Text Box: Gems of Purpose
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Text Box: On many college campuses there existed clubs and organizations for students and professors who were Freemasons, but it was not until the turn of the twentieth century that those exclusively Masonic college fraternities were unified (Ellenberger, 1998; Katsaounis, 2004; Sink, n.d.).  The first unified fraternity to have direct ties to Freemasonry was the Acacia Fraternity.  
It is unlike its peer organizations in that it does not use Greek letters to represent its name.  Instead it uses a Greek word, Ακακια (Katsaounis, 2004).  The fraternity was officially established on 14 May 1904 by fourteen Freemasons at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor (Ellennerger; Katsaounis).  Initially its members were required to be Freemasons.  However, the sublime degree is no longer a prerequisite.  
The Acacia fraternity sought only those Master Masons with high standards of conduct.  Thusly, Acacia was selective of an already elite group of men.  Acacia wished to be an entity of high moral standards, offering a refuge and fraternity for those who wished not to participate in the debauchery of college fraternities of the time (Fairfield, 1965; Sink).  It was the goal of the founders that the teachings of Acacia to be dedicated to scholarship, and a continuation of the principles of Freemasonry.   

The original colors of the Acacia Fraternity were dark blue and gold.  The order’s pin is in the form of a right triangle, and although it was never designated as a 3-4-5 triangle, a close examination of the pin will divulge the base of the pin contains three pearls, the height four, and the hypotenuse five.  The 3-4-5 triangle has great significance in they symbolism of Freemasonry (Stafford, 2006).  Within the pin are three right triangles encased in a larger one.  These three smaller triangles represent the three Hebrew-letters shin, teth and he.  The crest of the fraternity is a three-branched candelabra wreathed with sprigs of acacia.  The shield of “old gold” has a black band “in fess, endorsed” bearing three gold right triangles (Acacia Fraternity).
Today, the Acacia Fraternity has no official relationship to Freemasonry.  However, many chapters still maintain close ties with local Masonic lodges.  In 1997, the Masonic Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania began to restregnthen its connections with the Acacia Fraternity by allowing it the use of Masonic lodge rooms to conduct the three Acacian degrees (Katsaunis, 2004).  



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Acacia Fraternity