Delta Chi (ΔΧ) (del-ta kai) or D-Chi is an international Greek letter college social fraternity formed on October 13, 1890, at Cornell University, initially as a professional fraternity for law students. On April 30, 1922, Delta Chi became a general membership social fraternity, eliminating the requirement for men to be studying law, and opening membership to all areas of study. Delta Chi became one of the first international fraternities to abolish "hell week", when it did so on April 22, 1929. Delta Chi is a charter member of the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC). As of Fall 2016, Delta Chi has initiated over 113,000 members at over 120 Chapters and Colonies, with 29 Alumni Chapters. Its headquarters are in Iowa City, Iowa.
According to Frederick Moore Whitney, there were two or three groups working on the idea of a new law fraternity during the spring of 1889. After the class election, there were meetings held in Myron Mckee Crandall's apartment as well as in Monroe Marsh Sweetland's law office. It is not clear how these two groups came together, though there seem to have been some individuals who had attended both groups.
Over the summer of 1890, many of the details of the organization were worked out by Myron Mckee Crandall, who had stayed in Ithaca until after school opened. In regard to the adoption of the constitution, Albert Sullard Barnes wrote the following in his 1907 Quarterly article:
"As I recall it, after refreshing my recollection from the original minutes now in my possession, on the evening of October 13, 1890, six students in the Law School, Brothers John M. Gorham, Thomas J. Sullivan, F.K. Stephens, A.D. Stillman and the writer, together with Myron Crandall and O.L. Potter, graduate students, and Monroe Sweetland, a former Student in the Law School, met in a brother's room and adopted the constitution and by-laws, and organized the Delta Chi Fraternity."
The minutes from that meeting state, “Charter granted to Cornell Chapter,” indicating from the beginning the intent to start a national fraternity.
In 1909 in Ithaca, New York, the 15th Convention of Delta Chi adopted an amendment to the Constitution prohibiting dual-membership (i.e. initiating members of other fraternities, and prohibiting Delta Chi members from joining other fraternities). As a professional law fraternity, Delta Chi had originally allowed members from other general fraternities to join. The change in policy led to the loss of chapters in New York Law, West Virginia, Northwestern and Washington University in St. Louis.
During World War I, a majority of the members of the active chapters dropping their college courses and enlisting in the armed forces. Chapter houses became almost deserted, and a convention in August 1917 was skipped. At the end of the war, members returned to the universities to complete their courses. The chapter finances were generally in bad condition as were the houses. Attempting to rebuild, many chapters stretched the recruiting restrictions by initiating men who had no intention of studying law.
Starting in 1919 in Minneapolis at the 20th Convention, the issue of becoming a general fraternity was debated. In 1921 in Columbus, Ohio at the 21st Convention, two amendments were proposed, for and against general membership respectively. For three days votes were held, until (on a swing vote by the Buffalo Alumni Chapter representative), the Wadsworth amendment was adopted. Ratified in 1922, the amendment made Delta Chi a general fraternity, no longer requiring its members to be law students at their respective universities and colleges.
Delta Chi chapters and colonies have six permanent officer positions. While each position has strict definitions of responsibility, their duties may vary slightly from group to group.
Each chapter and colony is encouraged to have a functioning committee system. Each committee chairman has duties designated by Delta Chi. Committees include subjects such as recruitment, educating new recruits, philanthropy, scholarship, social events, housing, and others.
For a listing of all Delta Chi chapters, colonies, and alumni chapters see List of Delta Chi chapters.
Delta Chi chapters are unique in naming. Most college fraternities and sororities are named in an alphabetical Greek system. This is not so with Delta Chi chapters and colonies, who are named by institution, and sometimes by self-naming. Therefore, the first 'Alpha' chapter was the Cornell Chapter.