Acacia Fraternity

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Acacia Fraternity
The Crest of Acacia Fraternity
Founded May 12, 1904 (1904-05-12) (114 years ago)
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
Type Social
Scope International
 United States
– "Human Service"
Colors Black and Old Gold
Symbol 3-4-5 right triangle of the first quadrant
Flower Sprig of Acacia in bloom
Chapters 37 in USA, 2 in Canada, 4 colonies
Headquarters Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Acacia Fraternity is a Greek social fraternity originally based out of Masonic tradition. At its founding in 1904, membership was originally restricted to those who had taken the Masonic obligations, and the organization was built on those ideals and principles. Within one year, four other Masonic clubs received Acacia charters, which led to a rapid expansion in the following years.[1] Today the bonds with the Free and Accepted Masons vary amongst Acacia chapters, for some the tie is more distant and informal while others work closely with their local Masonic lodge(s). Acacia distinguishes itself from other fraternities by being one of three (inter)national fraternities that uses a word instead of Greek letters; Acacia is the only (inter)national fraternity to have a Greek word rather than a series of Greek letters as its name. Greek does not contain the letter "c"; however, so the proper Greek spelling of the name is Ακακια. Acacia was one of the charter members of the North-American Interfraternity Conference in 1909. Acacia's fundamental principles are scholarship, leadership, brotherhood and human service/philanthropy.[2]

General history

Acacia Fraternity was founded on May 12, 1904, by a group of 14 Freemasons attending the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. 13 of the founders were Christians and one was Jewish. The first chapter was designated the Aleph(א) chapter. Subsequent chapters of Acacia were designated by Hebrew letters until the 8th Grand Conclave (September 17–19, 1913) when this system was replaced by naming each chapter by the school in which it resides (e.g., the Acacia chapter at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is designated the Rensselaer Chapter of The Acacia Fraternity).[3] Likewise, the Chapter at the University of Missouri-Columbia has historically been called the Mem chapter, 13 in Hebrew respectively, but is more commonly referred to as the Missouri Chapter. Acacia Fraternity became International in 1988 at the 45th Conclave with the petitioning of two Canadian chapters the University of Western Ontario Chapter and the Carleton University Chapter. The Acacia flag was adopted in 1950. It consists of a vertical triband of gold-black-gold with the fraternity arms on the center (or on a fess cotised sable three right triangles of the field) and the name in gold Old English lettering in an arc at the top.[4]

Founding members

The founding members of the Acacia Fraternity are:

James M. Cooper, Benjamin E. DeRoy, Edward E. Gallup, Jared W. Hawkins, Clarence G. Hill, Harvey J. Howard, George A. Malcolm, William J. Marshall, Ernest R. Ringo, Harlan P. Rowe, Ralph B. Scatterday, Charles A. Sink, Harry B. Washburn, Walter S. Wheeler

The 14 Founding Fathers


The Sprig of Acacia is the 13th simple symbol of the Masonic Brotherhood, and it is extended to the sons of Masons in the main organisation when a fellow mason leaves time. According to tradition, the symbol promotes the obligation that the Masons must provide for the widow and children of their former colleagues and confidants. The junior Acacia fraternity takes upon some of this characteristic.

The main symbol and representation of Acacia occurs within a 3-4-5 (base-altitude-hypotenuse) right triangle of the first quadrant. This triangle holds very special significance to the fraternity and its members, symbolizing the imperfect nature of man as well as the struggle to approach an ideal, which symbolically is occasionally represented as a circle. Unless specified otherwise, whenever a triangle is mentioned in this article, a 3-4-5 right triangle of the first quadrant is what is meant.

The present Acacia badge is a right triangle of the first quadrant whose sides are of the proportions 3, 4, 5, with the shortest side being the base. The sides are set with twelve pearls—three on the base, four on the altitude, and five on the hypotenuse. The corners are set with garnets. Within the triangle are three small right triangles of the same proportion, outlined in gold on a black enamel background. The badge of Acacia as it appears today was adopted at the second Grand Council of Acacia, which was held on December 6, 1913.

The crest of Acacia, shown above, depicts a three taper candelabrum surrounded by a wreath of Acacia. Below the candelabrum is a shield of old gold with two bands of black surrounding a thicker band of black. In this thicker band of black there reside three 3-4-5 right triangles. Below the shield is a blue ribbon holding the motto of the fraternity in Greek: ΩΦΕΛΟΥΝΤΕΣ ΑΝΘΡΩΠΟΥΣ, which means "Human Service" or "In Service of Humanity".

International Operations

Acacia Fraternity's International Council [1] serves as the organization's supreme executive and judicial body. It is composed of eight officers: six alumni and two undergraduates. Alumni officers' terms run four years, while undergraduate counselors' terms are two years in length.

The Acacia Fraternity Foundation (AFF)[2], founded in 1989, is Acacia Fraternity's non-profit educational foundation. A 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, the AFF exists to provide scholarships to student Acacians and to support the worthy educational and leadership activities of the fraternity.

International Events

In even numbered years, a selected chapter of The Acacia Fraternity hosts the biennial Conclave, forming the legislative body of the Fraternity. Each chapter in good standing is allowed two votes (usually the Venerable Dean and Chapter Advisor). In odd numbered years, Acacia's Indiana Chapter hosts the Acacia Leadership Academy (ALA).

Chapter Operations

The leadership of each chapter of Acacia is composed of at least five major officers: the Venerable Dean, Senior Dean, Junior Dean, Treasurer, and Secretary. Most chapters also include in some capacity a Director of Service and Philanthropy, Director(s) of Recruitment, and Risk Manager. The Venerable Dean is often referred to out of the house as the president of the chapter and performs such duties as running meetings and overseeing general house operations. The Senior Dean acts as the vice president of the chapter, stepping in for the Venerable Dean in his absence. In most cases, the Senior Dean is also the pledge educator. The Junior Dean is in charge of all socials including brotherhood events, formals, and mixers. The other two officers perform such functions as are normal for their positions. Some chapters assign additional responsibilities to various officers, so there may be slight variations from chapter to chapter.

Notable Acacians

Chapter listing

See List of Acacia chapters

Notes and references

External links