NPC Women and Fraternity Men in the White House

Here is a post on the fraternity men and National Panhellenic Conference women who have lived in the White House seems quite appropriate.

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:

 

The Only President Born on the 4th of July. And He’s a Phi Gamma Delta!

Calvin Coolidge, Pride of the Amherst College Phi Gamma Delta Chapter

Grace Coolidge and Orange, Connecticut

Signed, Grace Coolidge

Grace Goodhue and Calvin Coolidge – Pi Beta Phi and Phi Gamma Delta – The First President and First Lady Initiated into Greek-Letter Societies while in College

GRACE GOODHUE COOLIDGE – MY FAVORITE FIRST LADY AND A LOYAL MEMBER OF THE VERMONT BETA CHAPTER OF PI BETA PHI

“If My Father Were Your Father, You Would.” – Calvin Coolidge, Jr.

 

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