The Founding

Delta Gamma was founded in 1873 in Oxford, Mississippi, at the Lewis School for Girls by three young women who were unable to go home for the Christmas break. Together, Anna Boyd, Mary Comfort and Eva Webb created a "club of mutual helpfulness."

They chose the Greek letters Delta and Gamma because of their desire to "Do Good." It remains Delta Gamma's motto today and a driving force in all we do.

What started with three women has since grown into an international Fraternity with more than 250,000 members in 153 collegiate chapters and more than 200 alumnae groups. Delta Gamma's sisterhood continues to inspire women through the values that were built into our very first Constitution. Article II, written by our Founders in 1873, states: The objects of this Fraternity shall be to foster high ideals of friendship among women, to promote their educational and cultural interests, to create in them a true sense of social responsibility, and to develop in them the best qualities of character.

Anchored in Hope

While the Constitution spells out the values of a Delta Gamma woman in Article II, you can't tell the story of Delta Gamma without speaking of hope. The original pin of the Fraternity was the letter "H," which the Founders meant to stand for hope. 

A few years before she died, Founder Mary Comfort Leonard described the first pin: "We went to a local jeweler and had our pin made-the letter 'H,' which stood for hope, for we hoped great results and have not been disappointed…" - The Shield

In 1877, the Fraternity adopted the anchor as our symbol, the age-old symbol for hope.

A Network of Support

College is full of memories and experiences that will shape a woman's life and help lead her into a lifetime of fulfilling membership as an alumna. Upon graduation, Delta Gamma sisterhood is a network of support that enables each alumna to pursue her dreams and goals, while allowing her to give back. With opportunities to join one of more than 200 alumnae groups, mentor collegians, serve as advisers and volunteer for leadership positions, the Delta Gamma experience does not end after college. Instead, our sisterhood broadens to give each Delta Gamma the chance to continue her involvement in her own unique way.

Because serving others is at the root of Delta Gamma's history, the Delta Gamma Foundation functions as the philanthropic arm of the organization. The Foundation has been dedicated to sight conservation since 1936, when a member who was blind, Ruth Billow, Eta-Akron, asked the Fraternity to consider aiding the visually impaired. Since that time, the Foundation has grown to give millions of dollars to organizations that help further our shared mission and our members have given hundreds of thousands of service hours to those living with blindness or visual impairments.

Here are some defining moments in the Delta Gamma story:

  • Christmas 1873 in Oxford, Mississippi: Anna Boyd, Mary Comfort and Eva Webb spent the holidays at The Lewis School for Girls and formed the Delta Gamma Club.
  • 1881 - First Delta Gamma Convention was held in Oxford, Mississippi.
  • 1902 - Delta Gamma joined six other fraternal organizations in establishing the National Panhellenic Conference.
  • 1913 - Delta Gamma's first Canadian chapter was installed: Alpha Gamma-Toronto.
  • 1936 - Aiding the Blind was adopted as the Fraternity Service Project, it was changed to "Sight Conservation & Aiding the Blind" in 1942. In 1995, it was changed to "Service for Sight."
  • 1951 - Delta Gamma became the first women's fraternal group to establish an independent philanthropic Foundation.
  • 1989 - Delta Gamma established the Fraternity Housing Corporation to assist local house corporations.
  • 2018 - Delta Gamma reached 250,000 initiated members.

Click here to view a tour of the Fraternity Archives!

Positional Statement on Inclusivity

Delta Gamma Fraternity does not discriminate in its membership selection on the basis of race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, color, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, physical disability or other characteristics protected by state, provincial or federal law. Membership is open to all individuals who identify as women. Those selected for membership in Delta Gamma must have good scholarship, be of good character and standing, have an interest in activities that will enhance the academic atmosphere at the college or university, and have a sincere desire to contribute to the work of Delta Gamma. 

For the complete Positional Statement on Inclusivity and a comprehensive list of our policies, please visit our library.

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