Latina based Multicultural Sorority Founded at The University of Iowa celebrates 25th Anniversary

“Culture is Pride, Pride is Success!”  and “Hermanas Por Vida!”  Sigma Lambda Gamma, National Sorority Established April 9, 1990 at The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.

A Brief History of Sigma Lambda Gamma, National Sorority 



The purpose of Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority is to bring women together for companionship, cultural awareness, moral, academic, social support, and their empowerment.  Further, the sorority shall work to better serve the needs and wants of all people by disseminating the diverse cultures which we all share.  Finally, the sorority shall maintain respect for the view of others through this tolerance, enhancing our understanding of one another, and thus bettering our community, our country, and the world.  

(Information given to me after I was inducted as a perspective in the Fall of 1991, Laura Nelson #7 Alpha Chapter, The University of Iowa)


On October 22, 1989, a group of women gathered at the Chicano American Indian Cultural Center to form an organization of Hispanic women at The University of Iowa.  They wanted to form a group that would give social and academic support for women.

Originally a group of nineteen: Anna Arteaga, Vanessa Bonilla, Gloria Cuevas, Laura Flores, Pamela Little, Patricia Mares, Rosalee Mares, Patricia Marroquin, Patricia Marquez, Julieta Miller, Cintya Molina, Maria Pineda, Julia Rapoza, Danell Riojas, Emma Rodriguez, Zerina Segoviano, Guadalupe Temiquel, Maria Temiquel, and Alejandra Torres along with the help of Esther Materon-Arum, Special Support Services Advisor at The University of Iowa and Mary Peterson, Office of Campus Programs Greek Life Coordinator, they would meet from the Fall of 1989 to the Spring of 1990.  On April 9, 1990 Sigma Lambda Gamma was recognized by the InterFraternity Council/Pan-Hellenic Council as a Sorority.  

A retreat was held on May 7, 1990 with Mary Peterson at the Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City, Iowa to get some of the ideas of the sorority down on paper and to establish next steps.  The first meeting of the Fall Semester 1990 was held at the Chicano American Indian Cultural Center.  The number of women decreased leaving 6 women, at the end of the Fall of 1990 five women were left and those five women are recognized at the Founders of Sigma Lambda Gamma, National Sorority:  Guadalupe Temiquel (Sterling, Illinois), Julieta Miller (Walnut Creek, California), Gloria Cuevas (Beeville, Texas), Danell Riojas (Chicago, Illinois), and Maria Pineda (Los Angeles, California).

On February 15, 1991, the first group of associates was formed and inducted at the Chicano American Indian Cultural Center.  This group consisted of the following five young women: Patricia Arroyo (Orland Park, Illinois), Noemi Diaz (Wheeling, Illinois), Angel Martinez (Fort Madison, Iowa), Seema Singh (Skokie, Illinois), and Gabriela Villafuerte (Rockford, Illinois).

On March 13, 1991 at Danforth Chapel, initiation took place for the Founders of Sigma Lambda Gamma, National Sorority AND on April 9, 1991, the first group of associates was initiated into Sigma Lambda Gamma at the Chicano American Indian Cultural Center.

Photo: The five founders: first row Danell Riojas, Lupita Temiquel  second row Maria Pineda, Julieta Miller, Gloria Cuevas  (First Formal Founders Ball at the Highlander Inn 1992 Iowa City, Iowa)


My History with Sigma Lambda Gamma by Laura Nelson, Ed.S.  (member #7, Alpha Chapter, Davenport, Iowa), School Psychologist

In the Fall of 1991, after two years on campus and working under Esther Materon Arum through Special Support Services as a Mentor for incoming first generation college students and Opportunity at Iowa Scholars, taking classes in the same building as Patti Arroyo (Chemistry), and working in the Iowa Memorial Union Campus Information Center a short distance from Mary Peterson, I met up with Patti Arroyo in the basement gathering space of the Iowa Memorial Union outside of the University of Iowa Bookstore and she told me about the sorority and invited me to become an associate member with three other women:  Tina Quinones (Des Moines, Iowa), Rita Martinez (Fort Madison, Iowa), and Jackie Marquez (Iowa).  

We were initiated as Members of Sigma Lambda Gamma on February 14, 1992.  As a member, I learned the continued importance of Scholarship, Leadership, and Service.  I also learned the true meaning of Sisterhood and Women’s Empowerment.  Because our journey did not end with initiation, it was only the beginning.  Because of my Sisters, I would be able to graduate in 4 years including two summer courses with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Human Relations Minor.  Because of the mentors I met on Faculty and Staff, and the research opportunities, I would not only be the first generation in my immediate family to graduate with a Bachelors degree, but would go on to be the first person in my family to be admitted to a Ph.D. program in School Psychology and graduate with over 100 semesters hours learning about things I loved to learn about.  

Through Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority, I would become the first Vice President of Alumni for The National Board of Sigma Lambda Gamma and help to establish the first chapters of the Sorority.  

What began as five women on The University of Iowa campus would grow over the next 25 years into over 135 chapters throughout the country, 5 colonies (those groups working on their campuses to be recognized as chapters), and 25 Alumnae Chapters (those women who have graduated from a University and wish to continue supporting the Mission, Purpose, and Vision of Sigma Lambda Gamma within their own communities).

I would remain on The University of Iowa campus for nine years (four undergraduate, and five graduate) and help other Sisters  to learn about our five Principles: Academics, Cultural Awareness, Community Service, Morals & Ethics, and Social Interaction.  Throughout all of these years I would remain aware of my own culture and the valuable impact it makes to me, others, my community, my country, and the world.  

Around 2002, after working in the field of School Psychology, I took a position outside of Washington, D.C. and reconnected with Maria Temiquel through the University of Iowa Alumni Association and with a group of dedicated Alumnae members of Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority, we formed the beginnings of the DC Metro Alumnae Association of Sigma Lambda Gamma which continues to support a vast array of Community Service Projects.  

In 2009, I was chosen to be a Facilitator and Group Leader at one of our Bi-Annual Sisterhood Retreats for Young Women on “Emotionally Intelligent Leadership”.  The Sorority has established part of the National Boards original visions in 1996 and 1998: The Sigma Lambda Gamma Educational Foundation which supports young women throughout the country moving from undergraduate graduation to Graduate School through annual scholarships, undergraduate programming, and a Young Women’s leadership program for middle school students.  

We have three philanthropic endeavors: Trio Programs, Breast Cancer Awareness, and Heart Cancer Awarness.  On April 9, 2015, we will have celebrated 25 years of growth, sisterhood, and Empowerment for Women.  

We are a Latina Based, Multicultural Sorority and strongly believe in our Principles, Mission, Purpose and Motto: Culture is Pride. Pride is Success!  Here is to another 25 years of continued growth and development!


Laura A. Nelson, Ed.S., School Psychologist and 23 Year Member of Sigma Lambda Gamma National Sorority with Contributions by Founders Lupita Temiquel-MacMillian, Julietta Miller Calderon, and Gloria Cuevas.

Photo: Laura is pictured with the current SLG Board President Luz Randolph




More stories celebrating Sigma Lambda Gamma 25th Anniversary


Remembering the Early History of Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority by Founder Julieta Miller Calderon (ESL Teacher, Muscatine, Iowa)




Remembering the History of Sigma Lambda Gamma Sorority by Founder Gloria Cuevas, Certified Public Accountant, Beverly Hills, California


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