Gamma Phi Delta

Gamma Phi Delta
FoundedFebruary 28, 1943; 80 years ago (1943-02-28)
Lewis College of Business
EmphasisAfrican American
MottoPeace and Harmony
Colors  Baby pink   Baby blue
FlowerPink Rose
MascotDove and butterfly
PublicationThe Lamplighter
Headquarters2657 West Grand Blvd.
Detroit, Michigan
United States
WebsiteGamma Phi Delta Website

Gamma Phi Delta (ΓΦΔ) is a historically African American service sorority for businesswomen, professionals, and students.[1] It was founded in 1943 at the Lewis College of Business and expanded to have chapters across the united states[2] The sorority is an affiliate of the National Council of Negro Women.[3]


Sisters Elizabeth Garner and Violet T. Lewis founded the Phi Gamma Delta sorority at the Lewis College of Business in Detroit, Michigan on February 20, 1943.[4][2][5] Lewis was the owner and president of the college and Lewis was a teacher.[4][6] Phi Gamma Delta was a business and professional sorority.[2][4][7]

The two founders recruited eleven members; these thirteen women are called the Sorority's 13 Original Pearls.[8] They are:[8]

  • Annie Blakemore
  • Robely Trumbo Dungey
  • Elizabeth Garner
  • Lula Garner
  • Odell Glover
  • Eurine Harrison
  • Ivalue Lennear
  • Violet T. Lewis
  • Jean Myers
  • Geraldine Harrison Perkins
  • Beatrice Preston
  • Ruby Tipton
  • Mattie Willis

Each of the Original Pearls was tasked with starting a chapter of Gamma Phi Delta in her home city.[9] In February 1946, Ivalue Lennear formed the Gamma chapter in Indianapolis, Indiana, her hometown.[10] As a special dispensation, the chapter was allowed to use Gamma, instead of Beta, as its name.

Around 1945, the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity filed a lawsuit against the sorority to discontinue using its hame illegally.[11] The fraternity had formed more than 100 years before but had never applied for a copyright for the use of the name Phi Gamma Delta.[11] However, the sorority had received a copyright for the name.[11] Despite this, the fraternity consisted of wealthy and powerful men, including presidents, senators, and congressmen.[11] Fearly a lengthy and expensive legal battle, the sorority settled with the fraternity, agreeing to change its name in exchange for $10,000 and payment of legal fees. At that time, the sorority voted to change its name to Gamma Phi Delta.[11]

By 1970, the sorority had 62 chapters in 32 states and the Bahamas.[12][13]

Gamma Phi Delta seeks to improve youth education and units for civic and community awareness.[14] The sorority's headquarters is located at 2657 West Grand Blvd. in Detroit, Michigan.[15] The City of Detroit designated the building as part of the West Grand Boulevard African American Arts and Business Historic District on July 24, 2018.[15]

Symbols and traditions[edit]

Gamma Phi Delta's motto is "Peace and Harmony".[10] The sorority's colors are baby pink and baby blue. Its symbols are the butterfly, dove, and lamp. Its flower is the pink rose and its gemstone is the pearl. The Gamma Phi Delta publication is The Lamplighter.[16]


Gamma Phi Delta has both collegiate and graduate chapters across the United States.


The Gamma Phi Delta Foundation was established in October 1987 to oversee youth scholarships and educational projects.[17]

On the national level, the sorority awards three scholarships and one endowment award annually. The scholarships are: The Gamma Phi Delta Merit Scholarship; the Elizabeth Garner Memorial Scholarship, and the Undergraduate Scholarship.[18] Its endowment is called The Ann McElwee Perpetual Endowment Fund.[18]

At the local level, chapters raise funds to support education and locally awarded scholarships.[12] Members also participate in a variety of community service projects with local charities.[12]


Gamma Phi Delta has five membership types: undergraduate, graduate, association, honorary, and member-at-large.[19] Membership is by invitation.[10] Members are required to have completed two years of college study.[12]

Notable members[edit]

  • Violet T. Lewis (Alpha) – educator, businesswoman, and founder of Lewis College of Business and Gamma Phi Delta[2]


  1. ^ "Home". Gamma Phi Delta Sorority, Inc. Eastern Region. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  2. ^ a b c d Grant, Lyndia (2021-02-17). "A Black History Tribute to Violet Temple Lewis". The Washington Informer. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  3. ^ Hazelwood, Janell (2018-02-21). "Black History Month: The Divine Nine". Black Enterprise. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  4. ^ a b c "Group to Honor 5 at Conference". Dayton Daily News. Dayton, Ohio. 2001-04-19. p. 137. Retrieved 2023-07-16 – via
  5. ^ "Gamma Phi Delta Sorority". Detroit Free Press. Detroit, Michigan. 2007-01-21. p. 130. Retrieved 2023-07-16 – via
  6. ^ "About Us". GPD Gamma 1943. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  7. ^ "Gamma Phi Delta". News and Record. Greensboro, North Carolina. 2001-06-13. p. 54. Retrieved 2023-07-16 – via
  8. ^ a b "Thirteen Original Pearls". Gamma Phi Delta Sorority. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  9. ^ "Home Page". Gamma Phi Delta Sorority. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  10. ^ a b c "Culture is Aim of Sorority". The Indianapolis Star. Indianapolis, Indiana. 1972-11-19. p. 227. Retrieved 2023-07-17 – via
  11. ^ a b c d e "Name Change to Gamma Phi Delta". Gamm Phi Delta Sorority. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  12. ^ a b c d Angell, Holly (1970-08-11). "Gamma Phi Deltas Convene". Detroit Free Press. Detroit, Michigan. p. 19. Retrieved 2023-07-17 – via
  13. ^ "Sorors Meet in Orlando". Orlando Evening Star. Orlando, Florida. 1972-08-10. p. 45. Retrieved 2023-07-17 – via
  14. ^ "Gamma Phi Delta". Tyler Morning Telegraph. Tyler, Texas. 2006-09-21. p. 70. Retrieved 2023-07-16 – via
  15. ^ a b "National Headquarters Historic Designation" (PDF). The Lamplighter. Gamma Phi Delta Sorority. 69: 5. 2019.
  16. ^ "The Lamplighter". Gamma Phi Delta Sorority. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  17. ^ "History". Gamma Phi Delta Foundation Inc. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  18. ^ a b "Gamma Phi Delta Scholarship". Gamma Phi Delta Sorority. Retrieved 2023-07-16.
  19. ^ "Graduate Membership". Gamma Phi Delta. Retrieved 2023-07-16.

External links[edit]