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About The Franklin Society

Our History

The Franklin Society is the first fraternity founded at Whittier College, Whittier, CA, on December 9th, 1921. It is also the oldest student organization of the College.

The Society began as a literary society that based itself on "virtues" espoused by Benjamin Franklin. The Franklin Society boasts a distinguished roll of members ranging from academics, public servants, and successful business owners, and a president of Whittier College. Among those who have been denied membership to this exclusive society is former president Richard Nixon.

The Franklins have flourished for 100 years as the most recognizable organization on campus. Society members are easily recognized by their purple "sleeves", a white shirt with purple sleeves emblazoned with the image of Benjamin Franklin on the back. Franklins assemble every Tuesday afternoon at the top of Founder's Hill to promote their society and celebrate brotherhood.


Purpose & Values

To develop well rounded character in its members, to encourage self-expression, leadership, individuality, and to promote at all times brotherhood. We draw inspiration from the life of Benjamin Franklin through his writings, scholarship, values, and philosophy. The most accomplished man of his age and an icon in the founding of America, Franklin worked tirelessly to improve his world for the benefit of all. As Franklin Actives we strive to improve our immediate community by preserving the well being of Whittier College. As Franklin Alumni we strive to improve our own community where ever we may be. We are honored to call ourselves the Sons of Ben.


To develop deep and mutual sense of brotherly understanding and affection, learning about their own strengths and weaknesses and those of others, becoming more aware of and tolerant of differences, and a willingness to encourage personal improvement. The growth of genuine brotherhood, a relationship of caring and sharing, will prove the value of the effort and be truly rewarding for all.


It is by Benjamin Franklin's example that the members of the Society should seek to nourish their minds as they complete their broad liberal arts education at Whittier College and in their future educational, professional, and personal lives. Scholarship is important, not only in career pursuits, but because it helps Franklins become productive citizens. Franklin alumni look back on their Society experience as a valuable part of their education.

It is not so much the acquiring of knowledge, but obtaining wisdom that fulfills the promise of a college education. Franklins believe that the liberal education offered by Whittier College, supplemented with the experiences offered by the Franklin Society, broaden their perspective, improve their ability to relate to others, and make them better able to meet the challenges they will confront in life.


The health of the mind and that of the body are connected. Franklin understood this over 200 years ago. Benjamin Franklin was an early proponent of physical fitness. His healthful philosophy encompassed diet, exercise, and mental relaxation. The Franklin Society recognizes the connection between a healthy body, a clear mind, an energetic life, and a positive attitude. Therefore, its members are encouraged to follow Franklin's example of a healthy lifestyle.


Franklin's example shows that it is possible to be successful on many levels simultaneously. We should not settle for mediocrity in any aspect of our lives. While we may not achieve high levels of success in all areas, with industry, discipline, and focus, we can become successful on multiple levels.


Franklin's civic contributions were not limited to his participation in the Junto (the prototype of our Fraternity). Franklin founded the first hospital, fire department, circulating library, and fire insurance company in Philadelphia. He also helped found the Academy of Philadelphia, now the University of Pennsylvania, was elected its first President (1749 – 1756), and was a Trustee for the remaining 34 years of his life.

After graduation, Franklins are active in their communities and contribute to the welfare of society through leadership efforts, voluntary service, and charitable service. This history of service to the College, the community, and society is an important part of Franklin tradition and integral to the identity of the Society.


In keeping with the spirit of Ben Franklin, the Society believes it is important to balance their lives with "diversion" and to understand the importance of humor and the power of laughter in their professional and personal lives.

Self Improvement

Franklin's behavior, especially in his youth, was not always exemplary. However, at an early age he realized how some of his actions negatively affected others and impeded his success. At the age of 20, he embarked on a course self-improvement that he called "moral perfection."

The fraternity of the Franklin Society does not ask for or expect perfection from its members, but rather a commitment to improve themselves, their lives, and the lives of those around them.

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