Nonsectarian institutions are secular private educational institutions or other organizations not affiliated with or restricted to a particular religious group.[1][2][3]

Academic sphere

Examples of universities that identify themselves as being nonsectarian include Adelphi University, Berea College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Columbia College in Missouri, Cornell University, Dalhousie University, Denison University, Duke University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Franklin & Marshall College, George Washington University, Hawaii Pacific University, Hillsdale College, Hofstra University, Howard University, Kwansei Gakuin University, Long Island University, National University, New York University, Northwestern University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Pratt Institute, Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, Reed College in Oregon, Whitman College in Washington, Rice University, the University of Richmond, Syracuse University, Tulane University, the University of Chicago, the University of Denver, the University of Southern California, the Washington University in St. Louis, and Woodbury University in California.

Private primary and secondary schools also self-identified as being nonsectarian include Allendale Columbia School in Rochester, New York, Baylor School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School in New York and Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania (the oldest nonsectarian school in the U.S.), Friends School Mullica Hill in New Jersey, Pine Crest School in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and The Pembroke Hill School, as well as Notre Christi Academy and University of Nueva Caceres of the Philippines.

Pi Lambda Phi (ΠΛΦ or Pi Lam) is a college social fraternity founded by Frederick Manfred Werner, Louis Samter Levy, and Henry Mark Fisher at Yale University in 1895. It was founded as the first non-sectarian fraternity, "a fraternity in which all men were brothers, no matter what their religion; a fraternity in which ability, open-mindedness, farsightedness, and a progressive, forward-looking attitude would be recognized as the basic attributes."[4] It currently boasts 35 chapters and four colonies in the United States and one chapter in Canada. The fraternity founded the Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity Educational Foundation[5]

The first nonsectarian sorority was Phi Sigma Sigma. Phi Sigma Sigma (ΦΣΣ), colloquially known as "Phi Sig," was the first collegiate nonsectarian sorority, welcoming women of all faiths and backgrounds. Founded by 10 women on November 26, 1913 at Hunter College in New York, Phi Sigma Sigma is now an international sorority with 60,000 initiated members, 115 collegiate chapters and more than 100 alumnae chapters, clubs and associations across the United States and Canada.

Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority,founded in 1917, was the first non-sectarian social sorority founded at a professional school.[6]

Non-academic institutions

Organizations that are explicitly nonsectarian include the Apex Clubs of Australia, those participating in the Ethical Culture Movement, International Society for Krishna Consciousness, the National Jewish Medical and Research Center, and the Tibetan Buddhist Center of Philadelphia. In Northern Ireland, nonsectarian refers to groups identifying themselves as neither Nationalist/Republican or Unionist/Loyalist, such as the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland.


Some cemeteries are known for being nonsectarian. In the United States, these are typically Christian cemeteries that do not adhere to one branch of the faith. Interment services can therefore be conducted in accordance with any one of various faith traditions, or none at all.


  1. "Nonsectarian - Definition of nonsectarian by Merriam-Webster".
  2. "Nonsectarian - definition of nonsectarian by The Free Dictionary".
  3. "Nonsectarian dictionary definition - nonsectarian defined".
  4. The Founders' Period History of the Fraternity
  5. Foundation Pi Lambda Phi Educational Foundation, Inc.
  6. "The Founding of DPhiE". Delta Phi Epsilon. Retrieved 10 January 2013.
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