Alpha Chi Omega



Alpha chapter was founded at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana on October 15, 1885.

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E. Rose Merideth to Sisters Letter, June 1, 1910

Eva Merideth Turley (Alpha, DePauw University), one of the first initiates of Alpha Chi Omega, provides her recollections of the founding.

Ellen Little Vanden Brink, National President 1988-92

Ellen Little Vanden Brink (Alpha, DePauw University) was elected National President during the 1988 National Convention. Eight years earlier she began her volunteer work with National Council while simultaneously volunteering with the NPC as the alternate delegate until 1991. From 2004-06, Ellen served as the NPC delegate. She is remembered by many for her tremendous love of Alpha Chi Omega and the sorority experience.

Estelle Leonard and Bertha Cunningham at Convention Photograph, c. June 1937

Founders Estelle Leonard (Alpha, DePauw University) and Bertha Deniston Cunningham (Alpha, DePauw University) pose together at the 1937 National Convention in Glacier National Park.

Estelle Leonard Portrait Photograph, c. 1886

Estelle Leonard (Alpha, DePauw University) entered university hoping to make a living as a musician. Most of her time was spent practicing or studying. She also served as Dean Howe’s secretary for two years. Though she had serious goals and a “dignified appearance,” she was known for playing practical jokes on her colleagues. She graduated in 1891 and had a full career, teaching music, publishing piano compositions and reporting for the local newspaper. Long involved with Alpha Chi Omega, she attended more conventions than any other Founder. She was described in our 1948 History as “distinctly modern in her ideas” and as having “developed independence, decision, and a rather bohemian attitude.”

Estelle Leonard Portrait Photograph, c. 1910

This portrait of Estelle Leonard (Alpha, DePauw University) would have been taken during her music teaching years at Union City Public Schools. The back of the photo is inscribed with "For Frances Koch, May 31, 1910. Estella Leonard Music (Piano) Teacher"

Ethel Hunt Davis Badge, 1911

This 1/2-inch badge belonged to Ethel Hunt Davis, a member of the Alpha (DePauw University) chapter initiated in 1911. The badge is 14-karat gold and features 24 diamonds.

Founder Estelle Leonard, Violin Composition, Video 2016

July 24, 1946 founder Estelle Leonard's (Alpha, DePauw University) voice can be heard describing a (violin) piece she composed for a student. This video was created in celebration of MacDowell month 2016. Filmed in Meharry Hall, DePauw University where the musical piece would have been performed.

Founders with 50th Birthday Cake at Convention Photograph, June 1935

Founders (left to right) Bertha Deniston Cunningham (Alpha, DePauw University), Estelle Leonard (Alpha, DePauw University), Nellie Gamble Childe (Alpha, DePauw University) and Olive Burnett Clark (Alpha, DePauw University) pose with a birthday cake to celebrate Alpha Chi Omega's 50th birthday at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. during the 1935 National Convention. Behind them are National Editor Ted Maltbie Collins (Rho, University of Washington) and National President Ethel Meade Van Auken (Lambda, Syracuse University).

Founders' Bells at DePauw University Photograph, Fall 1975

A set of bells, dedicated to the founders of Alpha Chi Omega, sit on the ground as they wait to be installed in the Founders' Bell Tower in the new performing arts center at DePauw University.