William Henry Letterman

February 19, 1852

A Date Never to be Forgotten

Founders Day is a time for Phi Psis around the world to join together to honor Founders William Henry Letterman and Charles Page Thomas Moore. In 1850, as a typhoid fever epidemic struck Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, and many left to escape the spread, Letterman and Moore decided to stay and care for their classmates who contracted the disease. The bond formed that winter between Letterman and Moore inspired them to establish a brotherhood built upon the idea of The Great Joy of Serving Others, and in 1852, Phi Kappa Psi was formed. 171 years later, this bond lives on through our 91,000+ living alumni and on over 96 campuses nationwide.

Charles Page Thomas Moore

2023 Founders Day Schedule

Monday, February 13
Founders Week Welcome Message

Enjoy a message from Gordon Letterman West Virginia ’72, great grandson to founder William Henry Letterman, to kick off a week of Founders Day activities!

Hello brothers,

Happy Founders Day!

First of all, on a personal note, I want to thank my chapter brother and good friend Bob Bird West Virginia ’73 and my fellow SC Member Brother Ruben Campos Texas Tech ’95 who are, on behalf of the order of the SC, seeing that flowers are placed on the graves of Brothers Moore and Letterman this Founders Day.

To my alumni brothers – many of you have stepped forward to assist our Brotherhood financially, and to assume volunteer roles in our national organization and at our individual chapters. Thank you! For those of you who have not yet become involved – come back to Phi Psi! There is a place for you. Without your support, both of time and of treasure, our Brotherhood would not exist.

To my undergraduate brothers – as I said to our alumni, “Come Back to Phi Psi”. Heed these words from Brother Letterman from 1854, speaking of the men the Founders wished to see invited to join our Brotherhood:

“Above all things be careful, very careful of your selection of members – guard well those men you deem proper for membership, and study well their characters, and never, if there is a dissenting voice among your members – or any dislike of any man, never admit him into our fraternity, even if he be very popular or very talented. In time the world can only judge our Fraternity by our members. May all our brothers be such that we shall never be ashamed of them, but live esteemed and honored.”

When a man presents himself before you, asking admittance to our Brotherhood, ignore whatever first impression you may have of him based on how he appears on the outside. Determine his character. Take the time to explore what is in his mind and in his heart. Those are the things that matter.

I’ll close with words of my great-grandmother, Willie’s wife, Laura, known as the “Mother” of Phi Kappa Psi, spoken before the assembled brothers at the 1916 Grand Arch Council:

“You have toiled, labored, and have kept the standard high. Have we not much for which to thank God and rejoice? The growth of the Fraternity abundantly justifies the loftiest hope of its Founders, and the strength it has developed surely exceeds their wildest dreams. Were it possible for those noble spirits to be with us in person here today, they would pronounce their blessing, and wish you God’s speed.”

Happy Founders Day, brothers!

In the bond,

Gordon R. Letterman West Virginia ’72…

Wednesday, February 15
State of the Fraternity

Executive Director Ron Ransom Butler ’00 delivered a Phi Psi update during the State of the Fraternity. Click below to watch a recording of the event.

Thursday, February 16
Third Annual Reading of the Creed

Brothers Tryon Hubbard Alabama ’64 and David McDonald Beloit ’82 led brothers through the third annual Reading of the Creed. Click below to watch a recording of the event.

Sunday, February 19
Happy Founders Day!

Please enjoy a special Founders Day message from National President Bob Marchesani Butler ’94 (IUP ’79).


Founders Day is our annual opportunity to pay tribute to the two men that started our Fraternity on February 19, 1852 – William Henry Letterman and Charles Page Thomas Moore.

How you choose to commemorate the date is entirely up to you. Phi Psi doesn’t have a formal obligation for its members to perform or observe on that date, but we do have a theme this Founders Day – “Come Back to Phi Psi.”

I would like to suggest things you could do that would make Founders Day more meaningful for you personally and that are fitting with the theme.

As the theme suggests, I encourage all Brothers to reconnect with the Fraternity, and the best way I know how to do that is to call a Brother. It could be a Phi Psi from your new member class; your former Chapter Advisor; your Big Brother; or any Phi Psi who is important to you. The Phi Psi Portal, portal.phikappapsi.com, has a “Find a Member” feature that can help find contact information for Brothers with whom you would like to reconnect.

Another way to celebrate Founders Day is to wear your badge. If it has been a while, go ahead and find it in your personal archives and put it on. But before you do, take a look at it and remember the meaning that the symbols on the badge represent to all of us.

One last way to celebrate Phi Psi’s Founders Day is to reflect on the impact the Fraternity has had on your development as a person. While many of us are rightfully proud of the success we have enjoyed in life, I am willing to bet that some of your success (or most in my case) can be attributed to the influence of Phi Kappa Psi. From developing leadership skills to working with men with diverse personalities and balancing various opportunities to learn, serve and have fun, Phi Psi was – and still is today – a great training ground for the type of people our country and world need to lead today and in the future.

So for me, Founders Day is less about congratulating ourselves for the Fraternity surviving for 171 years and more about Phi Psi’s relevance in the lives of its members. The Fraternity remains relevant in a world that needs leaders who are passionate about serving others and their communities with integrity and lofty ideals.

Please join me and your Brothers across the country and even the world in commemorating Founders Day 2023 in a way that reflects your personal commitment to our Fraternity.

Fraternally yours,

Bob Marchesani Butler ’94 (IUP ’79)
National President

February 15 – 21
Founders Day Chapter Challenge

The Founders Day Chapter Challenge has ended. Below are the top five Chapters who were closest to or exceeded their donor goal:

      1. Georgia Alpha
      2. Maryland Delta
      3. Ohio Epsilon
      4. Minnesota Delta
      5. Indiana Zeta

Click here to view the full results of Founders Day Chapter Challenge to see where your chapter placed!

Is there a Founders Day celebration near you?
Go to our Events page to find out!
Founders Day Events
Founders Day Chapter Challenge!
Click below to view the results for Founders Day Chapter Challenge!
View the Results!