The first chapter in a rich tradition of sisterhood began in 1897 at Barnard College in New York City. Barnard was unique in that it was the first college in New York, and one of the first in the nation, where women could receive as rigorous an education as was available to men. These challenging standards attracted many strong and courageous women, four of whom were Stella George Stern, Jessie Wallace Hughan, Helen St. Clair, and Elizabeth Heywood Wyman. These four women longed for a friendship that would last beyond college and include all worthy women, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or socio-economic background. Meeting first in a small gallery of the old Columbia College library, the four friends pledged themselves to this purpose, and on January 2, 1897, at the home of Helen St. Clair, they formally organized as the new women’s fraternity, Alpha Omicron Pi (AOII).