History

The first greek-lettered organization was founded at UW – Madison in 1857. Since then, fraternities and sororities have provided a vital support network and sense of belonging to thousands of alumni and current members. Here’s our story.

 

 

 

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1800s

In 1857, Phi Delta Theta was established as the first fraternity at UW – Madison. Fraternities were developed to supplement the experience of college students in the mid-1800s. At the time, students were expected to follow a very rigorous lifestyle while studying the hard sciences. There was a need for students to come together, to support each other, and discuss their in and out of classroom learning, and so, fraternities continued to grow throughout the United States. It should be noted that at the time, only white men were admitted into higher education and organizations were designed to meet the need of those white men. As white women began to enroll, women’s fraternities and sororities were founded to provide that same experience for women. UW – Madison’s first sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma, was founded in 1875.

1900s

2000s