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Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. History

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was organized on November 12, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana by Mary Lou Allison Gardner Little and six teachers: Dorothy Hanley Whiteside, Vivian White Marbury, Nannie Mae Gahn Johnson, Hattie Mae Annette Dulin Redford, Bessie Mae Downey Rhodes Martin and Cubena McClure. These founding members are the "Seven Pearls" of Sigma Gamma Rho. The group became an incorporated national collegiate sorority on December 30, 1929, when a charter was granted to the Alpha chapter at Butler University.

"Greater Service, Greater Progress" was to become the slogan and call of the organization that made November 12, 1922, a significant date in the history of the Black Greek system, for this date would mark the establishment of the first sorority of Black women on a predominantly white campus, Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. Three other sororities of Black women, all founded at Howard University, had already been established in the early 1900s. Because Black students could not join the all-white Greek sororities at Butler, a tough and determined Black female, Mary Lou Allison Little, envisioned the need to pull Black women together into the bonds of sisterhood. Six other Butler students who had chosen teaching as their profession joined Soror Little in laying the foundation for a new sorority and further advancing the Black fraternal movement.

Originally the new sorority was to be composed of teachers, and it was to provide support and opportunities for networking to young people, with a focus on professional development. Soon, however, the members recognized that teaching went far beyond the walls of the classroom and that community service and interaction were needed in order to educate the whole child. Education was to be the mainstay of the sorority, but the organization also wanted to develop broad horizons with diverse dimensions in order to reach into communities and serve all people. Thus, Sigma Gamma Rho's membership had to be expanded; it could not be restricted to teachers.


From that cold November day in 1922 when the Alpha Chapter sank its roots into the campus of Butler University, Sigma Gamma Rho has served as a home for thousands of collegiate and professional women looking for a place to share inspiring life experiences, learn new things, conquer life challenges, thrive in society, and uplift the community through sisterhood, scholarship, and service. The dynamic women of Sigma Gamma Rho have built and sustained a well-known and highly respected reputation for leading positive change. We currently have more than 500 chapters in the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Germany, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates.

Our Mission 

It is the mission of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. to enhance the quality of life for women and their families in the U.S. and globally through community service, civil, and social action.


Our Vision

Our goal is to achieve greater progress in the areas of education, health awareness, and leadership development. Our members, affiliates, staff and community partners work to create and support initiatives that align with our vision.


For more information on our sorority please visit –

Greater Service, Greater Progress 

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. addresses issues plaguing our community through our Golden Alert which refers to the sorority’s social and legislative action activities, initiatives and programming designed to empower and engage communities by providing meaningful resources, action plans and solutions for the communities it serves.


The sorority boasts five essential programs:

  • Operation BigBookBag

  • Women's Wellness Initiative

  • Swim1922 in Partnership with USA Swimming 

  • Project Cradle Care

  • Youth Symposium.


The sorority is also committed to a number of service-oriented programs and impactful partnerships, such as Hattie McDaniel Cancer Awareness Initiatives, St. Judes Children's Hospital, GirlTrek, Sisters Network and OWN.

Sigma Facts

Slogan: “Greater Service, Greater Progress”

Colors: Royal Blue and Gold

Flower: Yellow Tea Rose

Jewels: Pearls and Rubies

Mascot: Poodle

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