What are your letters? Acacia is the only founding member of the National Interfraternity Council to choose a full Greek word as its name rather than a few letters. Our name, Acacia, comes from the Greek word AKAKIA which has several different meanings. Acacia means “distinctiveness and leadership among men”, “brotherhood”, and “strength and ruggedness of the spirit”.
Acacia was founded in 1904 by 14 Master Masons at the University of Michigan. Today it is a strong international fraternity, with Chapters at more than 40 universities across the United States and one in Canada. Over 50,000 university men have called themselves Acacians, including prominent figures such as Senators, university presidents, state governors, and Nobel Laureates. Famous Acacia alumni include: President William Howard Taft, William Jennings Bryan, Cliff Hillegas (founder of Cliff’s Notes), Wes Santee (former Gold Medal distance runner), and Harold Edgerton (Nobel Prize in Physics). Read an excerpt
from the Cornell Chronicle about Taft’s visit to Cornell Acacia.
The Cornell Chapter of Acacia was founded May 4, 1907 by the captain of the football team and some of his friends. That same year our current house, Northcote, was built. The chapter lived in a few houses before finally moving into Northcote in 1934. Northcote was drafted by the same architect who designed Baker Lab and various other buildings throughout Ithaca. Some recognizable names of Acacia alumni around campus include George Jessup (Jessup Fields), and Harold Riley and Byron Robb (Riley and Robb Hall). Several current Cornell professors in such varied departments as Fine Arts, Agriculture and Biological engineering, Communications, and the Johnson School of Management are Acacians from one of our many chapters.
Over the years, the Cornell chapter has built a strong brotherhood on the foundation of diversity and tradition. The Cornell chapter has initiated over 1200 brothers since we were founded on this campus. Our chapter has developed a strong tradition, but we have avoided fostering a stereotype. We believe that when a brother joins Acacia, he should not have to give up his individuality. Instead, that brother will be able to enhance the brotherhood with his own ideas.
This strong tradition of brotherhood was reflected in our Centennial Celebration, which drew over 130 alumni and their families back to Ithaca in August 2007. [Read the article
from the Cornell Daily Sun about this historic weekend.] At Centennial, we launched our $345,000 capital campaign to further improve Northcote and ensure our chapter’s financial security for years to come. With approximately 45 active brothers, Acacia is slightly smaller than the average Cornell fraternity size. Our fraternity is, therefore, able to offer every member the chance to develop their own leadership abilities as officers and as brothers. At Acacia, we have formed strong bonds of friendship which often cannot be found in some of the larger houses on this campus.
Our house philosophy is to balance academics while having fun. Not only have brothers achieved high academic honors, but our house GPA is well above the university average. Perhaps the most appealing factor about a fraternity is its social program. We have a full social calendar of parties, date nights, mixers, and formals. On average, we will have four large parties and two formals every semester, with additional brotherhood events and mixers thrown in.