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Alpha Phi

Alpha Phi
Founded September 18, 1872 (1872-09-18)
Syracuse University, (Syracuse, New York)
Type Social
Scope International
Mission statement Alpha Phi is a sisterhood of women supporting one another in lifelong achievement.
Motto Union hand in hand
Colors Bordeaux, silver
Symbol Ivy
Flower Forget-me-not
Publication Quarterly
Philanthropy Alpha Phi Foundation
Chapters 164 active
Members 200,000+ lifetime
Mascot Phi Bear
Headquarters 1930 Sherman Avenue
Evanston, Illinois, USA
Homepage .orgalphaphi

Alpha Phi International Women's Fraternity (ΑΦ) is a sorority with over 164 active chapters and over 200,000 initiated members. Founded at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York on September 18, 1872,[1][2] It has the distinction of being the fourth Greek-letter organization founded for women.


  • History 1
  • Symbols 2
  • Motto 3
  • Founders 4
  • Trivia 5
  • Notable alumnae 6
    • Business 6.1
    • Entertainment 6.2
    • Literature 6.3
    • Medicine 6.4
    • News media and journalism 6.5
    • Politics and government 6.6
    • Sports 6.7
    • Religion 6.8
  • Chapters 7
  • Philanthropy 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


At the time of the founding there were only twenty women attending Syracuse; ten of them eventually joined in the formation of Alpha Phi. The organization was founded on the principles of the promotion of growth in character; unity of feeling, sisterly affection, and social communion among the members. The actual founding date is September 18th, 1872 however, Founder's Day is celebrated on October 10th. This is because the first Founder's Day was celebrated on October 10th, 1902 when the fraternity was 30 years old because many colleges and universities were not open for classes in mid-September at that time.


There are multiple types of symbols a member of Alpha Phi Fraternity represents and receives proudly:

  • The Ivy Leaf- this is the primary symbol of Alpha Phi.
  • Alpha Phi Badge – Each organization has their own individual emblem that sets them apart from each other. Every organization created a symbol that they felt was meaningful to the organization, however "Alpha Phi was the first women's organization to use Greek letters as an emblem. Originally there was no standard badge. Until 1906 when the current badge was adopted, each member went to the jeweler of her choice to have her pin designed.".[3] Today each and every member receives an emblem when they are initiated.
  • Honor Badge – These pins are worn by international officers, and presidents of college chapters while they are serving their reign as president.
  • New member Badge – "In 1898 the Fraternity adopted a special badge to honor her newest members. The badge they selected is in the shape of an ivy leaf, set in silver pewter. An ever-growing vine, the ivy symbolizes the growth of the Alpha Phi sisterhood."[3]
  • Fifty-Year Pin – "The first fifty-year pins, silver circles with red stones, were presented at the 42nd Convention in 1958 to several alumnae who had given significant service to the fraternity for 50 years or more. These pins are replicas of the pins presented to the six living founders at the Fraternity's Fiftieth Anniversary Convention in 1922."[3]


Alpha Phi's public motto is "union hand in hand".


Alpha Phi's founding members were:[4][5]

Martha "Mattie" Foote Crow was born in Sacketts Harbor, New York. She received a PhD in English Literature. From the beginning of Alpha Phi, she dreamed of an international Fraternity. She was the first National President of Alpha Phi and was an administer of education. She was the fourth Alpha Phi to serve as Dean of Women at Northwestern University and a founder of the American Association of University Women.
  • Rena A. Michaels Atchison
Rena Michaels Atchinson was the first president of Alpha Phi, and the Michaelanean Society derives its name from hers. The Michaelanean Society still exists as a corporation and owns the Alpha Phi chapter house in Syracuse. She received her M.S. degree in 1879 and her PhD in history in 1880. She served as a professor at several universities. She then served as Dean of Women's College, Northwestern University from 1886–1891.
  • Clara Bradley Baker Wheeler Burdette
Clara Bradley Burdette lived the longest, most active life of the Founders. She was born in East Bloomfield, New York, and graduated in the class of 1876. She was a writer, lecturer, business woman, philanthropist, a trustee of Syracuse University and held many volunteer positions that filled her nearly ninety-nine years. Her prime objective in life was working for better opportunities for women. She was the only Honorary President of Alpha Phi and was referred to as "Mother Burdette."
  • Jane Sara Higham
Jane Sara Higham was born in Rome, New York. She received her B.A. degree in 1876 and her M.A. degree in 1879. She taught for over forty years of her life, mostly in Rome, New York. She, Mattie Foote and Clara Bradley became members of Phi Beta Kappa.
  • Florence Chidester Lukens
Florence Chidester Lukens was born in Utica, New York. She received her in 1875 at the age of 21 and her M.S. degree in 1879. Upon graduation she became an educator and taught higher mathematics. She gave numerous readings in fourteen states and territories. Her father's office served as the first chapter room. Florence was the first founder to enter the Silent Chapter (A chapter where sisters go when deceased).
  • Ida Arabella Gilbert DeLamanter Houghton
Ida Gilbert Houghton was born in Phoenix, New York. She received her B.S. in 1876 and her M.S. in modern languages in 1879. After college she taught school and wrote for newspapers and magazines. She lived in a mansion on Turtle Street in Syracuse, and she and her mother arranged the first Alpha Phi banquet there following initiation.
  • Clara Sittser Williams
Clara Sittser Williams was born in Weedsport, New York. She was the only founder not to graduate from the University, leaving in 1874. She was the only founder with a rural background. The first Alpha Phi meeting was held in her room.
  • Kate Elizabeth Hogoboom Gilbert
Kate Hogoboom Gilbert was born in Ovid, New York. She received her B.S. degree in 1875 , her M.S. in 1878 and a music degree in 1879. She along with Mattie Foote Crow, wrote the Ritual and the first Constitution.
  • Louise Viola Shepard Hancock
Louise Shepard Hancock was an inseparable friend of Jane Higham. Both were from Rome, New York. She received her B.S. in 1876 and her M.S. in 1878. Throughout her life she made literary contributions to various papers and envisioned many of the privileges that have come to women today.
  • Elizabeth Grace Hubbell Shults
Elizabeth Hubbell Shults was born in Rochester, New York. She was a brilliant student, graduating with honors from the four-year classical course, displaying unusual ability in Latin, mathematics, and political science. She was twenty-two years old when Alpha Phi was founded and the one old enough to sign the legal documents.

Three of the "Original 10" became members of Phi Beta Kappa. Three were also listed in Who's Who of America.


  • In 1886 Alpha Phi became the first women's fraternity in America to build and occupy its own chapter house.
  • In 1888, the Alpha Phi Quarterly, an award-winning magazine, was established and has been published continuously to the present day.
  • In 1894, Alpha Phi became the first women's fraternity to use "traveling delegates," now known as Educational Leadership Consultants.
  • In 1902, Alpha Phi called the inter-sorority meeting that resulted in the formation of the association now known as the National Panhellenic Conference, which then included Pi Beta Phi, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Delta Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, and Delta Delta Delta. This was the first intergroup organization on college campuses.
  • In 1905, Frances Willard was recognized by the U.S. Congress who placed a statue of her in Statuary Hall in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol, the first woman to be so recognized.
  • In 1906, became an "International" fraternity when Xi chapter was chartered at the University of Toronto. Alpha Phi's Xi chapter is the oldest continuously active chapter in Canada. The organization is 'Celebrating 100 Years in Canada' in 2006.
  • In 1940, Frances Willard was portrayed on a U.S. postage stamp.
  • In 1995, Alpha Phi became the first NPC international/national member to have a site on the World Wide Web.
  • Alpha Phi is a member of the Syracuse Triad along with Gamma Phi Beta and Alpha Gamma Delta.
  • Alpha Phi Headquarters is located in Evanston, Illinois,
  • Alpha Phi Fraternity recognizes Ursa Major, also known as the Great Bear, as their constellation
  • Clara Bradley Burdette (One of the ten Founders) established the first Alpha Phi Foundation scholarship.
  • Alpha Phi is an international organization with several chapters in Canada.
  • Alpha Phi created the Forget-Me-Not Fund which helps aids active or alumnae sisters who are in need from disastrous events.


Notable alumnae

For a full list of notable Alpha Phi alumnae please visit[3]


  • Nancy Austin (Beta Delta – UCLA) – Management consultant and author of The Assertive Woman[6]
  • Susan Bayh (Lambda – UC Berkeley) – attorney and professional director[7]
  • Deborah Lippmann (Gamma Pi – Arizona State) – singer and celebrity manicurist with her own line, the Lippmann Collection[6]
  • Donna Lucas (Βeta Pi – USC) – public affairs strategist[6]
  • Janet Murguía (Gamma Delta – Kansas) – First female president/CEO of National Council of La Raza[6]
  • Julee Rosso (Beta Beta – Michigan State) – Founder of The Silver Palate gourmet food shop and Co-author of Silver Palate Cookbook[6]
  • Alice Waters (Gamma Beta – UC Santa Barbara) – author, chef, founder of Chez Panisse, the original "California Cuisine" restaurant[6]
  • Beverly Willis (Beta Upsilon – Oregon State) – Architect, artist, author, and activist[6]
  • Andrea Wong (Zeta Phi – MIT) – American television executive, former President and chief executive officer of Lifetime Television[6]




News media and journalism

  • Lisa Colagrossi (Beta Iota – West Virginia) – Emmy winning television anchor with WABC-TV in New York[6]
  • Jennifer Gilbert (Beta – Northwestern) – Emmy winning television anchor with FOX45 in Baltimore[6]
  • Ann Martin (Sigma – Washington) – Primetime news anchor and co-host of Woman 2 Woman, KCBS-TV, Los Angeles[6]
  • Nan C. Robertson (Beta – Northwestern) – Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and feature writer for the New York Times[6]

Politics and government



  • Ruth Stafford Peale (Alpha – Syracuse) – Religious leader, public speaker and author[6]
  • Bishop Catherine Maples Waynick (Epsilon Zeta – Central Michigan) – One of only eight women bishops in the U.S. Episcopal Church[6]



The Alpha Phi Foundation has a mission to empower women to be generous givers by raising and awarding funds for programs that advance leadership development, encourage academic excellence, improve women's heart health, support sisters in need, preserve heritage and educate about the value of philanthropy.[10]

Alpha Phi officially adopted Cardiac Care as a priority in 1946, which became Alpha Phi Foundation's[11] philanthropic priority upon its founding in 1956. The Foundation supports programs and research that study heart disease in women – specifically its symptoms, its treatment and its prevention.

Through its annual Heart to Heart Grant, the Foundation helps fund research and educational programs that support the improvement of women's heart health. The $50,000 award enables the medical profession to better understand gender differences in heart health and help countless health care professionals increase their expertise in heart disease prevention and treatment in women. Through the support of these initiatives, Alpha Phi Foundation is helping millions of people live longer, richer lives.

Collegiate chapters, alumnae chapters and individual members can nominate a local heart project for the Heart to Heart Grant. Self-nominations are also accepted. The recipient is selected by a team of medical professionals and the Foundation board of directors.

Past recipients of the Heart to Heart Grant

The Red Dress Gala (also called "Red Dress Ball" or "Aphiasco" by some chapters) is one of the philanthropic events held by the women of the Alpha Phi International Fraternity to raise funds and awareness for Alpha Phi Foundation's vital programs, including the Heart to Heart Grant.

See also


  1. ^ Greek Info Pages: NPC Sororities
  2. ^ Alpha Phi International Blog
  3. ^ a b c d
  4. ^, About us: Founders.
  5. ^ a b [The Ivy Leaf, Introduction to Alpha Phi: An Official Publication of Alpha Phi Fraternity, Inc.]
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao "Alpha Phi Fraternity – Famous Phis". Alpha Phi Fraternity. Archived from the original on March 18, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-25. 
  7. ^ a b "Not Available" (PDF). Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  8. ^ "Alpha Phi Fraternity Quarterly" (PDF). Alpha Phi Fraternity. 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-25. 
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ "Mission/ Vision". Alpha Phi Foundation. Retrieved December 29, 2011. 
  11. ^ Alpha Phi Foundation
  12. ^
  13. ^

External links

  • Alpha Phi Homepage
  • Alpha Phi Foundation
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