Alpha Chi Omega was founded on October 15, 1885 at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. Professor James Hamilton Howe, dean of DePauw’s School of Music, approached seven young women to form a women’s society within the school. Their names were Anna Allen, Amy DuBois, Olive Burnett, Bessie Grooms, Nellie Gamble, Bertha Deniston and Estelle Leonard.

Our Founders formed the sixth women’s fraternity in the country—the first to be in a music school and sure to be the last. Dedicated to advancing the intellectual, social and moral culture of its members, our founders’ vision has grown to include our women’s Fraternity, the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation and the National Housing Corporation. Together, they serve more than 200,000 members in more than 130 collegiate chapters and 200 alumnae chapters nationwide.


Alpha Chi Omega's Founders chose "Alpha," the first letter of the Greek alphabet, because they were forming the first fraternity in the school of music. Since they thought they might also be founding the last such fraternity, "Omega" seemed appropriate. "Kai," meaning "and," was added to form the beginning and the end. "Kai" was soon changed to "Chi," a letter of the Greek alphabet=Alpha Chi Omega.


The Lyre of Alpha Chi Omega was chosen by our founders after much research. The one they decided upon was the replica of the harp because it stayed true to their musical interest. The founders were also delighted to find that according to Greek mythology the first instrument played by the gods on Mt. Olympus was a lyre!


"Together let us seek the heights."


Members of Alpha Chi Omega have enjoyed the heritage and traditions shared in our sisterhood for nearly 119 years. Some of these special traditions include:

Founders' Day - Sisters gather on October 15 of each year to recognize the fraternity’s fall founding at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. 

MacDowell Month- Every February, Alpha Chi Omega women celebrate the fine arts and their fine-arts heritage. Most colleges and universities chapters will  encourage their members to attend fine art events as well during the month.

Hera Day- On March 1 of each year, members recognize the fraternity's commitment to helping others by conducting service projects and offering assistance to others. 

Chapter Founders’ Days – Each collegiate chapter recognizes its founding anniversary annually.

National Convention – Members join together every two years to conduct Fraternity business, reunite with fellow Alpha Chis and celebrate Alpha Chi Omega.

State Days and Province Gatherings – Many states and provinces hold events to unite sisters within a specific geographic area.