Last month, I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to the 2014-15 Pi Beta Phi Leadership Development Consultants about chapter archives and the treasures they might contain. This talented, energetic, and well-trained group of Pi Phis has already left on their adventures. Some of them are assigned to new chapters or soon to be colonized chapters, others will be travelling around the country, gathering up airline mileage points as they go from chapter to chapter.
This is the time of year when Field Secretaries/Leadership Consultants/Chapter Consultants, et al. begin their travels. For a year (or maybe two or three or more), the consultant will visit his/her organization’s chapters and offer advice, fellowship and encouragement for improving the chapter. They’ll likely meet with a college or university staff member, chapter advisor(s), alumni/ae, and do their best to facilitate communication between the chapter and these entities. The history of the positions vary from organization to organization.
I am not sure if anyone has written the definitive history of GLO Field Secretaries. Banta’s Greek Exchange and The Fraternity Month might have done an article or two about Field Secretaries, but I do not have a complete collection of either publication to peruse.
For my own organization, Pi Beta Phi, the Consultant program began officially in 1968 when a Kansas State University Pi Phi, Martha Reynolds (White), was assigned to visit chapters during the 1968-69 academic year. However, there was use of Pi Phis, both undergraduates and graduates, as early as the 1930s. Pi Phis from around the country were hand-picked to help with colonizations, and for some selected Pi Phis, it meant spending a senior year on a different campus, helping charter a new chapter.
Current Pi Phi Grand President Paula Pace Shepherd, an initiate of the University of North Texas chapter, served as a Travelling Graduate Consultant (as they were then known) for the 1984-85 academic year. However, Beth van Maanen Beatty, Pi Phi’s Grand President from 1995-2001, served as a consultant for one of the Florida chapters after her graduation from Texas Tech University in the 1950s.
Delta Gamma Frances Lewis Stevenson was a Field Secretary for Delta Gamma in 1947. She worked in many capacities at Delta Gamma Headquarters including Anchora Editor, Archives Director, and Director of Communications and Information. The organization’s Archives is named in her honor.
From my friend, Jan Hutchins, I received this information about Alpha Xi Delta’s consultant history, “AXiD’s leadership consultant program began in 1956-57, with one ‘field counselor.’ The first formal training for the counselors began in 1966. Since then the team has grown; we now have 15 ‘Educational Leadership Consultants’ — ELCs — and 2 Leadership Coaches (LCs). Among the women who have served Alpha Xi Delta is Ginny Carroll, Circle of Sisterhood founder, and Jan included a picture of Ginny and her fellow consultants.
I have several friends who served as Consultants for their organizations. (I hope they don’t become former friends, for I have “borrowed” these pictures from their Facebook pages. Being my friend evidently means you never know when you’ll show up in a blog post.)
If you look closely at the pant suits, you will see a patch on the jacket’s lower left side. It is the Alpha Gamma Delta armorial bearings.
Chi Omega’s Archivist, Lyn Harris, a Mercer University alumna, served Chi Omega as a Graduate Consultant and later as a staff member.
While fraternity Field Secretaries were more likely to drive from chapter to chapter, the sorority Field Secretaries usually did not have access to a dedicated automobile. Today’s consultants have it a bit easier because the manuals and such are electronic and are no longer carried in suitcases.
I’d love to add more photos of former GLO consultants to this post, so feel free to e-mail me additional photos to my name at hotmail.com.
(c) Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2014. All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/