History of Phi Kappa Sigma
Samuel Brown Wylie Mitchell, along with six other "Founding Fathers," chartered the Phi Kappa Sigma fraternity in 1850 at the University of Pennsylvania. Fifty-three years later, the Alpha Mu chapter at M.I.T. was founded on October 16th.
The current chapter house at 530 Beacon Street, built in 1908, was purchased by Alpha Mu in 1916, the same year M.I.T. moved its campus across the Charles River to Cambridge.
The Alpha Mu chapter witnessed some hard times in its early days. Only four men returned to represent Phi Kappa Sigma in the fall of 1904, but they immediately began an active campaign for new members. At this time, the chapter had little to attract the prospective candidate - no chapter house, no established reputation, nothing but the friendship of a few enthusiastic, hard-working men and the prestige of the International Fraternity; but these proved to be enough. By the following spring, the membership had increased to thirteen.
Until Christmas 1905 the chapter rented a room on Huntington Avenue for a meeting place. Proving inadequate for its growing needs, the chapter soon secured several rooms at 262 Newbury Street, in the heart of the fraternity district. Several men lived there during the spring term that year. This was the first important step toward establishing the reputation of Phi Kappa Sigma at M.I.T.
For more than fifty years, the active members of the Alpha Mu chapter of Phi Kappa Sigma have been advised and guided by their Alumni Association chaired by long-time President William Denhard '42 (to whom their dining room is now dedicated). Denhard recently stepped down and Keith Kallberg '68 was elected to fill his post. In past years, Alpha Mu brothers have benefited greatly from a strong connection to alumni. Many brothers attend alumni events such as Founder's Day to keep in touch and network with others already working at companies in which they are interested.
Keeping in touch with alumni allowed Alpha Mu to raise millions of dollars for the renovations to the chapter house in 1996. A fifth story including a skylight lounge and rooms with balconies was added to the historic Back Bay residence. An elevator was added to bring the old house up to par with new building codes. Revitalized and restored, Alpha Mu now boasts one of the most beautiful Boston residences of M.I.T.
As demanding as MIT academics are, we at Skullhouse - perhaps for the sake of our own sanity - make time to relax. The great part about living in a house like ours is that there's always someone to hang out with and something to do, whether it be play pool in the basement, watch Family Guy or 24 on our big-screen tv, jam with other musicians, or even just chill in someone's room.
Every Thursday, we host DOM, a low-key social event that is a great opportunity to unwind in the middle of the week and socialize with other brothers and guests. Our DOMs usually have a theme, which can be anything from "I Love the 90s" to "Mardi Gras," complete with decorations, snacks, music, and occasionally, costumes. No matter the theme, DOM is the perfect midweek study break.
Of course we also throw the occasional party so that the brothers can show off their moves on the dance floor. It's music loud and women warm, folks. We've had live bands; we've given stuff away; we've never auctioned ourselves off, but we do take suggestions.
Four times each year we host elegant formals. The night begins at the house with hors d'oeuvres and live music, followed by a gourmet dinner cooked by our chef Gerry. After dinner, we like to hit up something special to top off the night, anything from a cruise on the Charles River to an original PhiKap production, but it always promises a good time.
In short, despite all of MIT's academic rigor, we find the time to socialize and have a good time. Drop by sometime and you'll see what we mean!
Phi Kappa Sigma is a fraternal association committed to promoting the intellectual growth and development of its brothers. The Alpha Mu Chapter at MIT is especially dedicated to ensuring the academic success of all its members by fostering a progressive environment, supported by outgoing upperclassmen and a charter built upon offering one's fellow brother help in any endeavor. As students of what is arguably the world's most prestigious technical institution, the brothers of Skullhouse take much pride in their pursuit of scholarship, but by the same measure also understand the concept of achieving balance and are active socially and within the community.
You will always find brothers studying and hacking away at problem sets in the Chapter Room which affords them ample workspace and a quiet atmosphere. The MIT Chapter of Phi Kappa Sigma has consistently ranked in the top three for academic performance among its national and international chapters. Its brothers are determined to continue this trend by advocating the value of education and its importance to society.