Friends Together, Friends Forever

It’s fraternity and sorority convention and leadership event time! My weekend was spent at Pi Beta Phi’s Alumnae Leadership Summit in St. Louis. Pi Phi’s conventions are in the odd years, since we were founded in 1867, and these smaller alumnae and collegiate events take place on separate weekends in even years. It was wonderful seeing old friends, and making some new ones.

This morning I was heartened by a series of tweets and retweets from Ginny Carroll, Alpha Xi Delta, noted sorority convention speaker, and Circle of Sisterhood founder. Alpha Epsilon Phi and Alpha Xi Delta were both having events in Atlanta. The Atlanta airport must have been awash in sorority women on Sunday morning as there are pictures of Alpha Xi Delta and Alpha Epsilon Phi women smiling together in pictures. One AEPhi sent Ginny a tweet “I met an AZD at the airport, went up to her & talked about how lucky we are too be sorority women. Thank you for this weekend!” Another tweet to Ginny from an AEPhi read, “MORE SORORITY WOMEN at ATL airport! Also said hello to a Delta Gamma, a Theta, and more AΞΔs!” My educated guess is that in her talk to the AEPhis, Ginny mentioned the power of sorority women. I suspect she suggested they greet other sorority women wherever and whenever they meet. It is so much fun to see the excitement in these tweets.

I recently came across this wonderful story of a Panhellenic greeting decades before the National Panhellenic Conference became a reality in 1902. At the 1934 Kappa Kappa Gamma Convention at Yellowstone National Park, the Pi Beta Phis sent a greeting to convention.  That greeting from Pi Beta Phi Grand Secretary Nita Hill Stark read, “One of our past presidents, Mrs. Noble* brought to our convention a copy of the greetings that the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority sent to the Pi Beta Phi convention in 1878. Our grand council thought that this might be of interest to you, so I am sending you this copy. “Kappa Kappa Gamma sends greetings, with best wishes for the prosperity and happiness of her members. White the key does not unlock the door into the same mystic circle into which the arrow of I.C.** pierces, yet each opens the way to the higher walks of life which lead into gardens scented with the sweet perfume of sisterly love, where happy groups bound by silver cords of friendship hand in hand are striving to attain a height upon which personal independence shall build the citadel of virtue and woman character shall be the keynote of the citadel arch. May the arrow of I.C. pierce every difficulty and the key of Kappa Kappa Gamma unlock every barrier in the way until our lives may be spotless in the sunlight of the coming morn.'”

The July 6, 1934 issue of The Hoot, Kappa Kappa Gamma's Convention newspaper

The July 6, 1934 issue of The Hoot, Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Convention newspaper

Since it is a non convention year for Pi Beta Phi, I will have to content myself with being an internet observer of the festivities of other organizations. I need my convention fix folks, so please keep those social media accounts of convention coming!

*Emma Patton Noble also served as President of the Oklahoma State Chapter of P.E.O.

**Pi Beta Phi was founded as I.C. Sorosis in 1867 at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois. It was founded upon the men’s fraternity model. From its very beginnings, Pi Beta Phi was the secret motto of the organization. Some chapters began using the Greek letters in the late 1870s and early 1880s. By vote of the 1888 convention, the organization took on its Greek motto and letters. I.C. Sorosis and Pi Beta Phi are one and the same organization. Contrary to some accounts on the internet and some books, Pi Beta Phi was never a literary society.

© 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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