History and Symbols

Alpha Phi Fraternity was founded on September 30th, 1872 by ten forward thinking women at Syracuse University and is now one of the oldest and largest women's fraternities in North America. They recognized the need for a social center for women, a tie of sisterhood that would unite a circle of friends, and thus created Alpha Phi.
The Original Ten, our founders of Alpha Phi, were women of courageous vision and pioneering hearts. Pursuing their studies in a largely male-dominated university, these women yearned for a group of friends who could sympathize with each other's troubles and support each others' ambitions. Today, with over 150 collegiate chapters, we are proud and grateful to honor the legacy left to us by our founders so long ago.
Rena A. Michaels Atchison
Clara Bradley Wheeler Baker Burdette
Martha Emily Foote Crow
Kate Elizabeth Hogoboom Gilbert
Louise Viola Shepard Hancock
Jane Sara Higham
Ida Arabella Gilbert DeLamanter Houghton
Hattie Florence Chidester Lukens
Elizabeth Grace Hubbell Shults
Clara Sittser Williams
Alpha Phi's are members of a lifelong sisterhood. Our keystone is friendship--warm, simple and sincere. In Alpha Phi, there is encouragement, there is understanding, and there are opportunities to grow. With members all over the world and collegiate and alumnae chapters throughout the United States and Canada--our sisterhood knows no bounds.
For more information, please visit the Alpha Phi International website.
The symbols of Alpha Phi are outward signs of the high regard and love we have for each other and for Alpha Phi. As sisters, we treat these symbols with respect by upholding the high ideals and standards that bind Alpha Phis throughout the world.
The Fraternity Crest is the Alpha Phi coat-of-arms, adopted in 1922. The shield is Bordeaux with a scroll and ivy leaf above it. Inscribed on the scroll is our public motto, “Union Hand in Hand”. A bar of silver crosses the shield from left to right; the upper half of the shield contains a Roman lamp in silver and the lower half contains our fraternity constellation, Ursa Major. The meaning of the symbols depicted on the crest is a significant part of the ritual witnessed at initiation.
Ivy Leaf
The ivy leaf is one of our most recognizable public symbols. It is reflected in our new member pin and our crest. Ivy symbolizes the intertwining of intellectual, philanthropic, and social pursuits. It is also symbolic of the way in which our lives become intertwined with one another's as we become friends and sisters in Alpha Phi.
The flowers of Alpha Phi are the fragrant Lily of the Valley and the blue and gold Forget-Me-Not.
Silver and Bordeaux are Alpha Phi's distinctive colors. Alpha Phi's original colors were blue and gold, but in 1879, noting that a fraternity had colors too similar to hers, adopted these more distinctive colors.
The mascot of Alpha Phi, the “Phi Bear”, is named after our constellation Ursa Major, “the Great Bear”, and was adopted in 1974.
The official badge of Alpha Phi is an un-jeweled monogram of gold showing the symbol of "Alpha" superimposed upon the symbol of "Phi." Inscribed in black on the Phi are the letters A, O, E. The meaning of these letters is reserved for the initiation ceremony. The badge may be worn as a pin, upon a bracelet or mounted as a ring.