Alpha Xi Delta
Alpha Xi Delta crest.png
FoundedApril 17, 1893; 129 years ago (1893-04-17)
Lombard College, Galesburg, Illinois
MottoThe Pen is Mightier than the Sword
Colors  Light blue

  Dark blue

FlowerPink rose
JewelPearl, diamond
PublicationThe Quill of Alpha Xi Delta
Chapters129 active (217 total)
Members162,000+ lifetime
MascotBetXi Bear
Headquarters8702 Founders Road
Indianapolis, IN 46268
United States

Alpha Xi Delta (ΑΞΔ or A-"Zee"-D ) is a women's fraternity founded on April 17, 1893[1][2] at Lombard College in Galesburg, Illinois, United States.[3]

Alpha Xi Delta is a member of National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), the umbrella organization of 26 national sororities. By its constitution, Alpha Xi Delta is one of the few social sororities that accepts graduate students as well as undergraduates.[4] The sorority has over 185,000 initiated members and maintains active chapters at 130 institutions across the United States, and its headquarters are located in Indianapolis, Indiana.


In 1893, ten women at Lombard College in Galesburg, Illinois founded Alpha Xi Delta.[3] It is referred to as a fraternity due to having been founded before the term "sorority" was used.

The ten founders of Alpha Xi Delta were:[5]

In 1904, the sorority joined the National Panhellenic Conference. Alpha Xi Delta's first chairman of the NPC wrote the Panhellenic Creed, a statement still used on many college campuses today.[6]

Alpha Xi Delta House at the University of Texas at Austin
Alpha Xi Delta House at the University of Texas at Austin

After several failed attempts, women were admitted for the first time in Georgia Tech in the 1950s. To help support the first women on campus, women's advocate and Alpha Xi Delta alumna Ella Wall Van Leer helped stablish the first sorority and Alpha Xi Delta chapter on Georgia Tech campus.[3][7][8][9]


The colors of Alpha Xi Delta are double blue (light and dark) and gold.[10] The fraternity flower is the pink rose,[10] as chosen by the founders to complement the white rose of Sigma Nu fraternity, whose brothers helped to found Alpha Xi Delta at Lombard College.[11]

Alpha Xi Delta's badge is the shape of a quill, with the fraternity's Greek letters on the barbs of the feathers. It may only be worn by initiated members in good standing. The quill represents the open motto "The Pen is Mightier than the Sword."[12] A variety of designs were produced in the early years of the fraternity; a standard design was devised by 1911.[13]

The Coat of Arms (crest) is described as: "... a shield supported by two griffins. In the golden band across the center of the shield is the Quill. Three conventional roses are at the top of the shield, and a broken sword is in the lower portion of the shield. Above the shield on the knight's helmet is a twist of ribbon in alternating blue and gold, and a blossomed rose."[10]

BetXi Bear has been the fraternity's official mascot since 1989.[10]


Alpha Xi Delta's open creed is called "The Symphony of Alpha Xi Delta", and it lists the ideals of the fraternity's members:

"These things do we earnestly desire: A clear vision of life, that with gracious and kindly hearts we may share both joy and sorrow and bring into living reality the Sisterhood of women. An appreciation of real merit and worth, steadfastness of soul, that without bitterness or defeat we may encounter misfortune and with humility meet success. These things, O Lord, help us to instill within our hearts that we may grow in courage and graciousness and peace."[14]

It was written in 1924 by Helen Willis Lynn, Alice Matthews, and Almira Cheney, one of the founders.[15]


As of June 14, 2021, Alpha Xi Delta's national philanthropy is the Kindly Hearts Campaign (KHC), a year of service and fundraising to support communities in some of the areas most directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.[16]

Alpha Xi Delta's national philanthropic partner was Autism Speaks from April 2, 2009 - June 14, 2021.[17] The sorority raised more than $12 million for its philanthropic partner.[18][19]

Under the Autism Speaks partnership, chapters and alumnae associations observed World Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and Autism Awareness Month throughout the month of April. Sisters raised awareness in various ways, including passing out blue ribbons, placing advertisements in campus and local newspapers, distributing information in the community and appearing on local television programs to educate people about autism. The sorority also participated in Light It Up Blue, an initiative started by Autism Speaks in 2009 to help "Shine a Light on Autism" by illuminating prestigious buildings and monuments throughout the world. Members participated by lighting their chapter houses, campus monuments and sports facilities blue during the month of April.[20]

From 1992 to 2009, Alpha Xi Delta had a "Choose Children" national philanthropy policy that gave each chapter direction to choose charitable organizations to aid.

From 1978 to 1992,[21] Alpha Xi Delta partnered with the American Lung Association as its national philanthropy.

The AmaXIng Challenge

Alpha Xi Delta Sorority house at Ohio University
Alpha Xi Delta Sorority house at Ohio University

The AmaXIng Challenge was Alpha Xi Delta's signature fundraising event. Each college chapter hosted at least one of the following events per year:[22]

Controversies and change

Ending racial barriers

An event from the waning days of World War II showcases the intensity whereby collegiate members were beginning to break from cultural norms that were common until those decades of change. Few Black students attended the University of Vermont by mid-Century - there were only two enrolled in 1943. Many of the student body, including the majority of members of the ΑΞΔ chapter on the campus had agitated in 1945-46 for a removal of racial and religious quotas that had limited enrollment for decades. Calls for civil rights and religious plurality were rising. But it was the return of servicemen and women, and the GI Bill that finally broke the dam, as within a few years returning veterans sought admission in schools where they previously had been unable to attend due to financial inability or racial and religious quotas.[23] Campus after campus, and fraternity after fraternity would overturn race and religious barriers with the entry of vast numbers of servicemen and women whose worldview had broadened due to the experiences in the War. But ΑΞΔ's Upsilon chapter was on the forefront of that movement.

In October 1945, Crystal Malone Brown—then known as Crystal Malone—was a junior on the Burlington campus of the University of Vermont when she was accepted as the first and only Black member of the Upsilon chapter of Alpha Xi Delta sorority.[24] But Beverly Robinson, the national sorority president, rejected Mrs. Brown's admission into the half-century-old organization. She ordered the university's chapter closed when Mrs. Brown refused to withdraw her membership. Her advice to the pledge: “Life is selective, and maybe it's just as well to learn it while we are young.” [23]

This event, and the loss of the chapter was instructive, and Alpha Xi Delta, like all Panhellenic sororities soon removed racial barriers to membership. There are no such barriers today.

Local chapter misconduct

In 2010, the Miami University chapter of Alpha Xi Delta was suspended until 2014 for alcohol violations stemming from their destructive formal at Cincinnati's National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.[25][26] In 2019, the sorority recolonized and no longer recognizes the members of the class involved in the incident.[27]

In 2011, the Alpha Xi Delta national organization revoked the Binghamton University chapter's charter for "continu[ing] to violate Alpha Xi Delta's policies on risk management and observance of Fraternity rituals despite efforts to lead the chapter to a culture consistent with Alpha Xi Delta's policies and value."[28]

In 2017, the Cornell University chapter of Alpha Xi Delta was placed on probationary status for three years, "as a result of incidents determined to include both hazing and alcohol policy violations."[29]

In 2017, the University of Central Florida chapter of Alpha Xi Delta was suspended on the grounds of "allegations of alcohol-related misconduct, which includes providing alcohol to someone underage; hazing; and possessing and/or providing false and misleading information and/or falsification of university records."[30]

Controversy over Autism Speaks affiliation

See also: Autism Speaks § Controversies

In 2017, editorials appeared in the Temple University[31] and the College of New Jersey[32] student newspapers criticizing Alpha Xi Delta for its philanthropic connections to Autism Speaks on the grounds that the organization misunderstood, misrepresented and promoted harmful stereotypes of individuals with autism. The organization has since changed its national philanthropic organization and disaffiliated from Autism Speaks.


University of Illinois chapter house, listed on the National Register of Historic Places
Students line up in front of the Alpha Xi Delta house at Purdue University during recruitment.
Students line up in front of the Alpha Xi Delta house at Purdue University during recruitment.


Main article: List of Alpha Xi Delta chapters

Notable alumnae




Government and military

See also


  1. ^ Alpha Xi Delta. Vol. 5–6. G. Banta Company. 1907. p. 143. OCLC 445768029. Retrieved 2010-05-17.
  2. ^ Baird, William Raimond; Brown, James Taylor (1920). Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (9th ed.). G. Banta Company. pp. 430–432. OCLC 17350924. Retrieved 2011-04-10.. Baird's Manual is also available online here: The Baird's Manual Online Archive homepage.
  3. ^ a b c William Raimond Baird; Carroll Lurding (eds.). "Almanac of Fraternities and Sororities (Baird's Manual Online Archive), showing Alpha Xi Delta 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.
  4. ^ The Constitution itself is not available to the public. However, an official workbook of the organization's academic standards specifically mentions "graduate students who were initiated as graduate students," clearly making reference to the Constitutional possibility of such members. Link: Archived 2015-07-07 at the Wayback Machine.
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  18. ^ Blog post: ΑΞΔ raises more than $2M for Autism Speaks Archived 2014-02-23 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 27 May 2014
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