Sigma Gamma Rho

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. (ΣΓΡ) is a historically African American sorority and international collegiate and non-profit community service organization that was founded on November 12, 1922, by seven young educators on the Irvington campus (1875-1928) of Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was incorporated within the state of Indiana in November 1922 and became a national collegiate sorority on December 30, 1929, when a charter was granted to the Alpha chapter. Founded in the midst of segregation, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. is the only sorority of the four historically African American National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) sororities established at a predominantly white institution instead of at Howard University.

Sigma Gamma Rho
Sigma Gamma Rho Shield.png
FoundedNovember 12, 1922; 99 years ago
Butler University; Indianapolis, Indiana
EmphasisAfrican American
ScopeInternational: USA, Germany,
Canada, Bermuda, Korea,
Virgin Islands, the Bahamas
SloganGreater Service, Greater Progress
Colors  Royal Blue
FlowerYellow Tea Rose
MascotThe Poodle
PublicationThe Aurora
NicknamesSGRhos, Lady Sigmas, Sigma Women, Sigmas, Pretty Poodles
Headquarters1000 Southhill Drive, Suite 200
Cary, North Carolina 27513

Since its inception, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. has focused on providing service to mankind. Their commitment is expressed in the sorority's slogan, "Greater Service, Greater Progress," which they achieve by promoting the intrinsic values of sisterhood, leadership development, educating youth and conducting effective programs and services in the community. From early programs such as Sigma Teen Towns in the 1940s to proven partnerships with the March of Dimes, USA Swimming and many others, Sigma has poised itself as an organization committed to making impactful change in communities both domestically and internationally.

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. has over 100,000 members with more than 500 undergraduate and alumnae chapters throughout the United States, Bermuda, The Bahamas, Canada, Germany, South Korea, U.S. Virgin Islands and the United Arab Emirates. Women may join through undergraduate chapters at a college or university, or through an alumnae chapter after earning a college degree. The organization also has active affiliate groups devoted to empowering women at different stages in life: Philos Affiliates (friends of the sorority), the Rhoer Club Affiliates (teenage girls) and the Rhosebuds (elementary-age girls).

The FoundersEdit

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. was organized on November 12, 1922, in Indianapolis, Indiana, by Mary Lou Allison Gardner Little, Dorothy Hanley Whiteside, Vivian Irene White Marbury, Nannie Mae Gahn Johnson, Hattie Mae Annette Dulin Redford, Bessie Mae Downey Rhoades Martin, and Cubena McClure.[2]

The sorority has a proud history of providing positive and proactive community outreach nationally and internationally. The programs, partnerships, and sponsorships represent Sigma Gamma Rho's commitment to promoting the greater good in education, service, and leadership development.

In 2004, the National Headquarters moved from Chicago, Illinois to its current home in Cary, North Carolina. Sigma women are dedicated to helping each other and their personal success is recognized in through various awards and their magazine publication, The AURORA.

International Grand BasileusEdit

Listed below are the International Grand Basilei since the inception of the sorority on the campus of Butler University. *Denotes Deceased (Omega Rho)

  • Mary Lou Allison Gardner Little* (1922-1925; Acting 1925 to 1926 First Elected)
  • Edith Marlone Ward* (1926-1927)
  • Fannie O’Bannon* (1927-1931)
  • Edythe Roache Walker* (1931-1934)
  • Bertha Black Rhoda* (1934-1944)
  • Ethel Ross Smith* (1944-1948)
  • Sallie Edwards Johnson* (1948-1954)
  • Edna Douglas* (1954-1959)
  • Dr. Lorraine A. Williams* (1959-1962)
  • Dr. Cleo Surry Higgins (1962-1963)
  • Annie Lee Whitehead Neville* (1963-1967)
  • Dr. Lorraine A, Williams* (1967-1971)
  • Dr. Annie Lawrence-Brown (1971-1976)
  • Evelyn Hood (1976-1980)
  • Dr. Alice M. Swain* (1980-1984)
  • Rejesta V. Perry* (1984-1988)
  • Dr. Katie Kinnard White (1988-1992)
  • Corine J. Green* (1992-1996)
  • Dr. LaRona J. Morris* (1996-2000)
  • Helen J. Owens (2000-2004)
  • Dr. Mynora J. Bryant (2004-2008)
  • Joann Loveless (2008-2012)
  • Bonita M. Herring (2012-2016)
  • Deborah Catchings-Smith (2016-2020)
  • Rasheeda S. Liberty (2020–present)

Notable membersEdit

Television, Film and RadioEdit


Politics and GovernmentEdit

Service and ActivismEdit

Sports and AthleticsEdit

Authors, Journalists and WritersEdit


  • Selena Sloan Butler - founder and first president of the National Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers Association (NCCPTA)
  • Julia Davis - educator and librarian in African American contributions to American History, (namesake of the Julia Davis branch of the St. Louis Public Library)
  • Lucille Baldwin Brown - the first Black public county librarian in the state of Florida

Business and LawEdit



National programs and initiativesEdit

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., is fully committed to assisting those in need as well as the betterment of communities around the globe. The sorority consistently works in partnership with national support organizations including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), National Urban League, The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and many others.

Local chapter misconductEdit

The New York Times wrote an article about two serious hazing incidents involving the sorority. In 2008, a pledge at San Jose State University filed a civil suit against the sorority after being severely beaten, harassed, and threatened to keep the abuse a secret. Four sorority members were arrested and served 90 days in county jail. In 2010 at Rutgers University, six Sigma Gamma Rho women were arrested and charged with a felony after striking one pledge over 200 times which forced her to seek medical attention.[5]


  1. ^ "About".
  2. ^ "About Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc". Retrieved 2021-02-27.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ Becque, Fran (28 March 2022). "Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry, Sigma Gamma Rho". Fraternity History & More. Retrieved 28 March 2022.
  4. ^ "Local sorority members react to Sandra Bland's death". WOIO. July 22, 2015.
  5. ^ Lewin, Tamar (2010-10-06). "Hazing Accusations Against a Sorority (Published 2010)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-02-27.

External linksEdit