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A Short History of Phi Chi

Detailed History Chronological History
List of Grand Chapter Conventions & Members Past list of Grand Officers & Staff
The Central Office of Phi Chi History Phi Chi Songs
Leaders of first 100 years Phi Chi Mergers
List of Achievements of Phi Chi Members Phi Chi Awards


Alpha (Southern), Louisville, KY, 1895

Phi Chi Society of the East

The Eastern Fraternity was founded by Caleb Wakefield Clark on March 31, 1889, who called to his support Frederick Luther Osgood, Isaac Newton Fox and Alfred Judson Young, all of the class of 1889.  According to a letter from Dr. Clark shortly before his death, “Phi Chi was not formed for purely social reasons and indeed, my aim and desire to bring about such an organization was primarily to get together and discuss thing medical and thus get more out of our college course.  The new fraternity was to be established to give all possible aid in the dissemination of knowledge and information along medical lines and to broaden and uplift the minds of all; as I keenly felt the need of a society through which we could work and cooperate.”

In 1895, members from the University of Vermont met in Baltimore and created the Beta Chapter in the Baltimore Medical College.  In 1900, Gamma was chartered in the Maine Medical College under similar circumstances.  In 1902 and 1903, Beta organized Delta and Theta in Baltimore.  On February 26, 1904, Alpha Chapter called a convention of Phi Chi Society Chapters (A, B, Γ, Δ, Θ) to meet in Burlington, VT. June 5, 1904, is the first convention of the Grand Chapter.

Phi Chi Medical Fraternity of the South

“October 26, 1894, at four o’clock, p.m., there assembled in the office of Doctor Clinton Kelly” of the faculty of the Louisville Medical College, “A. Harris Kelly, Samuel T. McClung, G. Fowler Border, Joseph N. Powers, George E. Gavin, Charles W. Hibbitt, and Linn L. Kennedy (all of whom became members of Alpha of the Southern Fraternity; now Alpha Alpha) for the purpose of organizing a fraternity.”

The growth of Phi Chi is a great monument to the spirit that urged the original group to unite and form a medical fraternity in a city where little was known of such societies.  The first members of the Southern Fraternity consisted of the previously mentioned as well as Carey A. Gray and Walker B. Gossett.

On November 5, 1894, a committee was appointed to draft a constitution and not until November 17, was the first officers elected: Presiding Senior, McClung; Presiding Junior, Gossett; Secretary, Kennedy, and Powers, Treasurer (Judge Advocate and the minor officers had not been provided for).  Wedding, Chapman and Shacklett were elected to membership and included with Gossett and Gray in the charter listing of members.  The First Regular Meeting was held on Saturday, December 8, 1894.  On December 29, 1894, D.A. Garrison, O. K. Harris, E. Rea Norris and A.P. Campbell were to complete the charter members.

Beta and Gamma chapters are installed in December 1896.

On February 26, 1897, the first Grand Chapter Convention of Southern Phi Chi Chapters (A, B, Γ, Δ) is called; this date later becomes Founder’s Day.

In 1898 Phi Chi expands out of the Louisville, KY.

The first volume of The Phi Chi Quarterly, the name of the official fraternal publication, is published on April 1, 1904 (the name is changed to the Phi Chi Chronicles in 1989).

Phi Chi Medical Fraternity

On March 5, 1905, Phi Chi Medical Fraternity (Southern Phi Chi) and Phi Chi Society (Eastern Phi Chi) are joined in Baltimore, MD, making Phi Chi the largest medical fraternity in America.  Chapter names which conflicted during the joining were resolved by allowing the older chapter to retain its single name and the second chapter to have its name duplicated (Alpha, University of Vermont, 1889; Alpha Alpha, Louisville Medical College, 1894).

On July 1, 1910, the first history of Phi Chi is published.  In 1915 the first Phi Chi Directory is published with 37 active chapter (some chapters had been consolidated) and 6,790 initiated members.

1922 saw the merger of Pi Mu Honor Society and Phi Chi as well as the chartering of Beta Mu Chapter at McGill University, Phi Chi’s first Canadian Chapter, on May 15.

December 1925, 24th Grand Chapter Convention is held in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  There are 54 chapters and 12,169 members.

In 1927, the Student Loan Fund was created which was run by the Welfare Association after its creation in 1947, to provide emergency loans for members in need.

On February 21, 1948, Phi Alpha Gamma and Phi Chi merge.

In 1949, the Phi Chi Welfare Association is incorporated.  On August 20, Irvin Abell, the first Grand Presiding Senior of Phi Chi, dies.

Eben J. Carey, MD, Memorial Award in Anatomy plaques are created in May of 1950.

February 26, 1960, Omega Chapter of Phi Chi is chartered at University of Mexico, Mexico City, the first chapter south of the border.  The Michael J. Carey, MD, Senior Service Award is first presented.

May 21, 1962, ΥB Chapter of Phi Chi is chartered at University of Puerto Rico, San Juan.

At the XL Grand Chapter Convention in 1973, women medical students are allowed membership.

September 1989, AA and AB Alumni Chapters are chartered.

Sigma Chi Mu Chapter is chartered on October 19, 2001, at American University of the Caribbean, St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles, making it the first Caribbean chapter.

August 4, 2002, Sigma Tau Chi Chapter of St. Christopher’s College of Medicine in England is chartered making it the first European chapter of Phi Chi.

There are currently 15 active chapters and 3 chartered alumni chapters in 5 countries.

This page was last updated on: March 26, 2014