Phi Sigma Kappa Centennial

About Phi Sigma Kappa (ETA) and its Centennial Anniversary

A willow oak is dedicated to the Centennial Anniversary of the Phi Sigma Kappa (PSK) ETA Chapter at the University of Maryland. The chapter was founded on January 8, 1897,1 and is currently the oldest at UMD.2 PSK ETA outlines is cardinal principles as promoting brotherhood, stimulating scholarship, and developing character,3 and adheres to a policy of “no pledging and no hazing.”2 PSK ETA currently occupies a house on Fraternity Row built in 1958.4


Phi Sigma Kappa men moving into their new house (now the Lambda Chi Alpha house) at 7 Fraternity Row, from the 1954 Terrapin yearbook


About the Willow Oak

The tree dedicated to the Centennial Anniversary is located on the southeastern edge of McKeldin Mall, near Regents Drive. Like the other trees lining the Mall, it is a willow oak (Quercus phellos), a medium-large deciduous tree known for its grand oak shape, willowy leaves, fast growth rate and tolerance to urban settings. The willow oak is native to the southeastern United States and is usually found in moist soils. It typically grows to be 40-75 feet tall, but can get up to 100 feet. This specific willow oak planted for the Centennial is 25.0 feet tall with a trunk diameter of 12.0 inches. The tree has an oval to round-shaped crown of leaves, which currently has a radius of 8.4 feet. Mature willow oak trees have a dark gray, irregularly-furrowed trunk. The tree has narrow, green leaves with bristle tips and smooth edges, and they turn a dull yellow in the fall. It also has small yellow-green flowers in separate male and female catkins (those fuzzy-looking bodies hanging from trees). The fruits are acorns, which are important sources of food for the critters found on the Mall (namely squirrels and songbirds).5




Written by Joanna Barton