National Panhellenic Conference women who have served as First Lady
Lucy B. Hayes, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Ohio Wesleyan College, Honorary member
Grace Goodhue Coolidge, Pi Beta Phi, University of Vermont, charter member (the chapter was installed in her family’s home)
Lou Henry Hoover, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Stanford University
Barbara Pierce Bush, Pi Beta Phi, Texas A&M, Alumna initiate (post-White House years)
Laura Welch Bush, Kappa Alpha Theta, Southern Methodist University
Fraternity men who have served as President of the United States
Thomas Jefferson, Flat Hat Club (F.H.C. Society), College of William and Mary*
Rutherford B. Hayes, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Honorary member
James Garfield, Delta Upsilon, Williams College
Chester Arthur, Psi Upsilon, Union College
Grover Cleveland, Sigma Chi, Honorary member
Benjamin Harrison, Phi Delta Theta, Miami University
William McKinley, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Mount Union College
Theodore Roosevelt, Delta Kappa Epsilon and Alpha Delta Phi, Harvard University
William Howard Taft, Psi Upsilon, Yale University
Woodrow Wilson, Phi Kappa Psi, University of Virginia
Calvin Coolidge, Phi Gamma Delta, Amherst College
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Alpha Delta Phi, Harvard University**
Harry S Truman, Lambda Chi Alpha and Alpha Delta Gamma, Honorary member
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Tau Epsilon Phi, Honorary member
John F. Kennedy, Phi Kappa Theta, Honorary member
Gerald R. Ford, Delta Kappa Epsilon, University of Michigan
Ronald Reagan, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Eureka College
George H.W. Bush, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Yale University
Bill Clinton, Phi Beta Sigma, Honorary member
George W. Bush, Delta Kappa Epsilon, Yale University
Grace Goodhue Coolidge, a charter member of the Vermont Beta chapter of Pi Beta Phi at the University of Vermont, was the first wife of a President to have been initiated in a women’s fraternity while in college. Her husband became an initiated member of Phi Gamma Delta while a student at Amherst College. Together the Coolidges were the first couple initiated into Greek-letter societies during their college years.***
Phi Gamma Delta has President Coolidge’s badge and during the fraternity’s 164th Ekkelsia, it was present to the Archon President to wear. Pi Beta Phi has Mrs. Coolidge’s badges and there is one in the Smithsonian collection.
Mrs. Coolidge was not the first First Lady to be a member of a National Panhellenic Conference organization. That honor goes to Lucy Webb Hayes, wife of Rutherford B. Hayes. On December 1, 1880, she accepted the invitation of the Rho Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma at Ohio Wesleyan College to become an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Her husband was an honorary member of Delta Kappa Epsilon and the first fraternity man to be President.
Mrs. Coolidge’s successor, Lou Henry Hoover, was also a Kappa Kappa Gamma. She became a member when she was a Stanford University student.
Laura Welch Bush is a Kappa Alpha Theta, having been initiated while a student at Southern Methodist University. Her husband, George W. Bush, is a member of Yale University chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon. Together they are the second couple initiated into Greek-letter organizations while college students. Another interesting note is that Lynne Ann Vincent Cheney, wife of President Bush’s Vice-President, is also a Kappa Alpha Theta. She was initiated into the Colorado College chapter.
In her post-White House years, Barbara Pierce Bush, who had attended Smith College, became an alumna initiate of Pi Beta Phi. Her chapter of initiation is Texas Eta at Texas A&M University. Her husband, George Herbert Walker Bush, is also a member of the Yale University Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon. His Vice-President, Dan Quayle, is alao a Delta Kappa Epsilon member. He was initiated into the DePauw University chapter.
* The Flat Hat Club was founded at the College of William and Mary in 1750. It is believed to be the precursor of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, which was established at the same institution in 1776. The modern F.H.C. Society was revived at the College of William and Mary in May, 1972. The Flat Hat is also the name of the college’s student newspaper.
** Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon at Harvard University, also known as the “Dickey Club.” However, the national organization did not recognize the chapter because of the chapter’s stance on dual membership.
***For more information about the Coolidges, see:
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