The History of DKE
Each year at Yale University during the 1840's, certain members of the sophomore class were elected to two junior societies, Alpha Delta Phi and Psi Upsilon. In the spring of 1844, due to undergraduate politics and a division in the sophomore class, a number of men of high character and scholastic attainment did not receive bids from the two societies. So unfair, in fact, were the selections, that some men who did receive bids promptly rejected them.
On Saturday, June 22, 1844, fifteen Yale sophomores, rejecting the status quo, met and formed a new junior society which they called Delta Kappa Epsilon. Very quickly DKE became more than just another junior society. Its predecessors' criterion of academic distinction, while still highly respected, was expanded to include the qualities of good fellowship and compatible tastes and interests and thus attracted a wider range of prospective members. More fraternal than its rival societies, DKE proceeded to recruit men who combine "in equal proportions the gentleman, the scholar, and the jolly good fellow" -- criteria which have remained unchanged to this day.
We are proud of our fraternity and the more than 70,000 men who have become our brothers since DKE was founded in 1844. Dekes come from every walk of life. Many have gone on to distinguish themselves in politics, the arts, sciences, sports, education, and the humanities. Five U.S. Presidents have been Dekes, the most of any fraternity. The first man to reach the North Pole was a Deke and a Deke has carried our flag to the moon. In every corner of the world you will meet fellow Dekes, but whatever their background or station in life, all are united by the shared experience of membership in DKE.