#WHM2017, PiKA, and Phi Mu Delta’s 99th

March is Women’s History Month (#womenshistorymonth, #WHM, #WHM2017). Last year I highlighted an outstanding sorority woman each day in March. I might try to do that this year, too, but it is a big commitment and other things might keep me from it. I’ll give it the old college try, but I make no promises. However, the links to last year’s posts are available on the #amazingsororitywomen link above and on the side of the page.

This morning, the Facebook page of Stewart House, Kappa Kappa Gamma’s founding home in Monmouth, Illinois, posted one of my favorite pictures of Dorothy Canfield Fisher.  (To read more about her, see http://wp.me/p20I1i-39f)


Today, Phi Mu Delta turns 99 years old. The fraternity’s roots are in the National Federation of Commons Clubs, a movement that was started at Connecticut’s Wesleyan University as an alternative to the fraternities there at the time.  By 1918, there were 19 chapters of the federation. At the 1918 Conclave, four of the chapters voted to start a fraternity, but ultimately only three of them did.  The Commons Clubs at the  Universities of Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut are the founding chapters of Phi Mu Delta. There are less than two dozen chapters and colonies of the fraternity, making it one of the smallest national fraternities; for an organization that barely made it through the tumult of the 1970s, that number is indeed positive and the fraternity is growing.


On March 1, 1868, Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity was founded at the University of Virginia. According to the Pi Kappa Alpha website:

It all started in Room 47 West Range when Frederick Southgate Taylor turned to Littleton Waller Tazewell, his cousin and roommate, for help in starting a new fraternity. Also present were James Benjamin Sclater,  Jr., a schoolmate of Tazewell, and Sclater’s roommate, Robertson Howard. Those four men voted to add a fifth to their group and chose Julian Edward Wood. In addition, William Alexander, probably a friend of Sclater, was proposed for membership and admitted as a founder. 

Senator Everett Dirksen, whose name is on the plaques in many buildings in Illinois, was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha. Dirksen is buried in Pekin, Illinois. We passed the cemetery many times as we drove the scenic back roads to Knox College to watch our sons play football.

© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com, 2017. All Rights Reserved. If  you enjoyed this post, please sign up for updates through the comments section below. Also follow me on twitter @GLOHistory and Pinterest www.pinterest.com/glohistory/

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