What is Pi Kappa Alpha?
Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity is a Greek letter, secret, college, social fraternity. It is composed of men who share similar ideals of friendship, truth, honor, and loyalty. The Fraternity's ideals are expressed in the written words and symbols of a secret ritual. These ideals and members' ability to maintain the visions of the Fraternity's founders are the great moral legacy of Pi Kappa Alpha.
Pi Kappa Alpha was founded at the University of Virginia on March 1, 1868. At the time, the University of Virginia was the fifth largest school in the United States. Only Harvard, Yale, Cornell and Michigan were bigger. The University of Virginia is considered the first truly American state university because it was the first to be established totally free from religious control
It all started in Room 47 West Range when Frederick Southgate Taylor turned to Littleton Waller Tazewell, his cousin and roommate, for help in starting a new fraternity. Also present was James Benjamin Sclater, Jr., a schoolmate of Tazewell, and Sclater's roommate Robertson Howard. Those four men voted to add a fifth to their group and chose Julian Edward Wood. Although history is unclear, William Alexander, probably a friend of Sclater, Jr., was proposed for membership and was admitted as a founder. The first initiate was Augustus Washington Knox.
The essence of the Founders' vision for Pi Kappa Alpha can be found in its Preamble. A committee was first suggested by Brother William Alexander "to draw up a statement of the origin and the organization of the Fraternity." The committee was composed of brothers Robertson Howard and Littleton Waller Tazewell. The resulting statement is now referred to as the Preamble:
For the establishment of friendship on a firmer and more lasting basis; for the promotion of brotherly love and kind feeling; for the mutual benefit and advancement of the interests of those with whom we sympathize and deem worthy of our regard; We have resolved to form a fraternity, believing that, thus we can most successfully accomplish our object.
Julian Edward Wood
James Benjamin Sclater, Jr.
Frederick Southgate Taylor
Littleton Waller Tazewell (Bradford)