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Gamma Phi Beta (ΓΦΒ) is an international sorority that was founded on November 11, 1874, at Syracuse Universitymarker in Syracuse, New Yorkmarker. 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, Coloradomarker. Gamma Phi Beta currently has over 160,000 initiated members, more than 168 chartered collegiate chapters and 171 alumnae groups across the United States as well as Canada. Gamma Phi Beta's primary objective is to promote the highest standard 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, Syracuse University chancellor and former president of the University of Michiganmarker and Northwestern Universitymarker maintained that women should receive the advantages of higher education and enrolled his daughter, Frances, at Syracuse.

Founders of Gamma Phi Beta

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 (light and dark 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, 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 Illinoismarker. 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 and creed

The mission statement of Gamma Phi Beta reads: "Gamma Phi Beta Sorority is a corporation organized to develop the highest type of womanhood through education, social life and service to country and humanity. Our mission is to foster a nurturing environment that provides women the opportunity to achieve their potential through life-long commitment to intellectual growth, individual worth and service to humanity."

The creed, adopted in 1948:Gamma Phi Beta from the past has givenA heritage that makes a fuller life.Gamma Phi Beta in the present bidsUs strive for lasting values and ideals.Gamma Phi Beta in the days to comeWill prove that fundamentals can endure.Therefore we shall embody in our livesThe truths that make for finer womanhood.Once more we pledge a loyalty that meansAdherence to all true and noble things;A learning that enriches all our daysWith magic gold that is forever ours;A labor that each hour will glorifyThe simple, common task, the common cause;A love that will be strong and great enoughTo 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 and Girl Guides of Canada. 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. The pink carnation is the official flower. The sorority jewel is the pearl.
The members badge

The Gamma Phi Beta badge has not significantly changed since its design in 1874 and was voted the "most beautiful badge" by Tiffany & Co.. It features a black crescent moon cradling the Greek letters, Gamma, Phi and Beta. Badges are currently produced by jeweler Herff Jones 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 light brown).


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 (NPC) at the organization's first session in Boston. Participants included Kappa Kappa Gammamarker, Alpha Phi, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Alpha Theta and Pi Beta Phi. 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 Betas 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

For a full list of notable Gamma Phi Beta alumnae please visit here. [110644]



  • Jocelyn Burdick (Epsilon) - North Dakotamarker governor appointed her to US Senate seat held by her late husband in 1992.
  • Colonel Lane Carlson (Alpha Delta) - Former head of Public Affairs of US Army; First woman to be named full Colonel in Army (1968).
  • Dr. Laurel Clark (Gamma) - NASA Astronaut on the Columbia.
  • Major Jeannie Deakyne (Alpha Epsilon) - Mrs. U.S. Beauties 2008, Mrs. Texas International 2005 and Bronze Star Medal recipient.
  • Jennifer Dunn (Lambda) - Former U.S. Congresswoman ('93-'05) - WA 8th District.
  • Lynn Morley Martin (Omicron) - Secretary of Labor under President Bush.



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