Developing leadership skills is one of the many benefits often associated with Greek life. Want proof? How about the fact that 20 former United States Presidents belonged to a Fraternity? From Roosevelt to Reagan, here are a few of the most notable examples of Fraternity men in the oval office:
Thomas Jefferson: Jefferson belonged to the Flat Hat Club, a secret society at the College of William and Mary. The original organization, officially titled the F.H.C. Society, is also a reference to the secret Latin phrase, “Fraternitas Humanitas Cognitioque”, meaning “Brotherhood, Humanity, & Knowledge”. While Thomas Jefferson himself famously admitted that the Flat Hat Club “served no useful object”, it is considered one of America’s first secret societies.
Theodore Roosevelt: This overachiever belonged to two fraternities at Harvard: Delta Kappa Epsilon, and Alpha Delta Phi, which was known as a literary society at the time. Theodore Roosevelt was also a member of the Porcellian Club, a male final club, or social club for students of different years at Harvard. According to legend, if members are not millionaires by the time they are 40 years old, the Porcellian Club will give them one million dollars.
Ronald Reagan: Ronald Reagan was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon at Eureka College, where he was also student body president, a football player, and a cheerleader for the basketball team. He remained actively involved with Tau Kappa Epsilon throughout his term as President. During his term he created the Ronald Reagan Leadership Award, an award that is now given to exceptional members of Tau Kappa Epsilon annually.
Bill Clinton: While attending Georgetown University, Bill Clinton was a member of both Alpha Phi Omega and Phi Beta Kappa, an academic honor society. In 2009 he was also inducted into Phi Beta Sigma as an honorary member, making him the first U.S. President to become a member of a historically black Greek organization.
George W. Bush: The most recent U.S. President involved in Greek life, George W. Bush, belonged to Delta Kappa Epsilon at Yale University, and was even elected president of his chapter during his senior year. George W. Bush’s father and fellow ex-president, George H. W. Bush, was also a member and president of Delta Kappa Epsilon. Both Bushes were also cheerleaders at Yale.
While the United States is still waiting on its first sorority sister in office, six former First Ladies have been members of women’s fraternities/sororities: Lucy Hayes (Kappa Kappa Gamma), Grace Coolidge (Pi Beta Phi), Lou Hoover (Kappa Kappa Gamma), Barbara Bush (Pi Beta Phi), Laura Bush (Kappa Alpha Theta), and Eleanor Roosevelt (honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha).
In 2008, First Lady Michelle Obama was invited to become an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, a historically black sorority. While she initially accepted the invitation, she decided to instead maintain a non-exclusive supportive relationship, allowing her to provide support for other organizations as well.