The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity was founded on February 19, 1852, by William H. Letterman and Charles P.T. Moore, two Jefferson College students in the hills of Western Pennsylvania. They had invited friends to create a brotherhood based on the great joy of serving others. They aimed to complement the university experience by “cultivating those humanities without which the educated man fails of his greatest usefulness.”

The fraternity flourished and expanded across the country. The first Grand Arch Council was held in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1855.

Originally known as the “Owl Club,” Phi Kappa Psi’s Oregon Alpha chapter was formed at the University of Oregon on January 5, 1919. Exactly two years later, they adopted the name Kappa Theta Chi. After unsuccessful previous attempts, Kappa Theta Chi petitioned the executive council of Phi Kappa Psi at their 1922 “midwinter” national fraternity meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, and a charter was at last granted. Oregon Alpha was installed in February 1923, and 54 members were initiated.

The Phi Kappa Psi Oregon Beta chapter was chartered in 1948 at Oregon State University.