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Phi Sigma Sigma

Phi Sigma Sigma
Founded November 26, 1913; 102 years ago (1913-11-26)
Hunter College, New York City
Type Social
Scope United States and Canada
Mission statement To inspire the personal development of each sister and perpetuate the advancement of womanhood.
Vision statement Phi Sigma Sigma is a dynamic sisterhood of powerful women fostering uncompromising principles, igniting positive change and embracing individuality.
Motto Diokete Hupsala
"Aim High"
Maxim "Once a Phi Sigma Sigma, always a Phi Sigma Sigma."
Colors      King Blue      Gold
Symbol Sphinx
Flower American Beauty Rose
Jewel Sapphire
Publication The Sphinx
Philanthropy Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation
Chapters 150+ (115 active)
Members 60,000 collegiate
Headquarters 8178 Lark Brown Road, Suite 202
Elkridge, Maryland, USA

Phi Sigma Sigma (ΦΣΣ), colloquially known as "Phi Sig," was the first collegiate nonsectarian sorority,[1] to allow membership of women of all faiths and backgrounds. The sorority was founded on November 26, 1913, and lists 60,000 initiated members, 115 collegiate chapters and more than 100 alumnae chapters, clubs and associations in the United States and Canada. Phi Sigma Sigma was founded to establish to the twin ideals of promoting the brotherhood of man and alleviation of the world’s pain.[2]


Phi Sigma Sigma was founded by ten women on November 26, 1913 at Hunter College, in New York City. The original name for the fraternity was Phi Sigma Omega, but they later learned this name was already in use by another organization. In 1918, Phi Sigma Sigma expanded by founding its Beta chapter at Tufts University in Medford, MA, and the Gamma chapter at New York University, although neither of those chapters are currently active. The sorority held its first national convention that year in New York City, where the constitution was adopted, and Fay Chertkoff, one of the founders, was elected Grand Archon.

Phi Sigma Sigma became an associate member of National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) in 1947, and a full member in 1951.

In 1968, the separation of Hunter College's two campuses prompted the original Alpha chapter to divide. Alpha Alpha was installed at the new Herbert Lehman College in the Bronx, while Alpha chapter remained on Hunter College's Park Avenue campus. Neither is still active.

In November 2009, the Delta chapter, at the University at Buffalo, was reinstalled; making it the oldest active chapter. The second oldest active chapter is the Epsilon chapter at Adelphi University, in Garden City, NY, which was recolonized December 6, 2008. While other chapters were founded earlier and have been recolonized, the Xi Chapter at Temple University is the oldest chapter in continuous existence, having been founded in 1926. The Upsilon chapter (1930) at the University of Manitoba was the first chapter established in Canada.

The official publication of Phi Sigma Sigma is The Sphinx, which first appeared in 1923.


The open motto is Diokete Hupsala (Aim High). The maxim is "Once a Phi Sigma Sigma, always a Phi Sigma Sigma."

Phi Sigma Sigma's colors are king blue and gold. The official symbol is the Sphinx, while the official jewel is the sapphire. The American Beauty Rose is the official flower.

The sorority's first song, "The Hymn," was written in 1921 by Pearl Lippman of the Alpha chapter and her husband, Arthur Lippman.

The sorority's core values are lifelong learning, inclusiveness, and leadership through service.

The secret name of the sorority has been alleged to be "Philanthropic Social Society." The name was revealed in an online post to the Penny Arcade website in 2011. A cease and desist order sent by the sorority to the website requesting removal of the name was ignored and the organization subsequently filed suit seeking to have it expunged.[3]


To facilitate philanthropic activities, the Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation was created in 1969 by Jeanine Jacobs Goldberg, who was the foundation's first president. The Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation provides scholarships and educational grants, as well as leadership programming to collegiate and alumnae members. The National Kidney Foundation was Phi Sigma Sigma's primary philanthropic endeavor from 1971 until 2013. Since then, Phi Sigma Sigma has worked to educate people about kidney disease, as well as organ and tissue donation and transplantation. The Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation was a major sponsor of the National Kidney Foundation U.S. Transplant Games, a national Olympics-style event where organ-donor recipients competed in various athletic competitions.

In 2013 The Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation announced that its new philanthropic cause would be school and college readiness.[4] The cause was determined through membership input via surveys, focus groups and interviews. Members expressed a desire for more opportunities to volunteer locally. Additionally, they wanted a cause that had both international reach and local appeal.

Following the September 11 attacks, the Phi Sigma Sigma Foundation established the Twin Ideals Fund to provide assistance to disaster victims. Named for Phi Sigma Sigma's twin ideals to promote the brotherhood of man and alleviate the world's pain, the fund has contributed to aid organizations in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.

Phi Sigma Sigma chose Practice Makes Perfect to be their philanthropic partner. Their combined efforts will support school and college readiness for low-income children.


  • Lillian Gordon Alpern
  • Josephine Ellison Breakstone
  • Fay Chertkoff
  • Estelle Melnick Cole
  • Jeanette Lipka Furst
  • Ethel Gordon Kraus
  • Shirley Cohen Laufer
  • Claire Wunder McArdle
  • Rose Sher Seidman
  • Gwen Zaliels Snyder



Notable alumni


  1. ^
  2. ^ "History". Phi Sigma Sigma. Retrieved 2009-06-29. 
  3. ^ Pulkinnen, Levi (4 May 2015). "Sorority sues former member after ‘sacred’ secrets leak to Seattle web comic". Seattle PI. Retrieved 4 May 2015. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "History". Phi Sigma Sigma. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "She Did It Her Way". Phi Sigma Sigma. October 20, 2009. Retrieved 2010-02-24. 

External links