On December 5, 1776, Phi Beta Kappa, today a scholarly honor society, appeared at the College of William and Mary. This student club, organized for social and literary purposes, was probably the first to adopt a Greek name.
In time, additional Greek-letter clubs emerged on the college campus. Their Greek names, secret rituals, badges, and grips set them apart from other student clubs. Normally guided by specific purposes and ideals, some Greek-letter organizations developed with a design to recruit specific individuals, whether based on race, national origin, religious affiliation or academic interests. An example is the Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity, established on December 29, 1998, for Jewish college men. Another example is Alpha Phi Alpha, founded on December 4, 1906, for African-American men.
Historically, the older Greek-letter societies primarily attracted students of Anglo and African-American descent. Almost two hundred years later after the first Greek-letter organization appeared on a college campus, a Latin fraternity was born – the first of its kind by identity and name – Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc.