Alpha Gamma Delta was founded by eleven women under the advisement of a Syracuse University professor on May 30, 1904.
Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York, had already been the site for the founding of two organizations that would go on to become national or internation women’s fraternities or sororities: Alpha Phi and Gamma Phi Beta. However, at the beginning of the twentieth century, Syracuse University was about to become the site for the founding of another organization.
History of Alpha Gamma Delta
Eleven women met on May 30, 1904, to officially form the organization known as Alpha Gamma Delta. The women met at the home of Dr. Wellesley Perry Coddington, who was a professor at Syracuse University and served as an advisor to the women as the organization began to take shape.
Contrary to the growing trends of the time, the women, under the advisement of Dr. Coddington, chose the name Alpha Gamma Delta Fraternity instead of calling the organization a sorority. Fraternity, coming from the Greek base word meaning brother or sister, holds a different significance than the word sorority, which comes from Latin roots.
On June 3, 1905, articles of incorporation were granted to Alpha Gamma Delta by the State of New York and a second chapter was established at the University of Wisconsin. In that same year, the organization’s current badge design was adopted.
In 1909, Alpha Gamma Delta was officially granted membership in the National Panhellenic Conference, the umbrella organization for the United States’s “traditional” sororities and women’s fraternities. Today, the organization boasts twenty-six member groups.
Three years later, in 1912, the chapter at the University of Washington purchased the first chapter facility that Alpha Gamma Delta would own.
Throughout the remainder of the twentieth century, Alpha Gamma Delta continued to expand and develop as the needs of collegiate women and the organization’s alumnae changed. In 2004, Alpha Gamma Delta celebrated its centennial anniversary.
Two years later in 2006, Alpha Gamma Delta’s national council made it a requirement that all provisional members, those who had not yet been initiated, complete a computer-based program called AlcoholEDU. The program is a personalized, computer-based alcohol education program that is tailored to the student’s current drinking habits, background, and physical statistics. The program is also required prior to initiation or at some point in the new member education process for many Greek-letter organizations across the country, as well as a part of the orientation cirriculum for many college freshmen.
Alpha Gamma Delta Today
Since 1904, Alpha Gamma Delta has chartered 182 collegiate chapters and more than 250 alumnae organizations across North America. During the organization’s history, over 145,000 women have been initiated into the organization.
Alpha Gamma Delta’s philanthropic cause is diabetes awareness and education. The organization, in addition to its campaign “Defeat Diabetes One Step at a Time,” has also assembled a committee of doctors, nutritionists, exercise scientists, and marketing and business personnel to help create a program that is not only beneficial to the organization’s members, but also to those whom Alpha Gamma Delta’s philanthropic pursuits impact.
Alpha Gamma Delta can be identified in the world of Greek-letter organizations by various insignia adopted throughout the organization’s history.
- Colors: red, buff, and green
- Mascot: squirrel
- Jewel: pearl
- Flowers: a red and buff rose with a green asparagus plumosa fern
- Philanthropy: diabetes awareness and education
Founded in 1904, Alpha Gamma Delta has continued to grow and evolve to meet the needs of not only its collegiate members, but also of members who have already graduated or left college. Through various member education programs and philanthropic pursuits, Alpha Gamma Delta continues to ensure that its members are healthy, strong, and are able to contribute to society in positive ways.