|hope college > greek life > emersonian|
The fraternity was founded in 1919 as the Emersonian Literary Society. This society felt the need for brotherhood bound them in their study of Ralph Waldo Emerson, their patron saint.
In 1929, the literary society reorganized and became a social fraternity, keeping the name of Emersonian and choosing the Greek letters Phi Tau Nu. They stand for Philius, Teme, Nike, or love, honor, success. These are the principles that the brotherhood felt best described their philosophy.
After renting a house that was quickly outgrown, the fraternity moved into a house on the corner of River and 12th Street. Despite the high respect for Emersonian on campus, the distance from it caused a loss of spirit and determination within the fraternity. The strength of brother hood, however, kept us strong. In 1936, the fraternity leased the 29-room Beach residence. The "Southern Fortress," as it was called, stood where Kollen Hall now stands. It 2.5 acre lot became the pride of Emersonian and the envy of the campus. The house was unusually fitted for fraternity life and solidified the Emersonian's standing on campus as the "Gentlemen's Fraternity."
Similar to many colleges across the country, Hope was deeply affected by the Second World War The Emersonian's went from being the most influential organization on campus in the early forties with 82 members, to being forced to dissolve during the latter years of the war. The spirit of Emersonian at the time is stated nicely in this passage from the inaugural address of our first wartime president:
"To those of us who remain to carry on the work of Phi Tau Nu there is a great challenge. The Responsibility rests upon our shoulders to keep Emersonian on top, even with reduced numbers and many restrictions. We cannot presage the future or tell how long this war will last, but we do know that Emersonian will outlast the war. The character and will of every Emersonian is proof of that fact."
During this time, the Alumni association was formed and arranged the purchase of the house which had become our home.
After the war, college life returned to normalcy, and the Emersonian returned, ready to resume their status as campus leaders. The seventeen men of post-war Emersonian resurrected our position as the most honored and respected fraternity on campus.
Due to the expansion of Hope's campus, the Southern Fortress was razed in 1954 to make way for Kollen Hall. The move into the "Western Fortress," located on 10th street, was a strain to the brotherhood. The new house was considerably smaller than the old, but became our new home. The purchase of the Beach residence by the college, however, allowed us the choice of any residence on campus.
In 1963, the fraternity once again moved. The new location provided ample room for fraternity members and became the focal point of the fraternity's activities. The basement of the new house was this center. Starting with four cinder block walls, the basement grew into a stronghold of brother hood.
In 1989, the fraternity moved to our present location, Kuyper Cottage, on 10th Street. The new fraternity house reflects the campus-wide emphasis on cottage living and the need for a more centralized location for us on campus. The tradition of the old Emersonian Basement has been preserved in the new house, thus maintaining our traditions while moving toward the future.