International History

On March 17,1917, five women at New York University Law School took a pledge of loyalty and so founded the Alpha Chapter of Delta Phi Epsilon, the first nonsectarian social sorority and the only one founded at a professional school. 


These five women were:

Dorothy Cohen Schwartzman

Ida Bienstock Landau 

Minna Goldsmith Mahler

Eva Effron Robin

Sylvia Steirman Cohn. 


Five years later on March 17, 1922, Delta Phi Epsilon was formally incorporated under the laws of the State of New York. On December 5, 1922, crossing international boundaries, the first Canadian chapter was installed at McGill University at Montreal.


Sisters of Delta Phi Epsilon base their actions on the sorority's motto, Esse Quam Videri: to be rather than seem  to be. Delta Phi Epsilon has worked to develop a social conscience and a willingness to think in terms of the common good in order to assure for its members continuous development and achievement in the collegiate and fraternity world. 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. Delta Phi Epsilon is a democratically governed organization with policies determined at regular conventions to which chartered chapters and alumnae associations send delegates.