Phi Kappa Psi was founded in 1852 in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, on the campus of Jefferson College by William Henry Letterman and Charles Page Thomas Moore. It forms the Jefferson Duo along with Phi Gamma Delta, which was founded in 1848, also at Jefferson College. Through long nights of caring for a sick friend during an outbreak of disease, the founders grew to appreciate their service, and decided to form an organization that would ensconce these ideals, and on the dreary night of 19 February 1852, the brotherhood of Phi Kappa Psi was born.
In the fall semester of 1983 at Illinois State University (ISU), a group of young men filled with entrepreneurial spirit grew frustrated with the social offerings of the college’s Greek Community. This small group consisted mostly of gentlemen from the Peoria area, among them Dave Salmon, Eric Easter, Jeff Kellogg, Steve Roegge. Familiar with the quality chapter of Phi Kappa Psi at the University of Illinois and in alignment with the ideals of Phi Kappa Psi, they sought to form their own chapter at ISU.
One of their first recruits was Bob Dytrych, the house’s eventual first President. Bob’s connections across campus and his talents as a natural recruiter became a catalyst for others to join this small group. When the group was recognized as a colony of Phi Kappa Psi in September 1983, the group had grown to about 20 young men.
Determined to succeed, this group was recognized as an affiliate of Phi Kappa Psi in December 1983, in near record time. However, recognition by the campus Interfraternity Council proved more challenging. Other groups were vying for recognition and the Council would accept but one group per year. As a result the group could not be recognized as Phi Kappa Psi on campus and used the Greek letters of Phi Gamma Psi as an alternative. In early 1985 Interfraternity Council acknowledgement was received. The Illinois Epsilon Chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity became official in March 1985.
-Todd Curtis, Co-Founder of Illinois Epsilon