Delta Upsilon Fraternity. University of Michigan Chapter.

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Delta Upsilon was established as a non-secret fraternal organization with an academic orientation. Prominent in the early literature of the society was the motto, "Scholarship must be first for the conscientious student." The University of Michigan chapter of Delta Upsilon was founded in 1876.

In the absence of a corporate facility, fraternal business was originally conducted in a hall above Schuh's Hardware Store on Main Street. The activities of Delta Upsilon during the first quarter century of its incarnation on the University of Michigan campus were predominantly literary and theatrical. The annual commemoration of the chapter's founding, falling on Shakespeare's birthday, was commemorated by the production of a Shakespearian drama. Delta Upsilon was also instrumental in securing the dissolution of the "Palladium", a consortium of secret fraternal organizations that had monopolized student positions of influence at the University of Michigan.

In 1902 Delta Upsilon purchased two lots on the north side of Hill street, east of Forest Avenue with the intention of building a fraternal housing facility. This was to be the first such structure built at the University of Michigan. Construction funds were raised through the sale of mortgage bonds and additional funds were obtained by selling several rental properties belonging to the fraternity. Construction of the house was begun in 1903 at a cost of $16,425.

The advent of World War II witnessed an acute shortage of housing at the university. The members of Delta Upsilon volunteered to remove to a boarding house, making the chapter house available as an army barracks. Upon returning to 1331 Hill street at the conclusion of the war, it was determined that extensive remodeling and expansion of the house was required. Accommodations were expanded through the construction of an annex to the main facility.

Limits on available space continued to pose problems leading to a proposal for relocation to the University's North Campus. Plans for a "frat row" on North campus did not materialize and in 1968 the annex was demolished to make way for a large addition to the chapter house. An alumni fund drive provided resources for the addition.

A concern with the strict regulation of social interaction between the sexes and the prevalence of alcohol use among students led to periodic investigations of Greek life by the university administration in the middle decades of the twentieth century. Delta Upsilon, in conjunction with three other fraternities, was suspended for a semester in 1950 for sponsoring a party at which the use of alcohol was accompanied by the conspicuous absence of non-student chaperones. The fraternity was readmitted at the conclusion of the probationary period without incident.

Delta Upsilon continues to play a prominent role in the social life of the University of Michigan. The original chapter house and the 1968 addition currently meet the housing requirements of the members of Delta Upsilon.

From the guide to the Delta Upsilon Fraternity, University of Michigan Chapter records, 1876-1991, (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Arthur Lyon Cross Papers, 1897-1940 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Delta Upsilon Fraternity, University of Michigan Chapter records, 1876-1991 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Walter Drew Papers, 1900-1961 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Allen F. Sherzer visual materials collection, 1880s-1940s (scattered dates) Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
referencedIn Cross, Arthur Lyon, 1873-1940. Arthur Lyon Cross papers, 1897-1940. University of Michigan, Bentley Historical Library
referencedIn Wilfred B. Shaw Papers, 1873-1954, 1900-1951 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Cross, Arthur Lyon, 1873-1940. person
associatedWith Drew, Walter, 1873-1961 person
associatedWith Shaw, Wilfred Byron, 1881-1959 person
associatedWith Sherzer, Allen F. person
associatedWith University of Michigan corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Fraternities and sororities
Greek letter societies--Michigan--Ann Arbor

Corporate Body

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SNAC ID: 18073386