Kappa Psi Fraternity: 1898-1924
Kappa Psi Fraternity was organized initially with two collegiate chapters, Delta Chapter in the School of Medicine at the University of Maryland and Gamma Chapter in the School of Pharmacy at the New York College of Pharmacy. Delta was organized by William F. Clark, and Gamma was organized by Alfred and William Kaehrle, all three former members of Hillhouse Chapter. The two chapters were installed by F. Harvey Smith and Preston W. Eldridge, Jr., representing Alpha Chapter, on November 18 and 20, respectively. On June 15, 1903, Kappa Psi was incorporated as a national fraternity and for many years thereafter it existed as a joint medical-pharmaceutical fraternity with chapters being chartered in both medical and pharmacy schools and colleges.
On November 17, 1917, the Delta Omicron Alpha Medical Fraternity, which was founded at Tulane University in 1904, merged with Kappa Psi. On January 26, 1918, the Phi Delta Medical Fraternity, which was founded at Long Island Hospital College in 1901, was merged with Kappa Psi.
Some early highlights included the first meeting of the Grand Chapter (now GCC) in New York City on March 31, 1900, and the first province assembly in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 6, 1914. The first edition of The Agora was published in 1902, The Mask in 1904, and the first constitution in 1906. In 1905 scarlet and gray were adopted as the Fraternity’s colors; the Coat of Arms was adopted in 1916 and the first insignia in 1918; and the Grand Council Scholarship Key was introduced in 1917.
Kappa Psi Fraternity terminated with the separation of the two professional groups, medicine and pharmacy, at the 1924 Grand Council Convention. It was agreed the reorganization would become effective on January 15, 1925. At the time of the reorganization there were 32 active medical collegiate chapters, 27 active pharmacy collegiate chapters, and five active medical-pharmacy chapters.
The separation of the two groups was not a simple matter, although the rather limited records of the 1924 Convention would seem to indicate that such was the case. Regardless of the problems experienced during the 26 years the union had existed, it must be acknowledged that the two professions created in Kappa Psi an outstanding professional fraternity.
The pharmacy group retained the Greek letters “Kappa” and “Psi” and the new organization was designated as Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity. The medical organization became Theta Kappa Psi Medical Fraternity. The pharmacy group retained the offices of Grand Regent and Grand Vice Regent and the name of the journal, The Mask.