Sigma Phi Omega was founded in 1949 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. It was originally founded by a group of 17 Japanese women in response to growing anti-Asian-American sentiment that followed as a result of World War II and Pearl Harbor.
In its early beginnings, the founding mothers of Sigma Phi Omega were invited by Chi Alpha Delta to become one of their chapters. However, the founding mothers decided to start their own organization. The Greek letters were chosen at random and were not used by any other existing fraternities or sororities at that time. Although Sigmas did not originate as a sorority, one could speculate that the choosing of Greek letters was a public way of voicing an unsatisfactory opinion about the treatment of Asian Americans, specifically Japanese Americans, by the campus and Greek organizations.
Today, we are the oldest continuing Asian American sorority in the nation, as well as the third oldest Asian American sorority ever founded. Since 1949, Sigma Phi Omega has expanded across the United States, holding multiple chapters in California and Texas, consisting of a multitude of women from various cultures and backgrounds.
Joyce Ishibashi Tawa
Ida Kado Watanabe
Kazuko Kay Matsumoto
Helen Morita Matsunaga
Akiko Sato Miyamoto
Edna Tanaka Okui
Helen Taniguchi Wakamatsu
Grace Wada Iino
Betty Wakamatsu Nishikubo
Chiyoe Yata Oki
Individual members influential in helping lay down the sorority foundation during the 1950s:
Thelma Sasada Yamamoto
As sisters of Sigma Phi Omega, we truly believe in the message our motto conveys. In everything we do in life, no matter what the outcome, the process of the attempt to reach our goal is the truest reward.
Fully represented in our flower - the yellow rose - a woman, through all of life's lessons, through all the people she meets, her goal should always be to become a greater woman.