In the year 1872, Syracuse University in New York was a far different institution than what we know today. Rather than an egalitarian environment where all students were considered to be deserving of an excellent education, regardless of gender, women were typically seen as merely daughters, wives, and mothers, and therefore not in need of higher education. In spite of this, ten young women were determined to follow their dreams by attending college at Syracuse. In the face of what was, at time, outright opposition to their very presence on campus, the group of ten became close friends and frequently sought support from one another. In order to form an official “tie that unites, a circle of friends,” the young women founded on October 10, 1872, a fraternity for women that would benefit not just themselves, but women for generations to come: Alpha Phi.
Since its founding over 140 years ago, Alpha Phi has evolved into an international organization with 147 active chapters, more than 11,000 undergraduate members, and over 200,000 lifetime initiates. The tenacity of its founders has been passed down amongst the generations who have called Alpha Phi home, so it is not surprising that many Sisters have gone on to achieve great things, including Alice Waters (Executive Chef & owner of Chez Panisse, named Best Restaurant in America by Gourmet Magazine in 2001), Andrea Wong (former President & CEO of Lifetime Entertainment Services with ABC Entertainment), and Rosemarie DeWitt (actress, Mad Men, United States of Tara, Rachel Getting Married, Standoff). With Sisters like these, no wonder so many women want to wear the Alpha Phi Bordeaux and Silver.
Membership in Alpha Phi extends far beyond college and to help prepare and support Sisters during their college years and beyond, as well as give something back to the community, the Alpha Phi Foundation has a variety of excellent programs. Donors who choose to give financially to the foundation can feel confident knowing that their money is going to support vital programs, such as leadership training and scholarships for worthy members, and Forget Me Not funding for Sisters facing crisis because of financial distress, serious health issues, family emergencies, or natural disaster. I order to give back to their community, the Alpha Phi Foundation also supports the Heart to Heart Grant, which helps further research and educational programs that support the understanding of women’s heart health. Through the power of philanthropy, the Alpha Phi Foundation advances and improves women’s lives.
The sisterhood of Alpha Phi helps college women make informed choices that enable them to reach their highest potential, not just in college but throughout their entire lives. Through sisterhood, service, scholarship, loyalty, and character development, Alpha Phis set an example for all to follow and are assets to their campuses and communities. The innovative leadership practices of Alpha Phi’s founders in 1872 set the stage for the Alpha Phi of today – a sisterhood that values the past but looks forward to the future and the progress it offers.