Phi Sigma Pi
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Phi Sigma Pi
Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity
The official crest of Phi Sigma Pi.
FoundedFebruary 14, 1916; 104 years ago (February 14, 1916)
University of Central Missouri
MottoImproving Humanity with Honor
Colors  Purple and   Gold
Chapters135 Collegiate, 17 Alumni
Membersca. 50,000 collegiate
Tripod of IdealsScholarship,
Leadership, and

Headquarters2119 Ambassador Circle
Lancaster, PA 17603
WebsitePhi Sigma Pi website

Phi Sigma Pi () is a gender-inclusive[1] national honor fraternity based in the United States. The fraternity is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization incorporated in the state of Pennsylvania, with the purpose of fostering the ideals of scholarship, leadership, and fellowship. Phi Sigma Pi is organized into approximately one hundred and forty collegiate chapters at four-year collegiate institutions and several regionally established alumni chapters and associations serving approximately 50,000 brothers. Although collegiate chapters may fall under the purview of university student governing bodies, Phi Sigma Pi maintains no affiliation with the North American Interfraternity Conference.


Membership in Phi Sigma Pi is open to students at four-year collegiate institutions who have earned a 3.0 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.00 scale, where 4.00 is equivalent to a grade of "A") for at least one semester or quarter of collegiate work. Individual Chapters can raise this requirement, for example to a 3.25, but they cannot lower it. However, receiving a bid is competitive, as only a handful are accepted each semester, so meeting the GPA requirement will not guarantee membership.[2]


Phi Sigma Pi was founded at State Teachers College at Warrensburg - now known as University of Central Missouri - on February 14, 1916, by Dr. Eldo L. Hendricks, Dr. Claude A. Phillips, and Dr. Clarence H. McClure.[3] The fraternity became national in 1921 when a Third chapter was founded at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. The fraternity has since evolved from an honorary professional fraternity to a professional education fraternity, and then, in 1966, to an honor fraternity for all disciplines. Phi Sigma Pi became coeducational in 1977.[4]

Phi Sigma Pi Formation

Hendricks, Phillips and McClure contacted Phi Beta Kappa and requested permission to establish a chapter. Phi Beta Kappa policy stated that chapters could only be established on campuses of qualified liberal arts colleges and universities, since Warrensburg did not meet this requirement the founding of a chapter was not possible.

The Omicron Delta Kappa was also contacted. Omicron Delta Kappa had the same requirements for chapter establishment as Phi Beta Kappa; therefore Warrensburg could not have a chapter.

The three also contacted other nationally recognized social fraternities stressing fellowship. They received the same answer.

Since no fraternity that would set up a chapter in Warrensburg could be found by Hendricks, Phillips and McClure they founded a new one. On February 14, 1916 Phi Sigma Pi was founded and officially named "Phi Sigma Pi Honorary Professional Fraternity".

Dr. Hendricks was the first person to sign a Phi Sigma Pi rollbook and is therefore known as "Alpha 1". Dean Phillips' and Professor McClure's signatures follow Hendricks'. Together, Hendricks, Phillips and McClure are known as the founding fathers of the fraternity.

The first chapter also consisted of ten undergraduate and honorary members: Fred Thayer, J. A. Leach, R. W. Grinstead, Ray F. Pankins, Wade C. Fowler, Roy G. Bigelow, Arthur Kresse, John A. Doak, Harold Patterson, and Harry Hill. In the next year the chapter inducted twelve new members.

The War Years (1942-1975)

Due to World War II, all fifteen chapters went inactive in late 1942. Many schools had such low enrollments, that the state legislatures considered closing them permanently. The war also prevented the 1943 Grand Chapter Convention, where the election of new National Officers would have taken place. It was agreed that the current officers would guide the fraternity and its ultimate reorganization until the next Grand Chapter meeting could be held. By the fall of 1946, all but one of the chapters prior to the war were reactivated with the exception of Mu Chapter at State Teachers College, Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. However, as history would show, it would take decades for the fraternity to recover the momentum that it had gained throughout the 1920s and 30s.[3]

Since the fraternity had gone national in 1921, the leaders at the national level had been faculty advisors of the chapters and active alumni. By 1950, not only was contact with alumni critically affected due to the war, but the faculty advisors who guided the fraternity through most of the previous two decades were ready to retire. By 1954, Clair B. Wilson, James M. McCallister, Alpha 33, James K. Stoner, and long time Regional Director Simon S. Shearer, Omicron 20, were gone. Death claimed Beecher Flanagan in 1950 and Sanders P. McComsey, Sigma 17, in 1955. The Regional Director system was retired in order to utilize the leadership of the National Officer positions. Also at this time, The Lampadion ceased publication, leaving the Purple & Gold as the sole communication between the chapters and the National Office. However, at the close of the decade the fraternity was incorporated nationally in Illinois on April 25, 1949.[3]

In what was a critical time in Phi Sigma Pi's history, the fraternity was in need of new leadership as the old guard retired--and it happened. Two of the fraternity's most dedicated National Officers emerged from this era--namely, Joseph Torchia, Sigma 296, and Richard C. Todd, Sigma 58 and Tau 878. Their leadership and commitment to Phi Sigma Pi carried the fraternity through the next two decades serving in multiple capacities.[3]

Torchia was employed at his alma mater as an associate professor of education from 1946 to 1975. Constantly reprising his role as teacher, Torchia did extensive tutoring, including teaching speed reading to individuals and business groups. The Outstanding Chapter Award was created in 1957 and then renamed the Joseph Torchia Outstanding Chapter Award in 1970 to honor Mr. Torchia for his many contributions to Phi Sigma Pi over the course of four decades. As for Dr. Richard Todd, perhaps no man devoted his time and energy to Phi Sigma Pi as much as he had to this point in history. "He certainly would fit your mental image of an old-fashioned gentleman," stated past National President Jack Thornton, Tau 862. "He and "Sweetheart" (term of endearment given to wife Clauda Pennock Todd by Dr. Todd) could not have children, instead, every Brother of Tau Chapter became one of their kids. They were always good for a meal, a place to wash and dry clothes, a place to sleep, a few bucks for bus fare home--whatever was needed.

Usually, the Brothers tried to pay them back, but the Todd's would insist that they do the same for someone else in need." Dr. Todd served as the Tau Chapter advisor for many years, and held virtually every officer position on the National Council. At East Carolina University, Todd was an outstanding history professor and advisor to many undergraduate organizations. Dr. Todd and his wife "Sweetheart" would establish several scholarships, including Phi Sigma Pi's Richard C. Todd & Clauda Pennock Todd Tripod Scholarship. Todd is described on the East Carolina University website as, " of the department's most caring and generous professors." [3]

With the assistance of Henry W. Olsen, Rho 98; Leroy G. Pulver, Pi 27; Perry McCandless, Alpha 384; and Abram Foster, Sigma 340, Todd and Torchia led the fraternity to the realization that while the fraternity was stable, stagnation was setting in. At the October 1, 1966, Grand Chapter Convention, held in Washington D.C., President Abram Foster said, "We have remained stagnant and this is not good. We are losing the opportunity to spread the purposes of Phi Sigma Pi. We must act." At the time, colleges and universities were openly discouraging social fraternities, while promoting honor organizations and scholarship.[3]

Seeing that Phi Sigma Pi had always placed exceptional emphasis on scholarship - the premise being that good teachers were also good scholars - it was suggested that an honor fraternity which stressed scholarship, leadership, and fellowship would preserve the tripod, while creating new opportunities for expansion.[3]

Phi Sigma Pi's Tripod

Phi Sigma Pi's Tripod is explained as:

1. The acquisition and dissemination of information and knowledge through scholarship,

2. The application of professional skills and the fostering of leadership qualities by promoting and advancing the welfare of humanity,

3. The fostering of non-discriminatory, fraternal fellowship within Phi Sigma Pi's ranks.

Phi Sigma Pi shall constantly endeavor to make these ideals dynamic in the lives of Phi Sigma Pi's Members.[5]

These ideals are often referred to in their abbreviated form: Scholarship, Leadership, and Fellowship.

Publications and Insignia

The fraternity publishes the Purple and Gold magazine for collegiate members and The Lampadion for alumni.

Phi Sigma Pi provides an identifying jewel, available to members.

The badge is a monogram of the letters linked diagonally. The Phi may be enhanced with pearls. The Centennial badge allowed for contrasting purple stones on the center stroke of the Phi.

Distinguished service keys bearing the coat of arms are awarded to chapter presidents and secretaries who perform their duties faithfully and efficiently by the Grand Chapter.

The fraternity's colors are purple and gold.


The former national philanthropy of Phi Sigma Pi was Teach For America National Philanthropy. Teach For America is the national corps of outstanding recent college graduates who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools. Their mission is to build the movement to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting some of our nation's most promising future leaders in the effort.

Since 2007, the Chapters of Phi Sigma Pi have collectively donated $67,104.47 and sent 672 to Teach for America regions and schools.

In the National Conference of 2014, Phi Sigma Pi decided to drop Teach For America as its national philanthropy in order to pursue greater invested interests in the fields of Education and Public Service. The organization does still support Teach for America but a re-shifting of focus into other pursuits with a strong emphasis on the ideals of Fellowship, Leadership and Scholarship.

At the 2014 Grand Chapter Meeting a motion was passed to explore new philanthropic initiatives. Since Phi Sigma Pi's history is rooted in the field of education it is encouraged to continue our Founders initiatives during this exploration year. Phi Sigma Pi Members and Chapters can consider supporting:

organizations that support under-served schools Brothers who serve as educators local school systems

At the 2015 Grand Chapter Meeting, the Vice President of Philanthropy Development provided the Grand Chapter with potential philanthropic partnerships for consideration. They approved a motion allowing the organization to start discussions with Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Foundation (HOBY) about a possible partnership.

At the 2017 Grand Chapter Meeting, the Vice President of Philanthropy Development made a motion to make Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Foundation (HOBY) Phi Sigma Pi's National Philanthropy. The grand chapter voted and passed the motion.


The Richard Cecil Todd and Clauda Pennock Todd Tripod Scholarship

In September 1991, Dr. and Mrs. Richard Todd established the Richard Cecil Todd and Clauda Pennock Todd Tripod Scholarship to promote the future academic opportunity of Phi Sigma Pi brothers who have excelled in embodying the ideals of scholarship, leadership, and fellowship. While both Dr. and Mrs. Todd had died in the 1990s, their memory and innumerable contribution to both Phi Sigma Pi and education will not be forgotten. Eligibility for the Todd Tripod Scholarship is available to all active undergraduate members of Phi Sigma Pi who meet the criteria outlined in the scholarship's charter and award criteria. For the past several years chapter members have been contributing to the Todd Tripod Scholarship. One example of this generosity is through the "Miles for Todd" campaign. Grand Chapter Conference Delegates have been donating their chapter's mileage reimbursement to have the scholarship to flourish.[6]

Rolla F. Wood Graduate Scholarship

In 1928, Rolla F. Wood became national president, and with his tenure came changes to the brotherhood. Wood made the National Council a more cohesive unit and helped increase expansion. The fraternity grew from four chapters to seven during his presidential term.

Following his successful term Wood exemplified true brotherly dedication in ways many don't--he continued to serve. He went on to volunteer as part of council for the next six years as vice-president of chapter development (formerly national counselor) for a year, senior vice-president for a year and historian from 1931 through 1935. During his years on council, his push for expansion resulted in a total of 14 new chapters joining the original four.

Wood, a brother at Alpha chapter, attended graduate school at Vanderbilt University, where he founded Epsilon Chapter. In honor of Wood's national contributions, dedication and continued pursuit of knowledge, the fraternity now has its graduate scholarship named for him.[7]

Lloyd G. Balfour Fellowships

This program, established in 1985 in honor of Lloyd G. Balfour of Sigma Chi Fraternity, awards financial assistance to full-time students who are enrolled in accredited graduate or professional schools. To be eligible, applicants must be initiated members in good standing of an NIC, NPC, NPHC, or PFA organization. Recipients are determined by consideration of GPA (3.2 minimum), campus and community involvement, and leadership within one's fraternity/sorority. [8]

National Council

  • National President - Erik "Duff" Walschburger
  • Senior Vice President - Jonathan Moreno
  • National Secretary - Brian Christiansen
  • Vice President of Finance - Sarah Cantwell
  • Vice Presidents of Development - Kelsey Flynn, Kate McConnell, and Sarah Viviani

National Staff

  • Executive Director - Suzanne Schaffer
  • Director of Chapter Services - Danielle Reidenbach
  • Senior Director/Director of Communications - Adrienne Freeland
  • Director of Leadership Advancement - Kasi Dotterer
  • Director of Alumni Relations and Programming - Sarah Smith
  • Director of Standards and Practices - Meaghan Kauffman
  • Business Manager - Donna Lease
  • Chapter Consultants - George Denny, Emma Israel, Edel Rimando[9]

Collegiate Chapters

Alumni Chapters/Alumni Associations

  • Baltimore Metro Area Alumni Chapter (BMAAC) - Baltimore and surrounding region
  • Capital Chapter - Washington D.C. and surrounding region
  • Central Florida Alumni Chapter (CFAC)
  • Delaware Valley Alumni Chapter (DVAC)- Philadelphia, South NJ and Northern Delaware
  • Eastern North Carolina Alumni Chapter
  • Greater Monongahela Alumni Chapter (GMAC) - Southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia
  • Metrolina Alumni Chapter - Charlotte, NC metropolitan area
  • Middle Tennessee Alumni Chapter (MTAC)
  • New York Metropolitan Area Alumni Chapter (NYMAAC)
  • Southern Appalachian Alumni Chapter
  • Atlanta Area Alumni Association
  • Columbus Area Alumni Association
  • Detroit Area Alumni Association
  • Greater Boston Alumni Association
  • Southern Louisiana Alumni Association

National headquarters

The fraternity's national office is located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1996 to house the national staff and to meet the needs of the expanding fraternity.[10] The National Staff is available during normal business hours, M-F from 8-4:30 PM EST[11]


  1. ^ "Gender Inclusion Resolution" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 17, 2015.
  2. ^ "Join Us". Archived from the original on 2012-04-20. Retrieved .
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Phi Sigma Pi Documentation" (PDF).[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Phi Sigma Pi History". Archived from the original on April 24, 2013.
  5. ^ "Phi Sigma Pi - Delta Chi". Retrieved 2011.
  6. ^ "Scholarships". Archived from the original on 2012-07-04. Retrieved .
  7. ^ "Scholarships". Archived from the original on 2012-07-04. Retrieved .
  8. ^ "Scholarships". Archived from the original on 2012-07-04. Retrieved .
  9. ^ "National Staff". Archived from the original on 2013-04-24. Retrieved .
  10. ^ "Office Virtual Tour". Archived from the original on 2012-06-30. Retrieved .
  11. ^ "Contact Us". Archived from the original on 2012-06-30. Retrieved .

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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