While appearing to be a relatively new college fraternity, Alpha Delta can trace its history back to the foundations of another organization, the Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity. Alpha Phi Omega was founded at Lafayette College Easton Pennsylvania on December 16, 1925 and was founded in the fellowship of the principles of the Boy Scouts of America. Alpha Phi Omega, as described by its founder Frank Reed Horton, wanted to help young people the right start in life by holding up before them a standard of manhood that would withstand the test of time and help the nations of the world settle their disputes in a more sensible and legal manner than war. This organization would go one to become one of the largest Greek lettered college organizations in the United States, expanding to over 500 colleges and universities nationwide.
But during the tumultuous period of the 1970’s, the United States passed the title IX educational amendments, which in effect mandated that single gendered collegiate professional and community service organizations must become coeducational. At the time, Alpha Phi Omega was an all male national service fraternity and many felt that Alpha Phi Omega did not apply to the specific provisions of these amendments. Debate raged over the correct course of action for Alpha Phi Omega and many attempts were made for Alpha Phi Omega to maintain its existing organizational status. But ultimately the fraternity responded to these events and during a narrow vote at the 1976 National Convention of Alpha Phi Omega, the fraternity voted to become coeducational in compliance with these new university rules and regulations. This caused a great deal of contention among many long established chapters across the United States, who felt that such a significant change was contrary to the principles upon which Alpha Phi Omega was founded and would adversely impact their active membership, alumni base, history, and existing local relationships. Reinforcing this point of fact, many of these chapters operated like traditional social organizations regardless of the service mandate of Alpha Phi Omega. Many of these chapters threatened to disassociate from the national fraternity if forced to go coeducational. But in order to preserve the fraternity as a whole, ‘A Gentleman’s Agreement’ was acknowledged providing that the national organization would not force existing chapters to admit women as members albeit all new chapters to the fraternity had too. These local chapters would come to be known as the all male chapters of Alpha Phi Omega and would continue to remain apart of Alpha Phi Omega for almost 30 years. Throughout this period, the all male chapters developed a unique subculture within Alpha Phi Omega, maintaining a tradition, culture, and heritage all to themselves.
Over the course of several decades, many legislative attempts were made internally within National Alpha Phi Omega to clarify national membership standards over a chapter’s right to self-determination, specifically targeting the all male chapters of Alpha Phi Omega to adopt coeducational membership. However for an extended period of time none of these attempts succeeded. 1998 was a particular period where these attempts ultimately failed. However, in July 2005, a Board of Directors Resolution was adopted attempting to clarify the National Fraternity’s membership policies by mandating coeducational membership. The all male chapters protested and demanded a vote on the matter at the national convention of the fraternity. However such resolution was narrowly upheld at the 2006 Alpha Phi Omega National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. The Gentleman’s Agreement of 1976 long maintaining the status of the all male chapters had ceased to exist. Implied within this action, the all male chapters would be forced to comply with the mandate or ultimately risk losing national organizational recognition.
Many of the surviving All Male Chapters of Alpha Phi Omega, including many alumni, feeling alienated and betrayed with their decades of loyal contributions marginalized decided to discuss their future. A meeting was convened within a hotel conference room in Louisville and many of the all male chapters decided to discuss their options. All announced their love and compassion to the organization they joined. But felt that compliance with the national mandate would equate to losing all that those that came before them long since fought for. After lengthy discussions and debate, these men came to the conclusion that all that they held so dear would be reorganized into a new organization to carry on their unique fraternal culture, heritage, and tradition, long since enjoyed. Later, in defiance of the 2006 legislative action, and in order to preserve their interpretation of their fraternity, the Sigma Xi Chapter at the University of Maine, the Zeta Theta Chapter of Drexel University, and the Pi Chi Chapter of Duquesne University decided to disassociate themselves from the National Organization and established a new fraternity, the Alpha Delta National Fraternity. This fraternity was later joined with the other all male chapters, the Psi Delta Chapter at the University of Maine at Machias and the Nu Mu Chapter at the University of Minnesota at Duluth.
The foundations of what would become the functional founding date of the Alpha Delta National Fraternity occurred on August 14th 2007 at the Henley Park Hotel in Washington DC where fourteen men representing four of the all male chapters agreed to pursue interest in a new national organization. All of these members announced their desire to maintain the unique fraternal heritage by which their predecessors long fought for since the events of 1976. All members in attendance adopted the Washington Convention Mission Statement and Alpha Delta was tentatively agreed to be the acting name of the new organization. Later conventions on November 17, 2007 in Boston Massachusetts and on January 25th 2008 in Philadelphia Pennsylvania established the new national organizations ritual, constitution, bylaws, symbolism, colors, and coat of arms. Later, the coat of arms was eventually redesigned and later again redesigned by Bart Brizee of the Sigma Xi Chapter at the University of Maine.
Despite many changes throughout the organization's long and storied history, Alpha Delta remains a fraternity of college men above all committed to service. Time may be the test for the fraternity. But regardless, Alpha Delta men will remain steadfast and committed to their convictions to help the world become a better place. By the principles of Leadership, Brotherhood, and Service, Alpha Delta will grow, Alpha Delta will thrive, and Alpha Delta will survive.