Gamma Phi Beta
Gamma Phi Beta was founded on November 11, 1874 at Syracuse University by Helen M. Dodge, Frances E. Haven, E. Adeline Curtis and Mary A. Bingham. It is notable for being the first women’s organization to be called a sorority in 1882. The term sorority was coined by the group’s advisor, Dr. Frank Smalley, a Latin professor at Syracuse University. Prior to this, early sororities were called female/women’s fraternities.
Delta Gamma was founded on December 25, 1873 at the Lewis School for Girls in Oxford, Mississippi near the University of Mississippi. The sorority’s founding members – Mary Comfort Leonard, Eva Webb Dodd, and Anna Boyd Ellington – wanted to encourage the intellectual growth and a dedication to service for college women in order to be their best selves.
Alpha Phi was founded on September 18, 1872 at Syracuse University. At the time the sorority was founded, there were only twenty women attending the university. Ten of them joined together to start Alpha Phi as an organization that promoted growth in character, unity of feeling, sisterly affection, and social communion. Although Alpha Phi was founded on September 18th, the sorority celebrates its Founder’s Day on October 10th because the first Founder’s Day was celebrated on October 10, 1902. During this time period, most universities weren’t open for classes in mid-September.
Kappa Kappa Gamma
The idea for Kappa Kappa Gamma emerged in 1869 when Mary Louise Bennett and Hannah Jeannette Boyd felt that it was unfair that men enjoyed membership in fraternities, but there were few equivalent organizations for women, beside literary societies. Bennett and Boyd began looking for “the choicest spirits among the girls, not only for literary work, but also for social development.” They recruited four more girls – Mary Moore Stewart, Anna Elizabeth Willits, Martha Louisa Stevenson, and Susan Burley Walker – and officially declared their intention to organize as a women’s fraternity on October 13, 1870. Today, October 13th marks the sorority’s Founder’s Day.
Kappa Alpha Theta
Kappa Alpha Theta was founded in 1870 at DePauw University (formerly Indiana Asbury). It was the first sorority founded with Greek letters. The sorority was created as a support group for women at the then mostly male college; the university had only started to admit women in 1867.
Pi Beta Phi
Pi Beta Phi was founded on April 28, 1867 at Monmouth College as a secret women’s organization called I.C. Sorosis. Like other early sororities, the founders of I.C. Sorosis wanted to enjoy the benefits of a secret society similar to those formed by collegiate men. It is considered the first sorority to begin adding other chapters at different schools. The sorority’s second chapter was founded in 1868 at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
Phi Mu was founded on January 4, 1852 as a literary society called The Philomathean Society by Mary Ann Dupont, Mary Elizabeth Myrick, and Martha Bibb Hardaway. The name Philomathean comes from the Greek philomath, which means a lover of learning. It was the second sorority ever created and the second from Wesleyan College, which is known as the birthplace of the collegiate sorority.
Alpha Delta Pi
Alpha Delta Pi is the oldest sorority in the United States. It was initially founded in 1851 by Eugenia Tucker Fitzgerald as the Aldephian Society, a secret society focused on fellowship and scholarship for girls. It was the very first secret society for women and its driving principles were and still are based on leadership, scholarship, service to others, and sisterhood.