National Structure



Definitions:

  • The Bond: The supreme governing document of the Fraternity is The Bond of Phi Delta Theta, the original document drafted by Robert Morrison and John McMillan Wilson at the Fraternity’s founding. Every Phi must sign The Bond upon initiation, and every initiate is bound by its precepts. The Bond is unalterable, and violation of its cannons is grounds for expulsion from the Fraternity.
  • General Convention: Since 1880 the General Convention has held all supreme and legislative powers of the Fraternity. The Convention, which meets every two years, has four main responsibilities and powers. They include:
    • Electing the General Council;
    • Revoking and granting charters of chapters;
    • Providing for the raising and disbursement of revenues;
    • Enacting laws for the regulation of the Fraternity, since only the General Convention may amend the Ritual, Constitution and General Statutes of the Fraternity.

    One of the more important decisions a chapter makes is the selection of its delegate to the General Convention, because all formal action taken at the General Convention is the result of democratic voting, and it is typical for chapter delegates to constitute 65 to 75 percent of the total vote. Those with voting privileges at the Convention include:

    • Undergraduate chapter delegates;
    • Members of the General Council;
    • Past Presidents of the General Council;
    • Province Presidents;
    • Survey Commissioners;
    • The Executive Vice President;
    • The Housing Commissioner;
    • Other commissioners that the General Council may appoint; and
    • Alumni Club delegates

  • The Constitution and General Statutes: The Constitution and General Statutes which make up The Code of Phi Delta Theta are the laws of the Fraternity. These laws govern the structure of the Fraternity, the procedure of its various bodies, and the basic operation of the chapters. Although all chapters are autonomous and self-governing, they must obey the laws outlined in The Code. It is adherence to these basic laws that preserves the general similarity between each chapter of Phi Delta Theta.

    The General Statues are amended every two years at the General Convention. Proposals to change The Code are submitted to the Code Committee, a committee appointed by the General Council. Legislation is usually submitted in writing by any member of the Fraternity well in advance of the Convention, but changes are allowed to be submitted even during the Convention proceedings. Because each chapter has one vote, the majority of the votes at the Convention are in the hands of the undergraduate chapters’ delegates. These chapter delegates propose legislation, debate motions, and vote for or against these amendments to the General Statutes. On occasion, these debates become quite enthusiastic as the delegates try to make decisions that are best for the Fraternity.

    The Constitution can only be amended by affirmative action at two consecutive General Conventions. The Constitution provides for the powers of the Convention and the General Council, indicates where alumni clubs and chapters may be established, and outlines some of the proper symbols and insignia of the Fraternity. It also gives requirements for membership.

    After each Convention, two new copies of The Code are distributed to each chapter. These copies are usually kept by the president and secretary.
  • General Council: The General Convention elects a president, treasurer, reporter, and two additional members-at-large whose responsibility it is to act as the executive and administrative board of the Fraternity, making such ordinances and appointments as it may deem necessary to promote the general welfare of the Fraternity.
  • Alumni Clubs: Alumni clubs are associations for the purpose of fostering loyalty to the Fraternity among members who are no longer in college. They are established by authority of the General Council in localities in which reside a sufficient number of alumni members, upon submission of a petition signed by not less than ten members. Every alumni club which has conducted regularly scheduled meetings during the college year preceding a General Convention, and which has been officially recognized by the General Council, may elect a delegate to the General Convention, who may be entitled to vote.
  • Executive Vice President serves as the Chief Executive Officer and will direct the professional staff in conducting the business of the Fraternity.
  • Associate Executive Vice President assists the Executive Vice President in overseeing the administration of the chapter services area, expansion area, education & technology area and risk management area. Along with the management of the director staff, he focuses on alumni services and furthering the Fraternity’s goal of creating a lifelong membership experience. He also serves as secretary to the Walter B. Palmer Foundation.
  • Director of Education works with the Educational Programming Committee to develop the Fraternity education programs and is the lead staff person at Fraternity educational conferences.
  • Director of Chapter Services oversees the Leadership Consultants and manages the chapter-related matters of General Headquarters. He is often the first contact undergraduates have with General Headquarters, and as such he consults with them on a variety of matters from risk management and officer programming to ritual and Phikeia education.
  • Director of Communications & Iron Phi oversees the Fraternity’s communication efforts including websites, social media, e-newsletters and support for The Scroll. He also manages Phi Delta Theta’s Iron Phi program, benefitting the Phi Delta Theta Foundation and The ALS Association.
  • Director of Expansion specializes in assisting groups interested in founding a new chapter or re-establishing an old charter. He works closely with interest groups, colonies and young chapters to spread Phi Delta Theta further across the continent.
  • Editor of The Scroll oversees the editing of The Scroll and other publications, as well as to organize the public relations programs of the Fraternity. Previously, the editor of the Fraternity magazine had been a volunteer position.
  • Director of Housing and Insurance is responsible for developing the Fraternity’s housing and insurance program, and serves as a liaison to the Palmer Foundation and to the housing commission. Coordination of the event planning program and house corporation education also fails under her responsibility.
  • Leadership Consultants are employed by the General Fraternity to counsel the undergraduate members and officers in chapters across North America. The position is held by a young Phi who is a recent college graduate. Typically, the consultant travels from chapter to chapter throughout the academic year. He spends from two to six days at each location, where he attends chapter, Phikeia and committee meetings, counsels with individual officers, meets with the chapter adviser, a university representative, and a member of the house corporation, and, when possible, attends a meeting of the local alumni club.
  • Province President: For administrative purposes, the chapters of the Fraternity are divided into geographical subdivisions called provinces. Each province is assigned a president who is a Phi Delta Theta alumnus volunteering his service to the Fraternity. The Province President is appointed to a two-year term of office by the General Council subject to the approval of the chapters in the respective area. The role of the Province President is to serve as deputy of the General Council in safeguarding the welfare of the Fraternity in the section committed to his care. The Province President appoints and educates chapter advisory board chairmen, assists in the expansion of the Fraternity in his area, and makes visits to chapters to work with chapter officers, encouraging and assisting in the success of individual chapters.
  • Chapter Advisory Board Chairman (CABC): Selected by the Province President to serve a two-year term, this alumnus volunteer works with the officers and members of an individual chapter and help it maintain the high standards of Phi Delta Theta. The Chapter Advisory Board Chairman visits the chapter frequently and often attends committee, Phikeia and chapter meetings. He is a guide, a counselor, and a resource for the undergraduates. His also oversees and helps fill the chapter’s advisory board Each advisory board is commonly made up of 2 to 5 individuals who mentor individual officers and aid the CABC. Anyone with an interest in the chapter can be a member of the advisory board.
  • House Corporation: The house corporation of a chapter is made up of dedicated Phis who are elected as volunteer trustees of a nonprofit corporation formed to own and operate a chapter house for a Phi Delta Theta chapter. The house corporation is organized and incorporated under the laws of the respective state or province and serves as the legal entity which holds title to any property owned. The house corporation board of directors, which includes at least two undergraduate members, acts as the landlord of the chapter house. It also holds responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of the chapter house, payment of mortgages and property taxes, and the building of a reserve fund to insulate the corporation from future financial hardship. The house corporation is the entity to which the Walter B. Palmer Foundation can make loans for the renovation or building of a chapter facility.
  • The Chapter: Many chapters comprise the realm of Phi Delta Theta. Each is a semi-autonomous unit of the entire General Fraternity, one part of the whole. Yet each chapter has its own character, its own traditions, and its own sense of purpose. While each chapter has its own unique qualities, each individual unit has the same primary purpose: to bring the Phi Delta Theta experience to each respective campus.

    That purpose of the Fraternity is to promote the high principles which constituted the foundation of the organization, declared in The Bond of Phi Delta Theta. These principles, so eloquently penned by Robert Morrison and John McMillan Wilson, predicate an organized brotherhood in which members support each other in daily life. Indeed, the Six Founders of Phi Delta Theta were visionaries. Through The Bond, they outlined ideals practical both to the individual and to the chapter. They can be applied in a variety of areas of chapter life. With these ideals in mind, it is easier to further define exactly what a chapter is.

    The chapter, first and foremost, is a family. Like a family, the brothers participate in activities allowing them to work, live, and socialize together. It is an environment conducive to the development of long-lasting ties, the sharing of similar aspirations, and the fostering of concern for others.

    In another frame, the chapter is also a classroom. In this setting, members learn a great deal including management ideas, event-planning strategies, important social skills, and perspectives on topics of interest on all college campuses. A college education is not merely learning from textbooks or lectures, and the Fraternity provides this important education outside the standard curriculum.

    The chapter is also a democracy. Group decision making and management are part of the fraternity experience. Brothers participate in the election of chapter leaders and vote on the various policies and activities of the organization. By working together in a democratic society, members learn valuable organization and leadership skills.

    The Phi Delta Theta chapter is also a business. The members develop and approve budgets, receive and disperse money, procure various services and products, and follow general accounting practices with monthly and annual Financial statements. Through this process, the brothers and Phikeias learn the importance of sound fiscal planning and financial management.

    In the final analysis, the chapter is an opportunity. It provides the chance for members to grow and develop as leaders, helps build lifelong friendships, encourages good scholarship performance, and teaches the individual responsibility to a larger group.

  • Survey Commission: The Survey Commission is composed of alumni volunteers, appointed by the General Council to two-year terms, and responsible for the location and creation of new chapters of the Fraternity. The commissioners investigate inquiries from four-year colleges and universities interested in the Fraternity’s expansion to their campuses. In addition, the Survey Commission actively pursues opportunities to expand the Fraternity to campuses on which Phi Delta Theta would wish to be located.
  • The commission, in conjunction with the Director of Expansion on the Headquarters staff, establishes interest groups and recommends the establishment of colonies and chapters to General Council.

  • Housing Commission: The Housing Commission is responsible for coordinating programs through the local housing corporations that promote safe, affordable housing for the chapters. Fire safety, insurance, fund raising, property care, and risk management are a few of the areas of concern to the commission.
  • Education Commissioner: The Education Commissioner will provide leadership in the educational programming areas of Phi Delta Theta, including but not limited to, the Presidents Leadership Conference, the Emerging Leaders Institute, General Convention educational seminars, province meetings, chapter seminars and workshops.
  • Warden: At Convention the Warden is responsible for tabulating votes, and for the overall discipline of the delegates. He is also responsible for the overall decorum at leadership conferences and acts as Chairman of the Discipline Committee.
  • Chaplain: The Chaplain is responsible for promotion of the Cardinal Principle of Rectitude. He also serves as the spiritual leader of the Fraternity.


The following Foundations are separate entities from the Fraternity.

  • Phi Delta Theta Foundation: The 1958 General Convention adopted legislation for the establishment of a Phi Delta Theta Foundation to provide for the advancement of learning. The trustees of the Foundation award annual scholarships and fund the educational programs of the Fraternity. Since the beginning of the scholarship program, more than 1,300 scholarships with a total value of more than $2.2 million have been awarded. The principal of this fund is more than $10 million.
  • Frank J.R. Mitchell Fund: At the Convention of 1908, Frank J.R. Mitchell, the editor and manager of The Scroll, suggested a plan for life subscriptions which would in time provide adequate support for the Fraternity’s magazine. In 1910, he placed before the Convention a proposal, without precedent in the fraternity world, which called for a plan providing a life payment of ten dollars for each initiate. The principal of this fund now amounts to more than $4 million. Almost every fraternity and sorority has since adopted the plan of life subscription which Phi Delta Theta gave to the fraternity world.
  • Walter B. Palmer Foundation, Inc.: Finding that the endowment idea was sound, the General Council thought it was appropriate to establish in 1922 an endowment in honor of Walter B. Palmer who had devoted his life to Fraternity service. The fund is known as the Walter B. Palmer Foundation. The principal is used for investment loans to assist chapter house corporations in purchasing, constructing or refurnishing chapter house. The principal of the Walter B. Palmer fund is more than $4 million.
  • Canadian Scholarship Foundation: The Canadian Scholarship Foundation was organized in 1973 to provide scholarships to Phi Delta Theta undergraduates on Canadian campuses. Since the beginning of the Canadian Scholarship Foundation, more than $140,000 in scholarships has been awarded.