Our Seven Beloved and Illustrious Founders

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Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority was founded in 1922
by seven schoolteachers in gold and royal blue

Soror Mary Lou Allison Gardner Little was her name.
The founding of Sigma Gamma Rho was her main programme.

Soror Nannie Mae Gahn Johnson was a great teacher indeed,
For she helped the little children when they were in need.

Soror Bessie Downey Rhodes Martin was a true soldier;
any time someone needed her they could always cry on her shoulder.

Soror Cubena McClure was an effective and creative one within;
for she helped to design "the great" Sigma pin.

Soror Hattie Mae Annette Dullin Redford was the mother of none,
but she loved teaching and Sigma Gamma Rho dearly, like the God given sun.

Soror Dorothy Hanley Whiteside was a hard working sista' for sure;
for she helped the sick, and through the love of God she was able to endure

Soror Vivian White Marbury I saved for last, because she is the only one who could explain the Sigma past.

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Incorporated is a great sorority and that is no myth.
That is why were are still strong in 2001
We have celebrated our 75th and even a couple more.

~ Soror Tamanu Lowkie

"We are based on quality, not quantity.
We are proud of our number and of ourselves.
We are able to go through the test.
Many of our sorors went on line by themselves, and that should let you know... We can stand through any mess"

Mary Lou Allison Little

    Raised by a family friend because both of her parents were killed when she was three, Ms. Little graduated from Shortridge High School in 1915 and received a diploma from the Indianapolis Normal School in 1918 when she began teaching. In 1928, Little moved to Los Angeles with her husband and finished her undergraduate training at UCLA. She taught in the Los Angeles School System until her retirement in 1967. The Mary Lou Allison Loving Cup Award is presented at each Boule to the chapter reporting the most successful program.

Dorothy Hanley Whiteside

   After graduating from Shortridge High School, Ms. Whiteside entered the Indianapolis City Normal School. In 1922, when in training as a cadet teacher, she met the teachers who became her best friends and founders of Sigma Gamma Rho. Ms. Whiteside taught school until 1951 when she retired and later helped her husband to develop a  business. She also started her own millinery business and worked with her church and various other organizations. After the death of her husband, she ran their business from 1955 until 1957 and returned to teaching in 1959, where she remained until her retirement in 1970.

Vivian White Marbury

   Like her friends, Ms. Marbury also attended Shortridge High School and the Indianapolis City Normal School. She received a B.S. from Butler University and a Master's from Columbia University in New York City. Her professional career included teaching at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Director of Practice Training of teachers from Butler University, Indianapolis University, and Indianapolis State University. She taught in the Indianapolis School System for nine years. Ms. Marbury organized Public School 87, which grew from a 4 room portable school to 18 rooms and 24 teachers, where she was principal for 39 years until her retirement in 1967. She married in 1929 and is the mother of two children.

Nannie Mae Gahn Johnson

   A product of the Indianapolis Public School System and received both B.S. and M.S. degrees from Butler University. In 1923, she received her first teaching assignment and over the years, she was promoted to principal of the largest elementary school in Indianapolis. She was also very involved with many clubs and organizations dedicated to community service. Ms. Johnson retired in 1966.

Hattie Mae Dulin Redford

   A graduate of South Bend Central High School cum laude, Indiana State Teachers College with a B.S., and Butler University with an M.S., Ms. Redford also studied at Western Reserve in Cleveland and Indiana University Extension. She taught one year in Terra Haute, and thirty seven years in Indianapolis, IN. She was Grand Epistolous, Grand Tamiochus, Financial Consultant and received various awards and honors from Sigma Gamma Rho. Plaques are awarded in Ms. Redford's name at each Boule for exhibits of chapter achievements.

Bessie M. Downey Martin

   The youngest of six children, Ms. Martin attended grade school in Indianapolis. She graduated from the Manual Training High School and the City Teachers Normal. Ms. Martin taught school for over 25 years. She married twice and was a devoted wife and hard worker in school and the sorority.

Cubena McClure


A graduate of Shortridge High School, the Indianapolis City Normal School, Ms. McClure attended Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. She won the Gregg Scholarship which she planned to use to attend Columbia University, but due to illness, she could not accept the scholarship. McClure was talented in art and she helped to design the sorority pin. Ms. McClure died very young on August 24, 1924.