“People support what they help to create,” and “Your chapter is not yours . . . it is in your keeping,” were two of the gems said by Sarah Ruth “Sis” Mullis, a legend among Pi Phis at the organization’s College Weekend in St. Louis. Her words of wisdom were said during an after-dinner panel discussion between three Grand Presidents. Mary Tatum and current Grand President Paula Shepherd were the other two participants.
I was lucky enough to sit with her during breakfast on Sunday. My daughter, an alumna initiate who is now serving as a chapter advisor, joined us, too. I first met Sis when I was a chapter advisor for the University of Michigan chapter. I found out I was pregnant with said daughter just after that Regional Workshop took place three plus decades ago.
Sis personifies lifelong commitment. She has attended every Pi Phi convention since 1962, shortly after she became a member of the Pi Phi chapter at the University of South Carolina. At that convention, she met Pi Phi legends Amy Burnham Onken and May Lansfield Keller. It was the last convention they attended. She is our link to them. She is a retired pharmacist and throughout her career she served Pi Phi in many capacities. She served her term as Grand President while she was Director of Pharmacy for Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta.
While making sure I had correct information about her professional life, I came across a Georgia Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists press release about Sis being awarded the organization’s Service to Society Award for 2012. It read, in part, “The professional accomplishments of this individual are many but it is her personality; her spirit and love of life that resonates with those who have had the fortune to work with her. To know her is to be constantly reminded of the importance of humor in helping us to cope with the many challenges of healthcare and life,” and “She truly cares for people; she inspires us with her outgoing personality; she warms us with her good humor and constant smile; and she leads us by example.” Those two statements are true of her life in Pi Beta Phi and we are blessed to call her one of our own.
The mystery of the Art Deco fraternity jewelry has been solved, thanks to my Kappa Alpha Theta archivist friend, Noraleen Young. The bar-pin cost $3.50 in 1932, equivalent to about $60 today. I also learned that Alpha Delta Pi has one of the items in their collection.