"To inspire the highest type of womanhood."
Founding Gamma Phi Beta
November 11, 1874 • Syracuse University, NY
Gamma Phi Beta was founded on November 11, 1874, at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. Our four founders are Helen M. Dodge, Frances E. Haven, E. Adeline Curtis, and Mary A. Bingham. They were imaginative and courageous women who cooperated unselfishly as they worked to achieve the same ideals Gamma Phi Beta emphasizes today.
Colleges and universities admitted few women students in the 1870's. In fact, administrators and faculty members gave women a rather reluctant welcome. They argued that women had inferior minds and could not master mathematics and the classics. In this controversy, Dr. E. O. Haven, Syracuse University Chancellor and former president of the University of Michigan and Northwestern University, maintained that women should receive the advantages of higher education. He enrolled his daughter, Frances, at Syracuse, which in 1874 had approximately 200 students and 10 faculty members.
Instead of joining the two year-old Alpha Phi, Frances asked three friends to assist her in organizing a women's society. They sought the advice and help of Dr. Haven, their brothers, faculty, and members of two existing fraternities. The minutes of their first meeting on November 11, 1874, state: "Miss Dodge was appointed to draft a Constitution." Frances Haven and Helen Dodge agreed to ask Dr. Haven for a suitable name and motto.
The founders met again on November 16th for further decisions as recorded in the minutes: "The merits of the six mottos suggested by Chancellor Haven were discussed, and the motto Gamma Phi Beta was unanimously accepted." They agreed on a badge design for which they had sought the help of Charles M. Cobb and Charles M. Moss, Frances' future husband.
After the installation of Beta Chapter at the University of Michigan in 1882, Syracuse faculty member Dr. Frank Smalley coined the word "sorority" especially for Gamma Phi Beta. It has been used ever since.
Colors: Brown & Mode
Flower: Pink Carnation
Symbol: Crescent Moon
Open Motto: "Founded upon a rock"
Values: Love, Labor, Learning, Loyalty
CLICK ON THE IMAGE ABOVE FOR AN INTERACTIVE TIMELINE OF GAMMA PHI BETA'S RICH HISTORY!
Alpha Delta Chapter – Gamma Phi Beta
Alpha Delta Chapter was installed at the University of Missouri-Columbia in Columbia, Missouri, on May 20, 1921.
In 1920, Jennie Emerson Miller (Michigan, 1882), who had been a charter member of the Beta Chapter (Michigan), and several alumnae of Phi Chapter (Washington University) colonized a group of ten women at the University of Missouri. The group was accepted by the Sorority after inspection by Esther Hollebaugh (Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) and Beulah Bennett (Hollins, 1916). Grand President*, Lindsey Barbee (Denver, 1897), was the installing officer assisted by Phi Chapter (Washington University).
*Grand President is now known as International President.
Pictured above: The Alpha Delta Chapter facility as shown in The Crescent, May 1933.