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Seal and Serpent Society

Chapter Name: Cornell University Chapter (Independent Fraternity)
National Founding/Date: Cornell University; 1905
Cornell Founding: 01/01/1905
Flower: N/A
Colors: Black and Gold
Philanthropy: House Based Philanthropy, IvyCORPS, Seal and Serpent Annual Scholarship


Seal & Serpent Society
Cornell University
305 Thurston Ave
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 257-7597


Seal & Serpent is a fraternity that exists only at Cornell. Originally a "house club" inspired by the individuality of students at Cornell, the Society was organized along the lines of clubs at Princeton, Harvard, and Dartmouth by men who felt it more desirable to control their own fraternal relations than affiliate with a national organization. In maintaining this tradition, Seal & Serpent is now the oldest independent fraternity in the nation. Today the brothers strive to maintain the high degree of respect earned by the Society during its nearly 100 years of existence. Individually, brothers involve themselves in community and campus activities and sports, and are frequently recognized for academic achievement. The house as a whole has also won recognition for excellence within the fraternity system. For the past eight years Seal & Serpent has received the Interfraternity Council Founders Award, given annually to the four best chapters on the hill. In addition, the Society continues to garner recognition from the university at large for an organization committed to excellence.

In 1905, as an extension of their association in classes and activities, ten Cornell undergraduates founded the Seal and Serpent Society. The charter of the Society proclaimed self-determination and the pursuit of Cornell University's ideals. Today, we are one of Cornell's strongest fraternities. Individually, brothers involve themselves in activities, sports and the community and are frequently recognized for academic achievement. The Society as a whole has been noted for its excellence within Cornell's fraternity system. Every year since its inception eight years ago, the IFC Founders Award, an honor given to the four most outstanding chapters on the Hill, has been presented to Seal and Serpent.

Our Society, one of the oldest independent fraternity's in the nation, has maintained its unique position of prestige as a truly Cornell fraternity, rejecting numerous offers of national affiliation. With none of the restrictions of a national chapter, Seal and Serpent is free to be self-governing. We make our own rules and decide what is best for us. Despite not having a national organization, the alumni council of Seal and Serpent fill some of the rolls that a national organization would, however they understand our need for independence.  We make our own rules and decide what is best for us. There is no national organization to impose rules which may not be in our chapter's best interests.

Survival as an independent fraternity would not be possible without the tremendous support of our alumni. The Andy Hospodor Scholarship Fund, established in memory of Andy Hospodor '60, is awarded annually to a brother who has provided leadership and demonstrated financial need.  In addition to this scholarship for brothers, our Soceity also maintains a scholarship to foster the intellectual interest of students.  These students are nominated by faculty (generally through freshmen writing seminars.)  Alumni from all walks of life return to Cornell to speak about their experiences. Many alumni also return to help with house activities such as work week and recruitment. The fact that all Seal & Serpent Society alumni have graduate from Cornell, and have lived in our current house on Thurston Ave. since 1927, creates a very strong and unique alumni network that is hard to find elsewhere.