Alpha Sigma Tau and Delta Upsilon, Founded on 11/4

On November 4, 1899, Alpha Sigma Tau was founded by eight young women, Mable Chase, Ruth Dutcher, May Gephart, Harriet Marx, Eva O’Keefe, Adriance Rice, Helene Rice, and Mayene Tracy. The event took place at the Michigan State Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University) in Ypsilanti, Michigan. The organization became a national one in October 1925.  In 1926, Alpha Sigma Tau joined the Association of Education Sororities (AES). Alpha Sigma Tau became a full member of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) when the merger of AES and NPC was formalized in 1951.

Volume 1, No 1 of the Anchor, the organization’s magazine was published in June 1925. Among the mentions of alumnae of the Alpha chapter in the first issue was this entry, “Katherine Bergegrun, while here in college, specialized in physical training, had charge of playground work in Detroit for some time, went to California where she studied at University of California for a time and then took up the study of medicine at the University of Michigan and afterwards continued her medical course in Philadelphia where she graduated this year.”

The catalogue of the University of Michigan noted that she had a degree from the University of Southern California. While at the University of Michigan, she became a member of the Alpha chapter of Alpha Epsilon Iota, a national women’s medical sorority. The 1923 Michigan yearbook lists 21 women who were members or pledges of the sorority. There is a drawing of a house on the Alpha Epsilon Iota page and presumably, some of the members lived in the house. Women were a distinct minority in medical school in the 1920s, so the support and fellowship must have been very welcomed in that environment. She is listed as a 1927 graduate of the Temple University School of Medicine. Her full name appears in the Temple University yearbook, Elsie Katherine Bergegrun,  as well as her nicknames, “Kay” and “Bergy.” It should also be reiterated that Alpha Sigma Tau was a sorority at a normal school and, in the 1920s, almost all of its alumnae were trained to be teachers. For a woman to have attended a college where teaching degrees were the norm and to have pursued a medical degree was certainly a very non-traditional career path.



There were no women students at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, when Delta Upsilon was founded by thirty men on November 4, 1834. In fact, women had yet to enter higher education when Delta Upsilon, the oldest non-secret fraternity, was organized.

Ten freshmen, ten sophomores and ten juniors met in the Freshman Recitation Room  of Old West College. They met in opposition of the activities of the two secret societies then at Williams. The name they chose was “Anti-Secret Confederation” (ACS).

Union College men established a chapter in 1838, followed by the Middlebury College group in 1845. In 1847, groups at Hamilton College and Amherst College were formed. The Convention of 1864, adopted the name “Delta Upsilon,” a name which several of the chapters had been using.

Among its distinguished members is football coach Lou Holtz, a member of the Kent State chapter. Hear Coach Holtz offer leadership advice to his Delta Upsilon brothers

Basketball coach Jim Boeheim, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, has spent most of his life and career at Syracuse University. He is an initiate of Syracuse’s Delta Upsilon chapter.

Jim Boeheim during his years playing on the Syracuse basketball team.

Jim Boeheim during his years playing on the Syracuse basketball team.

© Fran Becque,, 2015. 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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