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The Founding of DPhiE

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Our mission is to provide a sisterhood experience rich with tradition, innovation and opportunities for growth. 


Our vision is that we inspire and empower our sisterhood to engage in a lifetime of leadership and service.

On March 17, 1917, five women at New York University Law School took a pledge of sisterhood and loyalty and so founded the Alpha Chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon, one of the first non-sectarian, social sororities and the only one founded at a professional school. Five years later on March 17, 1922, Delta Phi Epsilon was formally incorporated under laws of the State of New York.

On December 5, 1922, stretching out to international boundaries, the first Canadian chapter was installed at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Growth has been steady, but expansion in numbers has never been favored over strengthening within. From this small group making up the first chapter, there are now more than 55,000 members with chapters throughout the United States and Canada. Our chapters, both undergraduate and alumnae, enjoy a distinguished reputation for scholarship, service, and leadership.


Collegiate fraternities are a North American institution. Since 1776 when Phi Beta Kappa - originally a social fraternity - was founded, the Greek Letter Societies have existed to serve the student and the host college or university.


With a continuing philosophy of faith in the inherent good judgment of the undergraduate membership, Delta Phi Epsilon has remained steadfast throughout its history, forward to the continued growth of a sisterhood which keeps pace with the ever changing nature of the collegiate world.


Each year on March 17, undergraduates and alumnae celebrate Founders Day, honoring the women to whom each chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon is directly indebted for the establishment of our sisterhood. We honor them for the fine ideals and purposes which inspired them. Over three quarters of a century after Delta Phi Epsilon began, there are women who still embrace the beliefs of our founders by sharing sisterhood in their hearts and lives.


Minna Goldsmith Mahler, Eva Effron Robin, Ida Bienstock Landau, Sylvia Steierman Cohn and Dorothy Cohen Schwartzman, five young law students saw Delta Phi Epsilon as a society to "Promote good fellowship among the women students among the various colleges in the country...to create a secret society composed of these women based upon their good moral character, regardless of nationality or creed...to have distinct chapters at various colleges..." with the motto Esse Quam Videri: to be rather than to seem to be.