Chi Psi Fraternity was founded on May 20, 1841 at Union College in Schenectady, New York. It was the eighth Greek-letter society in the country and the fifth to be founded at Union. However, Chi Psi was the first Greek-letter society to be founded upon brotherhood instead of literary goals.


Far and away our most prominent founding brother is Philip Spencer. Within one month of arriving at Union College, Spencer founded Chi Psi Fraternity with nine other men. Shortly thereafter, Spencer succumbed to his love of adventure and joined the navy.


In 1842 Philip Spencer and two other men were accused of conspiring to commit mutiny aboard the training ship the Brig-of-War Somers . While the evidence against all three men was dubious at best, the men were hanged on the Somers on December 1, 1842. They were never formally tried.


The death of Philip Spencer has been a rallying memory for Chi Psis ever since.

National History

Philip Spencer

A sketch of Brig-of-War Somers