Just steps from Atherton Union, a small pathway of mosaic bricks commemorating seven trailblazing women often went unnoticed. However, after more than a year of planning and construction, this pathway has led to the creation of a monument honoring the lives and legacy of the founders of Sigma Gamma Rho.
One hundred years ago, seven young Black women founded Sigma Gamma Rho sorority on the Irvington campus of Butler University — the only historically Black sorority to be established at a predominantly white institution. As Butler prepares to welcome thousands of members of Sigma Gamma Rho to campus for Thee Homecoming celebration on July 12, 2022, the new Sigma Gamma Rho Founders’ Plaza will be formally dedicated during a ceremony that commemorates the establishment of Sigma Gamma Rho on November 12, 1922.
This monument features a 21-foot diameter paver patio of inscribed donor bricks and a masonry seat wall displaying Sigma Gamma Rho’s name and seals. The center of the plaza boasts seven stone pillars representing the seven founders of the sorority, and a black granite curb surrounds the pillars with the sorority motto and values. Inscribed in the masonry seat wall, a granite monument depicts the sorority’s history of Greater Service, Greater Progress, and an unfinished space on the second stone represents the potential of the future. These two stones are banded together by a gold ribbon connecting the past and future. The entire plaza is surrounded by native Indiana plants to match the sorority colors.
Danny Kibble, Executive Director of Advancement for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Initiatives and Family Philanthropy, has worked alongside the leaders of Sigma Gamma Rho in planning the centennial celebration and this remarkable campus monument. “Growing from seven individuals in Indianapolis to more than 100,000 global members is an incredible accomplishment,” Kibble said. “It has been an honor to witness the leadership of Sigma Gamma Rho International Sorority, Inc., and Butler University work together to commemorate the legacy of the seven founders of Sigma Gamma Rho. As a permanent addition to the campus landscape, this monument will allow all Bulldogs and members of Sigma Gamma Rho to recognize and celebrate the founders’ vision today and beyond.”
This beautiful new campus landmark is the result of more than a year of planning and collaboration between Sigma Gamma Rho, Butler University, LandStory Architects, and Harmon Construction and is the result of the generosity of Sigma Gamma Rho and Butler University. In recognition of the sorority’s centennial anniversary, it is an honor to welcome this permanent addition to the campus landscape to celebrate these trailblazing leaders and the historical bond between Butler University and Sigma Gamma Rho International Sorority, Inc.