iota at a glance

In the beginning…

On September 19, 1963, at Morgan State College (now Morgan State University), 12 students founded what is now the nation’s fifth largest, predominately African-American social service fraternity: Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Incorporated.

The founders of Iota Phi Theta are: Albert Hicks, Lonnie Spruill, Jr., Charles Briscoe, Frank Coakley, John Slade, Barron Willis, Webster Lewis, Charles Brown, Louis Hudnell, Charles Gregory, Elias Dorsey, Jr., and Michael Williams.

These men were “Non-Traditional Students” and were 3-5 years older than the average college student. Gregory, Willis, and Brown were all service veterans, and Brown, Hicks, and Briscoe were married with small children. Of this group of 12, several were also working full-time jobs and all were full-time students.

Based upon their ages, heightened responsibilities, and increased level of maturity, this group had a slightly different perspective than the norm for college students. It was this perspective from which they established the Fraternity’s purpose, “The development and perpetuation of Scholarship, Leadership, Citizenship, Fidelity, and Brotherhood among Men.” Additionally, they conceived the Fraternity’s motto, “Building a Tradition, Not Resting Upon One!”

Growth of the fraternity…

The fraternity functioned as a local entity until the first interest groups were established in 1967 at Hampton Institute (Beta Chapter) and Delaware State College (Gamma Chapter). Further expansion took place in 1968 with chapters being formed at Norfolk State College (Delta Chapter) and Jersey City State College (Epsilon Chapter). The fraternity was officially and legally incorporated on November 1, 1968 as a National Fraternity under the laws of the State of Maryland.

Today, Iota Phi Theta consists of over 198 chapters located in 40 States and the District of Columbia. The scope of the organization extends throughout the nation, from California to New York; from Wyoming to Florida; and from Wisconsin to The Bahamas Islands.

Key things to know…

Official Colors:
Charcoal Brown & Gilded Gold

Number of Initiated Members:
Approximately 20,000

National Affiliations:
The National Intefraternity Conference (NIC)
The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC)

National Contact Information:
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. Headquarters
Founder’s Hall
1600 N. Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
(888) 835-5109

Visit our national website for more information: