Phi Sigma Sigma (ΦΣΣ), colloquially known as "Phi Sig," was the first collegiate nonsectarian sorority,[1] to allow membership of women of all faiths and backgrounds. The sorority was founded on November 26, 1913, and lists 60,000 initiated members, 115 collegiate chapters and more than 100 alumnae chapters, clubs and associations in the United States and Canada. Phi Sigma Sigma was founded to establish to the twin ideals of promoting the brotherhood of man and alleviation of the world’s pain.[2]


Epsilon Psi Chapter house at Western Illinois University

Phi Sigma Sigma was founded by ten women on November 26, 1913 at Hunter College, in Manhattan. The original name for the fraternity was Phi Sigma Omega, but they later learned this name was already in use by another organization. In 1918, Phi Sigma Sigma expanded by founding its Beta chapter at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, and the Gamma chapter at New York University, although neither of those chapters are currently active. The sorority held its first national convention that year in New York City, where the constitution was adopted, and Fay Chertkoff, one of the founders, was elected Grand Archon.

Phi Sigma Sigma became an associate member of National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) in 1947, and a full member in 1951.

In 1968, the separation of Hunter College's two campuses prompted the original Alpha chapter to divide. Alpha Alpha was installed at the new Herbert Lehman College in the Bronx, while Alpha chapter remained on Hunter College's Park Avenue campus. Neither is still active.

In November 2009, the Delta chapter, at the University at Buffalo, was reinstalled; making it the oldest active chapter. The second oldest active chapter is the Epsilon chapter at Adelphi University, in Garden City, New York, which was recolonized December 6, 2008. While other chapters were founded earlier and have been recolonized, the Xi Chapter at Temple University is the oldest chapter in continuous existence, having been founded in 1926. The Upsilon chapter (1930) at the University of Manitoba was the first chapter established in Canada.

The official publication of Phi Sigma Sigma is The Sphinx, which first appeared in 1923.


The open motto is Diokete Hupsala (Aim High). The maxim is "Once a Phi Sigma Sigma, always a Phi Sigma Sigma."

Phi Sigma Sigma's colors are king blue and gold. The official symbol is the Sphinx, while the official jewel is the sapphire. The American Beauty Rose is the official flower.

The sorority's first song, "The Hymn," was written in 1921 by Pearl Lippman of the Alpha chapter and her husband, Arthur Lippman.


To facilitate philanthropic activities, the Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation was created in 1969 by Jeanine Jacobs Goldberg, who was the foundation's first president. The Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation provides scholarships and educational grants, as well as leadership programming to collegiate and alumnae members. The National Kidney Foundation was Phi Sigma Sigma's primary philanthropic endeavor from 1971 until 2013. Since then, Phi Sigma Sigma has worked to educate people about kidney disease, as well as organ and tissue donation and transplantation. The Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation was a major sponsor of the National Kidney Foundation U.S. Transplant Games, a national Olympics-style event where organ-donor recipients competed in various athletic competitions.

Following the September 11 attacks, the Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation established the Twin Ideals Fund to provide assistance to disaster victims. Named for Phi Sigma Sigma's twin ideals to promote the brotherhood of man and alleviate the world's pain, the fund has contributed to aid organizations in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.

A three-year process began in 2011 to identify a new premier philanthropic partner. The first step was to define the organization's philanthropic focus. Through a member survey and focus groups, the committee settled on school/college readiness as its philanthropic focus. The next step was to create and disseminate an RFP (Request for Proposal) to philanthropic groups. Applications were submitted and the committee interviewed ideal candidates. The result was the adoption of two non-profits, Practice Makes Perfect and Kids in Need Foundation. Both aligned well with the Foundation's mission and the school/college readiness focus. It was decided by Practice Makes Perfect to become a for-profit organization in 2016. The Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation could no longer support Practice Makes Perfect according to regulations of a 501c3 organization. Phi Sigma Sigma is proud to grow its partnership with KINF and continues to support the efforts of KINF through its many backpack builds and work with local low in-come students and schools.


  • Lillian Gordon Alpern
  • Josephine Ellison Breakstone
  • Fay Chertkoff
  • Estelle Melnick Cole
  • Jeanette Lipka Furst
  • Ethel Gordon Kraus
  • Shirley Cohen Laufer
  • Claire Wunder McArdle
  • Rose Sher Seidman
  • Gwen Zaliels Snyder



Notable alumni


  1. ^ http://www.phisigmasigma.org/PHISIGMASIGMA/AboutUs/Heritage/History/
  2. ^ "History". Phi Sigma Sigma. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  3. ^ "History". Phi Sigma Sigma. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "She Did It Her Way". Phi Sigma Sigma. October 20, 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 

External links