Alpha Phi International Women's Fraternity (ΑΦ) is a sorority with 170 active chapters and over 200,000 initiated members. Founded at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York on September 18, 1872,[3][4] 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. Alpha Phi is considered a Women's Fraternity because it was founded in 1872 before the word sorority was coined.


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 the Sigma Chi fraternity so they were changed.
  • The Lily of the Valley and the Forget-me-not are the flowers 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."[1] 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."[1]
  • 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."[1]
  • Values – Sisterhood, Scholarship, Service, Leadership, Loyalty, Character Development


Alpha Phi's public motto is "union hand in hand". According to Alexandra Robbins it also has a "secret" motto, "A.O.E""[5]


Four founders of Alpha Phi, reunited at a national convention in 1922: Clara Bradley Burdette, Jane Sara Higham, Louise Shepard Hancock, and Clara Sittser Williams.

Alpha Phi's founding members were:[6][7]

Martha "Mattie" Foote Crow (1854 – January 1, 1924) was an educator and writer. Born in Sackets Harbor, New York,[8] she played an important role in the development of higher education for women in the United States.[9]
  • Rena A. Michaels Atchison
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
  • Jane Sara Higham
  • Clara Sittser Williams
  • Florence Chidester Lukens
  • Ida Arabella Gilbert DeLamanter Houghton
  • Kate Elizabeth Hogoboom Gilbert
  • Louise Viola Shepard Hancock
  • Elizabeth Grace Hubbell Shults



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

Note: Texas Heart Institute has been awarded the grant twice. (2013, 2017)

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.


In 2015, Alpha Phi at the University of Alabama took down a recruitment video that was heavily criticized for its lack of diversity and the provocative way in which collegiate women were portrayed.[15]

In October 2016, the chapter at the University of Rhode Island charter was revoked for at least five years. On bid day, the sorority was accused of endangering the health and safety of new members and violating the university's alcohol policy.[16]

In January 2018, a former sorority member at the University of Alabama went viral following the public release of racially insensitive and disturbing videos she recorded. In one of the videos, recorded on Martin Luther King Day, she claims that since she is in the South she is allowed to say "nigger," and she repeats the word over 10 times while surrounded by young women laughing and supporting her. As a result, she was immediately expelled from her sorority and university. Once the expulsions were publicly announced, she released a public apology and denounced her actions.[17][18][19][20]

In February 2018, a former sorority member at the George Washington University went viral following the public release of a racially insensitive Snapchat photo, in which she posed with a banana. The photo was captioned "Izzy: I'm 1/16th black." The George Washington University Student Association Senate voted unanimously to expel the sorority from campus.[21][22]

Notable alumnae





News media and journalism

Politics and government



See also


  1. ^ a b c d AlphaPhi.org Archived March 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ http://www.alphaphi.org/aboutus/whoweare
  3. ^ Greek Info Pages: NPC Sororities Archived July 11, 2012, at Archive.is
  4. ^ Alpha Phi International Blog
  5. ^ Robbins, Alexandra (2015). The Secret Life of Sororities. Hachette. p. 285. ISBN 978-0786888597. Retrieved 9 August 2016. 
  6. ^ AlphaPhi.org, About us: Founders.
  7. ^ [The Ivy Leaf, Introduction to Alpha Phi: An Official Publication of Alpha Phi Fraternity, Inc.]
  8. ^ KM. "Martha Foote Crow Papers: an inventory of her papers at Syracuse University". Syracuse University, May 1990. http://library.syr.edu/digital/guides/print/crow_mf_prt.htm.
  9. ^ Rossiter, Margaret W. "Doctorates for American Women, 1868–1907." History of Education Quarterly 22, no. 2 (Summer): 159-183.
  10. ^ "Mission/ Vision". Alpha Phi Foundation. Archived from the original on April 21, 2012. Retrieved December 29, 2011. 
  11. ^ Alpha Phi Foundation
  12. ^ Eventsoftheheart.org Archived July 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ Womenheart.org
  14. ^ "Heart to Heart Grant Recipients - Alpha Phi Foundation". Alpha Phi Foundation. Retrieved 2017-12-19. 
  15. ^ Bromwich, Jonah (2015-08-18). "Sorority Video Generates Charges of Discrimination". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-01-20. 
  16. ^ http://www.providencejournal.com/news/20161031/uri-revokes-sororitys-charter-following-alcohol-violation
  17. ^ http://time.com/5107228/harley-barber-alabama-racist-video/
  18. ^ http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2018/01/harley_barber_college_student_from_nj_expelled_in_wake_of_racist_videos.html
  19. ^ http://www.ibtimes.com/university-alabama-alpha-phi-respond-harley-barber-racist-video-2642490
  20. ^ https://thegrio.com/2018/01/19/civil-rights-activists-say-sorority-girl-behind-racist-videos-shouldnt-expelled/
  21. ^ https://www.gwhatchet.com/2018/02/01/university-looking-into-racist-snapchat-post-depicting-sorority-members/
  22. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5362827/GWU-student-senate-votes-kick-Alpha-Phi-campus.html
  23. ^ 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 March 25, 2007. 
  24. ^ a b "Not Available" (PDF). Alphaphi.org. Retrieved 2014-08-19. 
  25. ^ "Alpha Phi Fraternity Quarterly" (PDF). Alpha Phi Fraternity. 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-25. 
  26. ^ "Gabrielle Ruiz* ~ Bio". www.gabrielleruiz.net. Archived from the original on 2016-04-01. Retrieved 2017-10-13. 
  27. ^ [1] Archived February 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.

External links