Delta Upsilon
Initiation Ritual


The Pledging Ceremony
This will be the new associate member’s first significant experience with the Fraternity. The chapter should make every effort to leave a positive and lasting impression by organizing a positive and meaningful event. Because Delta Upsilon is non-secret, we can share our ceremonies and rituals with others.
This also can be an excellent way to introduce the new associate member class and the chapter to campus administrators and faculty, the campus community, parents, and alumni. Proper planning is critical to ensuring a positive and meaningful ceremony.
The Ceremony
The Associate Member Educator and the Vice President of Membership Recruitment first see to the arrangements in the ceremony room, including setting pledge pins out, meeting with the associate members, explaining the declarations, and confirming the pronunciation of each man’s name. They explain the flow of the ceremony and all procedural instructions regarding the ceremony itself.
Once all of the members are present, the Associate Member Educator and the Vice President of Membership Recruitment lead the associate members into the room, while the brothers sing the “Delta Upsilon Ode.” After the song is finished and the associate members have reached their seats, the President instructs everyone to be seated while the President remains standing in front of the hall behind the table containing the pledge pins and the honor code that the associate members will sign.
President: To perpetuate the principles of our Fraternity, we aspire to add to the membership of the … Chapter Name Chapter of Delta Upsilon, those men who we believe will promote and maintain our ideals. Since membership in Delta Upsilon is for life, we wish to add only those men who will maintain our ideals throughout their lives, and who will be leaders in our society.
You, gentlemen, have been invited to pledge Delta Upsilon, an honor bestowed upon few men. During your pledgeship you will learn more about our Fraternity, this chapter, and the members assembled here. You will have the opportunity to decide whether you desire to become affiliated with Delta Upsilon for life.
In like manner, the members of this chapter will measure whether you meet the high standards for membership in our Fraternity.
During your pledgeship you will learn the history of Delta Upsilon, the first non-secret fraternity, founded in 1834 at Williams College . Our Founders believed that the existing secret societies were undemocratic and tended toward aristocracy.
Today, being non-secret means that our principles and ideals are open to public scrutiny and inspection, allowing others to judge whether we are living up to our own expectations. These important fundamental ideals have allowed Delta Upsilon to flourish continually since 1834, and to continue building into the thriving international fraternity we are today. Our Four Founding Principles: the Promotion of Friendship, the Diffusion of Liberal Culture, the Development of Character, and the Advancement of Justice will be explained to you during your pledgship. Our motto will become yours: Dikaia Upotheke, Justice Our Foundation. Delta Upsilon seeks to select its members solely upon merit. We continue to hold this philosophy foremost in our practices and in our evaluation of prospective members. We believe each of you has the character and merit to join the men who have perpetuated the ideals of our Fraternity.
If an inspirational address is to be given during the ceremony, the President should now introduce the alumnus member or guest who will give the address.
President: During your pledgeship we require that you take an active interest in college and Fraternity activities, perform the duties assigned by your chapter, and fulfill your initiation
The Associate Member Educator will now read those requirements.
At this time, the Associate Member Educator reads in full the chapter's initiation requirements and the chapter’s honor code. At the conclusion, he will ask the associate members to stand.
Associate Member Educator: Will the associate members please stand?
President: Gentlemen, after hearing the principles of Delta Upsilon and the requirements for initiation by this chapter, now is the time to affirm your desire to become associated with our Fraternity.
If you share our principles and ideals, you will come forward when your name is called, sign the honor code before me, and receive the pledge pin, which will signify you are a pledge of our Fraternity.
Remember always that it is the property of our chapter, and as such you will wear it with pride, and with the anticipation that upon completion of your pledgeship and initiation requirements, you will become a duly initiated member of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity.
The Vice President of Membership Recruitment will read the name of each associate member. Each will come forward in turn and sign the honor code. Each associate member will then walk over to the Associate Member Educator and be presented with his pledge pin after which he will return to his seat and remain standing, facing the President. When all have signed, the President will instruct the associate members to turn to face the members and guests.
President: Brothers and guests, it is my pleasure to present to you these newest associate members of the … Chapter Name Chapter of Delta Upsilon Fraternity.
Here those in attendance should sing “Hail, Delta Upsilon”, as the officers lead the associate members ceremoniously out of the room, with the President remaining in the front of the hall.
It is appropriate after the song is concluded that the President make final announcements concerning a follow-up reception or other activities, and express his thanks to those in attendance.
The Initiation Ritual
Rite I

The room in which Rite I takes place shall have a table at the front, with the Roll Book open upon it, and chairs for the candidates and Examiner and Chief Marshal, if desired. The Chief Marshal shall assemble the candidates in another room conveniently located. From there he shall conduct them into the chamber for Rite I, after which the Examiner shall enter. At the Examiner’s direction, all should then be seated.
If desired, there may be as many Marshals as candidates; in which case a designated Marshal shall escort each candidate to the room for Rite I, and later to the Initiation Hall.
Chief Marshal: Brother Examiner, these men, who have accepted the fellowship we offer, now present themselves for admission into our brotherhood. They are ready to receive instruction in the solemn and irrevocable pledges which they are about to take.
Examiner: It is fitting that you receive instruction in these pledges, so laden with responsibility and fertile in opportunity. They bring to you life-long relations of friendship and of brotherhood, with duties you will not easily avoid, and with privileges you can receive on no other terms. This Fraternity will serve as your college home; those who dwell here will be your brothers, your counselors, and your protectors. Their influence will help to mold your character and your future. You rightly ask much of a brotherhood to which you give yourselves without impediment or reserve. They rightly ask of you not to surrender yourselves without full realization of the meaning and finality of the pledges you are to take.
Before proceeding to such instruction, however, it will first be necessary to make certain preliminary declarations.
Chief Marshal: Do you on your honor declare that you are members of no college fraternity, and are pledged to none but this? If so, answer “I do” after your name is called.
Then the Chief Marshal shall read each name, to which the candidate shall reply: I do.
Chief Marshal: Do you also on your honor declare that you entertain no sentiment toward any member of this Chapter that would prevent you from maintaining cordial and brotherly relations with him? If so, answer “I do” after your name is called.
Then shall the Chief Marshal read the names as before, to which each candidate shall reply: I do.
Examiner: Of those who would enter our Fraternity we ask two things—that they know our ideals, and that they pledge themselves to help us realize those ideals. We have instructed you in the history and the principles of our brotherhood. We have told you of the early secret fraternities, of the evil that attended their control of student affairs, and of the sentiment hostile to themselves, which they bred. We have explained the origin of the anti-secret societies at Williams, Union, Hamilton , and Amherst , and of the coalition between them, which, in 1847, marked the vigorous advance of Delta Upsilon.
As time passed, the character of the secret societies so altered, that hostility toward them decreased. Delta Upsilon recognized this happier period by adopting the principle of non-secrecy in place of anti-secrecy. This modification of our ancient attitude must not be misunderstood. It meant no less hatred of evil practices in secret societies; it served to acknowledge the disappearance of those practices, and sprang from a logical devotion to our basic principle taught in the motto of our Fraternity – DIKAIA UPOTHEKE- Justice, our Foundation.
Our first exercise in Justice, the protest against the secret societies, served its purpose and is no longer necessary, but the battles of Justice are infinite, and her champions are ever needed to serve her cause both in the college and in the world beyond. To forward the ends of enlightened equity demands knowledge and sympathy: the broad mind and the large heart. It is man's work, to be done best by those who have enjoyed the twofold education of intellect and of character.
We have therefore, formed ourselves into a Fraternity in order to advance justice, promote friendship, develop character, maintain and diffuse liberal culture, and to promote intellectual, moral, and social improvement.
After a brief pause the Examiner shall proceed: We have expounded to you our ideals. Because we believe them to be your ideals also, we bring you to your initiation, wherein you must pledge your allegiance to Delta Upsilon, you must promise to be faithful in every relation of brotherhood, and you must solemnly declare, before many witnesses, your determination to stand for the principles of our Fraternity. And you must reflect that the spoken pledge is without any purpose unless your life also exemplifies your words. Therefore, consider carefully, that you may approach not unadvisedly to your initiation. The vows, once taken, are irrevocable. If you are not in thorough sympathy with our ideals, if you are at all uncertain in your desire to become a member of this Fraternity, you have now a last opportunity to declare yourself.
After a brief pause the Examiner shall proceed: As a manifestation of your willingness to accept the pledges required of members of this Fraternity, you will now inscribe your name within this Roll Book, containing those promises, which you are soon to make in the presence of our Brotherhood.
Here, the candidates should advance when his name is called again by the Chief Marshal and sign the Roll Book. As each candidate signs, the Examiner shall retrieve each candidate’s pledge pin, either by receiving it in a cup or bowl, or by removing it from the candidate’s shirt.
This concludes Rite I of the Initiation Ritual. At the conclusion of this ceremony, the Chief Marshal and his assistants, if there are any, accompanied by the Examiner bearing the Roll Book, shall lead the candidates to the designated place to prepare for their entrance into the Initiation Hall. Once inside the Initiation Hall, the Examiner shall place the Roll Book, with a bookmark in the place where the initiates have signed, on the table in front of the Master. All should proceed to their places and remain standing.
The Initiation Ritual
Rite II
While Rite I is in progress, the Chapter President shall call the members of the Fraternity to order in the Initiation Hall. When the Initiation Team enters with the candidates, all shall stand and sing the “Delta Upsilon Ode.”
Examiner: You may be seated.
As it is our duty to watch over the welfare of our Fraternity, that it may continue in vigorous life, it behooves us from time to time to add to our number such men as will most honor our Brotherhood. Upon these who stand before us our choice has fallen. We are now assembled to receive the pledges of their devotion, and to seal their acceptance into our Brotherhood. Not only to those who are received and to us who receive them, but also to all who may come within the influence of this Fraternity, these pledges and this initiation are momentous.
Since our words and deeds have emerged from a common heritage of acceptance and belief in a Supreme Being, it is an essential and basic part of our tradition to turn to God in prayer, as did our founding brothers.
Chaplain: Let us pray. God of our fathers and our God, who inspired the formation of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity with Justice as its sure Foundation, may we temper the rigor of our present world with a deepened appreciation of the beauty and strength of friendship.
May we encourage one another and in common concern be ever faithful to the highest and best we know.
Together enable us to live bravely amid the discouragements of life; seek to acquit ourselves like men and continue to believe in the best, even in the face of failure.
May we never use our brotherhood as a means to seek selfish ends and keep us free from cynicism. May no unworthy thoughts or deeds cloud our skies. May our actions never make rough the road for others who walk with us or who would follow. May we never fail to keep faith with those who place their trust in us. Let us renew the vows once made and now shared with these new Brothers.
Grant us the strength to serve, and the moral courage to live more nobly and strive to achieve the maturity of independent minds. May no pettiness, or pride of exclusiveness ever keep us from rendering to Delta Upsilon the vision of the highest and noblest purposes as they have emerged from Justice, our sure Foundation.
In all this we ask Thy blessing in the knowledge that the highest ideals and noblest thoughts come from Thee. Amen.
The Chief Marshal should move to retrieve the Roll Book Master: Brothers in Delta Upsilon, you have unanimously elected these men to membership in our Fraternity: (Here the Chief Marshal should again read the full names of each candidate.) Before proceeding to their initiation, however, it is fitting that we should examine once more our own hearts. In a brotherhood such as ours, a close and lasting friendship must unite all its members, creating such an intimate and permanent influence as shall mold them to a rounded type of manhood. Our past is secure; our future depends upon our vigilance. We must jealously guard against any who may disturb the harmony of our fraternal life, against any whose presence may lower our standards or becloud our ideals.
Therefore, will the members of our chapter please rise? * I now challenge each of you in the name of Delta Upsilon: Does any brother know any reason why any of these candidates should not be received into the fellowship of our Fraternity?
Here shall follow a short pause, after which the Master shall continue: Your silence makes it your duty to remove from your minds all prejudice or feelings, which might hinder the discharge of any brotherly obligation.
I therefore charge you so to rule your thought and conduct that, in all of your future relations with these men, nothing should mar the trust and brotherly affection, which should ever exist between you. Please be seated.
Here, turning from the members, the Master shall address himself to the candidates.
Now, as to you who would join our Brotherhood, this hour, to all of us impressive, to you gentlemen, should be especially solemn. We initiate you into no meaningless secrets, but into a Brotherhood founded upon a principle, which it is our duty to exemplify in our lives, —DIKAIA UPOTHEKE, —Justice, our Foundation. The relationship of brotherhood is a sacred one. Its ties are noble, for it has been divinely established by the Great Exemplar as the proper bearing of man toward man. It is therefore the ideal of human relationship, an ideal that we seek to realize in our fraternal life, thereby learning from our Fraternity the highest lessons of human duty and opportunity.
In this brotherhood, Justice is our guiding principle, and as Justice is but truth in action, it is our deeds that testify our loyalty to the ideals of our Fraternity, and our worthiness to conserve the heritage handed down to us by past generations of Delta Upsilon. In three centuries now, time has endorsed the enduring value of our principles. In chapters across the United States and Canada , in loyal pursuit of our ideals, we have conserved our heritage, and have passed along to our ever-increasing brotherhood, the lessons we strive to teach. In uprightness, in nobility, in consideration of others and fair dealing with them, in constant endeavor to promote truth and equity in every relation in which we may be cast—in such ways do the lessons of our Fraternity bear their richest fruit.
Into such a brotherhood we offer you the opportunity to enter. But in entering you must pledge undying loyalty to Delta Upsilon and to its ideals.
At this point, if a Charge is not to be given, the ceremony continues with the Examiner’s statement below. If a Charge is to be given, the Master shall continue:
It is, therefore, well that we should here pause to consider those ideals more fully.
Here, all being seated, the Master should introduce the Speaker who will deliver the charge.
Master: Brothers and guests, it is my pleasure to introduce our speaker who will deliver the charge to the candidates.
The Master will now read the prepared introduction.
Fellow Brothers and honored guests, I am proud to introduce, Brother … Name, … Chapter Name and Year. (Ex: “Brother James A. Garfield, Williams ’56”)
Once the charge has concluded, the Master shall proceed to the podium, and the Examiner shall rise proceed to the end of the table to the Master’s left.
Examiner: I ask that the candidates please rise.
Brother Master, I present to you these candidates present, to be admitted to fellowship in the Delta Upsilon Fraternity.
They have made the preliminary declarations, and, having learned the nature of the pledges, are prepared to take them.
Master: The pledges I now propose to you, you must take upon your word of honor to hold them sacred and inviolable forever.
The Master shall read the Oath aloud, a few words at a time, the candidates repeating each phrase in unison.
Master: Each candidate will individually pronounce “I” and their full name, and then in unison, repeat after me.
I, (here shall be inserted the full name of the candidate), / of my own free will and accord, / in the presence of God and of these witnesses, / do hereby solemnly declare / that the principles of this Fraternity / as they have been explained to me / accord entirely with my own views; / and I solemnly promise / that as a member of this Fraternity / I will faithfully adhere to those principles, / endeavoring in every way to perfect myself / morally, intellectually, and socially, / and endeavoring also to act towards others / according to that high standard of conduct / required by the Fraternity.
I solemnly promise that I will be loyal / to the Delta Upsilon Fraternity / and to this Chapter, / abiding by their rules, / discharging my obligations to them faithfully, / and using all honorable means / to promote their interests.
I solemnly promise that I will share with my brothers / the duties of my chapter; / that I will uphold and encourage them / in all that is honorable and right; / that I will ever extend to each brother / the right hand of sympathy; / and that at all times and in all circumstances / I will endeavor to cultivate those sentiments / which should ever exist between brothers.
All this I solemnly promise upon my honor, / without any equivocation, / mental reservation, / or secret evasion of mind whatsoever.
Master: Brothers, we are all witnesses to these pledges.
After a short pause the Master opens the Roll Book at the place where the initiates have signed, and carries it before each candidate so that while the Chief Marshal calls the roll, each candidate whose name is called shall have the book before him.
Master: Do you, before God and in the presence of these witnesses, acknowledge this signature, which you have subscribed herein to the pledges just now repeated? If so, you will answer to your name, "I do."
The Chief Marshal shall here call the roll of the candidates. Under the guidance of the Chief Marshal, the candidates shall then pass before the Master to receive the insignia. Each candidate shall stand before the Master, and the latter, placing the ribbon with the badge about the candidate's neck, shall say:
Master: Receive and wear this badge in token of your membership in the Delta Upsilon Fraternity. I extend to you the right hand of fellowship.
During this interval a Fraternity song may be sung or music softly played.
Master: Initiates of Delta Upsilon, you have this day received a distinction, which is granted to few men—decoration with the insignia of our Fraternity. It marks the confidence, which we repose in you. May the ties which it symbolizes, strengthen perpetually, and may its possession instill in you the spirit of undying loyalty to Delta Upsilon.
By virtue of the authority vested in me, I now declare you members of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity.
Then, to the assembled members, the Master shall say:
Master: I ask that all Brothers in Delta Upsilon please stand.
Forasmuch as these men have now become your brothers, it is your part and duty to aid them in their struggle toward a larger life, to recall to their minds what solemn pledges they have just now taken before this company; to instruct, reprove, and admonish them with all kindness, according to the principles of our Fraternity and the truth that is in you; and to share with them the benefits and duties of life together. You may be seated.
Then, to the initiates:
Master: And as for you who have been newly received in our fraternal circle, it is your part and duty to bear in mind that you are now one with us in principle and purpose; you are to share with us the privileges and divide with us the responsibilities of faithful service in Delta Upsilon. May your zeal in its cause never flag, may your sympathy with its interests ever grow deeper, may our mutual regard increase as time shall heighten our appreciation of the noble sentiments which have made us one. May justice, culture, and morality be the motives of your lives, as they have been the motives of our union. May the bonds forged today unite us forever in sturdy resolve to attain that goal of true manhood, aspiration toward which is the sign and seal of our Fraternity.
This concludes the Rite of Initiation. With great pride I now present our newest Brothers in Delta Upsilon.
Here, all in attendance shall applaud and sing “Hail, Delta Upsilon.” The Ceremony of Initiation concludes with the Master may make any necessary announcements.