This year marks the 150th anniversary of the charter of Centenary University! To celebrate, the blog will be highlighting past posts about Centenary’s history.
Literary societies are one of the oldest student organizations in America, and the forerunners of modern-day fraternities and sororities. Traditional literary societies were founded to promote scholarship through literary exercises and debate. Centenary Collegiate Institute had five literary societies in its early years; the first society was formed within the school’s first week! Centenary’s first president, Dr. Whitney, fostered ideas of social training that were quickly adopted by all four societies. Utmost in importance to all societies was the inclusion of earnest, purposeful young men and women.
Whitney Lyceum was the first literary society to be formed at Centenary in September 1874, a chapter of the Alpha Omega fraternity. The ‘Whits’, as they were called, disbanded in 1910, when the school became an all girls school.
The Philomathean society was the second fraternity to be founded in the school’s first year. After a decade, the ‘Philos’ resigned from their fraternity, and joined the Alpha Phi Fraternity, Zeta chapter. This literary society also ceased to exist after the men left in 1910.
The Diokosophian Society was founded in 1875, and was Centenary’s first female literary society. The ‘Dioks’ were members of the Sigma Epsilon Phi sorority.
The members of Diok were so many that students decided to form a second sorority in 1880. This society was called The Evergreens, but was soon renamed the Peithosophian Society. It was a chapter of the Theta Epsilon Nu sorority.
Callilogian Society was a latecomer to Centenary, having been brought over by students and teachers from a school that had become an all boys school in 1910. Its Greek letters were Delta Sigma Sigma.
These societies have all disappeared over the years, with new ones taking their places. Currently, the university has one fraternity, Alpha Phi Delta, and one sorority, Alpha Theta Psi.