Alpha Phi

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Alpha Phi
Alpha Phi Crest.png
Founded October 10, 1872; 143 years ago (1872-10-10)
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 Lily of the Valley, Forget-me-not
Publication Quarterly
Philanthropy Alpha Phi Foundation in support of Women's Heart Health
Chapters 164 active
Members 200,000+ lifetime
Mascot Phi Bear
Headquarters 1930 Sherman Avenue
Evanston, Illinois, USA

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 is the fourth Greek-letter organization founded for women, and the first "sorority" founded for women in the northeast.


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 18, 1872 however, Founder's Day is celebrated on October 10. This is because the first Founder's Day was celebrated on October 10, 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 is the primary symbol of Alpha Phi.
  • Bordeaux and silver are the colors of Alpha Phi. The colors were originally blue and gold; however, these colors were similar to those of a fraternity so they were changed.
  • The Lily of the Valley and the Forget-me-not are the flowers of AP.
  • 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]
  • Values - Sisterhood, Scholarship, Service, Leadership, Loyalty, Character Development


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, Martha Foote Crowe 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 Gamma Phi Beta. Three were also listed in Who's Who of America.

Notable alumnae[edit]





News media and journalism[edit]

  • 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[edit]





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 Cardiac Care 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.

The first Friday of February is Red Dress Pin Day and the month of February is February's Cardiac Care Month where individual Alpha Phi chapters are encouraged to develop a relationship with a local cardiac care project in their community, as well as to promote awareness of women's heart disease.

One of Alpha Phi's biggest philanthropy events, within all chapters is known as The Red Dress Gala. At Red Dress, there is a silent auction, guest speakers, and a full dinner for sisters, alumni, and family to come and have loads of fun for a great and very important cause. It is a tradition that every sister wears a red dress to represent our support for Women's Heart Health. Every dollar raised is donated to the Alpha Phi Foundation for women's cardiac awareness and research.

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

Alpha Phi chapters all over will raise up to a million dollars annually.

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[edit]


  1. ^ Greek Info Pages: NPC Sororities
  2. ^ Alpha Phi International Blog
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^, About us: Founders.
  5. ^ [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 "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. ^ [1] Archived February 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "Mission/ Vision". Alpha Phi Foundation. Retrieved December 29, 2011. 
  11. ^ Alpha Phi Foundation
  12. ^
  13. ^

External links[edit]