On March 17, 1917, five women at New York University Law School took a pledge of sisterhood and loyalty, and doing so founded the Alpha Chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon, one of the first non-sectarian, social sororities and the only sorority to be founded at a professional school. On December 5, 1922, Delta Phi Epsilon stretched its boundaries by going international, and the first Canadian chapter was installed at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Growth has been steady, but expansion in numbers has never been favored over strengthening within. From this small group making up the first chapter, there are now more than 55,000 members from chapters throughout the United States and Canada. Our chapters, both undergraduate and alumnae, enjoy a distinguished reputation for scholarship, service, and leadership.
Each year on March 17, undergraduates and alumnae celebrate Founders Day. Founders Day is to honor the women to whom each chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon is directly indebted for the establishment of our sisterhood. We honor them for the fine ideals and purposes which inspired them. Over three quarters of a century after Delta Phi Epsilon began, there are woman who still embrace the beliefs of our founders by sharing sisterhood in their hearts and lives.
Our founders saw Delta Phi Epsilon as a society to “Promote good fellowship among the women students among the various colleges in the country…to create a secret society composed of these women based upon their good moral character, regardless of nationality or creed…to have distinct chapters at various colleges…” with the motto Essse Quam Videri: to be rather than to seem to be.
The five founders of Delta Phi Epsilon are referred to affectionately by sisters as the DIMES, an acronym developed by combining the first initial of each founder’s first name. Each founder dedicated their lives to Delta Phi Epsilon and stayed very involved.