Father Edward D. Kelly envisions a sorority for Catholic women

As the pastor of the student chapel at the University of Michigan, he believed young Catholic women should have an organization of their own to help shape their lives and offer society and friendship.

He realized a sorority would provide that atmosphere, so he created Omega Upsilon as a local fraternity of Catholic women.

Spring, 1912

A turning point for Omega Upsilon

Although there were several students initially interested in joining — partly because Catholics were not always welcome in the other Greek-letter sororities on campus — membership did not grow fast enough and the treasury was unable to support the group's activities. Father Kelly did not give up, however, and he asked Amelia McSweeney, an 1898 University of Michigan graduate and prominent citizen of Detroit, to reinvigorate the effort to build an organization for Catholic college women.

Summer, 1912

Amelia McSweeney works tirelessly to build a new organization

McSweeney believed many of Omega Upsilon's problems were because the chapter's operations had been left completely in the hands of undergraduate members.

She thought that, with guidance in financial and housing matters, a new organization would be successful. So she worked with several women at the home of Dorothy and Katrina Caughey to make preparations.

Fall, 1912

Theta Phi Alpha is established and begins operations

On Aug. 30, 1912, Theta Phi Alpha began operations on the campus of the University of Michigan. Two undergraduate members of Omega Upsilon became members: Eva Stroh, a sophomore, and Otilia Leuchtweis, a senior and Theta Phi Alpha's first chapter president.

Our Founders

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

Eva Stroh Bauer Everson

Centennial History Book

The celebratory book, in honor of the Fraternity’s 100th birthday, includes never-before-published information on our Founders, a detailed chronicle of each chapter and alumnae association, and page after page of fascinating stories about Theta Phi Alpha’s living history.

Order yours today