Gamma Phi Beta
Gamma Phi Beta is an international sorority that was founded on November 11, 1874, at Syracuse University
Syracuse University
Syracuse University is a private research university located in Syracuse, New York, United States. Its roots can be traced back to Genesee Wesleyan Seminary, founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1832, which also later founded Genesee College...

 in Syracuse, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

. The term "sorority," meaning sisterhood, was coined for Gamma Phi Beta by Dr. Frank Smalley, a professor at Syracuse University.

The four founders are Helen M. Dodge, Frances E. Haven, E. Adeline Curtis and Mary A. Bingham. The sorority's international headquarters are located in Centennial, Colorado
Centennial, Colorado
The city of Centennial is a Home Rule City located in Arapahoe County, Colorado, United States, and part of the Denver-Aurora metropolitan area. The city was to have a total population of 100,377 in 2010 census. Centennial is the tenth-most populous municipality in the state of Colorado and its...

. Gamma Phi Beta currently has 180,000 initiated members, 173 chartered collegiate chapters and more than 175 alumnae groups across the United States and Canada. Gamma Phi Beta's primary objective is to inspire the highest type of womanhood.


Colleges and universities admitted few women students in the 1870s; some administrators and faculty members argued women had inferior minds and could not master mathematics and the classics. Regardless, Dr. Erastus Otis Haven
Erastus Otis Haven
Erastus Otis Haven was an American bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church, elected in 1880, and the president of several universities.-Biography:...

, Syracuse University chancellor and former president of the University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

 and Northwestern University
Northwestern University
Northwestern University is a private research university in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois, USA. Northwestern has eleven undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools offering 124 undergraduate degrees and 145 graduate and professional degrees....

 maintained that women should receive the advantages of higher education and enrolled his daughter, Frances, at Syracuse.

After considering an invitation to join the then two-year old Alpha Phi Fraternity, Frances instead asked three friends to assist her in organizing their own society. They sought the advice and help of Dr. Haven, their brothers, the faculty and members of two existing fraternities. Gamma Phi Beta was subsequently founded by Helen M. Dodge, Frances E. Haven, E. Adeline Curtis and Mary A. Bingham on November 11, 1874, at Syracuse University.

The women had originally selected the colors light and dark blue but changed them in 1875 to brown and mode (dark and light brown) in honor of Dr. J.J. Brown, whose study was used for Friday afternoon meetings of Gamma Phi Beta.

The first initiate, Clara Worden, joined in March 1875.

Gamma Phi Beta is a member of the Syracuse Triad
Syracuse Triad
The Syracuse Triad is the name given to the three women's sororities founded at Syracuse University. Alpha Phi was founded first in 1872 by 10 of the original 20 women admitted into Syracuse University. Gamma Phi Beta came along two years later in 1874 and with it came the term "sorority," which...

, the name given to the three women's sororities founded at Syracuse University. Alpha Phi was founded first in 1872 by 10 of the original 20 women admitted into Syracuse University. Gamma Phi Beta came along two years later in 1874 and Alpha Gamma Delta completed the triad in 1904. The three sororities maintain a bond, and Syracuse Triad ceremonies or events are held on most campuses with chapters of all three groups.

Frances E. Haven went on to assist in founding Omicron Chapter at the University of Illinois
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign is a large public research-intensive university in the state of Illinois, United States. It is the flagship campus of the University of Illinois system...

. Omicron is the only other chapter founded by one of the original founders. Frances E. Haven Moss is also buried in a cemetery on campus at the University of Illinois.

Mission statement, vision, and creed

The mission of Gamma Phi Beta is "To inspire the highest type of womanhood."

The vision of Gamma Phi Beta is "We will build confident women of character who celebrate sisterhood and make a difference in the world around us."

The creed, adopted in 1948:
Gamma Phi Beta from the past has given
A heritage that makes a fuller life.
Gamma Phi Beta in the present bids
Us strive for lasting values and ideals.
Gamma Phi Beta in the days to come
Will prove that fundamentals can endure.
Therefore we shall embody in our lives
The truths that make for finer womanhood.
Once more we pledge a loyalty that means
Adherence to all true and noble things;
A learning that enriches all our days
With magic gold that is forever ours;
A labor that each hour will glorify
The simple, common task, the common cause;
A love that will be strong and great enough
To encompass and to pity all the world.
Love, Labor, Learning, Loyalty.

The creed is most often broken down to—Love, Labor, Learning and Loyalty.

Philanthropy and community service

Although Gamma Phi Beta is primarily considered a social organization, the sorority has a long history of community service and philanthropic participation.

In 1929, camping for girls was designated the official philanthropy of Gamma Phi Beta and today the organization supports Camp Fire USA
Camp Fire USA
Camp Fire USA, originally Camp Fire Girls of America, is a nationwide American youth organization that began in 1910. The organization has been co-ed since 1975 and welcomes youth from pre-kindergarten through age 21. Camp Fire was the first nonsectarian, multicultural organization for girls in...

 and Girl Guides of Canada
Girl Guides of Canada
Girl Guides of Canada - Guides du Canada is the national Guiding association of Canada. Guiding in Canada started in 1910 and was among the founding members of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts in 1928. As of 2006, the association had 116,206 members.-History:Mary Malcolmson...

. Since 2001, more than $400,000 has been donated to Camp Fire USA and its local councils. Local chapters of Gamma Phi Beta support other philanthropies as well.


Gamma Phi Beta's symbol is the crescent moon and the flower is the pink carnation. The carnation was named the official flower at Convention 1888. Pink was designated the official color of the carnation in 1950. Carnations have been revered for more than 2,000 years as one of the most longlasting flowers. Many varieties produce a clove-like scent, and the aroma is said to be both uplifting and motivating. The legend of pink carnations says they first appeared on earth from the Virgin Mary’s tears – making them the symbol of a mother’s undying love.

The Gamma Phi Beta badge has not significantly changed since its design in 1874. It was designed by Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany & Co.
Tiffany & Co. is an American jewelry and silverware company. As part of its branding, the company is strongly associated with its Tiffany Blue , which is a registered trademark.- History :...

 It features a black crescent moon cradling the Greek letters, Gamma, Phi and Beta. Badges are currently produced by jeweler Herff Jones
Herff Jones
Herff Jones Company manufactures and sells educational recognition and achievement products and motivational materials, and has been in continuous operation for 90 years. Herff Jones maintains production facilities across the United States as well as in Canada....

 with options for gold or silver, jeweled or not.

The badges worn by International Council members are larger and feature white crescent moons instead of black. The international president's badge is set with diamonds on the Greek letters; other international officer's badges are set with pearls. In 1902, a badge for uninitiated members was approved (a triangular-shaped shield of dark brown on which rests a crescent of yellow).

The official colors of Gamma Phi Beta are brown and mode (dark and light brown). Mode means "the style of the day." Brown and pink are now in widespread use in Sorority branding and marketing materials.


Every initiated member has a life-long membership to Gamma Phi Beta with the opportunity to participate in alumnae activities on the local, regional and international level. Women who have never belonged to a National Panhellenic Conference sorority may be eligible to join Gamma Phi Beta through the alumnae initiate program.

National Panhellenic Conference

In 1891, Gamma Phi Beta was among the founders of National Panhellenic Conference
National Panhellenic Conference
The National Panhellenic Conference , founded in 1902, is an umbrella organization for 26 national women's sororities.Each member group is autonomous as a social, Greek-letter society of college women and alumnae...

 (NPC) at the organization's first session in Boston. Participants included Kappa Kappa Gamma
Kappa Kappa Gamma
Kappa Kappa Gamma is a collegiate women's fraternity, founded at Monmouth College, in Monmouth, Illinois, USA. Although the groundwork of the organization was developed as early as 1869, the 1876 Convention voted that October 13, 1870 should be recognized at the official Founders Day, because no...

, Alpha Phi
Alpha Phi
Alpha Phi International Women's Fraternity was founded at Syracuse University on September 18, 1872. Alpha Phi currently has 152 active chapters and over 200,000 initiated members. Its celebrated Founders' Day is October 10. It was the third Greek-letter organization founded for women. In Alpha...

, Delta Delta Delta
Delta Delta Delta
Delta Delta Delta , also known as Tri Delta, is an international sorority founded on November 27, 1888, the eve of Thanksgiving Day. With over 200,000 initiates, Tri Delta is one of the world's largest NPC sororities.-History:...

, Delta Gamma
Delta Gamma
Delta Gamma is one of the oldest and largest women's fraternities in the United States and Canada, with its Executive Offices based in Columbus, Ohio.-History:...

, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Alpha Theta
Kappa Alpha Theta
Kappa Alpha Theta , also known as Theta, is an international fraternity for women founded on January 27, 1870 at DePauw University, formerly Indiana Asbury...

 and Pi Beta Phi
Pi Beta Phi
Pi Beta Phi is an international fraternity for women founded as I.C. Sorosis on April 28, 1867, at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois. Its headquarters are located in Town and Country, Missouri, and there are 134 active chapters and over 330 alumnae organizations across the United States and...

. Today, NPC includes 26 sororities united to "promote the values of and to serve as an advocate for its member groups in collaboration with those members, campuses and communities."

Each member group has the opportunity to serve a two-year term as chairwoman of NPC only once every 52 years. In the history of NPC, three Gamma Phi Beta's have had this honor: Lillian Thompson (Beta Chapter), 1912–1913; Beatrice Locke Hogan (Nu Chapter), 1955–1957; and Elizabeth Ahlemeyer Quick (Beta Phi), 2005-2007.

Notable alumnae

  • Karen Holbrook
    Karen Holbrook
    Karen A. Holbrook was the 13th presiding president of The Ohio State University. She took office on October 1, 2002, replacing Interim President Edward H. Jennings. Holbrook earned her B.S. and M.S. from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, in zoology. After teaching biology at Ripon College, she...

     (Gamma) - Past president of Ohio State University
    Ohio State University
    The Ohio State University, commonly referred to as Ohio State, is a public research university located in Columbus, Ohio. It was originally founded in 1870 as a land-grant university and is currently the third largest university campus in the United States...


  • Johanna Botta - Real World: Austin (Initiated but, she terminated her own membership prior to appearing on the Real World)
  • Kristin Chenoweth
    Kristin Chenoweth
    Kristin Chenoweth is an American singer and actress, with credits in musical theatre, film and television. She is best known on Broadway for her performance as Sally Brown in You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown , for which she won a Tony Award, and for originating the role of Glinda in the musical...

     (Beta Omicron) - Tony Award
    Tony Award
    The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Theatre, more commonly known as a Tony Award, recognizes achievement in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in New York City. The awards are given for Broadway...

     and Emmy Award
    Emmy Award
    An Emmy Award, often referred to simply as the Emmy, is a television production award, similar in nature to the Peabody Awards but more focused on entertainment, and is considered the television equivalent to the Academy Awards and the Grammy Awards .A majority of Emmys are presented in various...

     winning actress.
  • Nikki Galladay (Beta Rho) - TV Personality ("Bad Girls Club"), model, Lingerie Football League.
  • Meagan Holder (Delta Delta) - Actress, best known for "You Again" and "Bring It On:Fight to the Finish."
  • Heather McDonald
    Heather McDonald
    Heather McDonald is an American actress, comedian, and writer. She is best known for her appearances on the E! series Chelsea Lately. She is one of the eight writers on the show and often participates in sketches and segments...

     (Beta Alpha) - Actress, comedian, writer best known for Chelsea Lately
    Chelsea Lately
    Chelsea Lately is an American late night comedy talk show hosted by comedian Chelsea Handler on E!. The show debuted on July 16, 2007, and is produced by Handler's production company, Borderline Amazing Productions...

  • Elizabeth Pitcairn
    Elizabeth Pitcairn
    Elizabeth Pitcairn is an American classical violinist. She has concertized widely as a soloist and is noted for performing on the Antonio Stradivari violin that is said to have inspired the film The Red Violin.-Childhood:...

     (Beta Alpha) - Famous concert violinist, plays the famous violin on which the Academy Award winning film, The Red Violin
    The Red Violin
    The Red Violin is a 1998 Canadian drama film directed by François Girard. It spans three centuries and five countries as it tells the story of a mysterious violin and its many owners...

     was based.
  • Bailey Hanks
    Bailey Hanks
    Bailey Noel Hanks is an American singer, actress, and dancer best known for winning MTV's Legally Blonde - The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods. She performed on Broadway as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde: The Musical in 2008....

     (Zeta Zeta) - Broadway actress (Legally Blonde (musical)
    Legally Blonde (musical)
    Legally Blonde is a musical with music and lyrics by Laurence O'Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach. The story is based on the novel Legally Blonde by Amanda Brown and the 2001 film of the same name. It tells the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl who enrolls at Harvard Law School to...

  • Susan Howard
    Susan Howard
    Jeri Lynn Mooney , better known as Susan Howard, is an American actress, writer, and political activist; best known for portraying the character Donna Culver Krebbs on the soap opera Dallas, Maggie Petrocelli on the television show Petrocelli, and to Star Trek fans for portraying Mara, the first...

     (Alpha Zeta) - Actress (Dallas
    Dallas (TV series)
    Dallas is an American serial drama/prime time soap opera that revolves around the Ewings, a wealthy Texas family in the oil and cattle-ranching industries. Throughout the series, Larry Hagman stars as greedy, scheming oil baron J. R. Ewing...

  • Cloris Leachman
    Cloris Leachman
    Cloris Leachman is an American actress of stage, film and television. She has won eight Primetime Emmy Awards—more than any other performer—and one Daytime Emmy Award...

     (Epsilon) - Actress, Academy Award winner.
  • Kelli O'Hara
    Kelli O'Hara
    Kelli O'Hara is an American actress, singer, and songwriter.O'Hara has been nominated for three Tony Awards: for her performance as Clara Johnson in The Light in the Piazza; for her performance as Babe Williams in the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of The Pajama Game, where she starred...

     (Beta Omicron) - Actress, Tony Award nominee for The Pajama Game
    The Pajama Game
    The Pajama Game is a musical based on the novel 7½ Cents by Richard Bissell. It features a score by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross. The story deals with labor troubles in a pajama factory, where worker demands for a seven-and-a-half cents raise are going unheeded...

    and The Light in the Piazza.
  • Kelli McCarty
    Kelli McCarty
    Kelli McCarty is an American model, actress and adult film performer who was crowned Miss USA in 1991.-Career:McCarty won the Miss USA beauty contest in 1991, competing as Miss Kansas USA...

     (Beta Chi) - Actress, model, Miss USA 1991
  • Mary Beth Peil
    Mary Beth Peil
    Mary Beth Peil is an American actress and singer.-Early life:Born in Davenport, Iowa in 1940, Peil trained as an opera singer at Northwestern University under Lotte Lehmann. There she became a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority...

     (Epsilon) - Tony Award nominated singer and actress (Dawson's Creek
    Dawson's Creek
    Dawson's Creek is an American teen drama television series which debuted on January 20, 1998, on The WB Television Network and was produced by Sony Pictures Television. The show is set in the fictional seaside town of Capeside, Massachusetts, and in Boston, Massachusetts, during the later seasons...

  • Hope Summers
    Hope Summers
    Hope Summers was an American character actress known for her work on The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry RFD, portraying Clara Edwards.-Career:...

     (Epsilon) - Actress (The Andy Griffith Show
    The Andy Griffith Show
    The Andy Griffith Show is an American sitcom first televised by CBS between October 3, 1960, and April 1, 1968. Andy Griffith portrays a widowed sheriff in the fictional small community of Mayberry, North Carolina...


  • Jocelyn Burdick
    Jocelyn Burdick
    Jocelyn Birch Burdick was a Democratic United States Senator briefly during 1992.Upon the death of her husband, Senator Quentin N. Burdick, Governor George Sinner appointed her to fill the vacancy until a special election was held...

     (Epsilon) - North Dakota
    North Dakota
    North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

     governor appointed her to US Senate seat held by her late husband in 1992.
  • Lane Carlson (Alpha Delta) - Former head of Public Affairs of US Army; First woman to be named full Colonel in Army (1968).
  • Dr. Laurel Salton Clark (Gamma) - NASA Astronaut on the space shuttle Columbia.
  • Jeannie Deakyne
    Jeannie Deakyne
    Jeannie Deakyne née Panton is the winner of the Mrs. Texas International 2005 and Mrs. U.S. Beauties 2008 beauty pageants.-Early life and education:...

     (Alpha Epsilon) - Mrs. U.S. Beauties 2008, Mrs. Texas International 2005 and Bronze Star Medal
    Bronze Star Medal
    The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration that may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. As a medal it is awarded for merit, and with the "V" for valor device it is awarded for heroism. It is the fourth-highest combat award of the...

  • Jennifer Dunn
    Jennifer Dunn
    Jennifer Blackburn Dunn was a prominent Republican member of the United States House of Representatives 1993–2005, representing .-Early life:...

     (Lambda) - Former U.S. Congresswoman ('93-'05) - WA 8th District.
  • Lynn Morley Martin
    Lynn Morley Martin
    Lynn Morley Martin is a businesswoman and former United States politician.-Political career:Born in Evanston, Illinois, she served as a member of the Winnebago County Board before she served in the Illinois House of Representatives, Illinois Senate, and the U.S. House of Representatives, where she...

     (Omicron) - Secretary of Labor under President Bush.

  • Carol Ryrie Brink
    Carol Ryrie Brink
    Carol Ryrie Brink was an American author of over thirty juvenile and adult books. Her novel Caddie Woodlawn won the 1936 Newbery Medal...

     (Xi) - Author of Caddie Woodlawn and winner of the Newbery Medal
    Newbery Medal
    The John Newbery Medal is a literary award given by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association . The award is given to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. The award has been given since 1922. ...

  • Alex Hyatt (Alpha Epsilon) - Sports reporter for ESPN.
  • Marguerite Higgins
    Marguerite Higgins
    Marguerite Higgins Hall was an American reporter and war correspondent. Higgins covered World War II, the Korean War and the war in Vietnam, and in the process advanced the cause of equal access for female war correspondents.Higgins was born in Hong Kong while her father, Lawrence Higgins, was...

     (Eta) - UC Berkeley, Pulitzer Prize winner in 1951.

  • Lauren Sinclair (Delta Omega) - United States Sailing Team Member- Olympic Sailing Campaigner and ISAF World Cup of Sailing Participant .

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.