In a society where women were discouraged from entering college due to their "insufficient brainpower" and "delicate health," four women from Syracuse University came together to form a society they named Gamma Phi Beta. Now, more than 130 years later, we celebrate their vision and dedication and all who have followed and built Gamma Phi Beta into one of the largest and most well-respected sororities in the world.
Helen Mary Dodge was born September 26, 1850, in Verona, New York. She was a member of the second freshman class at Syracuse University and graduated in 1876. A talented musician and member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and other organizations, Helen's chief interest was the mission work sponsored by her church. She married the Reverend J.V. Ferguson, who preceded her in death. Helen died October 21, 1937, leaving a substantial bequest to Syracuse University designated for scholarships for members of Gamma Phi Beta.
Frances E. Haven was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on May 27, 1854, while her father was teaching at the University of Michigan. When he became president of Northwestern University, Frances entered Northwestern with the first group of women students. After he was named chancellor of Syracuse University, she transferred to Syracuse and graduated in 1877. Her diploma, signed by her father, is displayed in Gamma Phi Beta International Headquarters. Frances married Charles M. Moss in 1878 and moved with him to the University of Illinois where she was instrumental in establishing Omicron Chapter. She died June 16, 1937.
Eunice Adeline Curtis was born December 22, 1854, in Moravia, New York. She graduated from Syracuse University in 1878 with a bachelor's degree in music. Married to Frank Curtis with one son, Edward, Adeline was the soprano soloist at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Syracuse for 33 years. She died January 14, 1923.
Mary Alice Bingham was born in Watertown, New York, August 30, 1856. She graduated from Syracuse University in 1878 with a degree in art. In 1883, she married M.E. Willoughby and had two children, a son Francis and a daughter Ernestine. Mary Bingham Willoughby and Helen Dodge Ferguson were the only Founders who were able to continue their close association after their college years, as both lived in Utica, New York. Mary died on January 14, 1916.
1874 Founded November 11th at Syracuse University
1875 First initiate, Clara Worden, initiated in March
1882 First extension effort, Beta Chapter, installed at the University of Michigan
1882 First alumnae chapter chartered, Chicago, Illinois
1902 Gamma Phi Beta and six other Sororities found the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC)
1919 First Canadian chapter, 25th Greek-letter chapter, Alpha Alpha at University of Toronto
1940 50th Greek-letter chapter, Beta Beta at University of Maryland
1960 75th Greek-letter chapter, Gamma Gamma at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
1971 100th Greek-letter chapter, Delta Delta at California State-Fullerton
1972 First Crescent Circle
1986 125th Greek-letter chapter, Epsilon Epsilon, Union College
1991 International Headquarters building dedicated
1995 150th Greek-letter chapter, Zeta Zeta, Coastal Carolina
2008 www.mysisterlink.com, Gamma Phi Beta's social networking site is established
2010 171st chapter, Eta Beta at Florida Southern College is established!