How Did The Fraternity Create Its Ritual?
Charlie Ball, Miami ’82
The Laurel, Fall 1998
For the first four years of the Fraternity, there was no ritual. Early members of the Non-Fraternity Association and Phrenecon resisted having a formal initiation ritual although they did go so far as to have the members swear on an oath to uphold the Constitution. That makes the oath, which is still found in today’s ritual, the oldest part of the ceremony.
Joseph Bachelor, Miami ’07, wrote the cardinal principles in 1910 and his few paragraphs become the basis for a very brief printed Phrenecon Ritual that was used until 1918. The third most historic part of the Ritual is the myth which is the basis for the Christian overtones in the Ritual. We are not sure who wrote that or how it was first used.
The Ritual as we know it today was written primarily by William Troutman, Illinois ’16, who became the Fraternity’s first Grand Ritualist after the important 1917 Convention in Champaign, Illinois. Troutman dramatized the Ritual and completed it in time for the installation of Eta chapter at Muhlenberg in 1918. The ceremony remains essentially unchanged since that time. Some small improvements were made to the languge and staging over the years.