National Supreme Council

National History

In 1913, when college was primarily for wealthy men, academic women were a new breed and skirt lengths were no higher than six inches above the floor. In this climate, ten Hunter High School lunch mates, committed to strength in friendship and the act of giving, founded Phi Sigma Sigma at Hunter College in New York City.

The Founders of Phi Sigma Sigma came from a variety of religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. They wished to stay together as the group they had become while still in high school, but found that because of their varied backgrounds they all could not join one of the existing sororities on campus. Lillian Gordon, Ethel Gordon, Josephine Ellison, Shirley Cohen, Fay Chertkoff, Claire Wunder, Estelle Melnick, Rose Sher, Jeanette Lipka and Gwen "Rae" Zaliels approached Dean Higgenbottem, the Dean of Women at Hunter College, and inquired about starting their own sorority, one that would promote open membership to all women of character regardless of background.

Under the leadership of Fay Chertkoff, the first Archon of Alpha Chapter, the Founders obtained permission and Phi Sigma Sigma was born on November 26, 1913, quietly, unobtrusively, and without thought of expansion. Phi Sigma Sigma was the first non-sectarian sorority, the only one open to diverse membership from its inception with a ritual not based in scripture. First in the minds of these ten women were the twin ideals which endure today. To the brotherhood of man and the alleviation of the world's pain, each Founder extended herself to her fullest capacity to live up to the mottoes the group chose.

For five years, Alpha chapter was content to continue locally without thought of expansion. Then a friend of Rose Sher Seidman who attended Tufts College contacted Rose with interest in the sorority. The thought of expansion not only became an idea, but a reality. In 1918, the Founders installed Beta chapter at Tufts College and Gamma chapter at New York University. The year 1918 also saw the first national convention, held in New York City, at which Fay Chertkoff was elected as the first Grand Archon of Phi Sigma Sigma.

This laid the foundation and planted the seeds which enabled Phi Sigma Sigma to grow and blossom into a garden of roses spread across North America and Canada. Clearly, as Phi Sigma Sigma prospers today, the Fraternity is as meaningful and exciting as it was on the day it was founded.

Local History

The Theta Chi chapter of Phi Sigma Sigma was originally a local sorority that was called Sigma Omega Chi. It existed at CSU Sacramento since 1991. In the spring of 1997, the active sisters of Sigma Omega Chi ultimately decided on Phi Sigma Sigma as the best choice for expansion of the current sisterhood of Sigma Omega Chi. On December 7, 1997. the 42 founding sisters were officially installed as the Theta Chi Chapter. On January 24, 1998 Sigma Omega Chi Alumni were initiated as Phi Sigma Sigma Alumni.


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