Delta Phi Epsilon's History

Founding and History 

Delta Phi Epsilon has been around nearly one hundred years. Its founding members launched the organization on March 17, 1917. The organization originates from the New York University Law School. DPhiE is one of the first social sororities and, interestingly, the only one founded at a professional school. Delta Phi Epsilon has a truly unique history, and it’s one of the 26 organizations that comprise the National Panhellenic Conference.

Five women pulled together to take a pledge of sisterhood and loyalty in 1917. With diligence and hard work, they grew quickly and became formally incorporated under NY laws on their anniversary in 1922. Less than ten months later, the group reached international status with the creation of the first Canadian chapter.

DPhiE has enjoyed steady expansion since then, although the group favors personal growth over increases in numbers. Currently, there are over 55,000 undergraduate and alumnae members.

Dorothy Schwartzman, Ida Landau, Minna Mahler, Eva Robin, and Sylvia Cohn created the group with a specific mission statement: “To provide a sisterhood experience rich with tradition, innovation, and opportunities for growth.” These ideas still stand today, and Delta Phi Epsilon remains focused on providing opportunities for women.

Members, alumnae, and those interested in the sorority can find information about events and social issues in the “TRIAD.” Sisters publish this magazine twice per year to provide the most current facts.


Several symbols distinguish the ladies of DPhiE. Their crest is one of the most prominent. This shield is comprised of their two colors, royal purple and pure gold. It features candles topped with stars, and the letters are cast diagonally. Their motto, Esse Quam Videri, fills the banner beneath the crest. The phrase translates: “To Be Rather Than to Seem to Be.”

The unicorn is another emblem of Delta Phi Epsilon. It doubles as the mascot, representing majesty and uniqueness. Its gemstone, the pearl, complements the creature well. Some badges are available with this stone as well. All pins proudly display the letters in a triangle form.

The sisters use an updated symbol, sometimes referred to as the triad, frequently on the internet and in publications. It depicts circles of varying sizes surrounding a triangle.


Delta Phi Epsilon is one of the most philanthropically active sororities. In addition to its educational foundation, ΔΦE partners with the Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders foundation and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Delta Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation members voted the organization into existence in 1966 at the Convention in Detroit. The aim was to provide sisters and legacies with education scholarships. Because there was no way to offer financial assistance previously, this new foundation was well-received. The association grew rapidly and has provided new opportunities to thousands of women since its creation.

The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders began in the 1970s and is the oldest eating disorder treatment and research organization in the nation. The founder, Vivian Hanson Meehan, started her pursuit of information and support when a specialist diagnosed one of her family members. She received an overwhelming number of responses, and soon there was a community to turn to regarding this difficult disease. The organization offers helplines, resources, and crucial information to anyone with anorexia nervosa or similar disorders.

The third philanthropy of ΔΦE is the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. This agency helps spread awareness about cystic fibrosis and provides individuals with information, resources, and support to improve their lives and conditions. There are approximately 30,000 people in the U.S. alone suffering from the disease, and Delta Phi Epsilon has contributed upwards of $1 million to research for a cure.

Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve

When you’re a part of a fantastic organization like ΔΦE, you want the world to know it. At Houndstooth Press, we’ve been in business for more than 20 years, and we design and print beautiful shirts for any occasion. Simply tell us about your event or the style you’re after, and our designers will produce an awesome and unique solution that still honors your sorority. Want to know more? Look at some of the incredible products we’ve made, and when you’re ready to represent your sorority, give us a call for more information and to get started.



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