The opportunity to become a member of Phi Delta Theta allows students to develop a positive fraternity experience and work towards establishing a great reputation on campus. Becoming a member of Phi Delt at UW also provides a professional network of more than 160,000 alumni living throughout North America, and over 3,000 in the Seattle area.
For many of Phi Delta Theta’s members, their experience allows them to hone their personal leadership skills and prepare for life after college. In the coming school year, Phi Delta Theta offers a unique opportunity for young leaders to follow in the footsteps of Jack Medica, William Kirschner, and nearly 2,500 UW alumni to answer the question: Are You a Leader?
The historic Washington Alpha chapter of Phi Delta Theta was founded in 1901, and is one of the oldest social Fraternities on campus. Phi Delta Theta has set the standard for fraternal excellence at UW for over 100 years, fostering an elite environment for the cultivation of gentlemen, scholars and athletes.
Numerous Olympic, NBA and NFL athletes, Fortune 500 company founders and civic leaders across the nation have passed through the doors of the historic chapter house at 2111 NE 47th St. A few famous Phis from the University of Washington chapter include Tom Tully O’keefe (founder of Tully’s Coffee), Aber Whitcomb (co-founder of Myspace), Detlef Schrempf (famous basketball player for the Huskies and the Seattle SuperSonics), William Kirschner (invented the modern fiberglass ski and founded the K2 corporation), Booth Gardner (Governor of the State of Washington, responsible for the running start program in WA), Jack Medica (Olympic swimmer – Gold Medalist), Ray Pinney (Former offensive lineman for the Steelers, Super Bowl champ) and Michael Callahan (head coach of the Husky rowing team, World Rowing Championship Gold Medalist, Olympic Rower).
The Chapter Today
Washington Alpha was re-founded in 2009, and has been growing explosively ever since. In 2014, we were awarded the Phoenix trophy from our General Headquarters, which goes to the single most improved chapter in all of Phi Delta Theta. Winning the Phoenix Trophy marked a position of positive momentum and confidence for Washington as we made a shift from a mentality of rebuilding to a mentality of tradition and excellence.
In the following years, we continued striving to improve, progressing forward and have established ourselves as a chapter with a culture that never stops learning or improving. We have made academics our number one priority, and this has shown through our consistent top 3 standing in the fraternity grade reports over the past 3 years. We have dedicated ourselves to the community around us, being active in many philanthropic events. From the hard work of our active members, we have successfully raised over $60000 in the past two years alone for various organizations including Service for Sight, Treehouse, Meals on Wheels, the Team Gleason Foundation and many more. We consistently volunteer at local organizations including the Ronald McDonald House, the ROOTS young adult shelter on University Avenue and Vision Loss Connections.
Our hard work has led to recognition at both a campus and organizational level. This past year, Washington Alpha was recognized at the University of Washington’s Greek Awards Banquet with 8 out of 13 possible chapter awards among the 29 fraternities on campus. At an organizational level, Phi Delta Theta General Headquarters has recognized us with various awards on our consistent high-caliber performance. In 2016, Washington Alpha was awarded runner up for the Harvard Trophy, an award that goes out to the best Phi Delta Theta chapter in the US and Canada. For more info on the awards Washington Alpha has received, click here.
But beyond awards, Washington Alpha seeks to provide a fraternity experience like no other. We regard our three cardinal principals of Friendship, Sound Learning and Moral Rectitude with the upmost respect, and seek to always become “the greatest versions of ourselves”. Phi Delta Theta is always looking to recruit men of the highest caliber to join our ranks of scholars, leaders, and athletes. We believe that Fraternity is much more than what you see about Greek life in the media, and we’re here to challenge the social expectation of what a fraternity should be like.
The Chapter House
The Phi Delt house is a man’s paradise. We have a gorgeous view from our sun deck over University Village. We enjoy a fully functional sauna inside our house. We have an executive room with a piano, pool table, luxury couches, and a conference table where we hold committee meetings. Our foyer is right inside the main entrance, and faces our grand staircase. Our beautiful courtyard faces one side of the street, while our fishbowl faces the other side.
Our chapter house has been around since the 1920’s and used to be a Governor’s Mansion. In the 60’s, an entire new wing was added, and our all glass dining room (the fishbowl) was added. The house received a major renovation again in the 80’s, and hasn’t been touched until this year.
In 2013, Sally Behnke (wife of the late Robert Behnke, a legendary WA Alpha alumnus) donated $250,000 to kick start our first major renovation in almost 30 years. Our alumni have rallied to the cause and are aiming to raise money for a multi-million dollar renovation to give the house a face lift. This process will take several years, but it has already begun. We replaced the ceiling in our fishbowl, built a snack bar, added a soda machine, and changed the light fixtures. In our foyer, we tore down a useless wall, replaced the trim along the walls, the paneling, the light fixtures, changed the carpet, and the main doors.
We are proud of our iconic and historic home, and we are so excited to see this renovation play out!