#WHM – Phi Mu’s Jerrie Mock, Aviator Extraordinaire

Yesterday was Phi Mu’s Founders’ Day. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was unable to get a post together in time. I know I am a day late in my greetings, but it is nonetheless sincere. I hope it was a glorious Founders’ Day, Phi Mu friends!

Phi Mu was founded on January 4, 1852 at Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia. Originally known as the Philomathean Society, Phi Mu and Alpha Delta Pi, also founded at Wesleyan College, are known as the “Macon Magnolias.” Phi Mu was founded by Mary DuPont (Lines), Mary Myrick (Daniel) and Martha Hardaway (Redding). The founding was publicly announced on March 4, 1852, the day that is celebrated as Founders’ Day. On August 1, 1904, the group received a charter from the state of Georgia and was established as Phi Mu Fraternity. The second chapter was founded at Hollins College in 1904. Phi Mu joined the National Panhellenic Conference in 1911.

Geraldine “Jerrie” Fredritz Mock, the first woman to fly solo around the world was an initiate of the Phi Mu chapter at The Ohio State University.

Mock took her first plane ride at age seven, in a Ford Trimotor airplane. In 1958, she earned a private pilot’s license. Her flight around the world began on March 19, 1964. She left from Columbus, Ohio and returned on April 17, 1964. She called the single engine Cessna 180, “Charlie,” although its official name was the “Spirit of Columbus.” 

columbus

The 22, 860 mile trek took 29 days and it had 21 stopovers. And it was not without its challenges. Shortly after take-off she realized her long-range radio was not working properly. And then she realized the brakes were a little off, too. She was able to get both problems fixed along the way.

mrs mockAmong her stops was one in Saudi Arabia where the men who greeted her kept waiting for a male pilot to emerge from the plane. They were a little shocked when they realized that she was the pilot.

sets matk

Mock set many records and was the recipient of numerous awards. There are two life size statues of her Ohio. Both are the works of Renate Burgyan Fackler. The first was unveiled in Mock’s hometown of Newark, Ohio. It is in the courtyard of The Works Museum. On April 17, 2014, another statue was unveiled at the Port Columbus International Airport. Mock’s plane, “Spirit of Columbus,” is in the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum in Virginia. 

jerri

Mock died on September 30, 2014.

 © Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2016. 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/

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