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The national collegiate fraternity Delta Tau Delta was founded at Bethany College in 1858, arising from indignation about a rigged vote in a literary contest. At the time, Bethany College had three literary societies, one of which was the Neotrophian Literary Society. The societies provided a forum for students to compete in poetry, public speaking, and essay writing. Within the Neotrophian, a group of students was trying to control who won the oratory prize. Eight students in the Neotrophian, angered by this move, formed Delta Tau Delta, whose purpose was to return integrity to the literary society.

Delta Tau Delta did not set out to be a national fraternity, but in its early years, it granted charters to nearby West Liberty Academy (later West Liberty University), West Virginia University, and Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. By 1861, Bethany’s Delta Tau Delta founding members had graduated or left to serve in the armed forces. Because the original chapter dissolved, the Jefferson College chapter assumed control of the fraternity. In 1867, Delta Tau Delta revived its Bethany Chapter, which remained active until 1895. Seventy years later, 13 students at Bethany formed a new local fraternity and petitioned to become a chapter of Delta Tau Delta. Meanwhile, new chapters of the fraternity had organized at colleges and universities throughout the country.

In 2016, WVU suspended its Delta Tau Delta chapter after members filmed in the fraternity house what was considered a sexist audition video for the “The Real World” television series. There currently are no plans to reinstate the fraternity at WVU.

By 2024, Delta Tau Delta had initiated some 170,000 men over its history. The fraternity has an estimated 10,000 undergraduate members in 133 chapters and colonies, and eight regional alumni chapters. In 1978, the fraternity renovated its original house on Bethany’s campus. A year later, the Delta Tau Delta Founders House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Read the National Register nomination for the Delta Tau Delta Founders House.

Last Revised on January 05, 2024

Cite This Article

e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia "Delta Tau Delta." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 05 January 2024. Web. 18 April 2024.


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