Chi Psi, the Lodge in Ann Arbor, and the Two Clarence Birdseyes

On May 20, 1841, Chi Psi was founded at Union College in Schenectady, New York. It was the fifth fraternity founded at Union College. Its founders are Philip Spencer, Robert Heyward McFaddin, Jacob Henry Farrell, John Brush Jr., Samuel Titus Taber, James Lafayette Witherspoon, William Force Terhune, Alexander Peter Berthoud, James Chatham Duane, and Patrick Upshaw Major.

ChiPsiSeal

In 1846, Chi Psi became the first fraternity to own a structure in which to meet. The 1935 edition of Baird’s Manual of American College Fraternities described the facility, “Epsilon, established in 1845 at Michigan, was the first western chapter. About the middle of April 1846, it built a log cabin in the woods near Ann Arbor for the specific purpose of providing a meeting place for Chi Psi at a time when the faculty was hostile to fraternities. This cabin was 20 x 24 feet and was located at the present site of Forest Hill Cemetery. In a sense this cabin may be called the prototype of the modern fraternity house.”

A rendering of the Chi Psi lodge at Ann Arbor, considered the first fraternity house.

A rendering of the Chi Psi lodge at Ann Arbor, considered the first fraternity house.

In the March 1914 issue of Banta’s Greek Exchange, Clarence F. Birdseye, was mentioned in an article titled “A Discussion on Travelling Secretaries.” It was written by C.C. Chambers, Phi Gamma Delta. Birdseye had written two books, Individual Training in Our Colleges and The Reorganization of our Colleges, published in 1907 and 1909, respectively. Chambers, a field secretary himself, wrote “In discussing the organization and administration of fraternities and their relation to college life, Mr. Birdseye made the suggestion of a salaried official in each fraternity who would devote his entire time to conducting the business of the national organization and to visiting the different chapters to advise and aid them in their work. The older and more conservative fraternity men did not take kindly to this idea. To them fraternity work was a work of love and they did not want to see it commercialized. But the wisdom of Mr. Birdseye’s statements impressed many Greek letter people and the idea of salaried full time official spread Mr. Birdseye’s own fraternity, Chi Psi, put his plan in operation and others soon followed until at the present time eight fraternities employ men to devote their entire time to fraternity work and five others retain salaried officers who devote a great part of their time to the work. At least seven other fraternities are seriously considering the adoption of this plan. Two fraternities have developed it to the point where they employ two salaried officers and one of these is about to go a step further and add a third man to the staff.”

The name Clarence Birdseye should ring a bell if you’ve traveled the frozen food aisle of a grocery store. So, was the Birdseye who wrote about field secretaries the same Birdseye of frozen food fame? They were both named Clarence Frank Birdseye. They were not the same person. Instead, they were father and son. Both were members of Chi Psi. The younger Birdseye, the one of frozen food fame, dropped out of Amherst College due to a lack of funds. He worked as a taxidermist for a time. He also experimented with the freezing process, started a business, lost a business, started another business and, this time, he was successful. In 1929, Goldman Sachs and the Postum Company purchased the the younger Birdseye’s company. The price was $22 million. He continued to work for the company and developed more frozen food technology. In 1930, grocery stores in Springfield, Massachusetts became the test market for the frozen foods produced by the company. The rest is history.

"The quote that accompanies Birdseye’s picture — “I ain’t afeer’d o’bugs, or toads, or worms, or snakes, or mice, or anything” — is a fabrication of the Olio editors; the reference to Birdseye’s absence during junior year is the result of a reversal of the Birdseye family fortunes. Young Clarence could no longer afford the cost of college and did not return to Amherst after completing his Sophomore year in the spring of 1908." (Photo courtesy of Amherst College Archives)

“The quote that accompanies Birdseye’s picture — “I ain’t afeer’d o’bugs, or toads, or worms, or snakes, or mice, or anything” — is a fabrication of the Olio editors; the reference to Birdseye’s absence during junior year is the result of a reversal of the Birdseye family fortunes. Young Clarence could no longer afford the cost of college and did not return to Amherst after completing his Sophomore year in the spring of 1908.” (Photo and caption courtesy of Amherst College Archives)

The Archives and Special Collections at Amherst College has some materials relating to the younger Birdseye. For more information, see https://consecratedeminence.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/clarence-birdseye-in-labrador/

  © Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2015. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/

 

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150 Years of Uninterrupted Brotherhood – Sigma Chi at Butler

On April 9, 1865, Robert E. Lee surrendered and the Civil War was over. The next day, April 10, 1865, the Rho Chapter of Sigma Chi at Butler University was established. Sigma Chi and Butler University were both 10 years old at that point. Rho Chapter recently celebrated 150 years of continued existence. It is the oldest continuously chartered fraternity chapter at Butler.

Brandon Darnay ’90 produced the video detailing the history of the chapter. It’s at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qE7N066tMMk. Darnay did a fabulous job! Many of the photos, records and memorabilia were given to Dan Brown by Howard Caldwell, the retired news anchorman. He and his father, Howard Caldwell, Sr., Class of 1914, shared the Sigma Chi bond. The younger Caldwell is a Significant Sig, one of Sigma Chi’s highest individual honors.

Aftermath of the explosion at the Sigma Chi house in November 1955. Amazingly, no lives were lost. (Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Star)

Aftermath of the explosion at the Sigma Chi house in November 1955. Amazingly, no lives were lost. (Photo courtesy of Indianapolis Star)

 On November 19, 1955, a gas explosion caused by a faulty water heater destroyed the five-year-old $155,000 house. All but one wall were leveled.  The 1956 Butler yearbook tells this story:

One of the worst tragedies in Butler’s history took place at approximately 2:30 a.m. on November 19, 1955. Butler’s Sigma Chi chapter house blew up as the result of a faulty water heater. One of the miracles of the incident was that no one was seriously hurt. Hoagy Elliott was buried under piles of rubble for nearly an hour while other boys were thrown out of windows and fell through floors; but the end result was just a few cuts and bruises. The Phi Delts and Sammies came to the immediate rescue of the Sigs by setting up temporary living quarters and serving hot coffee to firemen and onlookers. Fortunately very few men were in the house when it exploded. The Sigs and Phi Delts had obtained extended hours for their dates for the Shield and Cross Dance which they jointly sponsored that night. Hours were extended until 2:30 so many of the boys had not returned by the time of the blast. The Sigs were unable to salvage their belongings for nearly a week after the explosion because the remaining walls of the house threatened to cave in at any time. The whole campus pitched in to help the boys while arrangements were made for them to move into the vacant rooms on the third floor of the men’s dorm. In true Sigma Chi spirit the chapter has continued to have chapter functions. The Sig moto “In Hoc Signo Vinces” (In this sign we conquer) has been especially fitting for Rho chapter. 

Happy 150th Rho Chapter of Sigma Chi. May your next 150 years be just as glorious!

© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2015. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/

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Kappa Delta Rho Turns 110 and an Alumnus Who Looked Out for Consumers

Kappa Delta Rho was founded on the Middlebury College campus when there were three fraternities already on campus. In the fall of 1904, members of the Commons Club, led by President George E. Kimball discussed becoming a fraternity, too. Kimball, along with Irving T. Coates and John Beecher, explored the idea. After several meetings between the three, they asked seven other Commons Club members to form a new fraternity. These men were Thomas H. Bartley, Pierce W. Darrow, Benjamin E. Farr, Gideon R. Norton, Gino A. Ratti, Chester M. Walch and Roy D. Wood.

The Founders of Kappa Delta Rho. Back Row, l-t-r:  Benjamin E. Farr, Chester M Walch, Gideon R. Norton, and Gino A Ratti     Seated, L-t-r:  Thomas H. Bartley, George E. Kimball, and Roy D. Wood

The Founders of Kappa Delta Rho. Back Row, l-t-r: Benjamin E. Farr, Chester M Walch, Gideon R. Norton, and Gino A Ratti Seated, L-t-r: Thomas H. Bartley, George E. Kimball, and Roy D. Wood

Delta Tau Delta met with a member of Kappa Delta Rho when it was a new organization on the Middlebury campus. At that point, with only one chapter, KDR was a local organization and it would have been easy to join an established fraternity. The men made the decision, according to Kimball, to “paddle our own canoe.” They took no action on Delta Tau Delta’s request.

On May 24, 1913, the second chapter of Kappa Delta Rho was founded at Cornell University in upstate New York. In 1936, a member of that chapter, Colston Estey Warne, was a co-founder of Consumers Union and served as President of its Board of Directors for 43 years; the Union is the publisher of Consumer Report. Warne’s wife, Frances Lee Corbett Warne, a Kappa Kappa Gamma, was a dietician. One of their daughters, Barbara Warne Newell, a Vassar alumna, was President of Wellesley College (1971-80) and the first female Chancellor of the State University System of Florida (1981-85).

© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2015. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/

 

 

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Happy Founders’ Day Alpha Delta Pi!

Today, May 15, is Alpha Delta Pi’s Founders’ Day. I have been away from a real computer all day and now with about an hour left to spare before it becomes tomorrow, I wish Alpha Delta Pi a Happy Founders’ Day.

Alpha Delta Pi was founded as the Adelphean Society on May 15, 1851 at Wesleyan Female College in Macon, Georgia. In 1905, the Society changed its name to Alpha Delta Phi. With the installation of its Beta Chapter at Salem College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Alpha Delta Phi became a national organization.

The third chapter was founded at Mary Baldwin Seminary, in Staunton, Virginia, in 1906, the same year that Macon, Georgia was the site of its first national convention. Alpha Delta Phi joined the National Panhellenic Conference in 1909.

The installation of the Sigma Chapter at the University of Illinois in 1912 came shortly after the installation, on the same campus, of the Illinois Chapter of Alpha Delta Phi, a men’s fraternity whose chapters were primarily in the northeast. Alpha Delta Phi, the men’s fraternity, was founded in 1832 at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. The women made their organization aware of this duplication of name and the problems that surfaced because of it. In 1913, the convention body voted to change the name  to Alpha Delta Pi.

Wesleyan  Female College

Alpha Delta Pi, along with Phi Mu, are the two “Macon Magnolias.” On January 4, 1852, Phi Mu, was founded as the Philomathean Society on the same campus. For a little more than 50 years they remained together on the campus. They made their debuts into the Panhellenic world at about the same time. They are the oldest of the secret societies for women.

In 1948, upon her retirement as Grand President, Carolee Strock Stanard spoke to the convention body.Part of her keynote address became The Creed of Alpha Delta Pi.

ADPi creed

 © Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2015. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/

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Commencement and the GLO Member – It’s a Beginning and Not an Ending

To commence is to begin. That college days end with a commencement ceremony is important. For in finishing the degree, one begins a new adventure. On college campuses all across the country and Canada, young men and women are donning caps and gowns and walking across a stage. They are being presented with a diploma cover. Some of those diploma covers will have actual diplomas in them, but colleges and universities usually wait to make sure all is in order with grades, graduation requirements, and the bursar’s office before handing over the diploma itself.

The tradition of wearing GLO stoles and cords has caught on in the last  few decades. The cords are usually intertwined lengths of cording in the GLO’s colors. Some of the stoles are simple with just the Greek letters. Others have chapter names and the graduate’s name embroidered on them.

Graduation 2013 at Westminster College (photo courtesy of Westminster College)

Graduation 2013 at Westminster College (photo courtesy of Westminster College)

Yesterday I spoke with a grandmother who is going to her granddaughter’s graduation this weekend. A few years ago, the grandmother surprised her granddaughter when she pinned on the badge of her GLO during an initiation ceremony. The grandmother had pledged the same chapter 50+ years before. The granddaughter loved her college experience and was lamenting to her grandmother that she can’t believe it’s almost over.

It’s funny how that happens. At the onset, four years seems like a mighty long time. In a little while, the fraternity and sorority members who are among the graduates, will soon realize that they are among the alumnae and alumni of the organization. (The graduates of the women’s GLOs are alumnae, not alumni). The alums always seemed so OLD! The collegiate part of the journey has come to an end. A few lucky ones have been hired by their organizations as traveling consultants. They’ll spend a year visiting chapters, offering advice, and being ambassadors for the organization they represent.

Fraternity and sorority graduates, please note that this is not the end of the membership journey. It is the beginning of your life as an alumna or alumnus. Seize the opportunity to be a part of the alum life of your organization. If there is an alum club/chapter where you’ll be heading, join it. Give to your organization’s foundation. I know you’re probably strapped for cash and don’t have much money. Give up the cost of two grand venti coffees (make your own, it’s a lot cheaper!) and send it to your organization’s foundation. Give at least $10 or $20 this year, and a little more the next year. Get in the habit of giving.

Work for your organization. It can be as simple as being on the lookout for potential new members. Speak of the good things your organization does. Keep current – read the magazine, visit the web-site, sign up for tweets. Volunteer to work with a chapter, or put your name in the hat for committee work. Every national/international officer once was in the same place you find yourself today.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy life ahead. And remember when you speak of your membership in a fraternity or sorority, say  “I am an ABC” not “I was an ABC.”

simone and dan mhc

© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2015. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/

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On Acacia’s Founding Day, the Cliffs Notes Version

In the fall of 1903, two friends, William J. Marshall and Charles A. Sink, met in the University of Michagan library. They had been members of the Masonic Club, which had been founded in 1894; it was no longer a viable organization.  The two were lamenting the club’s demise.

Marshall and Sink along with 12 other men, all Master Masons who had belonged to the defunct Masonic Club, decided to organize it along fraternity lines.  On May 12, 1904, they founded Acacia Fraternity. The organization’s first official meeting was held two days later.

Twenty-five years after the founding, Acacia presented to the University of Michigan a limestone bench with a bronze plaque on it. The bench is located west of Hatcher Library on the Central Campus.

Initially, Acacia membership was restricted to those who were already members of the Masons. In 1931, sons of Masons were added to those who could join Acacia. Two years after that, brothers of Masons and any person recommended by two Masons were eligible for members. In 1960, all Masonic requirements were removed.

Acacia Bench given to the University of Michigan to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Fraternity's founding. (Photo courtesy of UM)

The Acacia Bench given to the University of Michigan to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Fraternity’s founding. (Photo courtesy of UM)

One of Acacia’s noteworthy members is someone whose name, Clifton Keith Hillegass, is virtually unknown outside of Nebraska. However, the product he created, Cliffs Notes, brings back memories of high school English class to those who lived in pre-google days.

In 1988, Hillegass was a recipient of Acacia’s Award of Merit. The award is given members who have “given of their time and substance unstintingly for the promotion and furtherance of Acacia, both nationally and locally, and brothers who have rendered outstanding service in their chosen fields, and have attained high position therein, thus exemplifying the motto of Acacia, human service, and the teachings of the fraternity, which constantly admonish our members to prepare themselves as educated men to take a more active part in their communities.”

An avid reader and lover of literature, Hillegass was the manager of a book company’s wholesale department. In 1958, with a $4,000 loan, he began Cliffs Notes in his basement. By 1989, the company was making $11 million a year, according to Forbes magazine, and there were more than 200 titles in the Cliffs Notes catalog. In 1998, he sold the company. Hillegass died in 2001.

© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2015. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/

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On Mother’s Day, the Sorority and Fraternity Few Want to Join

While it was started as a day to honor mothers, Mother’s Day can be a grim one for many people.  It’s tough for women who want to be mothers but, for whatever reason, can’t have children. It’s a hard day for mothers who have lost children. And it is equally rough for those of us, both men and women, whose mothers are no longer with us. I am a member of the Sorority of Motherless Daughters. It is an organization to which I would rather not belong.  I hear the Fraternity of Motherless Sons has a goodly number of members, too.

In 1914, Woodrow Wilson, a Phi Kappa Psi member, officially proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. One of the earliest efforts. In 1870,  Julia Ward Howe, who would later become an Honorary Initiate of the Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter at Boston University, wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation.” In the aftermath of the American Civil War, Howe’s call to action asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace.A few years later, Howe campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2. Anna Jarvis, following in the footstep of her mother Ann Jarvis, worked relentlessly to get the holiday establish. When commercialism took over, she sought to have the holiday stricken from the calendar.

Woodrow Wilson, Phi Kappa Psi

Woodrow Wilson, Phi Kappa Psi

 

For years after my mother passed away, I would pick up the phone and begin to call her number and then realize that she would not be on the other end of the phone. When she became ill, I spent about six months hopscotching between Florida and Illinois. Once during one of my visits to Florida, my daughter called with the excited news that she had become a legal driver. “Letting go with both hands” were the words I used to describe those six months.

It’s been almost a decade and a half since I lost Mom. And while time does ease the pain somewhat, trying to write even these few paragraphs was hard through tears.  There are days when I just say “I miss my Mommy,” out loud and to no one in particular.

If your Mom is still alive and you haven’t called or visited her yet, get to it. Resolve any petty differences while you still can. Give her extra hugs and kisses. So what if she isn’t the perfect mother? There are no perfect mothers. Parenting is the hardest job in the world. It has long hours, low pay, and no procedure manual to contend with all the problems and issues which are part of the job.  Be sure to thank those women who are like mothers to you.

PiPhiFlowersblog

Since I think it’s always good to add some laughter to the mix, I offer these reflections on my life as a Mother.

One of our daughter’s favorite bedtime stories was a book called Picnic. In it, a family of mice go on a picnic. The book was illustrated by Emily McCully. Our daughter was 18-months-old when her twin brothers were born, so by the end of the day I was usually a bit frazzled. That book, and the Cat in the Hat which I could recite from memory talking a mile a minute thanks to my native New York roots, were two of the old staples. Some days, we would take a long time “reading” Picnic, with stories about each of the mice on the page. Other days, it was a quick story. “Look, Emily and her mouse family go on a picnic. She gets left behind. They come back to get her and they live happily ever after.” That summed up the story. And yes, I named the mouse after the illustrator. It was the easiest way to come up with a name. We had copies of McCully’s other books about the mouse, too. I vividly recall the day that our daughter, who became and still is an avid reader, came home from school and decided to take Picnic off her shelf to read, this time to herself. She came to me with the saddest face and asked me if I knew that the book had no words. It was page after page of wondeful watercolor illustrations. “I loved this story, but there are no words to read.” That’s when we had a little talk about imagination. (I discovered that the book was recently reissued with text and I find that sad.)

Twin A and Twin B were born a minute apart. Between their birth and the time they started kindergarten they spent virtually all of their time together. When it came time to go to school, I took them to the preregistration. They each were “tested” by a different teacher. At the first consultation with teachers, I was told by Twin B’s teacher, “Mrs. Becque, Twin B is about 18 months behind in his development.” I was a little taken aback by that, but said nothing and finished up our meeting. I went to Twin A’s classroom where I was told that Twin A was 18 months ahead in his development. That would make them approximately 3 years apart in their development. Two children who had spent their entire lives playing with each other were three years apart developmentally? I wasn’t buying it. I cornered the twins and asked if they remembered when they had their one-on-one with the teacher. Twin B blurted out, “Yea, and she asked me some really stupid questions, so I gave her really stupid answers.” Into the principal’s office I went to request a retest, this time with Twin B’s assurance that he would not provide stupid answers.

© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2015. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/

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GLO News From Arkansas to Southern Illinois

This has been an important week for Chi Omega. On Wednesday, the Chi Omega Greek Theatre at the University of Arkansas was rededicated after undergoing a renovation. Today, there is a groundbreaking for a new Chi Omega chapter house. My friend Lyn Harris, Chi Omega’s Archivist, is in Fayetteville reveling in all things Chi Omega. Her Facebook feeds tells of her adventures visiting the graves of founder Jobelle Holcombe and Dr. Charles Richardson. She spent some time in the University of Arkansas archives going through items with a Chi Omega connection. She’ll be speaking later today at the groundbreaking for the new Psi chapter house. Do not let the Greek letter designation fool you. The Psi chapter of Chi Omega is the founding chapter. Chi Omega was founded at the University of Arkansas on April 5, 1895.

On June 28, 1930, Chi Omega presented a gift to the University of Arkansas to commemorate its founding at the university. Dr. Richardson and Mary Love Collins, Chi Omega’s National President for 42 years and NPC Chairman from 1919-1921, conceived the idea. Their vision was to create a replica of the Theatre of Dionysus which sits at the foot of the Acropolis in Greece. The cost of the Theatre in 1930 was $31,225 (more than $400,000 in today’s funds).

The Theatre’s five aisles honor the five Chi Omega founders and the columns represent the fourteen original members of the Psi Chapter. Chi Omega’s ideals are expressed in the words on the frieze above the columns – KNOWLEDGE, INTEGRITY, COURAGE, CULTURE and INTELLIGENCE. A tablet bears the inscription, “Given to the University of Arkansas by Chi Omega as an expression of appreciation for its founding and as a symbol of its devotion to the human struggle for enlightenment.”

The Program for the Rededication photo courtesy of Lyn Harris)

The Program for the Rededication  (Photo courtesy of Lyn Harris)

As an outdoor venue, the Theatre has weathered 85 years of Arkansas winters and summers. It was renovated for its 50th anniversary in 1980. On June 23, 1980, a rededication ceremony was held. In 1995, in conjunction with the Centennial of Chi Omega’s founding, it went through another renovation. The  semi-circular wood pergola was disassembled, preserved, and reconstructed in 2006. The most recent renovation included repairs to the columns, steps, and seats. The stucco and limestone was restored. In addition, the lighting and landscaping was updated. 

In 1992, the Chi Omega Greek Theatre was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It  is used for Panhellenic Council Bid Days, concerts, plays, convocations, commencements, and pep rallies during football season.

The Chi Omega Amphitheater at the University of Arkansas

The Chi Omega Amphitheater at the University of Arkansas

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According to my twitter feed, last night was Awards Night for the GLOs at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Congratulations to Dr. Andy Morgan, Dean of Students at SIUC. To honor his more than 25 years of unwavering service and devotion to the SIUC fraternity and sorority community, an award was named in his honor. He was the  first recipient of the Dr. Robert Andrew Morgan Engagement Award. I am certain that the clock began ticking on those 25 years when he became a new member of the Pi Kappa Alpha chapter at SIUC and not when he was officially hired as a Student Development staffer.

It was Andy’s wife Connie, although she wasn’t yet his wife when I first met her, who told me about SIUC’s College Student Personnel program. It was shortly after we moved to Carbondale and I was attending an Alumnae Panhellenic lunch at the Delta Zeta house, where Connie was a chapter adviser. I had been accepted into a graduate program in journalism, but after talking with Connie, I went and spoke with the Director of the College Student Personnel program. That’s when I started researching the history of Greek-letter organizations in earnest. 

Dr. Andy Morgan, the first recipient of an award named in his honor.

Dr. Andy Morgan, the first recipient of an award named in his honor.

Congratulations, Dr. Morgan!

Another picture made me think of Betty Lou Mitchell, who was not only a member of the SIUC English faculty but was also a long-time Alpha Gamma Delta chapter adviser. When I started my master’s thesis on the history of the fraternity system here at SIUC, she was the first person I contacted for information.

The Betty Lou Mitchell Award being presented at the SIUC  IGC Awards Ceremony (photo courtest SIUC IGC)

The Betty Lou Mitchell Award being presented at the SIUC IGC Awards Ceremony (Photo courtest SIUC IGC)

She lived a good deal of SIUC’s GLO history, having been a member of Delta Sigma Epsilon. In 1956, when Delta Sigma Epsilon became a part of Delta Zeta, the chapter at SIUC asked to be released from the terms of the merger since a Delta Zeta chapter had been installed on campus a few years earlier. The undergraduates were released, but the alumnae weren’t. That did not sit well with either group. After much angst and discussion and a year as a local organization, Nu Delta Sigma, as well as intervention by University President Deltye Morris, the alumnae were released from the merger terms. They chose to affiliate with Alpha Gamma Delta and a good many alumnae became initiated members when the chapter was installed. Betty Lou Mitchell was one of those women. It warms my heart to know that her legacy still lives on at the IGC Awards in the form of a scholarship presented by Alpha Gamma Delta.

Mitchell was also SIUC’s unofficial historian. She wrote several books on SIUC’s history including one on the life of Delyte Morris, who, at SIUC’s helm, transformed the institution from its normal school roots to a comprehensive university. If anyone is looking for a copy of Mitchell’s book about Morris, please let me know and I will get you a copy from the Friends of the Library book sale. 

© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2015. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/

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Oldest Fraternity Chapter West of the Mississippi and More!

In 1856, the first railroad bridge across the Mississippi was built. It connected the Rock Island Arsenal in northwestern Illinois to Davenport, Iowa. The Eads Bridge in St. Louis was completed in 1874. Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, was established in 1851.

Although the charter for the Beta Theta Pi chapter at Westminster College was issued in 1860, it was not installed until 1868. From 1861-65, there was a war going on in the country and that may have had something to do with the lapse of time.

The marker at the Alpha Delta chapter of Beta Theta Pi (photo courtesy of Beta Theta Pi)

The marker at the Alpha Delta chapter of Beta Theta Pi (photo courtesy of Beta Theta Pi)

The Alpha Delta chapter of Beta Theta Pi chapter at Westminster College recently dedicated a marker to acknowledge this historic event. It recognizes the chapter as the oldest of any college fraternity in continuous existence west of the Mississippi River. Congratulations Alpha Delta chapter of Beta Theta Pi!

The Alpha Delta chaper of Beta Theta Pi with the marker before it was installed (photo courtesy of Beta Theta Pi)

The Alpha Delta chaper of Beta Theta Pi with the marker before it was installed (photo courtesy of Beta Theta Pi)

 

From my favorite twitter posts….

(And congratulations to Kappa Alpha Theta for a clever and successful campaign to raise $25,000 in celebration of the organization’s 25th anniversary of a partnership with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates), a wonderful program which serves the most vulnerable of children.

“Before I even knew what the word sorority meant, Theta loved me.” —Wesley Ware, .

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5/5/1961 The first American in space is cheered on by his father, Alan Shepard Sr. (Dartmouth 1913).

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Past International President Peg Crawford, alumna of Iota Chapter/U of Illinois, was recently inducted into the..

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Unveiling statue tmrw to honour poem written 100 yrs ago during 2nd Battle of Ypres

McCrae was a Zeta Psi

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fsupanhellenic headed to Nicaragua this morning to break ground on CofS school number 3!

 © Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2015. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/

Posted in Alpha Omicron Pi, Beta Theta Pi, Dartmouth College, Fran Favorite, Kappa Alpha Theta, Phi Gamma Delta, University of Illinois, Zeta Psi | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Phoenix Panhellenic Association’s $700,000+ of Scholarships and a Special Gift

The Phoenix Panhellenic Association (PPA) celebrated its 95th anniversary this weekend. I had the pleasure of being among the women of the PPA; they spend their year raising money to fund scholarships for sorority women attending Arizona universities. Since 1975, the PPA has awarded more than $700,000 in scholarships. Many of this year’s scholarship winners attended the luncheon. In addition, a raffle of gift baskets raised funds for the Circle of Sisterhood. It was wonderful to be among such an impressive group!

In 1920, Phoenix had no air conditioning and 29,000 residents. Some of those residents were sorority women. A 1919 Alpha Phi Quarterly included a short blurb titled “A DESERT PANHELLENIC.” I suspect the organization had a meeting or two before it was officially chartered. The article continued, “A city Panhellenic in far off Phoenix, Arizona, is the latest addition to the roll. Sixteen fraternity women representing eleven national sororities organized at a lunch and laid the foundation of a permanent Panhellenic group. The sororities represented were KKΓ, KAΘ, ΠBΦ, ΓΦB, ΣAΙ, XΩ, ΔΔΔ, AΟΠ, AΓ (likely a typo, my guess is ΔΓ), BΣΟ and AXΩ.” Margaret Mae Hurley, an Alpha Omicron Pi from the University of California – Berkeley was the first president of the PPA.

photo 1 (23)

In 1938, there were more than 300 members of the PPA. At that point, a dance in the spring helped raise money for a scholarship loan program which was available to women attending college in Arizona.

To read more about the PPA see http://www.phoenixpanhellenic.com/ and to read the wonderful history compiled by Susan Norman, Delta Zeta, see  http://us3.campaign-archive2.com/?u=b3aad23c91eb472f2cf21b6c2&id=ae4c8c62aa

Raffle supporting Circle of Sisterhood

The gift basket raffle proceeds supported the Circle of Sisterhood.

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I’ve been wanting to post this, but just didn’t get the opportunity. Kudos to the Gamma Phi Betas at the University of Southern California. They coordinated a fund raising effort among the chapter alumnae, undergraduates and their parents and presented their long-time housekeeper, Fannie Randle, with a check to purchase a car.

http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/california-sorority-surprises-housekeeper-21000-car/story?id=30731950

 © Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2015. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/

Posted in Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Phi Quarterly, Fran Favorite, Gamma Phi Beta, University of California at Berkeley | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off