|Founded||March 4, 1852|
Wesleyan Female College, (Macon, Georgia)
|Motto||Les Soeurs Fideles|
The Faithful Sisters
|Flower||Rose Color Carnation|
|Philanthropy||Children's Miracle Network Hospitals|
|Mascot||The Lion "Sir Fidel"|
|Headquarters||400 Westpark Drive|
Peachtree City, Georgia 30269
Phi Mu (ΦΜ) is the second oldest female fraternal organization established in the United States.
The fraternity was founded at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia as the Philomathean Society on January 4, 1852, and was announced publicly on March 4 of the same year. Phi Mu is one of the two "Macon Magnolias," a term used to celebrate the bonds it shares with Alpha Delta Pi as sororities founded on that same campus.
Today, Phi Mu has 136 active collegiate chapters, 137 active alumnae chapters, and more than 187,000 initiated sisters. In its 170-year history, Phi Mu has chartered over 228 chapters. Phi Mu's National Headquarters is in Peachtree City, Georgia. Phi Mu's national philanthropy is Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.
Phi Mu is one of 26 national sororities which are members under the umbrella organization of the National Panhellenic Conference.
Phi Mu was founded on January 4, 1852 – though not publicly announced until March 4, 1852 – originally as a literary society referred to as The Philomathean Society at Wesleyan College by Mary Ann Dupont (Lines), Mary Elizabeth Myrick (Daniel), and Martha Bibb Hardaway (Redding). Philomathean is derived from the Greek philomath, which means a lover of learning. The Society joined the National Panhellenic Conference in 1904, taking on the Greek letters Phi Mu.
Phi Mu is referred to as a women's fraternity since some sororities predate the term "sorority" and are thus known as "fraternities for women." Phi Mu is one such sorority, and its formal name is Phi Mu Fraternity.
In 1939, Alpha Delta Theta, a small national sorority founded at Transylvania University, merged with Phi Mu.
Although Phi Mu has no official jewel, the fraternity recognizes the official colors of rose, symbolizing womanhood, and white, symbolizing truth and purity. The official flower is the rose-colored carnation, while the symbol is a quatrefoil. Phi Mu's official mascot is a lion named Sir Fidel.
A Phi Badge is worn by Phi Mu's provisional members. It is a small gold and black quatrefoil pin bearing the Φ symbol. Initiated members wear the Phi Mu Badge, which depicts a quatrefoil with black and gold enamel bearing ΦΜ, a hand holding a heart, and three stars. Sometimes the badge is partnered with a guard chain accompanied by the chapter's lettering (for example, the Kappa Omicron chapter of Phi Mu would have a ΚΟ assisting).
Phi Mu's open motto is Les Soeurs Fideles ("The Faithful Sisters"). The fraternity's creed is the uniting statement that every member of Phi Mu is expected to know and live her life by, defining what it means to be a noblewoman and enumerating several practices. The second-to-last line of the creed sums up the most important Phi Mu belief: "To practice day by day love, honor, truth."
Phi Mu's interest in philanthropy is expressed in the first line of its Creed, "To lend to those less fortunate a helping hand," a guiding principle for Phi Mu. As the sorority sponsor for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, Phi Mu is committed to raising more than $500,000 for the hospitals every year. The money raised and donated is used locally or to support one of the 170 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals nationwide. In total, Phi Mu has contributed over $21 million and many hours to improve the quality of life for sick children and their families throughout the country. Phi Mu has also established an annual "National Philanthropy Day" each October.
Main article: List of Phi Mu chapters
In 2010, the Phi Mu chapter at the University of Texas at San Antonio was disciplined for hazing and humiliating pledges. Pledges were blindfolded, roped, and forced to a remote barn to recite the sorority's creed and imitate animals for the amusement of initiated members of the sorority.
In 2011, the sorority made national headlines after the chapter at the University of Southern Mississippi dressed in blackface for a "Cosby" themed party. The sorority members involved were placed on probation by Phi Mu's national headquarters and offered a public apology for their misconduct.
In 2013 and 2014, sorority women from multiple chapters at the University of Alabama – including Phi Mu, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Omicron Pi, Kappa Delta, Pi Beta Phi, and Alpha Gamma Delta, – alleged that either active members or some of their alumnae had prevented them from offering membership to black candidates because of their race. Phi Mu member Caroline Bechtel told Marie Claire that the chapter would automatically add any minority woman to a list of women to be dropped as a membership candidate. Bechtel and fellow students held a campus march to integrate Greek life on campus, and following media and national outcry, the university held a second round of recruitment in hopes of offering membership to more women, including black women. In the aftermath, Bechtel described hostility towards her from the sorority. Phi Mu offered membership to one black woman.