s, when 90% of our undergraduate brothers served their country fighting in WWII. By 1965 we had become an international fraternity. And today, we have installed 231 chapters on campuses all across North America. Throughout our proud and storied history, we have initiated more than 175,000 men as “true and accepted members” of Theta Chi.

Epsilon Iota History

Coming soon...

Frederick Norton Freeman

Arthur Chase

Old Theta Chi house at ECU