Theta Xi was founded at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, NY on April 29, 1864. Amidst efforts to re-build following the Civil War, much of the RPI campus was left damaged and in ruins due to a locomotion fire. It was during this time that secret societies began to emerge serving as avenues for spirited debates amongst students on topics that ranged from philosophy to prohibition. During these times, it was considered illegal for students to hold open forum academic discussions without a faculty member present. The rebellion of students led to the formation of secret societies which later evolved into Fraternities as we know them now. The eight founding members of Theta Xi were originally members of the Sigma Delta Fraternity. Sigma Delta faced an internal struggle between members in disagreement over the future of the chapter. The dissension amongst members compelled the 8 founding fathers to seek formation of a new fraternity under their shared ideals of unity and fellowship, unlike the divisiveness they found within Sigma Delta. On the evening of April 29th, 1864 these eight men founded Theta Xi by means of initiation while also preparing the infrastructure of the fraternity such as the Constitution and Bylaws. In the years that followed, Theta Xi chapters began to expand across the east coast universities such as Yale, Stevens Institute, MIT, Columbia, Cornell, Ithaca, and Purdue.