About Theta Phi Alpha
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National History
 
National History

The founding of Theta Phi Alpha is a story of a group of young friends, not unlike the members of today. They were faced with a myriad of challenges and issues on their campus. By joining together, they provided support and friendship to one another, to meet the challenges that they faced and to create an organization that would enable future generations to share that sisterhood.


In 1912, a small, local Fraternity of Catholic women at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, were struggling. The organization had originally been formed by Father Edward D. Kelly in 1909. By the late spring of 1912, membership in Omega Upsilon was low, and Father Kelly enlisted the aid of Amelia McSweeney, an 1898 graduate of the University of Michigan. She and several alumnae of Omega Upsilon felt that a fraternity for Catholic women was a pressing need.


Throughout the summer of 1912, Amelia McSweeney, seven other alumnae, and two undergraduate women worked tirelessly. Plans for the coming school year were completed on August 30, 1912, and Theta Phi Alpha began operation on the campus of the University of Michigan.

Theta Phi Alpha reveres these ten women as its Founders:

Dorothy Caughey Phalan, Katrina Caughey Ward, Mildred Connely, Selma Gilday, Otilia Leuchtweis O'Hara, Amelia McSweeney, Camilla Ryan Sutherland, Helen Ryan Quinlan, May C. Ryan, and Eva Stroh Bauer Everson.