History of Acacia Fraternity
Acacia is not the oldest, or the largest, or the most famous college fraternity, but its origin is distinctive and its record distinguished. While the history of Acacia has often paralleled that of other Greek-letter fraternities, in other respects the heritage and development of Acacia has been unique.
Acacia Fraternity was founded on May 12, 1904, at the University of Michigan by 14 Master Masons. The group was an outgrowth of the University of Michigan Masonic Club. Acacia’s founders established a fraternity on a new basis. Membership was restricted to those who had already taken the Masonic obligations, and the organization was to be built on the ideals and principles instilled by vows already taken in the lodge room. The members were to be motivated by the desire for high scholarship and of such character that the fraternity house would be free of the social vices and unbecoming activities that for years had been a blot on the fraternity life of the nation. Within one year, four other Masonic clubs received Acacia charters, paving the way for rapid expansion in the following years.
Since Acacia’s founding in 1904, changes in the student enrollment of American colleges and universities have resulted in changes in membership requirements from time to time. Today, members are no longer required to belong to the Masonic Fraternity. However, since Acacia was founded by members of the Masonic Fraternity, it still enjoys an informal, spiritual tie to Masonry. Although some Acacians eventually join the Masonic Fraternity, and Masonic lodges and individual Masons have been of invaluable service to Acacia Chapters over the years, this relationship is entirely voluntary.
The evolution and development of Acacia over the past century has resulted in a fraternity considerably different from what the founders originally envisioned. But, each major change has been an adaption to the needs of new conditions, and each has permitted the fraternity to grow in reputation, influence, and strength. The future will undoubtedly require further change, but so long as Acacia continues to stand for high scholarship, fraternal brotherhood, and human service, the intentions of our founders will be well realized.
In the words of our founding father, William J. Marshall, “The biological law of ‘survival of the fittest’ holds good with the social organizations as well as with other institutions and organizations. Only those survive the test of ages which prove their usefulness to the human race. No organization, religious or state, social or industrial, with other principles than those which promote the best interest of all concerned can ever hope to continue its existence through the centuries to come.” – 1907
Learn more about Acacia International Fraternity: http://www.acacia.org/about/