Social Fraternities in Potsdam

Unlike the sororities, from what I can tell the fraternities have always been school-specific.  If anyone knows otherwise please let me know.  The Greek history in Potsdam starts at Clarkson in 1903, with the first fraternity started three years before the first sorority.

On November 9, 1903, the idea of starting a fraternity at Clarkson was considered by a group of seven underclassmen.  The idea was kept a secret.  In February 1904, at an 8:15am chapel service, the members of Omicron Pi Omicron showed up proudly wearing their fraternity badges.  Clarkson had 56 students at this time.  Clarkson's second fraternity, Sigma Delta was formed on March 17th that year (St. Patrick's Day) by 14 juniors and seniors.
2 Clarkson Fraternities in 1904
OPiO & Sig

In November of 1915, another fraternity is founded at Clarkson, but in May 1916 Kappa Epsilon Phi merges with Omicron Pi Omicron Fraternity.  On October 23rd, 1919, 30 men found Lambda Iota Fraternity at Clarkson, and three years later on November 11th, 1921, 19 students found
Theta Pi Epsilon Fraternity.

4 Clarkson Fraternities in 1921
OPiO, Sig, Lambda Iota &Theta Pi

Inter-fraternity Council is formed at Clarkson in January, 1924.  In 1925, the Clarkson Technical Society (founded in 1924) is renamed Chi Tau Sigma Fraternity.  On November 20th, 1929 Karma Fraternity is founded at Clarkson.

6 Clarkson Fraternities in 1929
OPiO, Sig, Lambda Iota, Theta Pi, Chi Tau & Karma

In 1932, Sigma Sigma Sigma Fraternity (Tri-Sig) is founded at the Potsdam Normal School - the first fraternity at the school. Chi Tau Sigma Fraternity and Theta Pi Epsilon Fraternity are both dissolved for unknown reasons (they both stopped appearing in the yearbook) in 1937.

5 Fraternities in 1937
4 Clarkson: OPiO, Sig, Lambda Iota & Karma

 1 SUNY Potsdam: Tri-Sig

In the 1940s and early 1950s two new fraternities are established and some name changes occur: 
  • In 1946, Sigma Sigma Sigma Fraternity (Tri-Sig) was disbanded due to WWII.  After the war, the returning brothers of Tri-Sig formed Sigma Tau with the intent of joining a national fraternity. On June 1, 1946 the brothers of Sigma Tau were initiated as charter members of Theta Chapter of Delta Kappa Fraternity.  
  • The Delta chapter of Psi Phi Fraternity is founded at SUNY Potsdam in 1948.  
  • In April of 1949, Kappa Kappa Tau Fraternity is founded at Clarkson and on May 25th, 1952 they become the Delta Sigma chapter of Theta Chi Fraternity, becoming the first Clarkson fraternity to affiliate with a national organization.  
  • In 1953 the State University of New York ordered all fraternities at its institutions to sever connections with their national organizations because of a few which are prohibiting certain racial groups from joining.  This change causes some name changes at fraternities.
7 Fraternities in 1953
 5 Clarkson: OPiO, Sig, Lambda Iota, Karma & Theta Chi

2 SUNY Potsdam: DK & Psi Phi

In the mid 1950s Clarkson builds it's first dormitory, the Pit/Hamlin-Powers Complex.  Prior to this time Greek houses were the only homes that were completely occupied by students. Other students rented rooms throughout town or commuted.
  • Omega Epsilon Fraternity is founded at Clarkson's during the 1954-55 school year and in 1956 the brothers become the Zeta Phi chapter of the national social fraternity Alpha Chi Rho.
  • Local fraternity Zeta Nu is founded at Clarkson in 1956.
  • National fraternity, Triangle is founded at Clarkson in 1956.
  • Nu Phi Fraternity is founded at Clarkson in 1957 and in 1958 becomes the Beta Kappa chapter of Theta Xi Fraternity.
  • Beta Tau Fraternity is founded at Clarkson in 1957
  • KARMA becomes the Beta Rho chapter of national fraternity Pi Kappa Phi in 1957.
12 Fraternities in 1958
10 Clarkson: OPiO, Sig, Lambda Iota, Pi Kappa Phi, Theta Chi
Alpha Chi Rho, ZN, Triangle, Theta Xi, Beta Tau
2 SUNY Potsdam: DK, Psi Phi

The early 1960s bring one new fraternity and one name change to Clarkson:
  • Lambda Iota becomes a chapter of national fraternity Delta Upsilon in 1961.
  • Phi Delta, is established at Clarkson in 1961 and in 1963 becomes a chapter of the national fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon 
  • The brothers of Pi Kappa Phi vote to dissolve their relationship with their national to became known as KARMA again due to discrimination practiced by their national organization. 
13 Fraternities in 1963

11 Clarkson: OPiO, Sig, DU, KARMA, Theta Chi, 
Alpha Chi Rho, ZN, Triangle, Theta Xi,  Beta Tau, TKE

2 SUNY Potsdam: DK, Psi Phi 

From 1966-1970 four new fraternities are founded. two at Clarkson and two at State, and two fraternities change names.
  • Lambda Phi Epsilon Fraternity is established at Clarkson in 1966 and two years later becomes a chapter of the national Tau Epsilon Phi Fraternity. 
  • The Beta chapter of Sigma Tau Psi Fraternity is founded at SUNY Potsdam in 1965.  
  • Kappa Gamma, a new local fraternity is founded at Clarkson in 1967 and the following year becomes a chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity. 
  • KARMA becomes the Epsilon Zeta Chapter of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity. 
  • Theta Omega Phi (Prometheus) is founded at the State Teachers College at Potsdam in 1968.  
  • The Clarkson chapter of Triangle disassociates from their national fraternity, and becomes a local fraternity, Tau Delta Kappa in 1970.

17 Fraternities in 1970
13 Clarkson: OPiO, Sig, DU, DSP, Theta Chi, 
Alpha Chi Rho, ZN, TDK, Theta Xi, Beta Tau

4 SUNY Potsdam: DK, Psi Phi, Sigma Tau Psi, Prometheus

The groovy members of Inter-Fraternity Council at SUNY Potsdam in 1974
In 1974 the State University of New York lifts their 1953 ban on fraternities and sororities affiliating with national organization.  Clarkson mandates that any new organization applying for recognition after 1977 must affiliate with a national organization within five years to maintain recognition.  Several new organizations are founded, resulting in the peak number of social fraternities in Potsdam.
  • Sigma Tau Psi Fraternity dissolves sometime after 1974 (they do not appear in the 1975 yearbook)
  • Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity (Beta Upsilon) is chartered by students from SUNY Potsdam and Clarkson in 1979.  The two-school chapter is chartered with National's blessing.  National later decided that having members from two schools was not okay, and in 1981 Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity (Beta Chi) was founded at Clarkson.
  • In early 1982 a chapter of Sigma Pi Fraternity is founded at SUNY Potsdam
  • Phi Chi Epsilon Fraternity is founded in 1983 at SUNY Potsdam

21 Fraternities in 1983 - the peak
14 Clarkson:
OPiO, Sig, DU, DSP, Theta Chi
Alpha Chi Rho, ZN, TDK,  Theta Xi, Beta Tau
TKE, TEP, AEPi, Phi Kap

6 SUNY Potsdam: 
DK, Psi Phi, Prometheus
Phi Kap, Sigma Pi, Phi Chi

More changes come in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
  • Theta Xi Fraternity looses it's recognition from Clarkson in 1987 after a pledging policy violation.
  • The Iota Zeta chapter of Sigma Chi fraternity is founded at Clarkson in 1988. 
  • During the fall 1992 semester, Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity (Beta Chi) returns to Clarkson after a short period of inactivity
  • Psi Phi Delta looses it's recognition from SUNY Potsdam

19 Fraternities in 1993: 
 14 Clarkson: OPiO, Sig, DU, DSP, Theta Chi
Alpha Chi Rho, ZN, TDK, Beta Tau, TKE
TEP, AEPi, Phi Kap, Sigma Chi

5 SUNY Potsdam: DK, Prometheus
Phi Kap, Sigma Pi, Phi Chi

In the late 1990s-2000 several fraternities are closed.
  • Theta Chi Fraternity dissolves after a freshman dies on bid night in 1997.  
  • Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity dissolves due to lack of interest in 1998.  
  • Sigma Delta loses their charter due to disciplinary actions in 1999.  
  • In 2000, the Epsilon Zeta chapter of Delta Sigma Phi officially disassociates themselves with their national organization, and KARMA becomes a local fraternity again.  
  • The Iota Kappa chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon loses its recognition as a functioning fraternity from their national. 
  • Beta Tau loses their recognition from Clarkson but continues on as an independent fraternity.
15 Fraternities in 2000
9 Clarkson
Alpha Chi Rho, ZN, TDK
TEP, Phi Kap, Sigma Chi
5 SUNY Potsdam
DK, Prometheus
Phi Kap, Sigma Pi, Phi Chi
1 Independent: Beta Tau

From the early 2000s to today changes continue to occur
  • Tau Kappa Epsilon is re-founded in 2002 due to "strong alumni support and undergraduate dedication" and then in 2005 they "declare their independence and evolve" into Delta Tau Tau Fraternity.
  • Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity at Clarkson receives its national charter in 2002. 
  • Sigma Pi loses their national charter and recognition from SUNY Potsdam after several legal and disciplinary issues in 2006. 
  • Delta Upsilon loses their recognition from Clarkson in 2007 and is then re-founded Fall 2013.
  • SUNY Potsdam withdraws recognition of Phi Chi Epsilon fraternity for "violating law and College policy" in 2009  
  • Psi Phi Delta is permanently disbanded by SUNY Potsdam due "multiple violations of college policy, state law and fraternity standards and expectations" in 2011.
  • Sigma Delta gains re-recognition from Clarkson and initiates a new member class in 2012
  • Theta Omega Phi (Prometheus) loses it's recognition from SUNY Potsdam in 2012
  • Tau Delta Kappa loses their recognition from Clarkson due to repeated incidents of serving alcohol to minors 
  • At some point KARMA becomes Delta Sigma Phi again. 
  • Chartered in 1958, the Theta Iota Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity (a professional music fraternity) is voted in as part of SUNY Potsdam All Greek Council, officially becoming a social fraternity.
15 Fraternities in 2013

10 Clarkson
OPiO, DU, Sig, DSP
Alpha Chi Rho, ZN, TEP, Phi Kap
Sigma Chi, SigEp

 3 SUNY Potsdam
DK, Phi Mu Alpha, Phi Kap

2 Independent:  Beta Tau, Delta Tau Tau

More changes...
  • In 2013 Phi Kappa Sigma Fraternity (Beta Upsilon, State) seems to have folded due to lack of interest
  • A new Iota Kappa colony of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity begins in the fall semester at Clarkson.
  • In the fall of 2014 a chapter of Lambda Sigma Upsilon fraternity is chartered at SUNY Potsdam


  1. There seems to be a TKE that has emerged back on Clarkson's campus... don't know much other than it was a group of +/- 15 freshmen that just popped up wearing TKE letters last semester.

    1. They are not affiliated with the original TKE, they're t-shirt club members looking to go greek without pledging

  2. 3 other independents: epsilon omega, delta omega delta, and psi phi epsilon

    1. Epsilon Omega on the Rise

    2. Delta Omega Delta Oh Baby

  3. the guys of DTT should have an issue with anyone wearing TKE letters, as DTT is the new TKE.

  4. DU is also back on Clarkson Campus

    1. In the same sense that TKE is back though. No longer the same DU.

  5. How does someone go about getting their fraternity charters at Potsdam ?