In popular culture, brothers have an unfortunate reputation for being drunk, rude, and sexist – but the truth is, many top brotherhoods offer deeply meaningful experiences and close relationships that resonate for a lifetime. A 2014 Gallup poll found that men who join fraternities are not only happier than their non-Greek counterparts, they are also less stressed about money, healthier, more engaged at work, and happier in their social relationships. And with alumni, including reportedly 18 US presidents, 85 percent of Supreme Court justices since 1910, 76 percent of senators, and 85 percent of Fortune 500 executives, men who pledge to be in top society are also men.
It is almost impossible to choose the “best” brotherhood. Instead, we did the numbers to see how popular brotherhoods of men stack up within the North American Inter-Brotherhood Conference.
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Most Celebrity Alums: Alpha Phi Alpha
Founded at Cornell University in 1906, Alpha Phi Alpha, the country’s first African-American intercollegiate fraternity with Greek letters, has made a remarkable record of having a prestigious program of academic excellence and political and social leadership. Famous Alpha Phi Alpha members include Martin Luther King Jr., NAACP founder WEB Du Bois, Frederick Douglass, Lionel Ritchie, Walt Frazier, Jesse Owens, Judge Thurgood Marshall, ESPN sports caster Stuart Scott, and the Oscar winner Moonlight Director Barry Jenkins. More than 200,000 men have been initiated since its inception, with 706 chapters around the world and more than 850,000 hours of service.
Best leadership program: Pi Kappa Alpha
The Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity was founded at the University of Virginia in 1868 and has 220 chapters and colonies across North America, over 285,000 members, and approximately 16,000 students. PIKE University – the Brotherhood’s leadership training program with nine annual events across the country – has over 3,300 attendees, while the PIKE Foundation annually awards grants and scholarships of over $ 223,000 for the events. Hechtmänner pride themselves on “integrity, intellect and high moral character” with famous members like Tim McGraw, Scott Van Pelt, Bobby Bowden, Jim Parsons, Karl Rove, Seth Rogen and Eric Stonestreet.
Most chapters for students: Tau Kappa Epsilon
With 246 active chapters and colonies in North America, Tau Kappa Epsilon has more student chapters than any other fraternity. Founded in 1899 at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, the fraternity has more than 278,000 initiated members. Founded for men of personal worth and character (to build “Better Men for a Better World”), TKE has raised nearly $ 2.5 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital since 2009.
Largest: Sigma Alpha Epsilon
With more than 336,000 lifetime members, Sigma Alpha Epsilon is the largest fraternity in the country. SAE was founded at the University of Alabama in 1856 and has approximately 13,500 student / college members. Alumni include Troy Aikman, Nick Lachey, William Faulkner, Beau Bridges, and President William McKinley. As a pledged fraternity, SAE runs a cornerstone program called the True Gentleman Experience, where members are developed personally and professionally each year with different emphases (including loyalty, friendship, and honor).
Best vision for the future: Sigma Phi Epsilon
Sigma Phi Epsilon’s Balanced Man program provides valuable structure, support, and guidance to not only undergraduate students. It also removes the promise of the fraternity as a whole, which means that all members – both freshmen and seniors – will be treated equally. Founded in 1901 at Richmond College (now the University of Richmond), the fraternity currently has 221 chapters, 14,000 members, and more than 325,000 lifetime members.
Eldest: The Kappa Alpha Society
The oldest traditional Greek fraternity in the country, the Kappa Alpha Society was founded at Union College in Schenectady, New York, in 1825. (The Phi Beta Kappa Society was founded in 1776, but is not a member of the North-American Interfraternity Conference.) Today there are only nine active chapters in the United States and Canada, including Cornell, McGill, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Most philanthropic: Sigma Chi
Founded in 1855 at Miami University in Ohio, Sigma Chi is closely associated with the Huntsman Cancer Institute, the sixth floor of which is officially known as the Sigma Chi International Fraternity Sixth Floor. To date, the Brotherhood has raised more than $ 3 million for the cancer charity – more than $ 1 million were donated in 2014-2015 alone – and they have pledged to raise $ 10 million by the end of 2022 collect (probably the largest charitable pledge to a single recipient in Greek history).
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