Kalpana Kalpana (Editor)

Alpha Chi Omega

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Alpha Chi Omega

October 15, 1885; 131 years ago (1885-10-15)DePauw University, (Greencastle, Indiana)

Mission statement
"Enrich the lives of members through lifetime opportunities for friendship, leadership, learning and service."

Vision statement
"Ever-increasing numbers of qualified women select Alpha Chi Omega and make it an integral part of their lives. When women choose Alpha Chi Omega, they get four key benefits:~ Friendship~ Leadership~ Learning~ Service"

Together let us seek the heights

Alpha Chi Omega (ΑΧΩ, also known as Alpha Chi or A Chi O) is a women's fraternity founded on October 15, 1885. Currently, there are 193 chapters and Alpha Chi Omegas represented throughout colleges and universities across the United States, and there are more than 200,000 lifetime members. Angela Costly Harris is the current National President of Alpha Chi Omega and oversees all collegiate and alumnae chapters in the nation. Alpha Chi Omega's official symbol is the three-stringed lyre.



Alpha Chi Omega was formed at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana on October 15, 1885.

In the fall of 1885, Professor James Hamilton Howe, the first Dean of the Music School, invited seven young women from the school to a meeting with the purpose of forming a fraternity. Those young women were Anna Allen, Olive Burnett, Bertha Deniston, Amy DuBois, Nellie Gamble, Bessie Grooms, and Estelle Leonard. Howe himself was not a member of a Greek fraternity, so he consulted with James G. Campbell, a Beta Theta Pi, on the proper procedures for founding a national-based fraternity. Campbell was thus responsible for laying out the first constitution and by-laws. This first constitution read: "The object of this fraternity is as follows: To attain the highest musical culture and to cultivate those principles that embody true womanhood." On February 26, 1886, the fraternity was given its formal introduction by a soiree musical.

Alpha Chi Omega joined the National Panhellenic Conference in 1903.

Early musical requirements

Although some association with the music school was required early on, Alpha Chi Omega was never a "strictly musical" organization. Members graduated in many other departments of the university, including the liberal arts department. In 1889, a national literary fraternity offered to merge with Alpha Chi Omega; however, unlike professional fraternities, Alpha Chi never considered taking members of other fraternities. In its early years it was externally considered to be a professional music society, but due to disagreement with this designation, in 1900, the sorority added literary qualifications, which led to it being considered a general (social) sorority by 1905.

Symbols of Alpha Chi Omega

Alpha Chi Omega's Founders chose "Alpha" (Α), the first letter of the Greek alphabet, because they were forming the first fraternity in the school of music. Since they thought they might also be founding the last such fraternity, "Omega" (Ω) seemed appropriate, considering it stands for the end. "Kai", meaning "and", was added to form "the beginning and the end". "Kai" was soon changed to "Chi" (Χ), a letter of the Greek alphabet.

Alpha Chi Omega's colors of scarlet red and olive green were chosen to commemorate the fraternity's fall founding. The symbol is a lyre and the official flower is a red carnation, exemplifying the fraternity's colors. The official jewel is the pearl. The badge (pin) is a lyre, typically featuring pearls and the fraternity's letters on the crossbar.

There are 193 chapters of Alpha Chi Omega at colleges and universities in the United States. There are also 273 alumnae chapters. The alumnae chapters allow women of all post-graduate ages to come together and continue the mission and values of Alpha Chi Omega. Alpha Chi Omega collegiate chapters work directly with alumnae chapters to link sisters from around the country. In addition, alumnae chapters continue the cause of working to eliminate domestic violence.

Alpha Chi's focus is on developing Real Strong Women who become leaders in their communities and connecting these women through the Life Loyal sisterhood. There are 5 standards of membership focusing on academic interest, character, financial responsibility, leadership, and personal development.

Important dates

Members of Alpha Chi Omega have enjoyed the same heritage and traditions since 1885. Some of these special dates celebrated by Alpha Chi Omega include:

  • Founders' Day — Sisters gather on October 15 of each year to recognize the fraternity's fall founding at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. On Founders' Day, members wear their badges, along with scarlet and olive green ribbons.
  • Hera Day — On March 1 of each year, which is a formal attire day where members recognize the fraternity's commitment to helping others by conducting service projects and offering assistance to others.
  • MacDowell Month — Every February, Alpha Chi Omega women celebrate the fine arts and their fine-arts heritage. Most colleges and universities chapters will encourage their members to attend fine art events as well during this month.
  • Chapter Founders' Days — Each collegiate chapter recognizes its founding anniversary annually.
  • The National Convention — Members join together every two years to conduct fraternity business, reunite with fellow Alpha Chis, and celebrate Alpha Chi Omega.
  • The symphony of Alpha Chi Omega

    "Alpha Chi Omega Symphony"

    To see beauty even in the common things of life.

    To shed the light of love and friendship round me.

    To keep my life in tune with the world that I shall make no discords in the harmony of life.

    To strike on the lyre of the universe only the notes of happiness, of joy, of peace.

    To appreciate every little service rendered.

    To see and appreciate all that is noble in another,

    Be her badge what it may.

    And to let my lyre send forth the chords of love, unselfishness, sincerity.

    This is to be my symphony.

    -Celia McClure, Delta Chapter: Allegheny College, 1914


    In 1911 Alpha Chi Omega began supporting the MacDowell Colony, as MacDowell was an alumna of Alpha Chi Omega. During World War I and II Alpha Chi Omega offered its support by helping working mothers who were married to service men by providing day nurseries and helping orphaned French children. In 1947 Alpha Chi Omega adopted Easter Seals as its philanthropy.

    In 1978 the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation was created to help support the philanthropic projects and educational programming supported by the organization. In 1992 it was decided that Alpha Chi Omega's current national altruistic project would be the support of Victims of Domestic Violence. Alpha Chi Omega voted to change primary philanthropies during the 1980s after the National Board became aware of the prevalence of domestic violence, with very little remedy offered to victims, both financially and emotionally. Alpha Chi Omega was the first American women's fraternity to tackle the problems of domestic violence head-on, not just by assisting victims, but by educating its members about it. Alpha Chi Omega continues its support of Easter Seals.

    Through many funds and grants the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation also helps to support members and those closely related to Alpha Chi Omegas. This is to ensure that support is continuously available for all sisters.

    Individual chapters focus their attention on increasing the awareness of the domestic violence, the destruction it causes to individuals, families, and children, as well as actively aiding victims of domestic violence through hands-on activities and service projects. This work is done through local agencies, which undergraduate and alumnae chapters support physically and financially. Local agencies include rape crisis centers, emergency shelters and safe houses for victims of domestic violence and their children, and long-term assistance centers for battered women across the nation.

    Alpha Chi Omega supports Kristin's Story in cooperation with Delta Delta Delta.

    Notable alumnae

    Arts and Entertainment

  • Rita Braver (Kappa): CBS News Correspondence
  • Linda Cavanaugh Clark (Psi): News Anchor/Journalist
  • Eleanor Coppola (Alpha Psi): Emmy award–winning documentarian
  • Maddy Curley (Epsilon Chi): actress, former gymnast
  • Melissa d'Arabian (Alpha Iota): The Next Food Network Star winner and host of Ten Dollar Dinners
  • Carol Duvall (Beta Epsilon): host of The Carol Duvall Show
  • Mary Beth Edelson (Alpha): renowned artist.
  • Georgie Anne Geyer (Gamma): journalist
  • Alyson Hannigan (Theta Xi): actress ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "How I Met Your Mother")
  • Jenilee Harrison (Epsilon): actress (Dallas, Three's Company)*
  • Nancy Hoyt (Delta Kappa): participant in "The Amazing Race" during the first season and teamed with her daughter, Emily Hoyt.
  • Janet Hsieh (Theta Omicron): Television host, Golden Bell Award winner, Model, Violinist.
  • Laura Innes (Gamma): actress (ER)
  • Sarah Jones (Epsilon Kappa): contestant on season 4 of Survivor
  • Tami Lane (Zeta Eta): make-up artist and Academy Award winner
  • Audra Levi aka Audra Lee (Alpha Psi initiate/Epsilon affiliate): star of Kid's Beat on TBS in the 1980s, co-founder of the SoCal VoCals
  • Meredith Monroe (Upsilon): actress (Dawson's Creek)
  • Becki Newton (Alpha Epsilon): an American actress (Amanda Tanen on the television series Ugly Betty).
  • Agnes Nixon (Gamma): four-time Daytime Emmy–winning TV writer and producer
  • Aubrey O'Day (Epsilon Psi): singer (former member of Danity Kane, MTV's Making The Band 3)
  • Martha Quinn: Original MTV VJ, Radio host, actress
  • Atoosa Rubenstein (Theta Psi): Magazine editor
  • Melissa Rycroft (Psi): former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader and reality show star on The Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars.
  • Sarah Shahi (Iota Sigma): actress (The L Word)
  • Gail Sheehy (Alpha Iota): author
  • Trista Sutter (Alpha Mu): participant in The Bachelorette
  • Whitney Thompson (Theta Sigma): Winner of America's Next Top Model
  • Sherron Watkins (Alpha Phi): Enron whistleblower and Time (magazine) Person(s) of the Year 2002.
  • Dawn Wells (Rho): actress (Gilligan's Island)
  • Beauty Pageant Contestants

  • Betsy Bobel (Gamma Mu): 2000 Miss Indiana winner
  • Jen Corey (Beta Rho): 2009 Miss District of Columbia winner. Top 10 Miss America 2010 contestant.
  • Deidre Downs (Zeta Lambda): 2005 Miss America winner
  • Jane Anne Jayroe (Gamma Tau): Miss America, 1967; civic leader in Oklahoma
  • Athletics

  • Julie Brown (Alpha Psi): Marathon runner in the 1984 Summer Olympics. Winner of the 1975 World Cross Country Championship.
  • Julia Marino (Nu): Paraguay's first Winter Olympian
  • Politics

  • Jari Askins (Psi): Lieutenant Governor of Oklahoma, lawyer.
  • Vicki J. Huddleston (Nu): Ambassador to Mali, and to Madagascar, U.S. Dept. of State, writer for the New York Times
  • Condoleezza Rice (Gamma Delta): Former U.S. Secretary of State
  • Victoria Toensing (Alpha Mu): former deputy assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Justice Department
  • References

    Alpha Chi Omega Wikipedia