William Henry Letterman and Charles Page Thomas Moore were two students at Jefferson College in Western Pennsylvania. Moore and Letterman were nursing students and were watching over their friends during an epidemic of typhoid fever. Through sleepless nights taking care of patients and becoming good friends, the two decided they should form a group that was founded upon the great joy they received from serving others.
On February 19, 1852, the two invited their friends to join them for a meeting on campus. They wanted to discuss creating a brotherhood based on the Great Joy Of Service Others. Travel was near impossible during this particular night in the midst of a Pennsylvania winter. Therefore, Letterman and Moore met alone and became the first members of Phi Kappa Psi.
The following spring, the fraternity began to grow at Jefferson College. The initial members of Phi Kappa Psi sought to create a new kind of fraternity, one that encourage the university’s goal of improving students’ intellect. These men believed that unless driven by a love for service to mankind, an educated man is too apt to shrink from the human race, becoming a waste of his talents. The original members of Phi Kappa Psi strived to spread the ideals behind Phi Kappa Psi and therefore founded Phi Kappa Psi as a national fraternity with intent to spread nationwide.