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Alpha Chi Omega
FoundedOctober 15, 1885; 138 years ago (1885-10-15)
DePauw University, (Greencastle, Indiana)
MottoTogether let us seek the heights
TaglineReal. Strong. Women.
Colors  Scarlet red   Olive green[1]
SymbolGolden lyre
FlowerRed carnation
Patron Greek divinityHera
PublicationThe Lyre
PhilanthropyDomestic Violence Awareness, Alpha Chi Omega Foundation
Chapters140+ collegiate, 170+ alumnae
Members300,000+ lifetime
Headquarters5939 Castle Creek Parkway North Dr.
Indianapolis, IN 46250

Alpha Chi Omega (ΑΧΩ, also known as Alpha Chi or A Chi O) is a national women's fraternity founded on October 15, 1885.

As of 2023, there are more than 140 collegiate and 170 alumnae chapters represented across the United States, and the fraternity counts more than 300,000 members initiated throughout its history.[2]

Alpha Chi Omega is a member of the National Panhellenic Conference, the governing council of 26 women's fraternities.[3]


Alpha Chapter at Depauw University, 1885

Alpha Chi Omega was formed at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana on October 15, 1885.[4][5]

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 to form a fraternity. Those young women were Anna Allen Smith, Olive Burnett Clark, Bertha Deniston Cunningham, Amy DuBois Rieth, Nellie Gamble Childe, Bessie Grooms Keenan, and Estelle Leonard.[4] Howe collaborated with James G. Campbell, a Beta Theta Pi, to form a national fraternity. Campbell laid 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."[6] On February 26, 1886, the fraternity was given its formal introduction by a soiree musical.[6]

Alpha Chi Omega joined the National Panhellenic Conference in 1903.[7]

Early musical requirements

Association with the music school was required early on, as the fraternity only allowed School of Music students. Later on, this was changed and the minimum requirement became registration in one music course of any kind. Members then graduated in many other departments of the university, including the liberal arts department.[6] 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.[6] In its early years it was externally considered to be a professional music society,[8][9] 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.[10]

Beginnings of philanthropy

In 1911, Alpha Chi Omega began supporting the MacDowell Colony, as Marian MacDowell was an alumna of Alpha Chi Omega.[11] 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 and supported other projects associated with cerebral palsy.[11]

In 1978, the fraternity created the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation to merge funds for the fraternity's philanthropic projects and educational programming into one nonprofit organization.[11] In 1992, the fraternity voted to adopt a new primary philanthropy of supporting victims of domestic violence.[12][13] Alpha Chi Omega was the first major organization to speak out and adopt Domestic Violence Awareness as their philanthropy. Alpha Chi Omega continues to support Easter Seals.[citation needed]


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.[4]

Alpha Chi Omega's colors of scarlet red and olive green were chosen to commemorate the fraternity's fall founding.[14] The fraternity's official symbol is a three-stringed lyre,[15] the official flower is a red carnation, which exemplifies the fraternity's colors, and the official tree is the Holly.[16] There is no official stone. The badge (pin) worn by initiated members is in the shape of a lyre, typically featuring pearls and the fraternity's Greek letters on the crossbar. Alpha Chi Omega chose the lyre to be their official symbol since it was the first instrument played by the Gods on Mount Olympus. Although Alpha Chi Omega no longer is strictly a musical sorority, they are still connected to their musical heritage through their symbol of the lyre.

The new member badge (pin) worn by uninitiated members is a lozenge emblazoned with the symbol of a lyre and the sorority's colors of scarlet red on the upper half of the badge and olive green on the lower half of the badge.[17]


The fraternity manages its philanthropy through its nonprofit arm, the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation. This branch continues to grant funds to the fraternity's former partners, the MacDowell Colony and Easter Seals, as well as to services and programs for domestic violence victims and on education on the subject.[13] The Foundation also helps to support members and those closely related to Alpha Chi Omegas through other funds and grants to ensure continuous support for its members.[18]

Individual chapters focus their attention on increasing the awareness of domestic violence, and its effects on individuals, families, and children, as well as actively aiding victims of domestic violence through hands-on activities and service projects. Domestic violence includes any behaviors that "intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone" to influence another person in a domestic relationship.[19] 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. We work to prevent domestic violence, raise awareness about its severity, educate others on how to recognize and address it, and support organizations that assist survivors of domestic violence and their children.[20]

As of 2018, Alpha Chi Omega is partnered with Mary Kay, Allstate Foundation Purple Purse, The One Love Foundation, RAINN, and It's On Us, various organizations which also support domestic/sexual violence awareness and education and survivor support.[12] The fraternity also supports Kristin's Story in cooperation with Delta Delta Delta, a nonprofit set up by the Delta Delta Delta mother of an Alpha Chi Omega member who committed suicide following a sexual assault.[21]


Main article: List of Alpha Chi Omega chapters


There are 194 chapters of Alpha Chi Omega at colleges and universities in the United States.[5] There are also 279 alumnae chapters, which allow women of all post-graduate ages to come together and continue the mission and values of Alpha Chi Omega. Members from the collegiate and alumnae chapters total over 300,000 sisters since the fraternity was founded in 1885.[22] 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. The fraternity states its membership values as "academic interest, character, financial responsibility, leadership, and personal development." The fraternity's national vision is to shape the future "through the powerful, transformative, and everlasting connections of real, strong women.[23]

The founders of Alpha Chi Omega


Members of Alpha Chi Omega have several national programs for important dates:

Notable alumnae

Arts and entertainment

Beauty pageant contestants

News and journalism


Science, technology and engineering


See also


  1. ^ Alpha Chi Omega Symbols and traditions
  2. ^ "About Us". Alpha Chi Omega. 25 March 2023.
  3. ^ "Our Member Organizations". National Panhellenic Conference. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  4. ^ a b c "About ΑΧΩ". Alpha Chi Omega. Archived from the original on 2008-04-24. Retrieved 2008-08-18.
  5. ^ a b William Raimond Baird; Carroll Lurding (eds.). "Almanac of Fraternities and Sororities (Baird's Manual Online Archive), showing Alpha Chi Omega chapters". Student Life and Culture Archives. University of Illinois: University of Illinois Archives. Retrieved 30 December 2021. The main archive URL is The Baird's Manual Online Archive homepage.
  6. ^ a b c d Armstrong, Florence A.; Mabel Harriet Siller (1922). History of Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity (1885–1921) (3 ed.). Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity.
  7. ^ "Alpha Chi Omega". Retrieved 2022-12-03.
  8. ^ Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (5 ed.). 1898.
  9. ^ Stevens, Albert C. (1899). The cyclopædia of fraternities, a compilation of existing authentic information and the results of original investigation as to more than six hundred secret societies in the United States. New York city, Paterson, N.J., Hamilton printing and publishing company. p. 347. OL 23292199M. Alpha Chi Omega– Professional (Music) Society
  10. ^ Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (6 ed.). 1905.
  11. ^ a b c "About Chi Omega Foundation History". Alpha Chi Omega. Archived from the original on 2008-06-15. Retrieved 2007-12-28.
  12. ^ a b "DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS". Alpha Chi Omega. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Foundation [ Domestic Violence ]". 2007-06-07. Archived from the original on 2007-06-07. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  14. ^ "Alpha Chi Omega – About Us". Archived from the original on 2016-03-23. Retrieved 2016-03-16.
  15. ^ Alpha Chi Omega
  16. ^ Becque, Fran (28 March 2023). "Alta Allen Loud, Alpha Chi Omega". Fraternity History & More. Retrieved 28 March 2023.
  17. ^ "New member pin | Chi Omega, Alpha chi, Alpha chi omega". Pinterest. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  18. ^ "Alpha Chi Omega Foundation". Alpha Chi Omega. Archived from the original on 2007-08-11. Retrieved 2007-12-28.
  19. ^ "Domestic Violence". 2019-05-16. Retrieved 2022-12-03.
  20. ^ "Our Philanthropy (Georgia Tech chapter)". Retrieved 2023-03-25.
  21. ^ Kristin's Story
  22. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 2022-12-03.
  23. ^ "Who We Are". Retrieved 2022-12-03.
  24. ^ a b "Symbols and Traditions". Alpha Chi Omega. 12 October 2018.
  25. ^ "Symbols and Traditions". Retrieved 2022-12-03.
  26. ^ "Alpha Chi Omega Digital History". Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  27. ^ "Alpha Chi Omega Digital History". Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w "About ΑΧΩ Notable Alumnae". Alpha Chi Omega. Archived from the original on 2007-12-23. Retrieved 2008-09-09.
  29. ^ "Alpha Chi Omega Actress in the News". 15 September 2010.
  30. ^ "Nancy Hoyt: Biography". Archived from the original on 2014-11-04. Retrieved 2013-08-14.
  31. ^ Maxwell, Jill Hecht. "MIT Alum Television Host in Asia". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 2018-08-22.
  32. ^ "Survivor Cast: Sarah Jones". CBS. Retrieved 2018-08-22.
  33. ^ Priluck, Audra Levi (2018-02-23). "Alpha Chi Omega, We Love Thee...With Glee!". Alpha Chi Omega – Starting Conversations. Archived from the original on 2018-08-22. Retrieved 2018-08-22.
  34. ^ "Aubrey Style – Interview". Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-12.
  35. ^ "List of Sororities - Niche Ink". Ink: Niche Insight + Analysis. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-08-22.
  36. ^ " • View topic - The Sopranos". Retrieved 2018-08-22.
  37. ^ D'Aluisio, Alexandra (March 12, 2019). "Who Is Hannah Brown? 5 Things to Know About the Next Bachelorette". US Magazine.
  38. ^ Corey, Jen. "LinkedIn". LinkedIn. Retrieved 2018-08-22.[dead link]
  39. ^ "Miss Missouri", Wikipedia, 2021-07-19, retrieved 2021-07-22
  40. ^ Becque, Fran. "SORORITY WOMEN COMPETING IN MISS USA 2020". Fraternity History & More. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  41. ^ "Greek101". Greek 101. Archived from the original on 2015-01-21. Retrieved 2015-01-21.
  42. ^ "Alpha Chi Omega Foundation Newsletter" (PDF). Alpha Chi Omega. 2005. Retrieved 2008-12-22.[dead link]
  43. ^ "Greek Members of Congress". North American Interfraternity Conference. 2021. Retrieved 2021-10-18.
  44. ^ Iwata, Edward (March 24, 2003). "Watkins gets frank about days at Enron". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-01-04.
  45. ^ "Alpha Chi Omega Sorority". Archived from the original on 2000-03-02.
  46. ^ Becque, Fran (2018-02-07). "Fraternity and Sorority Members Competing in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics". Fraternity History & More. Archived from the original on 2018-08-22. Retrieved 2018-08-22.