Alpha CHi Omega

DIGITAL HISTORY

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Explore the history of Alpha Chi Omega since its founding in 1885. View the entire timeline, or filter the timeline events to show just certain aspects of Alpha Chi history such as the history of altruistic efforts or leadership.

Modest Fashion

Dresses are of a modest dark fabric, and a woman's hair is "her crowning glory," though never worn down. Instead, women pile their hair on their head or pull it into a bun at the nape of the neck.

1884

DePauw University School of Music Established

DePauw University establishes a School of Music and James Hamilton Howe joins the faculty as its dean.

1884

1885

Alpha Chi Omega Founded

Seven female students at the DePauw University School of Music meet with Dean James Hamilton Howe at his invitation to begin the process of forming "a society for musical and social improvement."

10/15/1885

Alpha Chi Omega Goes Public

The members of the new women's fraternity, Alpha Chi Omega, announce their presence by parading across campus to attend chapel at Meharry Hall in East College.

10/24/1885

RELATED ITEMS
DePauw University East College Photograph

The First New Members

In the fall of 1885, the seven original founders invite eight friends from the School of Music to join Alpha Chi Omega.

1885

The Badge Adopted

The design for a lyre badge is adopted soon after the founding in the fall of 1885, and Bertha Deniston Cunningham (Alpha, DePauw University) purchases the first badge.

1885

RELATED ITEMS
Bertha Deniston Cunningham Badge, 1885
1891

First National Convention

The First National Convention is held by Alpha (DePauw University) chapter in 1891 at the homes of Anna Allen Smith (Alpha, DePauw University) and Ethel Sutherlin (Alpha, DePauw University). Representatives from Alpha (DePauw University), Beta (Albion College) and Gamma (Northwestern University) chapters were present.

10/20/1891 - 10/23/1891

1894

The Bustle is In

In women's fashion, necklines are high, hemlines touch the floor and the bustle is "in."

1894

The First Issue of The Lyre Published

06/1894

RELATED ITEMS
The Lyre of Alpha Chi Omega, Vol. 1, No. 1, June 1894
1896

Plessy v. Ferguson

The United States Supreme Court issues a ruling on Plessy v. Ferguson, establishing the separate but equal doctrine.

05/18/1896

1898

Spanish-American War

The Spanish-American War begins as the U.S. intervenes on the side of Cuba in the Cuban War of Independence. When the war ends, the United States temporarily controls Cuba and owns Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippine islands. The Philippines will not gain independence until 1946. Puerto Rico and Guam remain U.S. possessions to this day.

04/21/1898 - 08/13/1898

1900

The Plege Pin Adopted

The diamond-shaped pledge pin is adopted at the 1900 National Convention. Previous to this, new members had simply worn scarlet and olive green ribbons.

1900

RELATED ITEMS
New Member Pin with Ribbon, 1900

The Majority of States Deny Women Basic Rights

A woman's place was considered to be "in the home." One in four states denied a married woman the right to own property. One in three did not allow her to claim her own earnings, and 36 states (of 45) denied her an equal share in the guardianship of her own children.

1900

1901

President McKinley Assassinated

President William McKinley is assassinated and Theodore Roosevelt becomes U.S. president.

09/14/1901

1903

AXO Joins Intersorority Conference

Alpha Chi Omega attends a meeting of the Intersorority Conference, later renamed the National Panhellenic Conference, for the first time in 1903, a year after the organization's founding.

1903

The First World Series

The Boston Americans beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first World Series played in Major League Baseball.

1903

Mass-Produced Clothing Becomes Popular

Generally, women still make their clothes from McCall or Butterick patterns, but mass-produced garments begin to come onto the market. Women spend $14 million on corsets alone!

1903

First in Flight

The age of flight is born as the Wright brothers stage the first successful flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

12/17/1903

1906

Alumnae Chapters are Established

Alpha Alpha (Chicago, Illinois) and Beta Beta (Indianapolis, Indiana) become the first two chartered alumnae chapters.

1906

RELATED ITEMS
Group at Beta Beta Annual Picnic Photograph, June 1916
1908

Alumnae Advisors are Created

The Constitution was amended at the 1908 National Convention to require that each chapter have an alumnae advisor, making Alpha Chi Omega the first NPC group to take this step.

1908

The Coat of Arms Adopted

The coat of arms is adopted at the 1908 National Convention.

1908

RELATED ITEMS
Alpha Chi Omega Coat of Arms Felt Patch

The Model T

Ford begins producing the Model T.

10/01/1908

1910

The Initiation Ceremony Adopted

The initiation ceremony used today, which has undergone only slight changes, was unanimously adopted at the 1910 National Convention.

1910

Hera Adopted as Patron Goddess

1910

RELATED ITEMS
Gladys Drach Power Badge with Hera Head Guard, 1915
1912

The Province System Adopted

The province system of government is adopted and the country is divided into five provinces, each overseen by a province president.

1912

The Titanic

The British ocean liner the RMS Titanic sinks.

04/15/1912

1913

Scholarship Requirements are Adopted

New members are required to meet a scholarship standard in order to be eligible for initiation.

1913

1914

The Symphony Adopted

The Fraternity officially adopts, "The Symphony," written by Celia McClure Pardee (Delta, Allegheny College).

1914

RELATED ITEMS
The Symphony of Alpha Chi Omega with Signature

World War I

07/28/1914 - 11/11/1918

1915

Removal of Music Requirements

All music requirements for membership are removed.

1915

1917

The U.S. Enters World War I

The U.S. declares war on Germany and enters World War I.

04/06/1917

1919

Prohibition

The 18th Amendment becomes law, making liquor, beer and wine illegal. Prohibition would continue until 1933.

01/16/1919

1920

Votes for Women

After decades of speeches, rallies, parades and women demanding the right to vote at the federal level, the U.S. Secretary of State certifies the ratification of the 19th Amendment, stating that no citizen could be denied the right to vote on the basis of sex. Twenty-six million women become voters.

08/26/1920

1921

Miss America

The first Miss America contest is held in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

1921

1922

The Distinguished Service Medal is Awarded

The newly established Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to 29 members who served overseas during World War I.

1922

The First Central Office Established

The first permanent central office is established in Washington, D.C. with Mary Emma Griffith Marshall (Lambda, Syracuse University) serving as secretary-editor in charge of its administration.

1922

RELATED ITEMS
Mary Griffith Photograph
1925

The Rise of the Flapper

Loose-fitting dresses and bobbed hair are in style.

1925

The Lyre Subscriptions Grow to 3,000

1925

The Central Office Moves to Michigan

Hazel Eckhart (Theta, University of Michigan) is named secretary-editor and the central office moves to Lansing, Michigan, where she lives.

1925

RELATED ITEMS
Hazel Eckhart Portrait Reproduction Photograph
1927

"The Jazz Singer"

"The Jazz Singer," the first feature-length motion picture with synchronized sound, is released.

10/06/1927

1929

The Central Office Moves to Indianapolis

The central office moves into a suite of offices in the Chamber of Commerce Building in Indianapolis.

1929

RELATED ITEMS
Central Office in the Chamber of Commerce Photograph, c. 1949

Black Tuesday

The U.S. stock market crashes, beginning the Great Depression.

10/29/1929

The Great Depression

The Great Depression, the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world, lasts from 1929-39. As the Depression begins, 25% of the workforce is unemployed and hourly wages drop 60%. Nature adds to the country's woes with the Ohio River flood, the "Black Sunday" dust storm in Texas and dought covering the country.

1929 - 1939

1930

Radio Rules

The most popular form of entertainment is the radio because it is so cheap. Programs like "Amos and Andy," "Burns and Allen," "Fibber McGee and Molly," "Flash Gordon" and "Jack Armstrong - the All-American Boy" are popular.

1930 - 1939

Fall of the Flapper

The flapper fashion of the 1920s disappears in favor of a more sedate style. However, women wore short shorts - in public.

1930 - 1939

1933

The End of Prohibition

The 21st Amendment passes, repealing the 18th Amendment and making alcohol legal once again.

12/05/1933

1935

The Golden Jubilee Convention

The 50th Golden Jubilee Convention is celebrated first in Greencastle, Indiana, then by train to White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia and finally to Washington, D.C. Four founders are in attendance.

06/1935

RELATED ITEMS
Founders with 50th Birthday Cake at Convention Photograph, June 1935
1939

World War II

More than 300,000 women serve in the military during the war as part of the WACs, WAVEs and SPARs - including many Alpha Chis. An overwhelming number of women go to work while the men go off to war, and "Rosie the Riveter" becomes their worldwide symbol. On the homefront, many families plant Victory Gardens, and every family is issued a War Ration Book.

09/01/1939 - 09/02/1945

RELATED ITEMS
Alpha Psi Chapter Members Dancing with Soldiers Photograph, 1944
1941

Pearl Harbor

The Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and other U.S. possessions in the Pacific, prompting the United States to enter World War II.

12/07/1941

1943

Alumnae Districts are Established

The country is divided into six alumnae districts to be presided over by a district alumnae chairman.

1943

1945

National Convention Cancelled

The 1945 National Convention is cancelled due to wartime conditions. National President Gladys Drach Power (Nu, University of Colorado Boulder) stated: "I assumed the Presidency in the middle of that devastating War during some of the most difficult years we had ever experienced. The shortage of many things we had always taken for granted had an extreme effect upon us. Food was rationed, gasoline was rationed, and all modes of travel were hampered. Train and airplane reservations were almost impossible to obtain since space was reserved for military personnel. Hotels were overcrowded. That year, our officers were elected by mail vote."

1945

1946

A Committee on Civil Rights

President Harry S. Truman appoints the Committee on Civil Rights to investigate the status of civil rights in the United States.

1946

Accessorize

"Accessorize" is the fashion trend. Teenagers wear rolled-up blue jeans and white shirts (usually their fathers') with the shirttails hanging out.

1946

1949

NATO

The U.S. and 11 other Western nations form the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

1949

1950

Korean War

The Korean War begins when Communist North Korean forces invade South Korea. Fighting ends when an armistice is signed on July 27, 1953, but the war never officially ends.

06/25/1950 - 07/27/1953

1954

Health Risks of Cigarettes

A report is published indicating that cigarettes cause cancer.

1954

Brown v. Board of Education

The U.S. Supreme Court rules unanimously that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional.

1954

Full-Skirt Fashion

Girls wear full skirts that require crinolines underneath, short shorts and pop beads. The boys wear pink!

1954

1955

The Award of Achievement is Created

The Award of Achievement is created to be presented to eminent Alpha Chis at each convention. The first recipients are: Helen Cheyney Bailey (Alpha Epsilon, University of Pennsylvania), Margaret Cousins (Alpha Phi, The University of Texas at Austin), Dorothy Thompson Kopf (Lambda, Syracuse University) and Lena Mulford Thompson (Alpha, DePauw University).

1955

Television

The number of television sets in the United States is at 32 million, up from just 3.1 million in 1950.

1955

Vietnam War

The undeclared war in Vietnam begins in 1955 and will last for 19 years.

11/01/1955 - 04/30/1975

1957

Sputnik

Sputnik, a Soviet satellite, is launched, beginning the Space Age.

10/04/1957

1958

Meet Me at the Drive-In

By the late 1950s, there are 4,000 drive-in movie theaters across the United States.

1958

1960

The Beatles

The Beatles, widely regarded as the most influential rock 'n' roll band, form in Liverpool.

1960

U.S. Involvement in Vietnam

U.S. involvement in Vietnam escalates beginning in 1960 with troop levels gradually surging from just under 1,000 in 1959 to more than 16,000 in 1963.

1960 - 1963

The Diamond Jubilee Convention

The 75th Diamond Jubilee Anniversary National Convention is held in French Lick, Indiana and includes a reenactment of the Founding in Meharry Hall at DePauw University.

06/1960

RELATED ITEMS
Founding Pageant Cast Taking Curtain Call at Convention Photograph, June 29, 1960
1961

The Central Office Moves to the First Fraternity-Owned Headquarters

The Alpha Chi Omega central office moves to its first fraternity-owned property at 3445 Washington Boulevard in Indianapolis. This building served as the fraternity's headquarters until 1974.

1961

RELATED ITEMS
Washington Boulevard Headquarters Exterior Photograph, c. 1961
The Lyre of Alpha Chi Omega, Vol. 65, No. 1, September 1961
1962

James Meredith Enrolls at Ole Miss

James Meredith, an African American, enrolls at the previously all-white University of Mississippi. The campus riots and 13,500 federal troops are called in.

1962

1963

JFK Assassination

President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas.

11/22/1963

1964

The Civil Rights Act

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is passed, ending segregation in public places and banning employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

1964

The Gulf of Tonkin

A U.S. destroyer allegedly clashes with North Vietnamese fast attack craft. In response, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution gives President Lyndon B. Johnson broad authorization to increase U.S. military presence in Vietnam, deploying ground combat units for the first time and increasing troop levels from about 23,000 to 184,000.

08/02/1964

1968

Support for the Vietnam War Declines

South Vietnamese forces are unable to withstand the Tet Offensive launched by the North Vietnamese in January and February of 1968 and U.S. forces have to defeat the North Vietnamese. The episode shows that the end of U.S. involvement is nowhere in sight, and domestic skepticism of the war increases.

1968

Martin Luther King, Jr. Assassination

Civil Rights Movement leader Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated in Memphis.

04/04/1968

1969

Man on the Moon

Neil Armstrong, married to an Alpha Chi Omega named Janet from the Alpha Beta (Purdue University) chapter, becomes the first man to walk on the moon.

1969

1970

Kent State

Student protests against the Vietnam War result in the killing of four students by the National Guard at Kent State University in Ohio.

05/04/1970

1972

The ERA Passes Congress

The U.S. Congress passes the Equal Rights Amendment, stating that, "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the U.S. or any state on account of sex." In order to become law, it must be ratified by 38 states within 10 years.

1972

Watergate

Police arrest men attempting to bug the Democratic National Committee headquarters, marking the beginning of the Watergate scandal.

06/17/1972

1973

U.S. Troops Withdraw from Vietnam

The U.S. ends direct military involvement in Vietnam, but the war will not end for another two years.

1973

1974

Founders Road Headquarters is Built

A new headquarters, constructed specifically for Alpha Chi Omega's needs, is built at 8733 Founders Road in Indianapolis. This building served as the fraternity's headquarters until 1993.

1974

RELATED ITEMS
Dedication of Founders Headquarters Photograph, October 12, 1974
The Lyre of Alpha Chi Omega, Vol. 77, No. 1, Fall 1973

President Nixon Resigns

Facing impeachment charges, President Richard Nixon becomes the first U.S. president to resign.

08/06/1974

1975

Fall of Saigon

Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, is captured, ending the Vietnam War.

04/30/1975

1976

Women in the Air Force

The U.S. Air Force Academy admits its first female student.

1976

Founders' Bell Tower is Constructed

The Founders' Bell Tower is constructed by Alpha Chi Omega as part of DePauw University's new performing arts building and is dedicated to the memory of the seven founders.

10/1976

RELATED ITEMS
Founders' Bell Tower Dedication Photograph, October 1976
1981

The First Woman Appointed to the Supreme Court

Sandra Day O'Connor becomes the first woman appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

1981

Alpha Chi Hits 100,000 Initiated Members

Cindy Thatcher (Zeta Nu, Texas A&M University) becomes the 1000,000th initiated member.

1981

RELATED ITEMS
The Lyre of Alpha Chi Omega, Vol. 85, No. 2, Winter 1981-82

MTV

MTV is launched featuring popular music videos.

08/01/1981

1982

The ERA Fails

The Equal Rights Amendment fails, after being ratified by only 35 of the necessary 38 states.

1982

1983

First American Woman in Space

Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space.

1983

The Alumnae Appreciation Award is Created

The annual Alumnae Appreciation Award is created to recognize the outstanding loyalty and commitment of an alumna who serves at the local level. Florence Lindahl Cooling (Iota, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is the first recipient.

1983

RELATED ITEMS
Florence Lindahl Cooling Photograph
1985

The Ozone Hole

A hole in the ozone layer is discovered.

1985

Alpha Chi Omega Turns 100

The 100th anniversary Centennial Celebration is held in Indianapolis with more than 1,800 alumnae, collegians and guests in attendance. Highlights include a day at DePauw University, where an original musical in honor of Alpha Chi Omega's founding, "Lucinda Hero," is presented, as well as a reenactment of the Founding in Meharry Hall.

1985

RELATED ITEMS
The Lyre of Alpha Chi Omega, Vol. 89, No. 1, Fall 1985
1986

Challenger Shuttle

The Challenger Shuttle explodes after launch.

01/18/1986

1987

Black Monday

Stock markets around the world crash, the Dow Jones falls 508 points (22.61%).

10/19/1987

1989

The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall comes down, providing a symbolic end to the Cold War.

11/1989

1990

The ADA

The Americans with Disabilities Act goes into effect.

1990

1991

Operation Desert Storm

The U.S. leads coalition forces in war against Iraq.

1991

Fall of the Soviet Union

The Soviet Union collapses.

1991

1992

World Wide Web

The World Wide Web is born. In just two years, 3 million people will be "on line." By 1998, that number will have increased to 100 million.

1992

Pledges Become New Members

"New member" terminology is adopted in place of the traditional "pledge" terminology. Additionally, the traditional system of an extended pledge period is discontinued, and a shortened period between accepting a bid and initation is adopted.

1992

1993

Castle Creek Headquarters is Built

A new headquarters is built at 5939 Castle Creek Parkway North Drive in Indianapolis. This building remains the fraternity headquarters to this day.

1993

RELATED ITEMS
Castle Creek Parkway Headquarters Groundbreaking Ceremony Photograph, c. 1992
1995

Oklahoma City Bombing

The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is bombed by a domestic terrorist. At least 168 people are killed and more than 680 are injured. It is the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history up to this point.

04/19/1995

1996

Dolly the Sheep

Dolly the sheep is the first mammal cloned.

07/05/1996

1997

NASA Lands on Mars

American robotic spacecraft Pathfinder lands on Mars.

1997

1999

Columbine High School Massacre

Two students at Columbine High School commit a deadly massacre, killing 12 of their classmates and one teacher. It is the first high-profile school shooting.

04/20/1999

2000

A New Millennium

Millennium celebrations take place all over the world as a new century is ushered in. Fears about Y2K turn out to be unfounded.

01/2000

2001

Presentations of Kristin's Story Begin

"Kristin's Story," a joint project sponsored by Alpha Chi Omega and Delta Delta Delta Fraternity, designed to educate women about date rape and depression, has its inaugural presentation at Florida State University.

2001

RELATED ITEMS
Kristin's Story Pamphlet, c. 2001

9/11

Terrorists hijack airplanes and crash them into the World Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. 2,996 people are killed and more than 6,000 are injured in the attacks, with others dying from complications in the coming years. It is the deadliest terrorist attack in U.S. history.

09/11/2001

War in Afghanistan

The U.S.-led war in Afghanistan begins as an effort to remove the Taliban from power. While this goal was completed by the end of the year, U.S. and allied troops continue to fight Taliban insurgents for more than 18 years and the war continues to this day.

10/07/2001

iPod

Apple releases the iPod.

10/23/2001

2003

The Department of Homeland Security is Created

2003

Iraq War

Believing Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction, a U.S.-led coalition invades Iraq in 2003 and overthrows the government of Saddam Hussein. Although it turns out that Iraq did not have the weapons, the conflict continues for much of the next decade as insurgents oppose the new U.S.-backed government.

03/20/2003 - 12/18/2011

2005

Dr. Condoleezza Rice

Dr. Condoleezza Rice (Gamma Delta, University of Denver) is sworn in as the first female African American U.S. Secretary of State.

2005

RELATED ITEMS
Dr. Condoleezza Rice in the White House Photograph, c. 2001
2006

Alpha Chi Hits 200,000 Initiated Members

Jaimie Mazzola (Gamma Xi, Western Michigan University) becomes the 200,000th initiated member and is recognized at the 2006 National Convention.

2006

2007

Global Financial Crisis

A global financial crisis begins with a crisis in the subprime mortgage market in the U.S. and becomes a full-blown international crisis with the collapse of the investment bank Lehman Brothers. It is considered by many to be the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression.

2007 - 2008

Virginia Tech Shooting

A massacre at Virginia Tech kills 32 people and wounds 23 others.

04/16/2007

2008

Life Loyal Program is Launched

The Life Loyal program is launched at the 2008 National Convention to provide enhanced services to members and recognize members who financially support the fraternity.

2008

NIU Shooting

A shooting at Northern Illinois University kills six students and injures 18 others.

02/14/2008

Barack Obama

Barack Obama becomes the first African American president of the United States.

11/04/2008

2009

GM Files for Bankruptcy

General Motors Corporation files for the fourth largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

06/01/2009

2010

The Lyre Gets a Makeover

The first issue of the newly-redesigned The Lyre is sent in spring 2010.

2010

RELATED ITEMS
The Lyre of Alpha Chi Omega, Vol. 112, No. 2, Spring 2010

Alpha Chi Turns 125

Alpha Chis from all across the country gather in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the fraternity's 125th anniversary.

2010

RELATED ITEMS
The Lyre of Alpha Chi Omega, Vol. 113, No. 1, Fall 2010

Alumna Initiation Ceremony Created

2010

2011

ASTP and InTune

Alpha Chi Omega launches rotational programs including ASTP and InTune, ensuring that every collegiate chapter member receives a member development opportunity facilitated in person by an expert facilitator. The rotational programs that are later launched include REPRESENT in 2012 and Let's Talk Love in 2016.

2011

2012

MyJourney

Alpha Chi launches the MyJourney program, a four-year member development program. MyJourney includes the Dedication, which is the new member education program, as well as life-skills based, relevant programs for all members.

2012

2015

First National Alumnae Service Trip

The first national alumnae service trip, including sisters from all over the country and all ages, goes to New Orleans.

2015

2016

Women & Wisdom

The Women & Wisdom program, an online mentoring program for collegians and alumnae, is launched.

2016

2018

Ten-Year Member Recognition

A new membership milestone recognition for ten-year members, along with a new ten-year membership recognition pin, is introduced.

2018