California Gamma image

California Gamma

University of Southern California

Founding date: 7/27/1917

Installing Officer:
Grand President May Lansfield Keller, Maryland Alpha

Installation of California Gamma

This year, the California Gamma chapter celebrates the 100th anniversary of its founding in the summer of 1917. The origins of the chapter really began 22 years earlier, in 1895, when seven young women started planning a local sorority they would call Entre Nous. The group became an organized part of USC campus life in 1898. It had the distinction of being the oldest, by some five years, of the six sororities in the College of Liberal Arts. The aim of the Entre Nous founders was “to seal their friendships with a unity of purpose, to build up an organization which should prove an inspiration and a pleasure to all its members and to encourage scholarship and the highest standards of student life among the women of the university,” historical documents note. “It has been [the] purpose from the beginning.” A total of 43 charter members of Pi Beta Phi were initiated by Grand President May Lansfield Keller.

The Initiation Ceremony took place at the home of Indiana Beta Netta Nixon Young, President of the Los Angeles, California, Alumnae Club. The installation banquet that evening took the form of a reunion, with nearly 150 Pi Phis in attendance, including members of the San Diego, California, Alumnae Club and others living throughout Southern California.

Living at California Gamma

The California Gamma Chapter house is special because it was built by a Pi Phi’s husband; and therefore it was the only sorority house at the University of Southern California that was built for that function. There are 26 bedrooms with the ability of 64 women to live in 24 rooms. The other two rooms consist of room for the House Mom and the other is a guest room.

CA-Gamma-12.JPGOn the first floor in the living room there are two large mirrors, one wine and one blue, that face each other and constantly reflect wine and blue.

Panhellenic Groups on Campus

Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Delta Chi, Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Phi, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Pi Beta Phi

Philanthropic Service

The main charitable event is celebrating Read > Lead > Achieve®.

Notable Alumnae

  • Jenna Dewan Tatum, actress
  • Ann Marie “Ree” Smith Drummond, TV personality and chef
  • Marilyn Horne
  • Helena Dingle Moore

Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award Winners from California Gamma

  • Joan Singleton Prestine (2002)
  • Marilyn Horne (1995)