Members of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority are proud of our rich and accomplished history, dating back to our founding on November 11, 1874, at Syracuse University in New York.

In a society where women were discouraged from attending college because of their "insufficient brainpower" and "delicate health," four friends came together to form a women's society. They bonded together to face adversity and to encourage one another's intellectual growth. Now, more than 137 years later, we celebrate the vision and dedication of those women -- and all who have come since then -- who have built Gamma Phi Beta Sorority into one of the largest and most well-respected sororities in the world.

Four Founders

The Scholar Helen Mary Dodge Ferguson was a talented musician and member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Her chief interest was the mission work sponsored by her church. Helen died in 1937, leaving a substantial bequest to Syracuse University for scholarships for members of Gamma Phi Beta. Her love of learning has endeared her as the scholar of the four.

The Artist Frances "Fannie" Elizabeth Haven Moss entered Northwestern University, where her father was president, as one of the first female students. After he was named chancellor of Syracuse University, she transferred to Syracuse. Frances later moved with her husband to Illinois where she was instrumental in establishing Omicron Chapter (Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). She was also the only Founder to have a daughter join Gamma Phi Beta. An accomplished artist, many of Frances' original watercolor paintings are on display at International Headquarters.

The Friend Eunice Adeline "Addie" Curtis graduated from Syracuse with a bachelor's degree in music. She was the soprano soloist at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Syracuse for 33 years and had a son, Edward, with her husband, Frank Curtis. Addie was described by others as kind and generous to a fault, always cheerful, always sympathetic, the most charitable person who ever lived and deeply loved. In a word: friend.

The World Traveler Mary "Minnie" Alice Bingham Willoughby graduated from Syracuse with a degree in fine arts. She was a world traveler, having accompanied her parents to numerous sites in Europe. Minnie and Helen were the only Founders able to continue their close association after their college years, as both lived in Utica, New York. Minnie is described as having "a delight in all things that led to a cultural life," and a "pride in all conduct that led to the beauty of knowledge."

To read more about our history, please click here to read Gamma Phi Beta’s full story!