Alpha Chi Omega

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Alpha Chi Omega
Alpha Chi Omega.jpg
Founded October 15, 1885; 132 years ago (1885-10-15)
DePauw University, (Greencastle, Indiana)
Type Social
Scope International
Mission statement "Enrich the lives of members through lifetime opportunities for friendship, leadership, learning and service."
Vision statement

"Ever-increasing numbers of qualified women select Alpha Chi Omega and make it an integral part of their lives. When women choose Alpha Chi Omega, they get four key benefits:
~ Friendship
~ Leadership
~ Learning

~ Service"
Motto Together let us seek the heights
Colors      Scarlet Red      Olive Green
Symbol Golden Lyre
Flower Red Carnation
Jewel Pearl
Patron Greek divinity Hera
Publication The Lyre
Philanthropy Domestic Violence Awareness, Alpha Chi Omega Foundation
Chapters 193
Members 230,000+ collegiate
Headquarters 5939 Castle Creek Parkway North Dr.
Indianapolis, Indiana

Alpha Chi Omega (ΑΧΩ, also known as Alpha Chi or A Chi O) is a women's fraternity founded on October 15, 1885.

Currently, there are 193 chapters represented throughout colleges and universities across the United States, and the fraternity counts more than 200,000 members initiated through its history. Angela Costly Harris is the current National President of Alpha Chi Omega and oversees all collegiate and alumnae chapters in the nation.

Alpha Chi Omega is a member of the National Panhellenic Conference, the governing council of 26 women's fraternities.[1] Its own national headquarters are located in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Alpha Chapter at Depauw University, 1885

Alpha Chi Omega was formed at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana on October 15, 1885.[2]

In the fall of 1885, Professor James Hamilton Howe, the first Dean of the Music School, invited seven young women from the school to a meeting with the purpose of forming a fraternity. Those young women were Anna Allen, Olive Burnett, Bertha Deniston, Amy DuBois, Nellie Gamble, Bessie Grooms, and Estelle Leonard.[2] Howe himself was not a member of a Greek fraternity, so he consulted with James G. Campbell, a Beta Theta Pi, on the proper procedures for founding a national-based fraternity. Campbell was thus responsible for laying out the first constitution and by-laws. This first constitution read: "The object of this fraternity is as follows: To attain the highest musical culture and to cultivate those principles that embody true womanhood."[3] On February 26, 1886, the fraternity was given its formal introduction by a soiree musical.[3]

Alpha Chi Omega joined the National Panhellenic Conference in 1903.

Early musical requirements[edit]

Although some association with the music school was required early on, Alpha Chi Omega was never a "strictly musical" organization. Members graduated in many other departments of the university, including the liberal arts department.[3] In 1889, a national literary fraternity offered to merge with Alpha Chi Omega; however, unlike professional fraternities, Alpha Chi never considered taking members of other fraternities.[3] In its early years it was externally considered to be a professional music society,[4][5] but due to disagreement with this designation, in 1900, the sorority added literary qualifications, which led to it being considered a general (social) sorority by 1905.[6]

Beginnings of philanthropy[edit]

In 1911, Alpha Chi Omega began supporting the MacDowell Colony, as MacDowell was an alumna of Alpha Chi Omega.[7] During World War I and II Alpha Chi Omega offered its support by helping working mothers who were married to service men by providing day nurseries and helping orphaned French children. In 1947, Alpha Chi Omega adopted Easter Seals as its philanthropy and supported other projects associated with cerebral palsy.[7]

In 1978, the fraternity created the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation to merge funds for the fraternity's philanthropic projects and educational programming into one nonprofit organization.[7] In 1992, the fraternity voted adopt a new primary philanthropy, the support of victims of domestic violence.[8][9] Alpha Chi Omega continues to support Easter Seals.


Alpha Chi Omega's Founders chose "Alpha" (Α), the first letter of the Greek alphabet, because they were forming the first fraternity in the school of music. Since they thought they might also be founding the last such fraternity, "Omega" (Ω) seemed appropriate, considering it stands for the end. "Kai", meaning "and", was added to form "the beginning and the end". "Kai" was soon changed to "Chi" (Χ), a letter of the Greek alphabet.[2]

Alpha Chi Omega's colors of scarlet red and olive green were chosen to commemorate the fraternity's fall founding.[10] The fraternity's official symbol is a three-stringed lyre[11] and the official flower is a red carnation, which exemplifies the fraternity's colors. The fraternity's official jewel is the pearl. The badge (pin) is also a lyre, typically featuring pearls and the fraternity's letters on the crossbar.


The fraternity manages its philanthropy through its nonprofit arm, the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation. This branch continues to grant funds to the fraternity's former partners, the MacDowell Colony and Easter Seals, as well as to services and programs for domestic violence victims and on education on the subject.[9] The Foundation also helps to support members and those closely related to Alpha Chi Omegas through other funds and grants to ensure continuous support for its members.[12]

Individual chapters focus their attention on increasing the awareness of domestic violence, its effects on individuals, families, and children, as well as actively aiding victims of domestic violence through hands-on activities and service projects. This work is done through local agencies, which undergraduate and alumnae chapters support physically and financially. Local agencies include rape crisis centers, emergency shelters and safe houses for victims of domestic violence and their children, and long-term assistance centers for battered women across the nation.

Currently, Alpha Chi Omega is partnered with Mary Kay, Allstate Foundation Purple Purse, The One Love Foundation, RAINN, and It's On Us, various organizations which also support domestic/sexual violence violence awareness and education and survivor support.[8] The fraternity also supports Kristin's Story in cooperation with Delta Delta Delta, a nonprofit set up by the Delta Delta Delta mother of an Alpha Chi Omega member who committed suicide following a sexual assault.[13]


There are 193 chapters of Alpha Chi Omega at colleges and universities in the United States. There are also 273 alumnae chapters, which allow women of all post-graduate ages to come together and continue the mission and values of Alpha Chi Omega. Collegiate chapters work directly with alumnae chapters to link sisters from around the country. In addition, alumnae chapters continue the cause of working to eliminate domestic violence.

Alpha Chi's focus and tagline is on developing "Real Strong Women" who become leaders in their communities and connecting these women through the Life Loyal sisterhood. There are 5 standards of membership focusing on academic interest, character, financial responsibility, leadership, and personal development.

The founders of Alpha Chi Omega


Members of Alpha Chi Omega have several national programs for important dates:

  • Founders' Day — Sisters gather on October 15 of each year to recognize the fraternity's fall founding at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. On Founders' Day, members wear their badges, along with scarlet and olive green ribbons.
  • Hera Day — On March 1 of each year, this day is a formal attire day where members recognize the fraternity's commitment to volunteer work by conducting service projects and offering assistance to others.
  • MacDowell Month — Every February, Alpha Chi Omega women celebrate the fine arts and their fine-arts heritage. Most colleges and universities chapters will encourage their members to attend and perform in fine art events during this month, as well.
  • Chapter Founders' Days — Each collegiate chapter recognizes its founding anniversary annually.
  • The National Convention — Members join together every two years to conduct fraternity business, reunite with sisters, and celebrate the fraternity.

Notable alumnae[edit]

Arts and Entertainment

Beauty Pageant Contestants

News and journalism



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Our Member Organizations". National Panhellenic Conference. Retrieved 2018-05-10. 
  2. ^ a b c "About ΑΧΩ". Alpha Chi Omega. Archived from the original on 2008-04-24. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  3. ^ a b c d Armstrong, Florence A.; Mabel Harriet Siller (1922). History of Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity (1885–1921) (3 ed.). Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity. 
  4. ^ Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (5 ed.). 1898. 
  5. ^ Stevens, Albert C. (1899). The cyclopædia of fraternities, a compilation of existing authentic information and the results of original investigation as to more than six hundred secret societies in the United States. p. 347. OL 23292199M. Alpha Chi Omega– Professional (Music) Society 
  6. ^ Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (6 ed.). 1905. 
  7. ^ a b c "About Chi Omega Foundation History". Alpha Chi Omega. Archived from the original on 2008-06-15. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  8. ^ a b "DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS". Alpha Chi Omega. Retrieved 9 June 2018. 
  9. ^ a b "Foundation [ Domestic Violence ]". 2007-06-07. Retrieved 2018-06-10. 
  10. ^ Alpha Chi Omega – About Us
  11. ^ Alpha Chi Omega
  12. ^ "Alpha Chi Omega Foundation". Alpha Chi Omega. Archived from the original on 2007-08-11. Retrieved 2007-12-28. 
  13. ^ Kristin's Story
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "About ΑΧΩ Notable Alumnae". Alpha Chi Omega. Archived from the original on 2007-12-23. Retrieved 2008-09-09. 
  15. ^ "Alpha Chi Omega Actress in the News". 
  16. ^ "Famous AXs". 
  17. ^ "Nancy Hoyt: Biography". 
  18. ^ "Janet Hsieh 謝怡芬". 
  19. ^ "Aubrey Style – Interview". Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-12. 
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Greek101". Greek 101. 
  23. ^ "Alpha Chi Omega Foundation Newsletter" (PDF). Alpha Chi Omega. 2005. Retrieved 2008-12-22. [dead link]
  24. ^ "Baker grad named Nashville Mayor". Baker University. April 27, 2016. Retrieved May 31, 2017. 
  25. ^ Iwata, Edward (March 24, 2003). "Watkins gets frank about days at Enron". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-01-04. 

External links[edit]