Phi Sigma Phi National Fraternity founded in 1988...
The history of Phi Sigma Phi begins not so much with an actual date, but rather with the evolution of ideals and dedication to independence and freedom of choice. On July 30, 1988, in South Bend, Indiana, Phi Sigma Phi National Fraternity was formally organized to serve as a national organization, uniting college men who wished to share in the spirit of true friendship and brotherhood. Years of fraternity experience and know-how laid the foundation of this new national fraternity.
The Founding Seven...
The group of alumni and undergraduate college men who were the driving force behind the formation of Phi Sigma Phi were alumni and former chapter members of Phi Sigma Epsilon who elected not to participate in a merger between Phi Sigma Epsilon and Phi Sigma Kappa in 1985. Seven chapters and select alumni supported this new and independent organization. The undergraduate chapters which became “The Founding Seven” of Phi Sigma Phi were:
Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti Michigan
Phi Beta Chapter
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Phi Kappa Chapter
West Virginia Wesleyan College, West Virginia
Sigma Zeta Chapter
University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, Wisconsin
Phi Iota Chapter
Northland College, Ashland, Wisconsin
Phi Mu Chapter
Concord College, Athens, West Virginia
After graduating from Eastern Michigan University in 1935, Rockwell taught and coached track, wrestling and football at several Michigan high schools. He also was an auto worker and took part in the Flint Sit-Down Strike in 1936–1937. On May 17, 1942, Rockwell enlisted in the United States Navy, where he became a group commander of 12 LCT’s during the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. Rockwell received both the US Navy Cross and the French Croix de Guerre avec Paume for his decision to break radio silence when faced with what he recognized as a certain disaster. Instead, Rockwell radioed an Army captain which allowed important last-minute changes that aided in the success of the attack and saved thousands of lives. So crucial was Rockwell’s decision that, a half a century later, at the 50th anniversary of D-Day in 1994, Rockwell was given the honor of introducing then-President Bill Clinton. The Navy Cross citation reads, in part: “Rockwell, in the face of very heavy enemy fire, discharged the tanks [he and his men had carried ashore] on the ground. By quick and sound decision he was able to land all these tanks at the correct spot and, by skillful handling, incurred only a minimum of damage to his ships.”  After the war, Rockwell studied at the University of Michigan. He went on to coach football at Albion College. Rockwell also coached at the national and international levels, chairing the US National AAU Wrestling Committee from 1966 to 1968, serving on three Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling committees, and coaching the US Greco-Roman wrestling team at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. In May 1995, Rockwell received the “Master of Wrestling Award” from Wrestling USA magazine. In 2000, the nation’s largest wrestling library, the new AAU National Wrestling Hall of Fame, was named the “Dean Rockwell Library and Research Center.” In January 2007, Eastern Michigan University named a gymnasium in his honor as the “Dean L. Rockwell Wrestling Facility.” Rockwell was a member of the Phi Sigma Epsilon fraternity while a student at Eastern Michigan, and assisted with the fraternity’s reformation as Phi Sigma Phi when most of its chapters merged with Phi Sigma Kappa.
Leadership and Survival.
Leading this small group of chapters into the formation of a new national fraternity were former Phi Sigma Epsilon alumni who were elected to serve as Phi Sigma Phi’s first National Council: Harry Parker (National President), Mark Helling (National Vice-President), Rick Facemire (National Vice-President), Dan Foster (National Vice-President), and George Perry (National Vice-President). David Prueher (Regional Director), John Lecco, and Ken Siverling (Chapter Consultants) also served as members of the National Staff. In addition, long time supporters and former Phi Sigma Epsilon National Presidents Dean Rockwell (1950-1958) and John Sandwell (1978-1984) added their advice and experience to all areas of operations.
Although there was strong support for this new fraternity from many campuses and alumni, the first years of Phi Sigma Phi’s existence were difficult. During the years of 1988 through 1990, the National Fraternity struggled for survival, and expansion was nonexistent. Establishing new national programs, publications, visitations, and a new financial program were top priorities and took most of the new National Fraternity’s energy and efforts.
National Determination and Support.
The dawn of the 1990′s saw Phi Sigma Phi settle into its position as that of a strong and determined new national fraternity. The National Council and Staff of Phi Sigma Phi were determined to chart a course for this new national fraternity where the emphasis was on superior service and support for the membership. The initial turmoil of the late 1980′s gradually settled, and the desire and drive for expansion was put into action.
The first new colony of Phi Sigma Phi was founded at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan. In 1989, a Lambda Chapter brother transferred from EMU to MSU, and began a colony. This colony was formally chartered as Epsilon Alpha Chapter by the National Council of Phi Sigma Phi on March 2, 1991. Forty-three brothers became the first new chapter initiates into the new National Fraternity. On November 18, 1995, the Xi Chapter at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, was chartered and became the ninth chapter of Phi Sigma Phi. In 1997, Phi Sigma Phi was officially recognized as the 66th member fraternity of the National (now North-American) Interfraternity Conference (NIC).