How it All Started
Founded on May 15th, 1851 at Wesleyan Female College in Macon, Georgia, Alpha Delta Pi holds the distinction of being the first secret society in the world for college women. As the mother of today’s sorority system, it is only fitting that our founding took place at the first college in the world chartered to grant degrees to women.
The sorority was originally organized under the name The Adelphean Society. The word Adelphean is derived from the Greek word meaning “sister.” Eugenia Tucker Fitzgerald was elected as the first President and noted in her diary: “The Society shall be called Adelphean, and shall have for its object the mental, moral, social, and domestic improvement of its members.”
The other five women who founded The Adelphean Society were Ella Pierce Turner, Octavia Andrew Rush, Mary Evans Glass, Sophronia Woodruff Dews, and Elizabeth Williams Mitchell.
Within two weeks of the founding of The Adelphean Society, these six young women were joined by thirteen others to form what is now known as the Alpha Chapter of Alpha Delta Pi. The Adelphean Society flourished through the years and, in 1904, the members voted to become national and then, in 1905, changed their name to Alpha Delta Phi. Shortly thereafter, in 1913, the name was again changed to Alpha Delta Pi to avoid confusion with a men's fraternity of the same name.
Today, there are over 215,000 initiated members of the sorority worldwide and more than 140 collegiate chapters throughout the United States and Canada. The qualifications for membership remain unchanged through the years: scholarship, high principles of behavior, and true friendships.
Alpha is Greek for the beginning. Alpha Delta Pi the first secret society for women. The Adelpheans, of the original Adelphean Society, become forerunners for the sorority system as well as played an important role in the advancement of education for American females. New ADPI members that are undergoing the education process to become initiated into Alpha Delta Pi are called Alpha members.
Delta represents change in geometry, and Alpha Delta Pi has been at the forefront of the sorority system that has helped to change and improve the lives of women throughout the nation for well over a century. Our initiated collegiate members are referred to as Delta members, signifying the development of life skills that our members acquire during their collegiate years in Alpha Delta Pi.
In geometry, Pi represents infinity. Just as Alpha Delta Pi has been in existence since 1851, we anticipate continuing strong throughout time. Our college graduate sisters are referred to as Pi members, signifying the unending sisterhood of Alpha Delta Pi. In this way Alpha Delta Pi truly is “First. Finest. Forever.”
“We Live for Each Other”
As members of Alpha Delta Pi, we believe that our open motto “expresses the true spirit of fraternity; and that by living this motto our lives will be enriched by true friendships and by unselfish service to mankind,” as stated in our Creed.
Azure blue and white are the official colors of Alpha Delta Pi. Blue is symbolic of friendship, the basic spirit upon which Alpha Delta Pi is founded. White symbolizes sincerity and truth. Alpha Delta Pi seeks these qualities in all its members.
As a symbol of beauty and strength, the lion serves as the mascot of Alpha Delta Pi. Within each member, the lion sounds strong and strides confidently forward to pursue her goals. Our mascot is nicknamed “Alphie".
The Woodland Violet, which grew wild upon the hilltops where the first Adelpheans matriculated, is our official flower. Due to its rarity we often use the African Violet in its place.
Throughout centuries, diamonds have been a symbol of love, excellence and purification. Because of its remarkable hardness and clarity, the diamond also still reigns supreme in its symbolism of power, strength, brilliance, and unparalleled beauty. In Alpha Delta Pi, it serves as a symbol of the strength and value of friendships, and its four points represent the symmetry of a balanced life.
The original badge worn by the Adelpheans in 1951 was a satin riband with ribbon streamers, featuring the name “Adelphean” on one end and a design of the clasped hands on the other end.
•The first diamond-shaped badge was worn by the Adelpheans in 1852. Stars were not included on this first badge, but it did have a monogram of the Wesleyan pin attached to the badge by a link chain, thus forming a guard.
•In 1854, the stars were added, but it was not until 1874 that the stars and the clasped hands were raised. This design remained with only slight modifications until 1906 when, at Alpha Delta Pi's first convention, Nanaline King presented a new design for the pin. Her design was a smaller gold badge with a black enamel center which pictured the clasped hands, the two stars, and the greek letters, Alpha Delta Phi.
•This design was adopted by the convention and is the same pin we have today, with Alpha Delta Phi being changed to Alpha Delta Pi at the 1913 convention.
coat of arms
Elizabeth Moseley Coles, who was elected national President at the first Grand Convention, was responsible for having the coat of arms designed. Agnes Chapman is given credit for the actual design of our coat of arms. Symbolism from our ritual and our Alpha pin were combined in the coat of arms, and the design originally had a background of violets. In 1919, the Convention voted to make changes and the present design was accepted.