A Messy Desk Must Mean I’m Laboring on Labor Day

I’ve been writing. In fact, I’ve been writing a lot. Ice pack and Advil a lot.

As a freelance project, I am writing about the history of a chapter of a men’s fraternity at a particular university. I love learning more about that organization and that campus, so it has been a fun, albeit long and tedious, process. Telling more than a century of history in an informative, yet easy to read fashion, is not as easy as one might think. Making sure the facts align can be a bit challeging, too.

For fun I am writing these blog posts. I can’t say I am making any money off of them as the cheezy advertising is not very productive (although if you need to order anything from the ubiquitous on-line merchant, please go through the links on the side and I might be thrown a few pennies). I keep doing it because I love to tell stories. And I love getting e-mails and comments from old friends and new ones. And I enjoy hearing stories from them, too. In response to the post on the G.I. Bill a few days ago, my friend Betsy told me this wonderful story.

My Dad came home from WWII  (he joined right out of high school well before Pearl Harbor) after serving on a Navy carrier in the Pacific theater. My Mom and her family encouraged him to get his college degree while my Mom taught school. I was 2 1/2 and my brother a newborn when Dad began college at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine utilizing the G. I. Bill!

He joined Lambda Chi Alpha at the urging of my Mom’s Dad who was initiated into Lambda Chi Alpha at Worcester Tech College somewhere around 1910 or so. Lambda Chi at U of Maine reached out to the returning vets at U of Maine and encouraged them to join as did most of the fraternities on campus.

One of my earliest memories is attending the Sunday dinners that were held for the Lambda Chi members and their families to help them out. The housemother became like surrogate grandmother for each of us!

This was typical of each of the fraternities on campus at that time as my Mom told me. It provided an excellent meal and social interaction and friends for the “older” students/ returning vets and their families. This made a huge difference in their lives at that time. The bonds of brotherhood forged by this membership in Lambda Chi made a big difference as the vets return to civilian lives. It also provided a path to friendship for their wives with other veterans’s wives who had similar experiences while their husbands were at war providing a needed outlet for them too!

To pay it forward, I am working on a few Pi Phi things – a talk at Officer’s Worskhop which needs a  good deal of fun research, some archives projects, and three upcoming posts for Pi Phi blog. I love what I do for Pi Beta Phi and I am grateful for the opportunity to do it.

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The items pictured above are some of the things that are on my desk right now. The coaster with the old school Syracuse logo was purchased 100 years ago, most likely when I was a freshman during the Ford Administration. It’s not the best coaster for a glass of ice water; the water just pools up and overflows, but I use it anyway. The Mount Holyoke calendar on the left features on the cover the Dale Chihuly sculpture which was recently installed in the library. I need to make it my business to see it in person (when the Missouri Botanical Gardens  hosted a Chihuly exhibit we were able to get up before it closed and I am so glad we did. I love blown glass!).

There’s a card to hand to prospective members of the Carbondale Rotary Club – Breakfast inviting them to a meeting. I haven’t been very successful in that regard, but it is a good idea. There’s a place card for the wedding of my daughter’s best friend, Katharine (a Delta Gamma, by the way). It’s funny because I often forget I have a Ph.D. and I am usually startled when someone addresses me as “Dr. Becque.” Katharine’s mom has a Ph.D., so I wasn’t surprised when I saw “Drs.” on the place card. Just be warned that I am not good in medical emergencies.

Happy Labor Day!

P.S. That’s a staged photo. You really don’t want to know what my desk looks like right now!

© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. 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 Fran Favorite, GLO, Greek-letter Organization, Greek-letter Organization History, Lambda Chi Alpha, Mount Holyoke College, Syracuse University, University of Maine | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

8/30/1912 + Bishop Kelly + 10 Founders = Happy 102 Years Theta Phi Alpha!

A few men have had roles in the founding of National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) sororities. Dr. Wellesley P. Coddington (Syracuse Triad), George Banta (Delta Gamma), and Dr. Charles Richardson (Chi Omega) are some whose names quickly come to mind. Of that small fraternity of men involved in the founding of NPC organizations, there is only one Catholic Bishop. 

On August 30, 1912, Theta Phi Alpha was founded at the University of Michigan. Although founded on August 30, Theta Phi Alpha celebrates Founders’ Day on April 30, the Feast Day of St. Catherine of Siena.* St. Catherine is the patroness of the organization and her motto, “Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring, ” is Theta Phi Alpha’s motto as well.

In 1909, Father Edward D. Kelly, a Catholic priest and the pastor of the university’s student chapel organized Omega Upsilon. He believed that the Catholic women at the university should have the opportunity to belong to an organization  that “resembled the Catholic homes from which they came.” At that time, Catholics were not always welcome in the other fraternal organizations on campus.

After Father Kelly left campus and became the Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit, Omega Upsilon was struggling.  There were no alumnae to guide the organization. Bishop Kelly’s vision that the Catholic women at Michigan should have a place to call their own was still alive even though he was not on campus. He enlisted the assistance of Amelia McSweeney, a 1898 University of Michigan alumna. Together with seven Omega Upsilon alumnae, plans were made to establish a new organization, Theta Phi Alpha.

Theta Phi Alpha’s ten founders are Amelia McSweeney, Mildred M. Connely, May C. Ryan, Selma Gilday, Camilla Ryan Sutherland, Helen Ryan Quinlan, Katrina Caughey Ward, Dorothy Caughey Phalan, Otilia Leuchtweis O’Hara, and Eva Stroh Bauer.  Seven of them were Omega Upsilon alumnae and two were undergraduate members of Omega Upsilon.

Theta Phi Alpha remained a local organization until 1919 when the Beta Chapter was formed at the University of Illinois. In addition, chapters at Ohio State University, Ohio University and the University of Cincinnati were chartered that year.

In 1921, Pi Lambda Sigma was founded as a Catholic sorority at Boston University. On June 28, 1952, Pi Lambda Sigma merged with Theta Phi Alpha. Its members at Boston University and the University of Cincinnati became members of the Theta Phi Alpha chapters on the two campuses. The chapter at Creighton University became the Chi Chapter of Theta Phi Alpha in the fall of 1952 and the Quincy College chapter became the Psi Chapter of Theta Phi Alpha in 1954.

Today, just as other organizations have accepted Catholic women, Theta Phi Alpha is open to women of all religions. 

Bishop Edward Kelly as a young priest. He was in his 50s when he helped found Theta Phi Alpha.

Bishop Edward Kelly as a young priest. He was in his 50s when he helped found Theta Phi Alpha.

** Saint Catherine was canonized in 1461. From 1597 until 1628, the feast of Saint Catherine of Sienna was celebrated on April 29, the date she died. In 1628, due to a conflict with the feast of Saint Peter of Verona, hers was moved to April 30. In 1969, the Catholic Church reinstated her feast date as April 29. 

© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. 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 Founders' Day, Fran Favorite, Theta Phi Alpha, University of Michigan | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The G.I. Bill Changed the Face of Higher Education

Monday’s post, “A Memory of Fraternities” came back to me as I was reading a 1945 report from a fraternity chapter at the University of Illinois, “As did everyone, we had the strange problem during rushing of not knowing some of our brothers, as well as the rushees, for we have men back from as far as the class of ’42.” 

The two institutions from which I graduated, Syracuse University and Southern Illinois University Carbondale owe much to the men who took advantage of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of June 22, 1944, commonly known as the G. I. Bill. It had six titles, only one of which dealt with the education and training of veterans. Yet, the educational benefits of the G. I. Bill have become a benchmark for higher education. More than two million World War II veterans attended college courtesy of the G. I. Bill. Both Syracuse and SIUC met the challenge of enrolling and educating those returning G.I.s and both institutions changed and grew from the utter chaos the challenge brought with it.

Economics, not education, was the original intent behind the legislation. The nation had been through an economic depression prior to its involvement in World War II. The wartime economy had improved, but President Roosevelt was aware that unleashing significant numbers of returning veterans into a peacetime economy at the war’s end might prove disastrous. Roosevelt’s first mention of educating returning veterans was on November 13, 1942, the day he signed into law a Selective Service Act amendment lowering the draft age to 18.

On December 19, 1945, the Senate approved several amendments to Title II, the education component of the G. I. Bill. The benefits were no longer restricted to those servicemen under 25 years of age, more time was allotted for the completion of a degree, and monthly subsistence allowances were raised $15 per month. Single veterans would get $65 per month allowance and those with dependents would receive $90.

The American Council on Education [ACE] aided the institutions by providing information on the 800 training courses taught by the armed forces. George P. Tuttle, Registrar at the University of Illinois, headed the committee which produced A guide to the evaluation of education experiences in the Armed Services. It first appeared in loose-leaf format and was released as a completed edition in 1946. Tuttle’s guide provided the institutions a standard for granting credit based on military training.

The influx of servicemen to American colleges and universities following their discharge from the armed forces caused significant growth of several major universities and made higher education available to a greater number of Americans. During the later half of the 1940s accommodating veterans, and in many cases, their families, became a challenge for universities such as the University of Wisconsin, Syracuse University, and the University of Michigan.

The peak of veteran enrollment occurred in the fall of 1947; institutions scrambled to find housing, instructors, and classrooms to accommodate the record numbers of students. Not all institutions were affected, however. Since Uncle Sam was footing the bill, many veterans sought out the best institutions their academic records would allow. Ivy League schools, large state universities, and prestigious small liberal arts schools were popular with the returning veterans.

The G. I. Bill spawned several changes on college campuses. Many of the veterans were the first in their family to ever attend college. This opened higher education’s door those who would not have previously attended college. Married students became an accepted part of higher education. As older students, the veterans proved that one did not have to be a teenager to enroll and excel. The Korean War and the Vietnam War had their own G. I. Bills. Today the Veteran’s Administration provides educational benefits to those veterans who qualify. 

A post-World War II quonset at Syracuse University. It was there when I attended Syracuse and was torn down in the early 1980s. (Photo courtesy of the Syracuse University Archives)

A post-World War II quonset at Syracuse University. It was there when I attended Syracuse and was torn down in the early 1980s. (Photo courtesy of the Syracuse University Archives)

© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. 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 Fran Favorite, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Syracuse University | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

2014 Emmys and the 19th Amendment

Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 Emmy Awards. Phi Gamma Delta Seth Meyers hosted the event which took place yesterday, on a Monday night. Congratulations to the members of Greek-letter organizations who won Emmys. They include:

Ty Burrell, Sigma Chi, Modern Family, Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series. 

Jim Parsons, Pi Kappa Alpha, Big Bang Theory, Outstanding Lead Actor in a  Comedy Series.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Delta Gamma, Veep, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

Kathy Bates, Alpha Delta Pi, American Horror Story: Coven, Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie.

For the list of sorority women who have won Emmys, see http://wp.me/p20I1i-17T

***

Carrie Chapman Catt

Carrie Chapman Catt

It’s Women’s Equality Day! The 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote was certified on this date in 1920. The House of Representatives passed the amendment on May 21, 1919. The Senate followed two weeks later. On August 18, 1920, the amendment passed its final hurdle of obtaining the agreement of three-fourths of the states as Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify it. Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the ratification on August 26, 1920. Colby was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi chapter at Williams College.

Sorority women including Carrie Chapman Catt and E. Jean Nelson Penfield worked for the passage of the 19th Amendment. There are several posts about women’s suffrage on this blog including http://wp.me/p20I1i-c2.

© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. 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 Delta Pi, Delta Gamma, Fran Favorite, Phi Gamma Delta, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Chi | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A “Memory of Fraternities” and Nile Kinnick in a 1945 Hawkeye

As I was working the Friends of Carbondale Public Library book sale on Saturday, I took a break and looked through the yearbooks we have for sale. Most are Obelisks from Southern Illinois University, but there was a copy of the 1945 Hawkeye from the University of Iowa. I turned to the sorority section to see if there was anything interesting on the Pi Beta Phi page. Each sorority had a two-page spread. When I turned to the fraternity section, all that was included was this page, titled “A Memory of Fraternities” followed by a page about the Interfraternity Council and another page listing the fraternities.

photo 4 (3)

For a second, it caught me off-guard. Then I remembered that by 1945, most college-aged men were out of classes and in the armed forces. That is the likely reason that the fraternities did not have individual pages. 

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The Interfraternity Council page above includes this information, “The Council set up the Nile Kinnick Memorial Award in memory of the great All-American of ’39 who was killed in the Pacific war theatre. It is to be given each year to the boy seeming to best exemplify the standards of leadership, scholarship, and athletic ability.”

Of course, I had to find out more about Nile Kinnick. Not being a football fan (an understatement!), I had to do a quick google search. It turned up the text of his 1939 Heisman Trophy speech which included this line, “I thank God I was warring on the gridirons of the Midwest and not on the battlefields of Europe.” 

Was he a fraternity man? When I found out he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi, I knew that there would be more information courtesy of my Phi Psi friends, Historian Mike McCoy and Archivist Timothy Tangen. I did a quick search of the @PhiPsiArchives twitter feed and voila! 

1939 Heisman Trophy recipient Nile Kinnick, Iowa Alpha 1939, born 7/9/1918 in Adel, Iowa.

This tweet includes a link to a YouTube video produced by the University of Iowa. Although it is a bit long, it is worth it to see a 1930s pep rally, vintage football moves, the football star getting on a train to New York City, and it is a chance to listen to his humble Heisman speech. My husband was drinking his coffee when he heard me start the video. “What’s that?” he asked. When I mentioned that it was about “some football player named Nile Kinnick,” he said, “Kinnick Stadium at Iowa?”

Yes, the Iowa football stadium is named in his honor. There is a larger than life statue of him in front of it. The Iowa Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi is also proud of their brother. Kinnick a Phi Beta Kappa graduate, was enrolled in law school at Iowa and helping to coach the football team when he answered his call to serve the country.

Phi Psi Archives ‏@PhiPsiArchives  Nov 7  On display at Iowa Alpha: Nile Kinnick-signed football, recently purchased by chapter, shown with a Kinnick bust.

“On display at Iowa Alpha: Nile Kinnick-signed football, recently purchased by chapter, shown with a Kinnick bust.” (picture and text from the @PhiPsiArhives November 7 tweet)

There is a big celebration in the works! This is from the website of Phi Psi’s Iowa Alpha Chapter:

Celebrate Brother Kinnick’s Legacy at the 2nd Annual Phi Psi Alumni Reunion
This upcoming football season marks 75 years since Nile Kinnick and the 1939 Ironmen squad stunned the nation. During the Ball State football game on September 6th, Iowa Alpha will be recognized for their contribution to the legacy of Nile Kinnick and the University of Iowa. In front of over 70,000 avid Hawkeye fans, Iowa Alpha’s intent to loan the original bust of Nile Kinnick and the football autographed by the 1939 Ironmen squad to the University for display will be announced. Phi Psi’s $100,000 endowment of the Nile C. Kinnick Scholarship Fund and the opportunity to apply for the scholarship will also be announced at the game. Don’t miss this important moment in Iowa Alpha history. 

For more information about Kinnick, see the links in these @PhiPsiArchives tweets:

This lengthy article, “Nile Kinnick: An American Hero,” is from Sports Illustrated in 1987.
remembers Nile Kinnick in this 2005 tribute: His Wikipedia bio:

Kinnick was a prolific letter writer and his family gave his letters to the library. The University of Iowa Library’s Special Collections include the Nile C. Kinnick papers. The collection has been digitized and is available at http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/kinnick/

© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. 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 Fran Favorite, Phi Kappa Psi, University of Iowa | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Thank You @CanadianGreeks

Canadian Greeks ‏@CanadianGreeks
Fun fact: Maryon Moody Pearson ( ) famously said “Behind every successful man, there stands a surprised woman”
Maryon Moody and Lester Pearson on their wedding day, Aug. 22, 1925.  Gauvin, Gentzel Ltd./National Archives of Canada C-068799

Maryon Moody, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Lester Pearson, Delta Upsilon, on their wedding day, Aug. 22, 1925. Pearson served as Canada’s 14th Prime Minister.
(photo: Gauvin, Gentzel Ltd./National Archives of Canada C-068799)

That fun fact, posted on the Pearson’s 89th wedding anniversary made me smile this morning. I was planning a post about the Amyotrophic Lateral  Sclerosis (ALS) Ice Bucket Challenge, but I am knee deep in the quagmire of writing something for a payment; getting paid is  a good situation but it’s a little unsettling when things are going rather slowly and there seems to be quicksand between paragraphs.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is genius. I remember an ice bucket challenge earlier this year, in winter, and I think it was in support of breast cancer. The speed and strength of the ALS Ice Bucket challenge will take its place in the record books someday. In the United States, ALS is better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease after the New York Yankee and Phi Delta Theta who was struck down in the prime of his career. I have a post about him at http://wp.me/p20I1i-1Iu

In gratitude to the person behind he @CanadianGreeks tweet for the laugh this morning, I am rerunning a post about Canadian Greek-Letter Organizations.

Zeta Psi became the first fraternity in Canada when its chapter at the University of Toronto was chartered on March 27, 1879. Zeta Psi’s Grand Chapter met in 1877 and it was agreed that the fraternity should venture into Canada. The Xi Chapter at the University of Michigan was given the task of founding a chapter at the University of Toronto. It was a challenging task given what travel and communications were like in the 1870s, but the Michigan Zeta Psi’s were successful. The chapter designation, Theta Xi, honored the efforts of the Michigan chapter by incorporating the “Xi” into its name.

The chapter remained the sole fraternity on the University of Toronto campus until the 1890s when they were joined by Kappa Alpha Society, Alpha Delta Phi, Phi Kappa Sigma, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Delta Upsilon, and Delta Chi.

The first National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) women’s organization at the University of Toronto was Kappa Alpha Theta. According to Theta’s 1956 history, We Who Wear Kites,  “A letter from M.R Robertson of the University of Toronto explained that ‘one of the Zetas’ had given the seven girls of a local group ‘information about society matters and also your address.’ After favorable action by the Convention in 1887, Anna Louis Benham of Iota (Cornell University) was sent to Toronto to initiate the seven.”

The Sigma Chapter was chartered in 1887 giving Theta the distinction of being the first women’s fraternity in Canada. The faculty had a strong feeling against the Greek-letter organizations and the seven women who were initiated kept their membership a secret. By 1899, the chapter became dormant.  In 1905, Sigma Chapter was revived. It was was soon followed by Alpha Phi in 1906 and Pi Beta Phi in 1908.

In 1883, McGill University’s fraternity system came to life when Zeta Psi chartered a second Canadian chapter.  Again, as in the case of the University of Toronto, Zeta Psi was the only sole fraternity there in the 1880s. In the 1890s, it was joined by Alpha Phi Delta, Delta Upsilon, and Kappa Alpha Society. In 1922, Delta Phi Epsilon became the first NPC group to establish a chapter at McGill.

Today, there have been more than 150 chapters of North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) men’s fraternities and more than 75 NPC organization chapters at Canadian institutions. About three-quarters of those chapters are currently active. There are also many local fraternities and sororities.

© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. 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 Delta Upsilon, Fran Favorite, GLO, Greek-letter Organization, Greek-letter Organization History, Kappa Kappa Gamma, National Panhellenic Conference, NIC, North-American Interfraternity Conference, Phi Delta Theta | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost in 1887, Making Sorority Connections, Wasting Time

I am knee-deep in the 1880s researching an upcoming talk. I’m going through an 1887 Arrow of Pi Beta Phi which has the organization’s first directory of members included in it. My mind is wandering to all corners of the earth.

Some of the names I am looking for are in the listing for Illinois Alpha at Monmouth College, even though the chapter, along with the other Greek-letter organizations at the college, was forced to close by college authorities. One member of the class of 1884 resided in Sparta, Illinois. Sparta is about 45 minutes from where I live. I can only imagine how long it took to get to Monmouth, today a good four+ hours drive at 70 mph, back in the 1880s. Sparta has many wonderful old homes. Did she live in one of them?

One of Pi Beta Phi’s founders, Jennie Horne Turnbull, was living in Argyle, New York, very close to the Vermont border. I knew she later lived in the Philadelphia area, but I didn’t know she spent some time in upstate New York. Her great-granddaughter is a Pi Phi and is a chapter sister of a very good friend of mine. I wonder if the family knows why Jennie lived in Argyle. 

The Lombard College chapter has alumnae as far east as N. Montpelier, Vermont, and Camden, Maine, and as far west as Santa Cruz and Passadena (sic), California. All are very far from Galesburg, Illinois, where Lombard College, founding site of Alpha Xi Delta, was located. Are those their hometowns, where they spent their childhoods, or did they merely end up in those locales after college, and perhaps marriage?

In the Carthage College chapter listing, I find Minnie McDill. It was before she married Thomas Hanna McMichael. He served as President of Monmouth College. Minnie was instrumental in bringing the Greek-letter organizations back to Monmouth College. She spearheaded the reestablishment of the Pi Beta Phi chapter after she and her husband accompanied Clara Brownlee Hutchinson, a founder, to the 1927 Pequot convention to plead the case of Zeta Epsilon Chi, the local organization which hoped to bring the Pi Phi charter back to Monmouth. Minnie died a short time after she coordinated the installation festivities. We have letters Minnie wrote to Grand President, Amy Burnham Onken, who though short of stature, was a most formidable figure. Minnie wants to install the chapter as quickly as possible; Miss Onken, as she was called, wants to take some time to plan things. My money would have been on Miss Onken to win out. However, Minnie was the victor. I wonder if she knew that her time was almost up and she was bound and determined to see that Illinois Alpha back on campus before she passed on.

Evelyn Peters Kyle, a member of the Illinois Alpha Chapter of Pi Beta  Phi at Monmouth College. Her grandmother Mollie Duryea Sage was a member of Pi Phi's third chapter at Mount Pleasant Seminary.

Evelyn Peters Kyle, a member of the Illinois Alpha Chapter of Pi Beta Phi at Monmouth College. Her grandmother, Mollie Duryea Sage, was a member of Pi Phi’s third chapter at Mount Pleasant Seminary.

The Iowa Wesleyan College chapter listing was the only one to include the degrees earned by its members. I spy my dear departed friend Evelyn Peters Kyle’s grandmother among the members. Her grandmother was part of our third chapter, the one at Mount Pleasant Seminary. When the chapter closed, the alumnae were included in with the Iowa Wesleyan alumnae for some long forgotten reason.

Another Iowa Wesleyan alumna is in Baxter Springs, I.T. That must be “Indian Territory” (I find Baxter Springs, Kansas, in a quick google search). One alumna has a Ph.D. There are M.S. and M.D. after another Iowa Wesleyan name. I want to find out more about the medical doctor so I google her. In 1892, she died of pneumonia on my birthday.

Anna Lawson’s address is Barielly, India; her Iowa Wesleyan classmate Hattie Gassner Torrance is listed as living in Teheren (sic), Persia. A Simpson College Pi Phi is listed in Shatahapore (sic), India. Today, an Iowan could probably get to any of those places in a day or two. I can only imagine the trek in the 1880s when the primary way to coordinate plans on the other side of the world was through pen, paper, envelope, and stamp topped with a healthy dose of patience.

Carrie Lane Chapman is among the Iowa State University Pi Phis. She is listed as living in San Francisco. There she become a widow for the first time. She would soon marry George Catt.

The listing for the University of Kansas chapter includes Gertrude Boughton Blackwelder, class of 1875. She would later be one of the speakers at the 1893 Fraternity Day at the Chicago World’s Fair (see http://wp.me/p20I1i-hk).

Hattie Ritz, a member of the University of Denver chapter, lists her hometown as Walla Walla, W.T. The W.T. must mean Washington Territory because Washington did not become a state until 1889.

The chapter at Hillsdale College was then the youngest on the fraternity roll. Nine members, the ones whose names are on the charter, are listed. Two of them, Belle Armstrong and Myra Brown, not seemingly biological sisters, are from Newark, Illinois, west of Chicago in rural northern Illinois. Did they travel together to college? Did they consult each other on the decision to attend Hillsdale, or did they do so independently? Inquiring minds want to know! I had to search for my copy of the history my friend Penny Proctor wrote on the occasion of Michigan Alpha’s 125th anniversary in 2012. I knew where the book was, but I spent a good five minutes staring at the shelf before it jumped out at me. From Penny’s research, it seems that Belle and Myra did not return from Newark for the following year’s studies. I really should go to my collection of subsequent Pi Phi directories and see if I can uncover what became of Belle and Myra. My curiosity is piqued, but today’s to-do list prohibits me from going there. (Alas, Penny has come to my rescue, the Browns sent 3 daughters to Hillsdale, one of whom was a good friend of Belle Armstrong. Myra didn’t return due to failing health, and she died in 1900, but in 1898 she wrote the chapter apologizing that she could no longer afford to pay $1 for her subscription to The Arrow! Belle taught school until she married, and eventually moved to Cedar Rapids, where she became a member of the alumnae club.”)

What should have been a quick, look it up, get out of there, research foray turned into a few hours scanning pages and making connections. As you may surmise, it is one of my favorite ways to waste time. And if you’ve made it to this paragraph, you’ve wasted some time, too, reading about it. My heartfelt gratitude to you!

(c) Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. 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 Xi Delta, Fran Favorite, Pi Beta Phi, The Arrow of Pi Beta Phi | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Welcome New GLO Members!!!

My friend, an anthropologist, occasionally reads this blog. The topics really aren’t of interest to her, but every now and then she’ll remark on something I’ve written. I am not sure she understands Greek-letter organizations at all, but she knows that is my field of interest and where my passion is, so she indulges me. I recently accompanied her on 240-mile trip to her dentist and back; during the four hours of driving, we caught up in what we were both doing.

“Your life would be different had you not joined,” she remarked at mile 95. Her insight was spot on. It reminded me of a poem, Loyal Ties,  written by a Pi Phi whose friendship I treasured, Evelyn Peters Kyle, a former Grand Council member. “So think what your life might have been, If Pi Phi hadn’t said, ‘Come in!’”

I consider myself an “Accidental Sorority Woman.” My only reason for signing up for recruitment at Syracuse University was to go on house tours and see the insides of the houses. The New York Alpha Chapter of Pi Beta Phi fit me like the world’s most comfortable shoe, and much to my surprise, I became a member.

Clueless is the only word I can use to describe my recruitment and new member days. The 1970s were not kind to the Greek system at Syracuse; 25 of the 26 National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) organizations have been there at one time or another (FYI – Sigma Sigma Sigma is the only hold-out). When I went through recruitment, there were no more than 15 NPC chapters on campus, and one group had no members, only sorority personnel recruiting for a new member class.

My chapter faced a number of challenges and I learned many lessons. No doubt, my life would be very different had I not joined, or had I resigned my membership when a group of women I considered my closest friends left the organization.  I met my husband during my senior year when his sister, a new member, moved into the house after the Christmas break. We were married ten months later (and no, I wasn’t pregnant). That year, my future sister-in-law was the chapter’s convention delegate. She, not me, was there when I was named that year’s Chapter Service Award winner. It was an honor like no other. Since that time, I have shared my time, talents, and treasures with Pi Beta Phi. I have tried to play it forward and regift the faith which was placed in me. 

Panhellenic recruitment is in full swing. Wonderful women are being courted to become new members. There are many factors that come into play during recruitment. While I wish every recruitment had a fairy tale ending, that’s just not realistic. Sometimes, women do not match up with the chapter they want the most. Some women drop out of recruitment rather than have the experience play out any other way than what they deem as perfect. It is truly their loss. I feel for the woman who drops out rather than have the  sorority experience in a chapter other than the one she decided on before she even stepped in the door. I know very few people, perhaps none, whose life hasn’t been touched by a curve ball or two (or three). Dealing with these curve balls is a valuable life lesson and helps make us who we are. 

And most of all, I feel the best part of being in a fraternity or sorority is in giving to it, not taking from it. That’s hard to comprehend when new members are being showered with love and gifts. Enjoy the experience, because it will soon be the new members turn to accept the mantle of leadership. To paraphrase President John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your GLO can do for you, ask what you can do for your GLO.”

Women going through recruitment might want to read my previous posts on the 4 Bs of Sorority Recruitment http://wp.me/p20I1i-1L5 and the ABCs of NPC History  http://wp.me/p20I1i-1Id.

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(c) Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. 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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Indianapolis Alumnae Panhellenic Approaches the Century Mark

“Indianapolis boasts a local Pan-Hellenic, representing thirteen fraternities. 
Since its establishment during the winter, two luncheons have been given and well attended, and at present, this organization is establishing a scholarship fund, part of the money to be furnished by the different alumnae clubs in this city.” This mention of the Indianapolis City Panhellenic appeared in the May 1915 Arrow of Pi Beta Phi. Two years later, in the same publication, a mention was made that the Indianapolis City Panhellenic had established a scholarship fund.

Now known as the Indianapolis Alumnae Panhellenic, it continues awarding scholarships. Sorority women whose permanent residence is in the greater Indianapolis area (Boone, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Johnson, Marion, Morgan, and Shelby counties) and attend an Indiana college/university are eligible to apply provided they have a a 3.0 or higher accumulative GPA. 

The women who received scholarships for  2013-14 are: Madison A. Brake, Zeta Tau Alpha, Indiana University; Prachi Gupta, Gamma Phi Beta, Indiana University; Zanzaiah Kidwell, Pi Beta Phi, Butler University; and Caitlin G. Wunderlin, Pi Beta Phi, Butler University. Each year, an outstanding senior sorority woman from the Indianapolis area attending an Indiana college/university is recognized for her achievements with the Outstanding Senior Award.

On Sunday, October 12, 2014, the Indianapolis Alumnae Panhellenic will celebrate its century of service, scholarship, and sisterhood. The venue is the  Indiana Landmarks Center in Indianapolis and the speaker will be me. There will also be  a traditional high tea, and an exhibit of historic memorabilia.

If you are in the Indianapolis area, I hope you will attend. After all, this event only takes place once in a hundred years and the women who had the foresight and commitment to form this organization are not around to celebrate it. Let’s honor them and their efforts.

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Jane Sutton, Alpha Xi Delta and former National Panhellenic Conference Chairman, wrote a guest post about Alumnae Panhellenics which appeared on this blog in January 2013. It is at http://wp.me/p20I1i-Am

(c) Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. 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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Safe Travels, GLO Leadership Consultants/Field Secretaries

Last month, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to the 2014-15 Pi Beta Phi Leadership Development Consultants about chapter archives and the treasures they might contain. This talented, energetic, and well-trained group of Pi Phis has already left on their adventures. Some of them are assigned to new chapters or soon to be colonized chapters, others will be travelling around the country, gathering up airline mileage points as they go from chapter to chapter.

This is the time of year when Field Secretaries/Leadership Consultants/Chapter Consultants, et al. begin their travels. For a year (or maybe two or three or more), the consultant will visit his/her organization’s chapters and offer advice, fellowship and encouragement for improving the chapter. They’ll likely meet with a college or university staff member, chapter advisor(s), alumni/ae, and do their best to facilitate communication between the chapter and these entities. The history of the positions vary from organization to organization.

I am not sure if anyone has written the definitive history of GLO Field Secretaries. Banta’s Greek Exchange and The Fraternity Month might have done an article or two about Field Secretaries, but I do not have a complete collection of either publication to peruse.

For my own organization, Pi Beta Phi, the Consultant program began officially in 1968 when a Kansas State University Pi Phi, Martha Reynolds (White), was assigned to visit chapters during the 1968-69 academic year. However, there was use of Pi Phis, both undergraduates and graduates, as early as the 1930s. Pi Phis from around the country were hand-picked to help with colonizations, and for some selected Pi Phis, it meant spending a senior year on a different campus, helping charter a new chapter.

Current Pi Phi Grand President Paula Pace Shepherd, an initiate of the University of North Texas chapter, served as a Travelling Graduate Consultant (as they were then known) for the 1984-85 academic year. However, Beth van Maanen Beatty, Pi Phi’s Grand President from 1995-2001, served as a consultant for one of the Florida chapters after her graduation from Texas Tech University in the 1950s.

Delta Gamma Frances Lewis Stevenson was a Field Secretary for Delta Gamma in 1947. She worked in many capacities at Delta Gamma Headquarters including Anchora Editor, Archives Director, and Director of Communications and Information. The organization’s Archives is named in her honor.

From my friend, Jan Hutchins, I received this information about Alpha Xi Delta’s consultant history, “AXiD’s leadership consultant program began in 1956-57, with one ‘field counselor.’ The first formal training for the counselors began in 1966. Since then the team has grown; we now have 15 ‘Educational Leadership Consultants’ — ELCs — and 2 Leadership Coaches (LCs). Among the women who have served Alpha Xi Delta is Ginny Carroll, Circle of Sisterhood founder, and Jan included a picture of Ginny and her fellow consultants.

I have several friends who served as Consultants for their organizations. (I hope they don’t become former friends, for I have “borrowed” these pictures from their Facebook pages. Being my friend evidently means you never know when you’ll show up in a blog post.)

AGD

Alpha Gamma Delta Consultants 1974-75

If you look closely at the pant suits, you will see a patch on the jacket’s lower left side. It is the Alpha Gamma Delta armorial bearings.

 Some backstory: we went shopping (L.S.Ayres in Indy) for the pant suits. I already had a dark green one, so I picked beige (sort of buff). We sewed on the embroidered patches. Going up the staircase: Lorie Freeman (Ermak), Alpha Upsilon; Kathy Lee (Holle), Beta Beta; Nann Blaine (Hilyard), Epsilon Alpha); and Sandra Sarff, Delta Eta. I had two huge gold Samsonite suitcases and a gold corduroy tote for those notebooks. I remember sending a box of clothing home in mid-September. [Nowadays I am a much more efficient packer!].....I think that pantsuit is still in a box in the attic and one of these days I will send it to IHQ for the archives.

From Nann Blaine Hilyard: “Some backstory: we went shopping (L.S.Ayres in Indy) for the pant suits. I already had a dark green one, so I picked beige (sort of buff). We sewed on the embroidered patches. Going up the staircase: Lorie Freeman (Ermak), Alpha Upsilon; Kathy Lee (Holle), Beta Beta; Nann Blaine (Hilyard), Epsilon Alpha); and Sandra Sarff, Delta Eta. I had two huge gold Samsonite suitcases and a gold corduroy tote for those notebooks. I remember sending a box of clothing home in mid-September. [Nowadays I am a much more efficient packer!]…..I think that pantsuit is still in a box in the attic and one of these days I will send it to IHQ for the archives.”

 

Chi Omega’s Archivist, Lyn Harris, a Mercer University alumna, served Chi Omega as a Graduate Consultant and later as a staff member.

Chi Omega Archivist Lyn Harris served as a Chi Omega National Consultant in the late 1980s.

Chi Omega Archivist Lyn Harris served as a Chi Omega National Consultant in the late 1980s. That is a Liz Claiborne blazer and a black skirt of which Lyn said, “I could not have lived without!!”

While fraternity Field Secretaries were more likely to drive from chapter to chapter, the sorority Field Secretaries usually did not have access to a dedicated automobile. Today’s consultants have it a bit easier because the manuals and such are electronic and are no longer carried in suitcases.

Packing hints for the 1974 Alpha Gamma Delta consultants

Packing hints for the 1974 Alpha Gamma Delta consultants

Alpha Xi Delta Consultants, 1985. Second from left is Ginny Carroll, Circle of Sisterhood founder.

Alpha Xi Delta Consultants, 1985. Second from right is Ginny Carroll, Circle of Sisterhood founder.

 

Alpha Xi Delta Field Counselors, 1966. Note the gloves and bulky briefcases!

Alpha Xi Delta Field Counselors, 1966. Note the gloves and bulky briefcases!

 

 

Pi Beta Phi Consultants during training at the Oklahoma Beta house at Oklahoma State University.

Pi Beta Phi 1993-94 Consultants during training at the Oklahoma Beta house at Oklahoma State University.

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The 198?-??  Pi Beta Phi Consultants with Beth Beatty, GVPC, who served as a consultant before there was an organized consultant program.

The 1993-94 Pi Beta Phi Consultants with Beth Beatty, GVPC, who served as a consultant before there was an organized consultant program.

I’d love to add more photos of former GLO consultants to this post, so feel free to e-mail me additional photos to my name at hotmail.com.

(c) Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. 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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