University of Pennsylvania

Eta Iota Chapter

History of Alpha Phi International

Alpha Phi International Fraternity was founded at Syracuse University in 1872 as one of the first Greek societies for women. Alpha Phi is dedicated to promoting sisterhood, cultivating leadership, encouraging intellectual curiosity and advocating service. The organization is comprised of more than 160 collegiate chapters and 150 alumnae chapters throughout the United States and Canada.

Phi Facts

  • Alpha Phi is one of only three international sororities.
  • When Alpha Phi was founded, it was called a fraternity as the word sorority had yet to be created.
  • A professor of Greek at Syracuse University informed Alpha Phi Founders the correct pronunciation of is “fee” instead of “fie” as this is gramatically correct since it follows Alpha, a vowel.
  • Alpha Phi’s original colors were blue and gold! As blue & gold are also the colors of Delta Upsilon, the colors where changed to the more distinctive Silver and Bordeaux to set us apart from any other fraternity colors.
  • Three of Alpha Phi’s founders were in the Who’s Who of America:  Clara Bradley Burdett, Martha Foote Crow and Rena Michaels Atchison.
  • Alpha Phi Quarterly was published in July 1888 and has not missed a single issue since its inception.
  • Alpha Phi has maintained the longest continuous presence in Canada of any women’s fraternity. The Xi chapter was established at the University of Toronto in 1906.
  • In 2002, Alpha Phi invented the Release Figures Management which is now used for in over 450 Universities for Panhellenic Formal Recruitment.
  • Alpha Phi is the only organization to twice receive the American Heart Association’s highest honor, the Heart and Torch Award.

Dare to be FIRST

  • 1872: FIRST women’s fraternity to occupy a chapter house.
  • 1886: Built the FIRST women’s fraternity house in America at Syracuse University.
  • 1872: FIRST women’s fraternity to use Greek Letters as an emblem.  Other groups used keys, kites, arrows and anchors.
  • 1894: FIRST women's fraternity to use "traveling delegates," now known as Educational Leadership Consultants.
  • 1902: Called the FIRST inter-women’s fraternity meeting which resulted in the National Panhellenic Council.
  • 1905: Frances E. Willard is the FIRST woman represented with among America’s greatest leaders in Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol for leading the suffrage movement and earning the right of women to vote.
  • 1995: FIRST NPC member to have a site on the World Wide Web.
  • 2006: FIRST women’s fraternity to develop a values based leadership institute for emerging leaders based on women’s developmental leadership theories.
  • 2008: Alpha Phi led the social media revolution as the FIRST women’s fraternity to produce an educational podcast.




©2016 Alpha Phi International

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