Sorority Women Competing in Miss USA 2018

Here are the sorority women who are competing in the Miss USA 2018 competition as far as I can determine. If there are additions or corrections to this list, please contact me.

Miss Arkansas USA, Lauren Weaver, Kappa Kappa Gamma, University of Arkansas (Her “big” is Savvy Shields, Miss America 2017)

Miss Colorado USA, Chloe Brown, Pi Beta Phi, Arizona State University

Miss Illinois USA, Karolina Jasko, Phi Sigma Sigma, University of Illinois at Chicago

Miss Louisiana USA, Lauren Vizza, Sigma Kappa, Louisiana Tech University

Miss New Jersey USA, Alexa Noone, Zeta Tau Alpha, The College of New Jersey

Miss South Dakota USA, Madison Nipe, Alpha Phi, University of South Dakota

Miss Virginia USA, Ashley Vollrath, Kappa Delta, Virginia Tech


© Fran Becque,, 2017. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest

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Alpha Sigma Alpha and Wilma Wilson Sharp

Alpha Sigma Alpha was founded on November 15, 1901, at the State Female Normal School (now Longwood University) in Farmville, Virginia. Its founders had been asked to join some of the other sororities on campus, but they wanted to stay together. The five, Virginia Lee Boyd (Noell), Juliette Jefferson Hundley (Gilliam), Calva Hamlet Watson (Wootton), Louise Burks Cox (Carper) and Mary Williamson Hundley, started their own sorority, and they called it Alpha Sigma Alpha.

(Sarah) Ida Shaw Martin, who as a collegian at Boston University was a founder of Delta Delta Delta, played an integral role in Alpha Sigma Alpha’s early history. Martin had written the Sorority Handbook, first published in 1907. She was an expert on women’s fraternities/sororities.

Alpha Sigma Alpha sought Martin’s help in 1913. While 13 chapters had been installed, only the Alpha chapter was viable. Martin encouraged the organization to consider extension to the Pi Alpha Tau organization at Miami University. In May 1913, the Pi Alpha Taus became an Alpha Sigma Alpha chapter. Alpha Sigma Alpha realized Martin’s knowledge and assistance could help the group grow. She was elected its National President. Although she never presided at a convention, she was guiding the proceedings from behind the scene. Martin led Alpha Sigma Alpha until 1930, when Wilma Wilson Sharp was elected National President.

Wilma Wilson Sharp

Wilma Wilson was a charter member of the Zeta Zeta Chapter at Central Missouri State University when it was installed on April 4, 1919. She became National Registrar three years later. In 1930, she was elected National President. She served until 1936 when she became National Finance Chairman and two year after that, National Education Director. In 1941, she again became National President and served until 1952. In 1947, when Alpha Sigma Alpha entered the process of becoming a full fledged member of the National Panhellenic Conference, she was its first NPC Delegate; she spent a decade in that chair. As a testament to her decades of service, she was named National President Emerita. She wrote The Alpha Sigma Alpha Creed.

The Wilma Wilson Sharp Award recognizes an alumna member of Alpha Sigma Alpha “who has distinguished herself through service to her community, her profession and has shown significant leadership qualities, loyalty and continued service to Alpha Sigma Alpha.”

The Alpha Sigma Alpha Foundation’s Wilma Wilson Sharp Society recognizes donors who have included the Foundation as a beneficiary of their “wills, life insurance policies, retirement plans or testamentary trust and annuities.”

The Alpha Sigma Alpha Creed

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Do Not Join a Fraternity If:

Do not join a fraternity if:

You do not believe in the organization and the tenets upon which it is built.

You sort of believe in those things, but have no intention of living up to them.

You give a nod to it all, but plan to do whatever you want, whenever you want.

You want to live the frat boy life, not the one of a fraternity man.

Find a few friends, rent a house and do whatever you want, without a thought to whether there are prohibitions against it. Tragedies that occur in a blue house at the corner of Pine and Maple rarely make the national news, and if they do, they are quickly displaced when the next story comes along.

When one frat boy or a chapter of frat boys screws up bigtime, all of us suffer the consequences. Those who believe fully in the positive qualities of fraternity done well cannot justify the acts of frat boys.

My heart breaks for the parents and families who are left to pick up the pieces of frat boys gone bad.

Is it finally time to see all fraternities and sororities dissolved and banned from existence? No, it is not. Fraternity done well is a worthwhile and rewarding experience. Chapters which are not living up to the ideals of the organization need to be closed right now. Members who can’t or won’t live up to the ideals of the organization need to resign or be dismissed. The future of all of our organizations depends on it.

(And while this is written from a fraternity point of view, it is just as applicable to sorority women.)

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The 11th day of the 11th month – #EnduringFriendships

Today, Veterans Day, commemorates the date upon which World War I ended – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. It had been known as Armistice Day, but in 1954 it was renamed Veterans Day. It is also that date of the founding of Gamma Phi Beta, an event that took place in 1874.

Frances Haven Moss and I share a first name, although very few people call me Frances. We both spent time in Syracuse, Ann Arbor and downstate Illinois. I love carnations and I suspect she did, too. And so I write about her again.

Frances Haven was the daughter of Dr. Erastus Otis Haven, the Chancellor of the University (Syracuse’s Haven Hall is named for him). He also spent time at the helm of the University of Michigan and Northwestern University before he arrived in upstate New York.

The first social event Frances attended after she moved to Syracuse in 1874 was a church oyster supper. She met Charles Melville Moss, a member of Psi Upsilon, at that supper. He would later ask her to marry him. She also met two members of Alpha Phi, a women’s fraternity founded at Syracuse in October of 1872. Instead of accepting the invitation to join Alpha Phi which had been offered to her, she joined with three other women – Mary A. Bingham (Willoughby), E. Adeline Curtis, and Helen M. Dodge (Ferguson) –  and they founded an organization of their own. The date was November 11, 1874. The organization is Gamma Phi Beta, the first of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) organizations to use the term “sorority;” Syracuse Latin professor Frank Smalley suggested the word to the young women.*

Frances and Charles moved to Illinois where he spent most of his professional career teaching Greek at the University of Illinois. Frances was instrumental in the founding of the Omicron Chapter of Gamma Phi Beta at Illinois. The chapter was originally founded as a local organization, Phi Beta. Its intent was to become a Gamma Phi Beta chapter. Frances and Violet Jayne Schmidt, a member of the University of Michigan chapter, spearheaded the effort. Petition books were created and sent to chapters and alumnae organizations as this was the manner in which extension was done during the early 1900s. Dr. Moss, as a faculty member, added a letter to the petition book endorsing Phi Beta’s efforts. The petition was approved.

On May 24, 1913, the Omicron chapter of Gamma Phi Beta was installed. It was  the only Gamma Phi chapter to be founded by a founder. Alida Helen Moss, their youngest daughter, became a member of the chapter. Alida is the only daughter of a Gamma Phi Beta founder to become a Gamma Phi herself. Frances and her husband helped the chapter obtain a house. The Mosses are buried in a cemetery at the edge of the campus.


Woodlawn Cemetery, Carbondale, Illinois

The haunting poem, In Flanders Fields, was written by John McCrae, M.D., a Lieutenant Colonel in the Canadian Army during World War I. He was a Zeta Psi from the University of Toronto chapter. McCrae wrote the poem after the May 2, 1915 death and burial of his friend and former student Lieutenant Alexis Hannum Helmer. McCrae died of pneumonia on January 28, 1918, while commanding No. 3 Canadian General Hospital (McGill) at Boulogne.

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

A memorial on the John McCrae Memorial Site, Boezinge, Ypres, West Flanders, Belgium.


To

* For more on Dr. Frank Smalley and the word “sorority,”

Grace Banker, a Gamma Phi who aided in World War I efforts.

For more information on Dr. Erastus Haven, the father of Frances.

For more information about the history of Gamma Phi Beta including a picture of an early Gamma Phi house on Irving Avenue in Syracuse.

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Happy Founders’ Day, Sigma Kappa! #SKFoundersDay

Here in the midwest, it is still November 9. I have been remiss in posting this earlier in the day. I have been away from home for more than two weeks and just returned here after the sunset.

It Sigma Kappa’s Founders’ Day! On November 9, 1874, Sigma Kappa was founded by five young women, the only females enrolled at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. They received a letter from the faculty approving the organization’s petition, which included a constitution and bylaws.

The five founders of Sigma Kappa are Mary Low Carver, Elizabeth Gorham Hoag, Ida Fuller Pierce, Louise Helen Coburn and Frances Mann Hall. In Sigma Kappa’s first constitution, chapter membership was limited to 25 women. The original chapter is known as the Alpha chapter. After Alpha chapter’s membership reached 25, a Beta chapter was formed. A Gamma chapter soon followed. Although there were some early joint meetings, the members did not think it feasible to continue that way. In 1893, a vote was taken to limit Alpha chapter to 25 members and to allow no more initiations into Beta and Gamma chapters. In due time, Beta and Gamma were no more.

The Delta chapter was installed at Boston University in 1904. In 1905, Sigma Kappa became a member of the National Panhellenic Conference. Sigma Kappa’s Alpha chapter closed in 1984 when Colby College banned all fraternities and sororities from campus.

In 1910, Sigma Kappa’s Lambda Chapter was founded clear across the country at the University of California – Berkeley. Anna McCune (Harper) became a member of the chapter. She and her sister Lucy played a lot of tennis growing up in Pacific Grove, California. Harper told an interviewer that she and her sister entered the California State Tennis Championships because “we thought it would be cheaper to see all the matches as participants rather than pay for spectators’ tickets.” They did well in the ladies’ singles competition and won the doubles competition. Tennis took a bigger role in their lives after that.

She graduated in 1924 with Phi Beta Kappa honors. Shortly afterwards became Mrs. Lawrence Harper.  She also joined the pro tennis circuit. She was in the U.S. top ten players for five consecutive years (1928-32) and she was top ranked in 1930. She won the mixed doubles at Wimbledon in 1931. Her tennis career was cut short when she returned home due to an illness in the family.

A mother of three, she found time to serve Sigma Kappa as National President from 1939-42. Harper was induced into the California Athletic Hall of Fame. Each year  a Scholarship is given in her honor to a UC-Berkeley student who is an outstanding athlete and scholar.


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Happy Founders’ Day Alpha Sigma Tau!

On November 4, 1899, eight young women, Mable Chase, Ruth Dutcher, May Gephart, Harriet Marx, Eva O’Keefe, Adriance Rice, Helene Rice, and Mayene Tracy, formed a sorority at the Michigan State Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University) in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Alpha Sigma Tau was the name they chose. The organization became a national one in October 1925. 

In 1926, Alpha Sigma Tau joined the Association of Education Sororities (AES). Alpha Sigma Tau became a full member of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) when the merger of AES and NPC was formalized in 1951.

Alpha Sigma Tau badge worn by my friend Sally Brancheau Belknap.

Alpha Sigma Taus participated in the Founders’ Day of Giving and did a phenomenal job. Last year they raised $68,000. This year they almost doubled that amount!

Read more about famous ASTs Gwen Frostic and Mildred Doran.

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Following in the P.E.O. Founders’ Footsteps

Last week I followed in the Pi Beta Phi Founders’ footsteps. This week I am knee-deep in the founding of the P.E.O. Sisterhood. P.E.O.s who attended the Convention of International Chapter in Charlotte, North Carolina, several weeks ago learned that a pictorial history will be published for the Sesquicentennial in 2019. I have the honor of serving, along with three P.E.O. sisters, on the committee that is tasked with writing the book.

On my drive to Des Moines to meet with the book committee in the Executive Office, I passed through Mount Pleasant, Iowa, the birthplace of P.E.O.

The steps up to the Memory Rooms at Iowa Wesleyan, on the second floor where P.E.O. was founded in 1869.

The Memory Rooms at Old Main Hall are a favorite stop and love looking at the displays. I was able to make a quick visit to the Memory Rooms where this lovely dress is now on display.

The exit signs have the names of places that were important in the history of P.E.O. – Fairfield, Bloomfield, Ottumwa, and Oskaloosa, to name a few – and I try to envision what it must have been like in the 1870s to travel to these towns. 

For decades, the supply department of P.E.O. was housed in the basement and the Executive Offices on the second floor of the P.E.O. Memorial Library at Iowa Wesleyan University. Since the early 1960s, it has been in a lovely building on Grand Avenue in Des Moines, Iowa. This is the sign one sees when entering the building from the parking lot.

The book will debut in January of 2019. Pre-orders will be taken starting early next year.

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Congratulations and Explanations

My posts have been few and far between recently and I apologize. I’ve been away from home. Congratulations to two special NPC women who were honored at the recent NPC meeting in Denver:

Betty Quick, Gamma Phi Beta, and former Chairman of NPC, received the NPC Distinguished Service Award. Betty is also a P.E.O. Congratulations, Betty!

Ginny Carroll of InGINuity was the recipient of  the Interfraternal Partner Award. She is an Alpha Xi Delta and the founder of the Circle of Sisterhood. Congratulations, Ginny!

It’s also Sigma Phi Epsilon’s Founders’ Day. My second favorite Sig Ep is Theodor Seuss Geisel. My favorite Sig Ep is my husband, Dan.

Last week I headed to western Illinois. I was in Peoria for a night, talking to the Bradley University Pi Phis about Pi Phi and NPC history.

The Bradley University Pi Phi chapter and me.

Then I was on to the Holt House meeting in Monmouth. I had just enough time to make a quick stop at Knox College to  see the cornerstone of the Lombard College Alpha Xi Delta chapter house. Prior to the renovation of Knox’s Alumni Hall, the cornerstone resided on the lawn in back of the building. It was put in the storage when the renovations began. The plaque, along with the Lombard College bell and other plaque were recently given a new home, on the south corner of the front of Alumni Hall. Alpha Xi was founded at Lombard College.

Cornerstone of the Alpha Xi Delta house at Lombard College on display in the garden outside of Knox College’s Alumni Hall.

Another view of the garden at Knox College with the Lombard College Bell. Carl Sandburg, during his tenure as a Lombard student. rang this bell.

I then headed quickly to Monmouth where I toured Stewart House, Kappa Kappa Gamma’s founding site again, just because.

The bricks at Stewart House in Monmouth, Illinois. It was fun to see names of Kappa friends.

The Symphony of Kappa Kappa Gamma on the wall of the Stewart House. I love the sentiments expressed in the Symphonies of GLOs.

The view from my chair at the Holt House meeting. That is the staircase the Pi Beta Phi founders used to get to the southwest second floor bedroom where the organization was founded in 1867.

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Alpha Epsilon Phi and Delta Zeta Share a Founding Day

Given that there are 365 days in most years and 26 National Panhellenic Conference organizations, I find it amazing that several NPC organizations were founded on the same day, albeit different years.

Alpha Epsilon Phi was founded on October 24, 1909 at Barnard College by Helen Phillips, Ida Beck, Rose Gerstein, Augustina “Tina” Hess, Lee Reiss, Stella Strauss and Rose Salmowitz. They came together and created an organization spurred on Phillips’ inspiration. She sought a way to stay in closer contact with her friends; Alpha Epsilon Phi was founded in her room.

The seven shared their Jewish heritage. A second chapter was quickly founded two months later at nearby Hunter College. The founding chapter at Barnard was closed when the college banned Greek-letter organizations in 1913.

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Today, Alpha Epsilon Phi notes that the organization is a Jewish sorority, “but not a religious organization, with membership open to all college women, regardless of religion, who honor, respect and appreciate our Jewish identity and are comfortable in a culturally Jewish environment.”

Zelda Sicklick was a member of the second chapter of Alpha Epsilon Phi. She became a teacher and spent decades teaching in the New York City area.Screenshot (754)

Sicklick and her Beta Chapter members are named on the Certificate of Incorporation dated February 20, 1913. She was born in Russia in about 1891. She died in 1982. She and her sister Isabelle had a house in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Zelda made good use of her passport and seemed to do a great deal of international travelling.


On October 24, 1902, Delta Zeta made its debut at Miami University in Ohio. Delta Zeta’s founders are Alfa Lloyd, Mary Collins, Anna Keen, Julia Bishop, Mabelle Minton, and Ann Simmons. It is interesting that Delta Zeta’s history includes the heritage of several former NPC organizations. Between 1941 and 1962, the members of four other NPC groups became members of Delta Zeta. The organizations with which Delta Zeta has absorbed or merged include Beta Phi Alpha, Theta Upsilon, Phi Omega Pi, and Delta Sigma Epsilon. Prior to these groups becoming a part of Delta Zeta, many had themselves merged with other groups.

The first group to become a part of Delta Zeta was Beta Phi Alpha; it was founded as Bide-a-wee on May 8, 1909 at the University of California-Berkeley. A few months later, the name changed to Aldebaran, In 1919, it became Kappa Phi Alpha. It then changed its name to Beta Phi Alpha. In 1923, Beta Phi Alpha joined NPC. On June 22, 1941, Beta Phi Alpha was absorbed by Delta Zeta. At that point, 30 chapters had been installed and there were 3,000 members. 

Phi Omega Pi was founded at the University of Nebraska on March 5, 1910. In its early years, membership was limited to those belonging to the Order of the Eastern Star. In 1931, this restriction was eliminated. It was granted associate NPC membership in 1930 and full membership in 1933. On October 1 of that year, Sigma Phi Beta, founded at New York University on November 1, 1920 under the name of Sigma Sigma Omicron, was absorbed by Phi Omega Pi. On August 10, 1946, Delta Zeta absorbed Phi Omega Pi.

Delta Sigma Epsilon was founded on September 23, 1914 at Miami University. In the fall of 1940, Pi Delta Theta merged with Delta Sigma Epsilon. In 1956, Delta Sigma Epsilon was absorbed by Delta Zeta. At the time of the merger more than 13,000 women had been initiated as Delta Sigma Epsilons members in its 52 chapters.

Theta Upsilon was founded at the University of California-Berkeley in 1914. Its roots can be traced to 1909 when a group of women rented a house on Walnut Street that they called “Walnut Shell.” On January 1, 1914, they organized as the Mekatina (“Among the Hills”) Club. Theta Upsilon was granted associate NPC membership in 1923 and full membership in 1928. In September 1933, Lambda Omega, which was founded on May 5, 1923 at the University of California-Berkeley, became a part of Theta Upsilon. On May 6, 1962, Theta Upsilon became a part of Delta Zeta.

Oxford, Ohio, where Delta Zeta was founded is also the location of its headquarters and museum. There is a wonderful virtual tour of the museum.

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The Loan Fund on @KappaDelta Founders’ Day

Kappa Delta was founded on October 23, 1897 at the State Female Normal School (now Longwood University) in Farmville, Virginia. Its founders are Lenora Ashmore Blackiston, Julia Gardiner Tyler Wilson, Sara Turner White and Mary Sommerville Sparks Hendrick. Kappa Delta, along with Zeta Tau Alpha, Sigma Sigma Sigma and Alpha Sigma Alpha, were founded at the same institution and comprise the “Farmville Four.” 

One hundred years ago, students had little opportunity to borrow funds for their education. There were no federal loan programs and banks did not offer much in the way of student loans. Scholarship programs were not commonplace and financial aid offices were not yet a thing. If  one did not have the funds saved to pay for tuition, or a way to earn money during the semester, or did not have someone paying the bill, one was not able to attend the institution. Moreover, credit was not a way of life, as it is today.

Many women’s organizations started Loan Funds to provide their members with the opportunity to stay in college when it might not otherwise have been possible. These were loans, and the expectation was for the loan to be paid back, with interest, in a timely manner.

In 1916, Kappa Delta’s officers met in Sewanee, Tennessee, and a Loan Fund for Kappa Delta members was established. Each chapter was asked to contribute $5 and each alumna was asked to send $1. The alumnae “ask” was done by means of round-robin letters.

At the 1917 Birmingham convention, plans for the Kappa Delta Loan Fund were
adopted and a committee was appointed. That year, three loans for were granted. Four loans were given in 1918, and six the following year.

The chapters in Beta Province gave the funds they had budgeted for a dance at the 1917 convention. The goal for the Loan Fund was for it to become entirely self-supporting. It was noted, however, that the treasury was almost depleted. Since the program was in its infancy, the borrowed funds had not been fully repaid.

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Lois Brown, a member of the University of Kentucky chapter wrote:

I had finished my second year at the University of Kentucky when it seemed impossible, financially speaking, for me to return to study. I remembered a long heart-to-heart talk I had with Becky Smith, and the Scholarship Loan Fund seemed the melting-pot for all my troubles and would-be worries. IT WAS. The year the Kappa Delta Loan Fund sent me back to the University was the happiest of all the four years, and the turning point, I might say, in more ways than one. Through good fortune, (I won’t say luck, for that’s the lazy man’s excuse) it was possible for me to return in the fall without asking for a further loan.

It was just like the creeks we found in the mountains of eastern Kentucky, bridgeless, and I had waded in just so far, when the foot log slipped, and I was left sinking. I sent out an S. O. S. call and the Kappa Delta Loan Fund appeared in the distance and helped me over the deepest part. Then I waded out on the other side; however, my feet are still in the water because I have not paid all that loan— but ‘blessed are they that keep their heads above water’ – and it was Kappa Delta at thhelped me do this.

If this sounds like a patent medicine advertisement, maybe I am ill, but you cured my ills once, and I’m hoping that the Loan Fund will have a healing effect on many other Kappa Deltas in the years that are to come.

Since the early years of the Loan Fund, Kappa Delta has helped its members. Last year, the Kappa Delta Foundation awarded $140,400 in scholarships to Kappa Delta graduates and undergraduates. 



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