And There She Is – The List of Miss Americas Who Belong to Sororities

The Miss America pageant began in 1921 and a number of sorority women have worn the Miss America crown since then. One winner even crowned a chapter sister as her successor. In 1960, outgoing Miss America Mary Ann Mobley crowned Lynda Lee Mead. Both were initiated into the Tau Chapter of Chi Omega at the University of Mississippi.

According to A History of Delta Gamma (7th edition), Miss America 1969 Judi Ford, “returned to school at the end of her reign to be pledged and initiated by the Iota chapter at the University of Illinois.”

Among the Miss Americas who belong to sororities/women’s fraternities are:

1922 and 1923 (the only woman to serve twice), Mary Catherine Campbell (Townley), Pi Beta Phi (Ohio State University)

1943, Jean Bartel, Miss California, Kappa Kappa Gamma (University California – Los Angeles)

1947, Barbara Jo Walker (Hummel), Miss Tennessee, Alpha Gamma Delta (Memphis State University)

1953, Neva Jane Langley, Miss Georgia, Alpha Delta Pi (Florida Southern College)

1954, Evelyn Ay, Miss Pennsylvania, Delta Gamma (University of Pennsylvania) – This was the first Miss America competition to be televised.

1958, Marilyn Van Derbur, Miss Colorado, Pi Beta Phi (University of Colorado)

1959, Mary Ann Mobley, Miss Mississippi, Chi Omega (University of Mississippi)

1960, Lynda Lee Mead, Miss Mississippi, Chi Omega (University of Mississippi)

1963, Jacquelyn Mayer, Miss Ohio, Pi Beta Phi (Northwestern University)

1964, Donna Axum, Miss Arkansas, Delta Delta Delta (University of Arkansas)

1967, Jane Anne Jayroe, Miss Oklahoma, Alpha Chi Omega (Oklahoma City University)

1969, Judith Anne Ford, Miss Illinois, Delta Gamma (University of Illinois)

1971, Phyllis Ann George, Miss Texas, Zeta Tau Alpha (University of Texas)

1972, Laurie Lea Schaefer, Miss Ohio, Alpha Xi Delta (Ohio University)

1983, Debra Maffett, Miss California, Kappa Delta (Sam Houston State University)

1984, Suzette Charles, Miss New Jersey, Alpha Kappa Alpha (Honorary Member)

1986, Susan Akin, Miss Mississippi, Pi Beta Phi (University of Mississippi)

1989, Gretchen Carlson, Miss Minnesota, Kappa Kappa Gamma (Stanford University)

1990, Debbye Turner, Miss Missouri, Alpha Kappa Alpha

1991, Marjorie Judith Vincent, Miss Illinois, Alpha Kappa Alpha

1993, Leanza Cornett, Miss Florida, Delta Delta Delta (Jacksonville University)

1994, Kimberly Clarice Aiken, Miss South Carolina, Delta Sigma Theta (New York City-wide chapter)

1995, Heather Whitestone, Miss Alabama, Alpha Omicron Pi pledge (Jacksonville State University) (Her busy pageant schedule prevented her from having time to commit to the sorority.  She was not initiated.  She spoke at an Alpha Omicron Pi convention and said she enjoyed her short sorority experience.)

2004, Ericka Dunlap, Miss Florida, Delta Sigma Theta (University of Central Florida)

2005, Deidre Downs, Miss Alabama, Alpha Chi Omega (University of Virginia)

2013, Mallory Hytes Hagan, Miss New York, Pi Beta Phi (Auburn University)

2014, Nina Davuluri, Miss New York, Sigma Kappa, (Michigan State University, affiliated at University of Michigan)

2017, Savvy Shields, Miss Arkansas, Kappa Kappa Gamma, (University of Arkansas)

Another fun tidbit is that National Panhellenic Conference Chairman, Chi Omega Elizabeth Dyer, served as a Miss America judge in 1964.{“page”:50,”issue_id”:419890}

If you have any corrections or additions to this list, please let me know.

© Fran Becque,, 2014. 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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