In September of 1947, Alpha Delta Pi was invited to become one of the first five sororities to colonize at the University of Florida. Recently declared co-ed, UF’s founding chapter women were tasked not only with pioneering the introduction of a sorority presence on campus, but an overall female one as well. Individually, colonizing representatives and founding sisters went on to become the first Panhellenic President, female cheerleader, leader of the newly founded Women’s Recreational Association, and Secretary of Women’s Affairs - the highest student government office a woman could hold at the time. As a chapter, sisters had the pleasure of holding the university’s first sorority dance, and were the first invited to partake in an on-campus political party of which one of its member was also appointed secretary. Within a year of being welcomed into the Gator family, Gamma Iota had earned its official charter and already begun paving the way towards a bright and successful future.


By the fifties the chapter had established itself as a front-runner in all areas of feminine poise and distinction. While as women they were not yet privy to every organization or area of study, sisters still obtained various undersecretary positions and gained membership to virtually every on campus academic honorary society that was available to them. Alongside an endless array of fraternity selected Sweethearts, Dream Girls, and beauty queens, the decade was highlighted with the completion of the chapter’s New Orleans inspired home without a doubt worthy of the beauty of its members. 


Continuing to maintain their ongoing success in pageantry, the sixties brought about a second distinction in the area of scholarship, as the chapter proceeded to lead the pack in terms of GPA and honorary society inductees. Sisters excelled immensely, receiving awards for highest scholastic average and the Panhellenic scholarship trophy three years consecutively. It was named sorority of the year, placed first overall in the first ever Greek Games, and following extensive philanthropic service to the community was presented with a certificate of appreciation by local hospital authorities. Still unable to join certain all-male societies, a few Gamma Iota’s, along with a handful of other UF women, took matters into their own hands and founded the Savant Women’s Leadership fraternity, the female alternative to Florida Blue Key. Furthermore, throughout the course of the decade ADPi brought home the overall intramural trophy for excellence in athletics, was the only sorority chosen to preform their homecoming skit at Gator Growl, and laid claim to three Lyceum Council Presidents - the highest elected position on campus for women at the time. 


As women’s access to previously restricted campus organizations expanded, so did Gamma Iota’s involvement within the university, giving way to an impressive and unprecedented display of leadership. Members were amongst the first women to be tapped for prestigious honorary societies such as Florida Blue Key, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Phi Eta Sigma, together earning awards such as the Panhellenic Key of Excellence, DAR Award of Good Citizenship, President’s certificate for outstanding scholarship achievement, and Panhellenic’s award for outstanding service. In addition, the chapter was the first recipient of the President’s award for Fraternal Excellence, and was responsible for the homecoming court being composed entirely of members from the same sorority for the first time in UF history.


Now thoroughly involved in virtually every leadership organization on campus, in the eighties sisters sought to extend a large portion of their efforts to the local community. Even though the chapter had thus far maintained consistent participation in regards to philanthropic service, it wasn’t until Alpha Delta Pi’s national partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities, and the nearly simultaneous establishment of Gainesville’s local RMH chapter, that Gamma Iota’s volunteerism went above and beyond the norm for UF sororities. With the building of a RMH location less than a mile down the road from their home, sisters found an entirely unique degree of accessibility to their signature cause, an asset that still remains unmatched within the current day Greek community. 


The nineties were an age of accolades, with an overwhelming amount of national and university bestowed recognition that showcased all the chapter had come to achieve in its nearly half a century pursuit of excellence. On a national level, the chapter was awarded the prestigious “Golden Lion” - Alpha Delta Pi’s highest existing honor, while on campus it was named “most outstanding” in the areas of Community Relations, Greek Relations, and Scholarship Program. In addition to ranking number one amongst sororities academically, it received not only the Frances Reitz Service Award, but also Panhellenic awards for Cultural and Lifestyles Diversity, Outstanding New Program, and Fraternal Excellence. Individually, sisters were named “most outstanding” in the roles of president, upcoming leader, freshman, and senior, while others were elected Student Body President and Miss University of Florida. 


Having achieved so much on both a local and national level, the chapter entered the 21st century with a monumental sense of pride and enthusiasm. Together, sisters made it their priority to stay true to the virtues for which they had repeatedly been recognized and focus their energies on the home front by increasing support towards not just the success of their fellow sisters, but fellow Greeks as well. In doing so, the chapter experienced a surge in continuous diversification, increased social agenda, and strong sense of sisterhood. Annually, they placed first in anywhere from five to ten Greek sponsored fundraising events and preserved family-style traditions such as their sisterhood retreats, Mother-Daughter Pi & Tea, Father-Daughter BBQ, and “Peace Before the War” pre-game dinner with neighboring FSU ADPis. 


The chapter that exists today is the product of well over half a century of achievements. Having recently received national awards for most campus/community leaders, and most number one choices on a recruitment bid list, the current women of Gamma Iota have proven themselves as nothing short of exceptional. Just within the last six years the chapter has ranked first in grades of all the UF sororities and fraternities, been the highest fundraiser of its division in the most successful student-run philanthropy in the Southeast U.S. (UF Dance Marathon), while proudly housing three Producers of the largest student-run pep rally in the nation (Gator Growl), three Miss University of Floridas, the President of UF’s most prestigious leadership organization (Florida Blue Key), President of UF Panhellenic, and two out of the chapter’s total of three UF Student Body Presidents.

From beauty and brains, leadership and service, and the highest of awards to the deepest of friendships, throughout the decades Gamma Iotas have come to master each area of distinction and ultimately embody the greatest, most sought after degree of sisterhood. With such progress made and values maintained it is no surprise Gamma Iota alums everywhere find themselves immeasurably proud to have fostered a group of women so representative of what it truly means to be both an accomplished collegiate woman and the quintessential UF ADPi. 


Help us collect stories and pictures from your pledge/alpha class at the Share Your Story page.