Delta Lambda Phi
Founded October 15, 1986
Washington, D.C.
Founder Vernon L. Strickland, III
Type Social
Scope International
Motto Making Our Presence Make A Difference
Colors Green, Gold, and White
Symbol The Centaur
Flower Yellow Rose
Chapters 27 Active Chapters, 3 Colonies
Headquarters 2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, No. 355
Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Delta Lambda Phi (ΔΛΦ) is an international social fraternity for gay, bisexual, trans, and progressive men. It offers a social environment and structure similar to other Greek-model college fraternities. Delta Lambda Phi was founded on October 15, 1986 by Vernon L. Strickland, III, in Washington, D.C. and incorporated in the same city on September 10, 1987.


Founded by gay men for all men, the mission of Delta Lambda Phi is to enhance the quality of life among men irrespective of sexual orientation or gender expression by providing dignified and purposeful social, service and recreational activities.[1]

The three purposes of the fraternity are:

  • To develop dignified and purposeful social, service, and recreational activities for all men, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender expression,
  • To lead in determining the rights and privileges of individuals in society; and,
  • To present a strong and positive image, which respects the diversity of all individuals.

These broad purposes make Delta Lambda Phi unique among organizations geared toward gay men. Other social options within the gay community may be superficial or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, overtly political. Delta Lambda Phi, however, emphasizes the creation of strong, long-lasting friendships between its members, as well as between the fraternity and the community-at-large. It is the unique experiences of a Greek organization that often make such friendships possible.


Delta Lambda Phi's membership is open to all men, regardless of sexuality, gender expression, or gender identity.

To be eligible to join Delta Lambda Phi, a candidate must live in close proximity to an active chapter and be at least 18 years of age (or 17 years of age) and a student at the college or university where the Chapter is recognized. Individual chapters may adopt additional membership requirements based on student status, as well as other policies set by their university or by their own membership.

Like most social fraternities, recruitment and new member education are integral parts of the DLP experience. Once New Members complete their education experience--and pass the necessary assessment of understanding--full brotherhood is conferred. Once a Brother, the DLP experience becomes centered on social, service, and recreational activities, as well as recruitment and training of new members. Delta Lambda Phi strictly prohibits hazing.

Symbols and Traditions

The fraternity's mascot is the lambda centaur, which is modeled after Chiron, the son of Cronus and Philyra, and the only immortal centaur. Unlike other centaurs in Greek mythology, who were regarded as bestial and monstrous, Chiron was gentle and wise. He was famed as the tutor of Achilles, Asclepius, Heracles, Jason, Theseus, and others. After his death, Chiron became the constellation Sagittarius.

The heraldic crest of Delta Lambda Phi contains eleven symbolic elements, each of which carries a special meaning. For example, the burning lamp in the center of the crest represents "enlightenment and ancient justice." The very same lamp is also depicted on the fraternity's pledge pin, which is hexagonal in shape. The hexagon was selected because it is a tessellating geometric figure, and when closely grouped, hexagons form a honeycomb-like array. Like the ideal pledge class, hexagons grouped together are significantly stronger than when they stand alone.

The fraternity's colors are green, and gold, although white does appear in reference to the fraternity's alumni members. The fraternity flower is the yellow rose, long recognized for its connotations of friendship.

The fraternity's song is titled "Delta Phi" and is commonly known as "There Once Was a Mighty Lambda Man." There are two distinct melodies to which the song is traditionally sung. The first is a somber ceremonial version, reminiscent of "[When Johnny Comes Marching Home]." The second is a festive toast version loosely based on an Australian folk song. Both of these versions utilize the same set of lyrics. The official song has three verses, but every chapter is encouraged to write a "4th verse" to commemorate the founding of their individual chapter. At special events, a "long version" of the song is occasionally sung by including every "4th verse" of every chapter present.

A second fraternity song, called "The Delphi Hymn," applies a stirring, original set of lyrics to Beethoven's "Ode to Joy."

The formal motto of the fraternity is "Lambda Men are Making Their Presence Make A Difference." The informal mottos of the fraternity are "Party with a Lambda Man!" and "Delta Lambda Phi - Founded by gay men for all men."

Organizational Values

Recently adopted Fraternity-wide, Delta Lambda Phi focuses on the values of Excellence, Integrity, Diversity, Justice, Service, Friendship, and Commitment.[2]


"We strive to accomplish all goals in our path with honor and humility. We hold ourselves to a higher standard, challenging ourselves daily to make the right choices and not necessarily the easy ones. We seek this not only for ourselves, but also for our fellow Brothers. Excellence means acting with purpose and as gentlemen to achieve our fullest potential."


"In the face of a mercurial world, we shall act with consistency and honesty towards ourselves and others. Our statements are not spoken hastily or in vain, for they are the manifestation of our values. Similarly, the choices we make determine the standards to which we are held. Integrity means that we act with authenticity and take responsibility for what we do and what we believe."


"We foster a culture of acceptance and respect for the individuality of all people. When tempered by humility, we forge a space for growth through our varied identities. Myriad experiences enlighten our view of the world and create a mosaic that is greater than the sum of its parts. Diversity means that we are strongest when multiple voices shape our community."


"Though we do not live in an ideal world, we courageously work to challenge the status quo. We envision a society based upon equity and self-determination. To this end, we build supportive relationships among individuals and organizations. Justice means we empower communities beyond our own for the benefit of all."


"We are connected to our campus and our neighborhoods. We do not exist in isolation. As such our efforts are not taken for our benefit alone, but for the benefit of our community. Service means that we appreciate and give back to the people, institutions and the larger world surrounding us."


"We extend our hands in friendship to all we come across. We understand that it is our perspective that separates us from the person next to us, and nothing else. Friendship means embracing those with different views and working to understand all differences."


"Finally, Brotherhood is a commitment we make for our entire lives. We connect ourselves to a relationship that flows from each Brother to the whole Fraternity, and from the whole Fraternity to each Brother, shaping the ideal that once a brother, always a brother. Commitment means that we strive to live out the Fraternity’s values and its rituals in our daily lives and that we stand by one another in times of need."

Structure and Policies

Chapters and Colonies

Delta Lambda Phi chapters are assigned a sequential Greek letter designation according to the order in which they were chartered. The oldest chapter is the Alpha Chapter, located in Washington, D.C. Subsequent chapters were assigned successive Greek letters of the Greek alphabet, from Beta, Gamma, Delta, etc., through to the last letter of the Greek alphabet, Omega. After all single-letter designations were used, chapters were assigned double-letter combinations in the fashion "Alpha Alpha," "Alpha Beta," "Alpha Gamma," etc., until "Alpha Psi" was reached. The designation "Alpha Omega" was reserved as a "Chapter Eternal" for Brothers who have passed. The binary lettering scheme has since continued through the Beta double-letter combinations and is now in the Gamma combinations (like "Gamma Epsilon").

In all chapters, each successive pledge class is also assigned a sequential letter designation. A chapter's founding pledge class is referred to as the Alpha Class, with successive pledge classes being assigned letters according to the same binary scheme used for chapter letter designations. The members of all pledge classes having completed their pledge education while the group was still a colony, and who became brothers when the chapter was chartered, are referred to as "Charter Members." Typically, these members include the first three classes of the chapter, but in some cases may include more than the first three.

The members of the Alpha Class of the Alpha Chapter were initiated as the first brothers of Delta Lambda Phi on April 10, 1987.

Below is a list of the fraternity's active chapters:

Delta Lambda Phi also has several active colonies. A colony is considered a "chapter-in-training." Colonies are typically groups of men who have recruited and educated their first few pledge classes and who are still in the process of proving they are capable of sustaining an active chapter. Colonies do not have greek letter designations and are instead identified by their city or school. Colonies cannot perform their own ceremonies (Brothers from other chapters come to assist with this), and they cannot initiate their pledges as Brothers until the colony is officially chartered as a chapter. At that time, the new chapter is given its Greek letter designation, as well as all other rights of a chapter. Below are the fraternity's active colonies:

Annual Convention

Delta Lambda Phi is governed by its Annual Convention, which is officially the highest authority in the fraternity. Convention is held annually and, as a body, comprises two members from every active chapter, as well as alumni representatives and the fraternity's board of directors. The first Convention was held in 1990 in San Francisco, California, and one has been held every year since.

The location of Convention changes from year to year and rotates between the regions. Below is a list of every Annual Convention and the city in which it was held:

  • 1990: San Francisco, CA (First Convention)
  • 1991: Las Vegas, NV
  • 1992: Minneapolis, MN
  • 1993: Long Beach, CA
  • 1994: Washington, D.C.
  • 1995: San Jose, CA
  • 1996: Las Vegas, NV
  • 1997: Atlanta, GA
  • 1998: Minneapolis, MN
  • 1999: Denton, TX
  • 2000: San Diego, CA
  • 2001: Washington, D.C.
  • 2002: Athens, OH
  • 2003: Las Vegas, NV
  • 2004: Minneapolis, MN
  • 2005: Denver, CO
  • 2006: Seattle, WA
  • 2007: Chicago, IL
  • 2008: Miami, FL
  • 2009: San Francisco, CA
  • 2010: Columbus, OH
  • 2011: Philadelphia, PA
  • 2012: Portland, OR
  • 2013: Minneapolis, MN
  • 2014: Tampa, FL
  • 2015: Phoenix, AZ
  • 2016: Austin, TX
  • 2017: Ottawa, ON
  • 2018: Denver, CO

Board of Directors

The fraternity's Board of Directors (BOD) governs the fraternity between conventions and consists of 9 elected members, 1 appointed member, and 3 ex officio members. It is chaired by the Trustee, currently Br. Michael Beavers (Delta Chapter) who was elected by the 2017 Convention. Previous Trustees, in order of service, are:

  • Vernon L. Strickland III (Founder, Alpha Chapter)
  • Will Collins (Mu Chapter)
  • Kevin O'Keefe (Alpha Chapter)
  • David L. West (Iota Chapter)
  • Andrew M. Burnett (Alpha Pi Chapter)
  • Ernie J. Hall (Mu Chapter)
  • Dr, Jeffrey M. Thompson (Delta Chapter)
  • Phil Hernandez (Beta Lambda Chapter)
  • Eric Van Sant (Alpha Psi Chapter)

Completing the Board of Directors are the elected offices of Secretary and Treasurer. Delta Lambda Phi also recognizes those board members who have served the fraternity with distinction as a member of the board for ten or more years with the honor of being a "Life Member of the Board." Br. Dave West, Br. Ernie Hall, and Br. Jeff Thompson are the only members who hold this distinction. Between these 3, they have 2 votes in the Board of Directors.

Fraternity Office

An Executive Director is also appointed by the Board of Directors. The Executive Director acts as the CEO of the Fraternity Office, whose primary duties include, among others, the day-to-day operations of the Fraternity. Senior Staff within the Fraternity Office include the Chief Operations Officer, Chief Legal Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Fraternal Services Officer, Chief Information Officer, and Chief Alumni Services Officer.

The fraternity recognizes three broad geographic regions—Eastern, Central, and Western. The Eastern Region comprises most of the eastern seaboard states. The broad Central Region stretches from just west of the Appalachians to the states east of the Rocky Mountains. The Western Region begins in the Rockies and stretches to the Pacific Coast. Each region is overseen by a Regional Director, with Regional Coordinators working to help maintain relations with the chapters and colonies. Each Regional Director reports directly to the Chief Fraternal Services Officer. Each region typically hosts two regional conferences, one in the spring, and one in the fall. Like the location of Convention, regional conference locations are generally rotated.

Delta Lambda Phi Alumni Association

Delta Lambda Phi has an alumni association [1] that is governed by a committee of the Board of Directors to which the association elects the President and At-Large members. This board is comprised of a President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Secretary, and three Regional Alumni Representatives (Eastern, Central, and Western). The President of the DLPAA also serves on the Board of Directors of Delta Lambda Phi as a non-voting member.

The Delta Lambda Phi Alumni Association (DLPAA) was founded on July 21, 2003, and lists 42 brothers as it's Founding Members. Since January 2004, the DLPAA has sponsored an annual alumni retreat, rebranded as White & Gold Weekend in 2016. This retreat provides alumni from around the country an opportunity to get acquainted or reacquainted. These alumni retreats have been hosted in the following cities:

  • January 2004: Miami, FL
  • January 2005: Santa Fe, NM
  • January 2006: Tampa, FL
  • January 2007: Lake Tahoe, NV
  • February 2008: Las Vegas, NV
  • January 2010: New Orleans, LA
  • February 2013: San Diego, CA
  • February 2015: New Orleans, LA
  • February 2016: Las Vegas, NV
  • February 2017: Orlando, FL

The DLPAA also allows for the creation of local alumni associations. Two distinct types of local alumni associations are recognized; Chapter-based alumni associations and City-based alumni associations. Chapter-based alumni associations draw membership from Brothers who all come from the same chapter (regardless of where they reside today), and are formed primarily to support that active chapter. City-based alumni associations draw membership from a particular town or city, and are formed primarily for social purposes.

The Delphi Foundation

Delta Lambda Phi also has a separately incorporated 501(c)3 educational foundation, The Delphi Foundation [2]. The current president of The Delphi Foundation is Marshall Smith (Beta Alpha Chapter).

The Delphi Foundation was established shortly after Delta Lambda Phi by its founder, Vernon L. Strickland, III, Esq. Other founding members of Delphi were: Lou Camera (Iota Chapter), Paul Dattillio (Alpha Chapter), Kevin O'Keefe (Alpha Chapter), Wade Price (Alpha Chapter), and David West (Iota Chapter). It was created as an autonomous and independent non-profit corporation to allow charitable, educational, and philanthropic efforts that were in support of Delta Lambda Phi and met the controls and oversight required by the IRS for 501(c)3 entities. In the past, Delphi has conducted several donation campaigns to members and alumni of the Fraternity that brought in a limited set of donations that funded a limited program for educational grants for cash-strapped Brothers to attend annual national conventions and sponsor leadership development programming.

The "Hands-Off" Policy

Because of the unique nature of Delta Lambda Phi, the organization observes a strict Brother/Pledge relations policy. While the words 'gay fraternity' may tempt the imaginations of some, sexual relationships between Brothers and Pledges are forbidden. The policy governing these relationships is the National Brother-Pledge Relations Policy; known informally as the "Hands-Off Policy." The policy has existed in various forms since the early years of the fraternity, and it was codified and adopted by the DLP National Convention in 1998. Many chapters and colonies also adopt their own local hands-off policy consistent with the national policy, often intended expand or clarify it.

The National Brother-Pledge Relations Policy states that Brothers and Pledges may not engage in "extra-fraternal relations" during the course of the rush and pledge education periods. The policy ensures that bid distribution remains fair, that pledge education remains focused on platonic fraternal bonding, and that the risk of sexual harassment is virtually eliminated. The policy also bolsters chapter morale and enables the Fraternity to uphold high standards of fairness and dignity.

No national policy exists prohibiting two members from engaging in extra-fraternal relations after they have both become Brothers. Because the student-teacher relationship that existed during the pledge education process no longer exists, all Brothers are regarded as peers and are simply encouraged to exercise their best judgment.

External links

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