In the Beginning

In the beginning of Xi Psi Phi Fraternity, five freshman dental students who were attending the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor felt the need to create a club among freshman dental students for intellectual and social interaction. They decided to organize a “dental brothers guild,” which they first named Delta Beta Gamma. During the winter of 1888, the five freshman students (Walter H. Booth, Arthur A. Deyoe, Gordon C. McCoy, Lewis C. Thayer and Eldon Waterloo) and one junior student (William F. Gray) prepared to start such a club.

In their haste to complete the organization details before the close of the school year, they had admitted to membership a small number of students whose qualifications were not of a high standard. To correct the situation, the group decided to disband and to reorganize under the name of Xi Psi Phi on February 8, 1889. Quality was made the measure for admission into the organization. Lewis C. Thayer became the first president and the offices of vice president, secretary and treasurer were held by George C. Thuerer, William F. Gray and Charles E. Collamer, respectively.

The Articles of Association of Alpha Chapter, Xi Psi Phi, were recorded in the Office of the Secretary of State of Michigan on May 2, 1892. When announcement of becoming a national Fraternity was made, inquiries with regard to charters for subordinate chapters came from students in dental schools from all across of the country. The first charters issued by Alpha Chapter were to Beta Chapter, New York College of Dental Surgery; Delta Chapter, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery; Epsilon Chapter, University of Iowa; Eta Chapter, University of Maryland; and Theta Chapter, Indiana University. During the next 11 years, 15 subordinate College Chapters were formed.

In 1899, the first issue of the Xi Psi Phi Quarterly magazine was published with Marvin J. Houghton, Alpha ’00, as editor-in-chief. C.C. Markey, Alpha ’00, and E. M. Brown, Alpha ’00, served as associate editors. An editorial in the March 1900 issue of the Quarterly stated: “The remarkable growth of the Fraternity since its organization, its constantly increasing membership, the interest elicited by members young and old, have rendered the time ripe for a national convention. The time is past when Alpha Chapter should be recognized head of the Fratenity; the work has gone beyond the range of a few men located in the one college. Alpha wishes to share with all and all alike, the honors of the Fraternity.”

A “national convention” was conducted and on June 16, 1901, the Supreme Chapter was organized with the delegates from most of the subordinate chapters present. Guy S. Millberry, Iota ’00, was elected to serve as the first Supreme President.

On June 17, 1901, the original Constitution, which was written in 1899 by Frank P. Watson, was rewritten giving the composition of the Fraternity as a “Supreme Chapter, Supreme Council, Greek Letter Chapters and Alumni Association.” In addition, a Fraternity crest was adopted, the red rose was selected as the Fraternity flower, and the motto and the Fraternity colors of lavender and cream were approved at that time.

On February 6, 1906, a petition for incorporation was granted by the State of Illinois and a Board of Directors was created to supplement the Supreme Council. In 1913, the National Alumni Chapter was organized. A Life Membership plan was adopted in 1931; however, the plan was discontinued in 1959. In 1963 a new Honorary Membership was created. The 1972 Supreme Chapter Assembly eliminated the requirement that all members be male, thus permitting the initiation of female students and dentists.