The First 100 Years

1909 – 1919

  • First meeting of what was to become Alpha Epsilon Phi in Helen Phillips’ dorm room at Barnard College
  • Crest designed by an architectural student at Columbia University
  • First national philanthropy adopted – American Relief Committee to aid Jewish war sufferers 
  • The Quarterly of Alpha Epsilon Phi appears for the first time
  • Membership stands at 179 in eight chapters – 42 members are married with 15 offspring; members are scattered over 12 states and 30 cities
  • Lillian Hirsch becomes first member to be admitted to the New York Bar, and Frances Levenstein Roth is the first woman to be admitted to the Connecticut Bar
  • First applications submitted to NPC for admission
  • Chapters established at Hunter College, Teacher’s College-Columbia University, Adelphi University, Tulane University, New York University, SUNY Albany and University of Pennsylvania 


  • Ida Shaw Martin (ΔΔΔ founder) hired to help formulate first official constitution
  • Pledge Pin adopted and used for the first time
  • Pledge and initiation rituals formalized
  • Ritual banners adopted
  • First national convention held
  • New national philanthropy adopted to fund a scholarship for women to attend Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati for coursework in Jewish education
  • Chapters established at Syracuse University, Cornell University, University of Denver, University of Illinois, University of Pittsburgh, University of Southern California, Northwestern University, University of Michigan, Ohio State University, University of Wisconsin, University of California-Berkeley, University of Akron, University of California-Los Angeles, Vanderbilt University, Washington University, University of Texas, University of Toronto and University of Missouri

1930 – 1939

  • Convention body votes to change magazine name from the Quarterly to Columns
  • Hannah G. Solomon, founder of National Council of Jewish Women, is initiated as a National Honorary Member
  • In response to solicitation from various sources within the sorority, the executive board votes to express the endorsement of the movement by various Jewish organizations against Hitler’s persecution of German Jews
  • 25th Anniversary Convention held at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs; “A Quarter Century of Progress” is the theme
  • Two new rituals introduced: the Shield Ceremony to honor new chapters and establish the credentials of the official delegates and the House Dedication Ceremony
  • Philanthropy – gift to Henry Harris Library at Hebrew University in Israel to purchase scientific journals
  • Mu Chapter becomes first chapter to host a German refugee student, a recipient of an AEPhi scholarship under the sorority’s Special Student Project
  • Honorary Membership conferred upon Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah, and Rebekah Bettelheim Kohut for her work in Palestine
  • Membership stands at 5,000 with 26 active chapters and 29 alumnae groups
  • Chartered chapters: George Washington University, University of Washington, Duke University, Penn State University, University of Miami (Florida), Louisiana State University and University of Minnesota

1940 – 1949

  • Sorority receives tax-exempt status from the IRS
  • Ambulance presented to the U.S. Army at ceremonies held at the Hotel New Yorker on April 13th. Cost of the ambulance was $1,492.80. Alpha Epsilon Phi is the first collegiate sorority to make an outright gift of this kind to the government and received a citation for patriotism from the U.S. Treasury Department
  • Upon her death Hannah G. Solomon asked that her badge be returned to the National Office.  It was voted “each incoming National Dean of AEPhi shall be presented at the time of her installation with the whole pearl badge that was worn by our deceased National Honorary Member, Hannah G. Solomon; this badge shall be worn during the Dean’s incumbency in office as a symbol of service expected of her to the organization and to others.” (This practice continues today)
  • First National Pledge Manual printed
  • AEPhi admitted to NPC as an associate member – Frances Wolf Bergman is our first delegate
  • Chartered chapters: Miami University (Ohio), University of Arizona, University of Maryland, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Connecticut, University of Vermont, University of South Carolina, University of Alabama, University of Tennessee, University of Florida and Purdue University

1950 – 1959

  • Council adopts the idea of employing a Traveling Educational Consultant
  • AEPhi admitted to full membership in NPC
  • Letter mailed to all chapters from National Ritualist outlining duties and stressing use of prayers before meals, kindling Sabbath lights and cooperation with Hillel in celebration of holidays
  • Term “Inspiration Week” adopted
  • Convention body votes to establish a foundation
  • Convention body votes to change officer names to President, Vice President and Secretary (from Dean, Sub Dean and Scribe)
  • The Dorothy Gribetz Outstanding Alumna Award is created
  • Alumnae Workshop is a new feature at Convention
  • Panhellenic Luncheon added to Convention agenda for first time
  • First third generation AEPhi initiated
  • Fiftieth Anniversary Convention held in Sun Valley, Idaho – theme is “50th Rally In Sun Valley.”  Founders Rose Salmowitz Marvin and Rose Gerstein Smolin are present and are initiated for the first time
  • Chartered chapters: Ohio University, Boston University, University of Colorado, Drake University, Michigan State University, Brooklyn College, University of Oklahoma, Queens College, Indiana University, Arizona State University, Emory University and American University

1960 – 1969

  • Frances Wolf Bergman becomes the first AEPhi to chair an NPC committee
  • National Finance Committee established, charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the financial affairs of the sorority are conducted in a business-like manner and within the framework of the national budget and to investigate and make recommendations to National Council on the investment of surplus funds
  • Standards Manual is introduced
  • Blanche Zweig Greenberger establishes an award bearing her name to recognize the most outstanding undergraduate member
  • Foundation gives fellowship at Brandeis University in social service
  • Beginning of a downturn in Greek membership nationally – yet AEPhi pledged 1,000 women and membership rose to 22,000
  • New rushing reference system put into effect with over 200 alumnae working to help chapters with references necessary before a rushee may be pledged
  • Postal regulations begin requiring the use of zip codes on all mail
  • Foundation introduces Mature Returning Students grant program; first MRS $250 grant awarded to a University of Pittsburgh student
  • Project Arrow selected as National Social Service Project to assist American Indians
  • Chartered chapters: New York University-Heights, University of Rhode Island, University of Texas-El Paso, C.W. Post College, San Diego State University, Kent State University, City College Of New York, California State University-Long Beach, California State University- San Jose, California State University-Northridge, University of California-Santa Barbara, University of Iowa, Bradley University, University of South Florida, Southern Methodist University, Eastern Michigan University, Old Dominion University

1970 – 1979

  • National Council introduces a new summer workshop for all chapter presidents, held at the National Office in Pittsburgh
  • Membership grew to 29,000
  • Chaim Sheba Medical Center adopted as National Philanthropy
  • Giraffe adopted as National Mascot
  • 70th Anniversary Convention held in Atlanta
  • Chartered chapters: University of Kansas and Florida State University

1980 – 1989

  • First Summer Leadership Seminar held to train National workers
  • National Council pins adopted
  • Rose Gerstein Smolin Award presented for the first time to recognize extraordinary lifetime service to a National worker 
  • National creates Achievement & Excellence Award to recognize outstanding chapter of the year
  • Phi Connection is born – a nationwide AEPhi network to help sorority members contact their sisters for answers on everything from where to send a rush recommendation to finding a plumber in a new home town
  • Alumnae Expressing Phi-delity introduced as a way for alumnae to donate to the sorority – forerunner to Foundation’s annual campaign
  • Young Alumna Award established to recognize outstanding women who are within 20 years of their initiation into AEPhi
  • Susan Rudd Cohen Jewish Communal Service Award introduced
  • Convention held at the DFW Marriott Hotel in Dallas marks Sorority’s 75th  Anniversary with theme: “AEPhi Strikes 75”
  • Foundation announces the establishment of the Judith Resnik Memorial Scholarship to honor America’s second woman in space who perished in the 1985 Challenger disaster
  • National stresses new alcohol awareness programming for all chapters; 26 sorority national presidents sign a resolution regarding alcohol policies
  • Beth Kersten Saul is installed as Chairman of National Panhellenic Council – first Jewish woman to hold this post and first AEPhi
  • Portrait presented to Carnegie Mellon University in memory of Judith Resnik
  • Chartered chapters: University of California-Davis, Southern Illinois University, Jacksonville University, Temple University, University of Hartford, Rowan University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Binghamton, SUNY Oswego, Fairleigh Dickinson University, York University, SUNY Oneonta, Cleveland State University, Wayne State University, SUNY Plattsburgh, Hofstra University, SUNY New Paltz, University of Delaware and University of Bridgeport

1990 – 1999

  • Convention body adopts two resolutions – one relating to breast cancer awareness and the other protection of the environment
  • Sorority joins FIPG – a risk management consortium dealing with alcohol, hazing, sexual abuse, and chapter health and safety; AEPhi is one of only five women’s groups to join the 29 men’s groups that are already members
  • Council renames the Achievement and Excellence Award in memory of Past National President Shirley Mintz Greenfield
  • Columns celebrates 75th anniversary
  • Columns cover features Kappa alumna Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the second woman named to the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Philip H. and Susan Rudd Cohen Award for Chapter Jewish Communal Service is created through a gift from the Cohen family to recognize a chapter who has excelled in Jewish community service
  • Sorority adopts AIDS Awareness as National Community Service Project
  • Leslie Brown Shiffman Outstanding Advisor Award is established
  • AEPhi and AEPi join together in a one-day conclave to discuss important issues facing fraternity/sorority life
  • AEPhi becomes a Hillel senior partner
  • Chartered chapters: Northeastern University, Emerson College, University of Massachusetts, Buffalo State College, Yale University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology

2000 – Present

  • Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation adopted as a National Philanthropy
  • Strategic Planning Session is held; long term goals and direction of the sorority discussed and the sorority’s future planned
  • New visual identity and tag line (Above All Else) adopted; the manner in which the columns break out of the green boxes depicts our creativity and commitment to forward thinking
  • Constitution and By-laws amended to reflect a new volunteer structure
  • Centennial Committee formed to begin making plans for the sorority’s Centennial in 2009
  • New chapter officer structure unveiled
  • Sharsheret adopted as National Philanthropy at National Convention held in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • AEPhi Centennial Convention Celebration held at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami, Florida with a record number of attendees on hand
  • AEPhi celebrates its 100th Anniversary at the site of its founding at Barnard College in New York City; over 200 women are on hand for the Founders’ Day Ceremony in Brooks Hall where the seven founders first met
  • Ellen Baker, granddaughter of Helen Phillips Lipman who called the first meeting of what became AEPhi, was initiated into AEPhi on October 24, 2009 – AEPhi’s Centennial
  • Chartered chapters: University of Central Florida, University of California-San Diego and Virginia Commonwealth University