"Women Enriched through Lifelong Friendship." Alpha Omicron Pi is an international women's fraternity promoting friendship for a lifetime, inspiring academic excellence and lifelong learning, and developing leadership skills through service to the fraternity and community.
Gamma Delta History
Gamma Delta chapter started out as a local sorority on South's campus called Alpha Pi in April 1966. National Panhellenic Council rules did not allow a national sorority to have a colony if the school was unaccredited. Because the University of South Alabama had only been open about a year, it was not yet an accredited school. Alpha Pi was then started as a local chapter. With the assistance of Mobile AOII alumnae, Gamma Delta was installed with 25 members by President Carolyn Huey Harris, Lambda Sigma (University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia). Gamma Delta was chartered at the University of South Alabama on March 29, 1969 as Alpha Omicron Pi's 107th chapter.
The chapter's many campus and community activities have garnered USA's Most Campus Involvement Trophy, and first place in many efforts such as blood and food drives. Chapter members have served as Homecoming queens and court members and achieved panhellenic's highest GPA.
AOII recognitions have included the JWH Cup in 1991 and Distinguished Service Awards in 1987, 1989, 1991, and 1995. The JWH Cup honors one collegiate chapter with the most outstanding service to college or community and fulfillment of obligations to Alpha Omicron Pi.
Alpha Omicron Pi History
Barnard College, in the late 1890’s, was the first separate college for women to be affiliated with a great men’s university such as Columbia University. AOII’s four Founders were in the class of 1898, young, and unlike most of the women who had entered Barnard in previous years. They were friendly, adventurous, frank and merry, and enthusiastically devoted to each other and to the class of ‘98.
Determined to make a democratic, unostentatious society, the four women, Stella George Stern, Helen St. Clair, Elizabeth Heywood, and Jessie Wallace climbed a little winding stair into the stackroom of the old Columbia Library. This little room was rarely used and stored Anglo-Saxon tomes and ancient vellum manuscripts. While the four sat in a deep window seat, pigeons outside and snow lightly falling, they pledged one another at the beginning of the year 1897.
Barnard College welcomed the new fraternity and it was not long before the first chapter, Alpha, was flourishing. The fraternity became national with the installation of Pi Chapter at Sophie Newcomb Memorial College, New Orleans, on September 8, 1898.
Over the next 100 years, AOII has added to the ranks 187 collegiate chapters and initiated over 131,000 members. Omicron Chapter (U of Tennessee), was chartered on April 14, 1902 as our 4th and oldest active chapter.
AOII has thrived and continued to grow throughout the changing 20th century. Despite several wars, the Great Depression, the women’s suffrage movement and the social unrest of the 1960’s, AOII has continued to hold true to its ideals. Founder Stella Perry once wrote, “that which makes our bond is promise certain of success. Let us follow our ensign devotedly, utterly and bravely. For our purpose cannot fail.”
The badge of Alpha Omicron Pi is composed of the three initial letters of the three words of the Motto, superimposed one upon the next in order, which gives the Fraternity its name.
Alpha Omicron Pi has only one color, cardinal. It is the color of the Fraternity flower, the ruby and the ribbon, sometimes worn under the badge to welcome a new collegiate chapter.
The Nineteenth Century French rose, General Jacqueminot, a deep red rose, was chosen as the flower of Alpha Omicron Pi because its color is the symbol of the central and essential virtue of the Fraternity.
While not an official symbol, the Fraternity and our chapters consider the Panda to be its mascot
The wheat indicates usefullness in its harvest. The binding together of the wheat into a sheaf gave Alpha Omicron Pi the new member pin, the name for the magazine, and the rings for the president and international president.
Alpha Omicron Pi has only one jewel, the ruby.
Founded on January 2, 1897 at Barnard College of Columbia University, Alpha Omicron Pi began as a dream by 4 young college women to continue their friendship throughout life. One of AOII’s founders, Stella George Stern Perry, wrote in 1936, “We wanted a fraternity that should carry on the delightful fellowships and cooperation of college days into the workaday years ahead and to do so magnanimously. Above all, we wanted a high and active special purpose to justify existence and a simple devotion to some worthy end.” Stella’s wish for AOII then, remains AOII’s wish for her members today: “May you have the joy in it all, dear children, that we (founders) have had all the way! May you love one another as happily always as we four have done in a life-long fellowship without a break! And may your descendants in Alpha Omicron Pi bring to you the glory that you yourselves are to us today!