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Our Founders

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Marguerite Shepard

Marguerite Shepard was born at Forestville, New York. After graduating from the Teachers Training Course she taught at a rural school for a year. Marguerite entered Syracuse University in the fall of 1900. After completing two years work she taught another year in Dunkirk, New York, but returned to college in 1903. The next spring Alpha Gamma Delta was founded. Marguerite served as chapter vice-president until her graduation, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She helped write and made many valuable suggestions for both the Ritual and Constitution. Marguerite was First Grand Vice-President from 1907-1909 and Second Grand President from 1909-1910.

Marguerite Shepard entered Chapter Grand on December 13, 1947.




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Estelle Shepard Beswick

Estelle was born in Forestville, New York and educated at Fredonia Normal School before entering Syracuse University in 1903. As Estelle was the first one to respond with any enthusiasm to the idea of a new fraternity at Syracuse, every Alpha Gamma Delta's hat is off to her. When others were perplexed and discouraged, Estelle often set them all laughing and solved their problems. Estelle served as the first extension chairman. She is the author of "The Alpha Gamma Delta Girl" and with Emily Helen Butterfield, co-author of "The Alpha Gamma Delta Goat", both popular songs in the early days. Estelle graduated in 1908 with Phi Beta Kappa and in the fall of 1909 became the first editor of the Alpha Gamma Delta Quarterly.

Estelle Shepard Beswick entered Chapter Grand on January 9, 1944.





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Georgia Alberta Dickover

Georgia was raised and lived all her life in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Before entering Syracuse University, Georgia attended Wilkes-Barre public schools and Wyoming Seminary. At the close of her freshman year in college she became the third member of the Alpha Gamma Delta founders. With Edith MacConnell Hickok she worked long and faithfully in compiling the Ritual. She was on the first committee on the Constitution. As president of Alpha Chapter, Georgia had the honor of presiding at the first session of the First National Convention of the Fraternity in May 1907.

After graduation, Georgia taught English and history at Wilkes-Barre high School. Georgia served as Historian of the Fraternity for 18 years. Georgia was a wearer of the Circle of Epsilon Pi.
Georgia Dickover entered Chapter Grand on October 3, 1965.





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Jennie Titus Smith Morris
Jennie was born in Wilmington, Delaware. She gave as her reason for becoming a founder of Alpha Gamma Delta, Dr. Coddington's interest and his assurance of the need of more women's fraternities. Jennie was one of only two juniors in the founding group. She served as the first president of the Alpha Chapter. She is the author of the songs "Friendship" and "To Thee" and a considerable part of the Ritual. Jennie wore the first Badge and treasured it always. Jennie was Grand President from the First National Convention, May 1907, until the third, May 1911.

She entered Chapter Grand on May 30, 1958.
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Ethel Evelyn Brown Distin

Ethel Evelyn Brown Distin was born in Euclid, New York. Ethel's education, begun at Euclid Free School, was continued at Baldwinsville Academy. At Syracuse it was her admiration for the aims of Alpha Gamma Delta and for Jennie Titus that brought her into the new fraternity. Ethel was president of Alpha Chapter from 1905-1906. After graduation, Ethel taught history and English at Saranac Lake, New York and Glen Clove, Long Island.

Ethel Brown Distin entered Chapter Grand on February 21, 1959.




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Grace Mosher Harter
Grace R. Mosher Harter was born in Parish, New York. In the early days of Alpha Gamma Delta, Grace's energetic personality entered into many bits of work important in the structure of the Fraternity. She served as vice-president and also helped with the installation of Gamma Chapter-Wesleyan University. Grace, also known as Midge, had the reputation of being a gracious hostess. In fact, Grace seldom went home without her sisters. Through the years, no home was thought to be more hospitable to Alpha Gamma Deltas and no hostess more thoughtful, generous or cordial.

Grace's daughter, Margaret Harter Sanders, and granddaughter, Susan Dee Sanders, were initiated at the 1964 Convention.

Grace Mosher Harter entered Chapter Grand on July 25, 1978.




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Edith MacConnell Hickok
Edith MacConnell Hickok was born in Hartford, Pennsylvania. Edith attended school at Harford and at Wilkes-Barre. When a freshman in Syracuse in April 1904, a fall on the ice so injured her that she spent the period of Alpha Gamma Deltas founding in a hospital. At her home in the fall, however, she and Georgia Dickover wrote the beginning of the Initiation Ritual. Soon after she sent the chapter its first songs, "Autumn Tints" and the "Initiation Song". Edith was the mother of the first Alpha Gamma Delta baby.

Edith MacConnell Hickok entered Chapter Grand on July 1, 1973.
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Mary Louise Snider

Mary Louise Snider was born at Walden, New York. During her freshman year at Syracuse, her friendship with the Shepard girls led her to join in the fraternity founding. In the winter of 1906, Mary carried on the correspondence, which resulted in the installation of Gamma Chapter-Wesleyan University. Mary was president in 1909 and presided at the Installation of Zeta Chapter-Ohio University. In October 1909, Mary became a missionary under the board of the Methodist Church to Concepcion College, Concepcion, Chile, teaching there and in Santiago for 13 years. While there, she originated and helped to organize the first summer institute of Epworth Leagues ever held in South America. Mary cared for several of the young women, and eventually adopted one as her daughter. After returning to the United States, Mary invested her time working with the blind.

Mary Louise Snider entered Chapter Grand on June 9, 1960.




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Georgia Otis Chipman
Georgia was born in Wolcott, New York. In college, Georgia and her roommate Grace were the staunchest of friends. In the development of the ritual, Georgia wrote the part concerning Gamma. At different times she was recording secretary and vice-president of Alpha Chapter. From 1909-1911 Georgia served as the first business manager of the Quarterly.

After graduating cum laude, Georgia taught at Dolgeville and Angolo, New York and then at Chatham Episcopal Institute at Chatham, Virginia.

Georgia entered Chapter Grand August 17, 1981.


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Emily Helen Butterfield

Emily was born near Detroit, Michigan. Emily enrolled in the architecture program at Syracuse University in 1903. Before entering college, Emily had studied with her father the application of heraldic principles to design and in her freshman year sold some exquisite work of this kind. In the spring of 1906 she completed the Alpha Gamma Delta Armorial Bearings. Emily was the architect of the Alpha Gamma Delta Summer Camp Lodges and the Alpha and Chi Chapter houses. Emily also served seven years as the Editor of the Quarterly.

In 1989, Emily was posthumously inducted in the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame, recognizing her work as the first woman architect in Michigan. Emily was a wearer of the Circle of Epsilon Pi.

Emily Helen Butterfield entered Chapter Grand March 22, 1958.




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Flora Knight Mayer
Flora Knight Mayer was born in Sonora, Steuben County, New York. In September 1902, Flora enrolled at Syracuse for a full musical course. While a sophomore she became acquainted with our Founders through Edith MacConnell and Georgia Dickover. Flora served on several important committees and always actively participated in fraternity activities, although she held no particular office except that of chapter pianist. Music in those early days of group living meant much in helping to strengthen bonds and to build a structure of real beauty.

Flora Knight Mayer entered Chapter Grand March 3, 1959.