In the fall semester of 1873 at the Lewis School for Girls in Oxford, Mississippi, three close friends shared a dream of founding an all new organization for women on campus. Anna Boyd Ellington, Eva Webb Dodd, and Mary Comfort Leonard not only wished to formalize their bonds of friendship, but to also encourage intellectual growth and service to others in order to exemplify college women at their very best. Choosing the simple but inspiring motto, “Do Good,” and adopting for their symbol the letter “H” for hope (later changed to an anchor), these three ladies founded a tradition on December 25, 1873 that would win over countless young women from across the country, the women’s fraternity of Delta Gamma.
Since its founding in 1873, Delta Gamma has grown from a gathering of three friends, to an international women’s fraternity composed of 146 active chapters, over 11,600 undergraduate members, and more than 200,000 lifetime initiates. While all Sisters strive to do their very best, there are many who truly go above and beyond, leading highly successful, noteworthy lives, such as Paige Adams-Geller (Miss California 1991, model, fashion designer, founder Paige Premium Denim), Patricia Heaton (actress, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Middle), Ann Daly (COO, DreamWorks Animation), and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Emmy-Award winning actress, Seinfeld). With Sisters like these, it is no surprise that so many women want to wear the Delta Gamma Bronze, Pink, and Blue.
Delta Gammas understand the importance of helping out those who are less fortunate, and have therefore adopted Service for Sight as their philanthropic focus. They were inspired to choose this cause by Ruth Billow, who was blinded by a childhood accident. At the Delta Gamma Convention in 1936, Ruth made an impassioned plea to those attending, asking that the organization make a difference in the lives of those with limited or no sight. Since adopting Service for Sight, Delta Gammas give more than 150,000 volunteer hours each year on average, helping to fund genetic research, low-vision adaptive devices, tapes, Braille book, and hundreds of life-enhancing programs. The Sisters also have sponsored city service centers for the visually impaired and schools for the blind.
Though many things have changed since its founding in 1873, Delta Gamma remains rooted in the ideals of its founders, continuing to place a strong dedication on personal values and standards, academic excellence, leadership, and service. Delta Gamma encourages each member to strive for excellence and offers the programming and support to help each member reach that commitment. Delta Gamma offers its members the experience of sharing the strong bonds of sisterhood that last for a lifetime.