Alumnae Initiates, Special Connections

On Friday night I fielded a phone call from my daughter about a small carnation guard attached to an arrow badge. I told her it was the old way that Pi Phi signified Golden Arrows, those who had been initiated for fifty or more years. I asked why she needed to know. She and a few members of the Lawrence Alumnae Club were with Kate, the woman who was going to be initiated as a Pi Phi on Saturday morning. Kate showed them her great-grandmother’s arrow and it had the carnation attached to it. They wanted to know the story behind the carnation.

The new alumna initiate of the University of Kansas Pi Phi chapter, Kate, is in the center.

Linda Ibsen, who served as a Pi Beta Phi Grand Council member and  NPC Delegate, and I started as Collegiate Province Presidents at about the same time. Our daughters, who were then in elementary school, are the same age. When it was time to choose a college, my daughter opted to go to Mount Holyoke College. Linda’s daughter went to the University of Kansas where she became a member of the Pi Phi chapter. When graduation came, Linda’s daughter found a job in Lawrence and stayed there. Four years after my daughter’s Mount Holyoke graduation, she was invited to be an alumna initiate of Pi Beta Phi at the 2011 convention (see She’s now a member of the Lawrence Alumnae Club along with Linda’s daughter, Katy.

On Saturday, Katy and my daughter took part in the initiation of a young woman whose great-grandmother, a Northwestern University Pi Phi, graduated in 1907 with a degree in mathematics.

This necklace with the Greek  letters belonged to the great-grandmother of the new Kansas Alpha alumna.


Another alumna initiation took place this weekend. Callie Hines, the niece of GLO speaker extraordinaire Mari Ann Callais, became a member of Delta Delta Delta at the organization’s Collegiate Leadership Conference. Over the past year, St. Jude Children’s Hospital has been a very real part in the lives of Callie and her. Her sister Emily, a high school student, received life-saving treatment at the hospital. Since 1999, Tri Delta has raised more than $2.8 million for the hospital and the partnership is honored with a named building, Tri Delta Place, the on the St. Jude campus. After her sister’s experience, Callie was hired to work in Entertainment Marketing at ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Callie Hines, Delta Delta Delta

I have several friends, and there are subscribers of this blog, too, who are alumnae initiates. I am sometimes asked why adult women would want to be initiated into a college sorority. Isn’t that experience attached to only the time as a collegian? Au contraire! Lifelong commitment, sincere friendship and the need for women to share each other’s lives knows no time limits. Congratulations Kate and Callie as you begin your lives as sorority women. May you both treasure the connections your respective badges provide you!

© Fran Becque,, 2017. 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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