Today is Alpha Sigma Alpha’s Founders’ Day. It was founded on November 15, 1901 at the State Female Normal School (now Longwood University) in Farmville, Virginia. It is the youngest of the Farmville Four, the four National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) organizations founded on that campus. The other three organizations are Kappa Delta, Sigma Sigma Sigma, and Zeta Tau Alpha. The Alpha Sigma Alpha founders had been invited 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, created Alpha Sigma Alpha.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s a fitting time to highlight one of Alpha Sigma Alpha’s notable members. Dorcas Bates Reilly, a member of Drexel University’s Alpha Sigma Alpha chapter, is known as the “Grandmother of the Green Bean Casserole” and the “Mother of Comfort Food.”
With a B.S. in Home Economics, Reilly worked in the Campbell Soup Company’s Home Economics Department developing recipes. In 1955, she led the team that created the recipe. Reilly said the name was originally Green Bean Bake and somewhere along the way, the name was changed to Green Bean Casserole. Some of the other recipes she helped develop include tomato soup meatloaf, a tuna noodle casserole, and “souperburgers.”
She retired from the Campbell Soup Company in 1988. Reilly presented the original yellowed recipe card to the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio in 2002. In 2008, Alpha Sigma Alpha honored her with a Recognition of Eminence Award. Reilly was also honored by Drexel University.
(c) Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2013. All Rights Reserved.