Happy anniversary, Sigma Gamma Rho! Founded on Irvington campus at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, this historic African-American sorority is celebrating its first 100 years.
Seven young school teachers had the vision to establish the non-profit organization, which is guided by the three principles of scholarship, service and sisterhood. Over the past 100 years, Sigma Gamma Rho has grown to 500-plus chapters and over 100,000 members, with international chapters located in Bermuda, Canada, South Korea, Dubai, Belize, Ghana, Africa, the Bahamas, Germany and U.S. Virgin Islands.
Discover some of Sigma Gamma Rho’s most significant milestones over the past century
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated was founded on November 12, 1922, on the campus of Butler University by seven young educators: Mary Lou Allison Gardner Little, Dorothy Hanley Whiteside, Vivian Irene White Marbury, Nannie Mae Gahn Johnson, Hattie Mae Annette Dulin Redford, Bessie Mae Downey Rhoades Martin and Cubena McClure.
The sorority’s first national conference took place in Indianapolis, Indiana, from December 27, 1925 to December 29, 1925.
The organization became an incorporated national collegiate sorority on December 30,,1929, when a charter was granted to Alpha chapter at Butler University.
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. joined the National Pan-Hellenic Council in 1937, becoming part of an illustrious group now known as "The Divine Nine."
Sigma Gamma Rho celebrated the sorority’s golden anniversary with its mid-centennial celebration in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1972. Five founders were still alive and attended the occasion. Sigma Gamma Rho strolled into its sixth decade in the 1980s.
Past International President Corine J. Green established The SPEAR (Sigma Public Education and Research) Foundation in 1993. As an affiliate of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., it helps the sorority’s local chapters qualify for funding sources to carry out its motto of “Greater Service, Greater Progress." The SPEAR Foundation’s goal is to enhance the quality of life for individuals and families, served by chapters of the sorority. In 1995, SPEAR received its 501(c)(3) status and became an autonomous body with a Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. affiliation.
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. established its historic USA Swimming partnership in July 2012. This partnership helps expand the vital message of water safety. Earlier this year, the sorority donated a swimming pool to the Him by Her Collegiate School for The Arts in Indianapolis, as part of its Centennial Boule.
Army captain Deshauna Barber, a Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. member, was crowned Miss USA in In 2016. She was the first soldier to ever hold the title.
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. made history on September 28, 2019, as it welcomed its newest international chapter to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Mu Phi Sigma Alumnae Chapter became the sorority’s first chapter in the Middle East, further expanding its reach and influence across the globe.
In Spring 2022, Butler University conferred honorary degrees on the seven founders at the Butler University Commencement Ceremony.