National History

Phi Kappa Tau was founded on March 17, 1906, in the Union Literary Society Hall of Miami University’s Old Main Building in Oxford, Ohio. The four honored founders were:

  • Taylor Albert Borradaile
  • Clinton Dewitt Boyd
  • Dwight Ireneus Douglass
  • William Henry Shideler

The 21 men who attended the first meeting hoped to establish themselves on campus by unifying. They agreed on the name Non-Fraternity Association because according to Founder Shideler, “A political combination of fraternities had taken charge of essentially all activities within the reach of the student body.”

Three years later, on March 6, 1909, the organization changed its name to Phrenocon, combining the proposed names, Friends, Non-Fraternity and Comrades.

Phrenocon expanded in 1911 when a second chapter formed at Ohio University. Additional chapters were established at Ohio State University, Centre College, Mount Union College (now the University of Mount Union) and the University of Illinois.

On March 9, 1916, the Miami chapter withdrew from the National Phrenocon in order to become a Greek-letter fraternity. They adopted the name Phi Kappa Tau, and the remaining five Phrenocon chapters agreed to the name change in December of that year. The Miami chapter was then invited to return to the national organization as the Alpha chapter of Phi Kappa Tau.

Fast Facts

March 17, 1906 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio

148 chapters chartered since 1906
81 active chapters
10 colonies
Approximately 4,000 undergraduate members
More than 90,000 initiates
Largest concentration of alumni: Louisville; Cincinnati; Houston; Chicago; Cleveland; Atlanta; Seattle; Denver; Columbus, Ohio; and Lincoln, Neb.

National Headquarters:
5221 Morning Sun Road, Oxford, Ohio 45056
(800) PKT-1906 or (513) 523-4193

Incorporated as an Ohio not-for-profit in 1945
Asset base exceeds $10 million

National Magazine:
The Laurel

National Philanthropy:
SeriousFun Children’s Network (formerly the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps)