On October 10, 1872, ten outstanding women at Syracuse University founded the Alpha Phi Fraternity. Clara Bradley Wheeler Baker Burdette, Hattie Florence Chidester Lukens, Martha Emily Foote Crow, Ida Arabella Gilbert DeLamanter Houghton, Jane Sara Higham, Kate Elizabeth Hogoboom Gilbert, Elizabeth Grace Hubbell Shults, Rena A. Michaels Atchison, Louise Viola Shepard Hancock, and Clara Sittser Williams were 10 of the first 20 women admitted to Syracuse, and saw a need for a social center for women. They decided that a tie of sisterhood that would unite a circle of friends, and thus they created Alpha Phi.  Because of their exceptional leadership and guidance, Alpha Phi has flourished and grown to include over 150 chapters throughout the United States and Canada, and remains the strong sisterhood that our founders intended it to be. 

Alpha Phi Firsts

  • Called the world's first inter-sorority meeting, a group that later became the National Panhellenic Conference
  • Alpha Phi built the world's first sorority house on the campus of Syracuse University in 1872.Alpha Phi was the first sorority to use traveling delegates to monitor chapters. These women are now known as Educational Leadership Consultants and District Governors.
  • Alpha Phi was the first women's society to use Greek letters as an emblem.
  • Alpha Phi was the first sorority to establish a foundation, The Alpha Phi Foundation, in 1957.
  • Alpha Phi was the first NPC group to establish a presence on the World Wide Web.
  • Alpha Phi was the first sorority to publish a book-length history.


Alpha Phi Facts

  • Alpha Phi is the third largest women's sorority and one of only three international sororities with 150 chapters in the US and Canada.
  • Alpha Phi was founded in 1872 by 10 of the first 20 women to enter Syracuse University.
  • Alpha Phi is the fourth oldest national women's sorority.
  • Alpha Phi is pronounced Alpha "fee" (long "e") not "fie," because a Syracuse Greek professor informed our founding sisters that it was the correct Greek pronunciation.
  • Three of our founders were listed in Who's Who of America: Clara Bradley Burdette, Martha Foote Crow, and Rena Michaels Atchison.
  • Alpha Phi is a true "international" sorority. It has maintained the longest continuous presence in Canada of any sorority. The Xi chapter was established at the University of Toronto in 1906.
  • Alpha Phi has over 175 active alumnae chapters.


Alpha Phi Tradition

Motto: "Union Hand in Hand"

Alpha Phi Crest
The Fraternity Crest is the Alpha Phi Coat-of-Arms, adopted by Convention delegates in 1922. The shield is Bordeaux with a scroll and ivy leaf above it. Inscribed on the scroll is the public motto, "Union hand in hand". A bar of silver crosses the shield from left to right; the upper half of the shield contains a Roman lamp in silver and the lower half is Ursa Major.

Alpha Phi Symbol
The ivy leaf is the symbol of Alpha Phi, representing the interwining of our lives as we become friends and sisters in Alpha Phi. It is also symbolic of the way sisters are connected through intellectual, philanthropic, and social pursuits within Alpha Phi.

Alpha Phi Colors
Silver and Bordeaux are the colors of Alpha Phi. Sisters of Alpha Phi are worn in the form of a ribbon of silver and Bordeaux, under their badge to acknowledge special occasions.

Alpha Phi Mascots
Our mascot is the "Phi Bear". The name comes from the Greek words "Ursa Major" or "The Great Bear".