St. Anthony Hall, or “St. A’s,’” or “The Hall” as it is sometimes called, is unique among the “landed” secret societies at Yale. It is a hybrid, being both a three-year literary and secret society and the Sigma chapter of the national fraternity of Delta Psi. It also has a non-secret, public aspect and, in non-Covid times, hosts lectures open to the entire Yale community, the famous “Pump and Slipper” ball, and much more. We have endowed three scholarships for Yale students and offer a summer traveling fellowship, the St. Anthony Hall Chase Coggins Fellowship, open to all Yale undergrads.
St. Anthony Hall at Yale was started in 1868, and for many decades was a residential fraternity for the Sheffield Scientific School (which was where Yale students getting a B.S. degree were enrolled at the time). St. A’s ceased to be a residential fraternity when the residential college system was put in in the 1930’s. We donated the primarily residential side of our building to Yale at that time. Our chapter was the first to accept a person of color (also the first among Yale secret societies to do so) and the first to accept women. Open to every sophomore to rush if they wish, admission to membership is on a need-blind basis.
Located at the corner of Wall and College Streets, we have a prime central campus location, which provides a convenient “home base” when students have breaks between classes. Unlike the other landed societies whose buildings stick out in the Yale campus landscape, our building blends in with the rest of the block, and we “hide” in plain sight looking like we are part of Silliman. Our current building is really magnificent and was built in 1913, thanks to a generous gift from Frederick William Vanderbilt, a member of the Class of 1876.
Our public spaces include a beautiful bar area and “crypt,” where students enjoy Tuesday brunch and other social events and meals and often gather to study. We have a large living room with a piano that is used for various activities, including Pump and Slipper, as well as the lectures and occasional concerts and meetings. We also host “intergenerational” events for the chapter, such as the reception after the Yale Harvard football game, and special weekends, when we do “Sigma Seminars,” offering lectures, discussions, and social events that involve alums and undergrads (if they wish). We host events for alums coming back for their Yale reunions as well.
One of the advantages of being part of a National fraternity is the opportunity to meet students from other chapters, which include Columbia, Princeton, Brown, UPenn, UNC-Chapel Hill, MIT, UVA, Trinity College in Hartford, and Ole Miss. Another is being able to apply for study grants from the National’s Educational Foundation to help with special projects students might want to undertake. The patron saint of the National fraternity is St. Anthony the Great of Egypt (not to be confused with St. Anthony of Padua), who was the patron saint of pigs and swineherds, simply because the first chapter was founded on January 17, 1847, which happened to fall on St. Anthony’s feast day. The fraternity is a non-sectarian, non-religious organization, and the Sigma chapter at Yale welcomes a diverse membership including people of all faiths, backgrounds, and points of view.
Most importantly, St. A’s is a warm, welcoming community where ideally you can meet people you would not otherwise get to know at Yale. During non-Covid times, meetings are held on Thursday nights, brunch is offered on Tuesdays, and the undergrads organize other social activities. With Covid, meetings are happening in a hybrid form, given Yale’s restrictions on the number of people who can be in the same room for an event, and brunch will be take-out for this semester.
Membership in the Hall, like so many other things, is really what you make of it, which is usually in proportion to the commitment you make to it. The Hall is not necessarily the right organization for every person. Membership in the Hall takes you out of the running to be considered for membership in one of the senior secret societies, but you get three years (or 2.5 in this crazy time) of membership instead of just one. Many of our alums can attest that they have made important, enduring, life-long friendships through the Hall, where they got to know and bond with people they would never otherwise have had the chance to meet, and that membership in the Hall significantly enriched their Yale experience and has continued to do so in their lives post-Yale.
For more information about membership in the Hall, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.