Chi Omega has a rich history dating back to its founding at the University of
Arkansas on April 5, 1895. Born in the decade following the Civil War, Chi
Omega’s four women founders grew to adulthood as a rapidly expanding economy
fostered industrialization and urbanization. They were instilled with the
spirit of America, with values of independence, pioneering, innovation and
The Fraternity’s five founders, Jobelle Holcombe, Jean Vincenheller, Ina May
Boles, Allie Simonds, and Dr. Charles Richardson, wrote the Chi Omega
Constitution and Ritual. Dr. Richardson designed and crafted the first badge out
of dental gold.
In the early 1900s, social service was regarded as a collegiate activity of the
highest importance and Chi Omegas gave countless hours of time, unbounded
energy, and hard-earned monies to their local communities. In 1909,
the Chi Omega Symphony was written in by Ethel Switzer Howard, a pledge of Xi
Chapter at Northwestern University. She wrote the poem in preparation for her
initiation and felt that the words exemplified goals to which Chi Omegas
aspired. Ethel Switzer Howard's Symphony has since become every Chi Omega's
Chi Omega was founded with the intent of becoming a national organization and it
expanded naturally and easily into every part of the country. Whenever a new
chapter was installed, members in other chapters wore the colors beneath their
pins and sent letters of welcome and congratulations.
Over the last century, Chi Omega has grown to an organization with over 300,000
initiates from over 170 collegiate chapters.