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About Fran Becque, Ph.D.
Welcome! Chances are good you found this blog by searching for something about fraternities or sororities.
The history of Greek-letter organizations (GLOs) - fraternities and sororities - is one of my great passions. I was the last person anyone would have suspected of joining a sorority in college. I am sure I would have agreed with them, too.
When I made my way to Syracuse University, I saw the houses with the Greek letters that edged Walnut Park, and wished I could tour them. My roommate suggested I sign up for rush (as it was then called, today it’s known as recruitment) and go through the house tour round and then drop out of rush. It sounded like a plan. I didn’t realize that I would end up pledging.
In this blog I will share the history of GLOs and other topics. I wrote a dissertation on “Coeducation and the History of Women’s Fraternities 1867-1902.″ It chronicles the growth of the system and the birth of the National Panhellenic Conference.
My Master's thesis details the history of the fraternity system at Southern Illinois University Carbondale from 1948-1960. The dates are significant ones and the thesis is available on the top menu.
I have done research at the Student Life Archives and have written several histories of University of Illinois fraternity chapters for the Society for the Preservation of Greek Housing.
Other topics having to do with higher education also come into play. P.E.O., a Philanthropic Education Organization, was founded as a collegiate organization. I am a P.E.O. and I like to talk about its history. Colleges with which I have a personal connection - Knox College, Mount Holyoke, Washington and Lee, University of Michigan, Syracuse University, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, to name a few - also find their way into these posts.
Thanks for dropping by! I hope you’ll follow my blog. We who enjoy fraternity and sorority history need to stick together. I put together a Pinterest board about fraternity and sorority history. It is at pinterest.com/glohistory/.
Category Archives: Calvin Coolidge
Tonight’s Vice-Presidential debate will take place at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. Longwood has a prominent place in the history of sororities. Ever heard the phrase “Farmville Four”? It refers to the four NPC groups founded at the Virginia’s State Female … Continue reading
Last week, while I was at the Pi Beta Phi Convention, one of the first things past Grand President Sarah Ruth “Sis” Mullis said to me, after she gave me one of her patented Sis hugs, was “Frances (and she’s one … Continue reading
Phi Gamma Delta was founded on May 1, 1848. John Templeton McCarty, Samuel Beatty Wilson, James Elliott, Daniel Webster Crofts, Ellis Bailey Gregg and Naaman Fletcher – the Immortal Six – were students at Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, when they founded … Continue reading
On Friday of last week, I was in Northampton, Massachusetts, the city in which a young University of Vermont Pi Beta Phi member met a young Phi Gamma Delta, an Amherst College grad. She was working at the Clarke School … Continue reading
July 4, 1939 was “Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day” at Yankee Stadium. On that day, baseball great Lou Gehrig, Phi Delta Theta, became the first major league baseball player to have his number retired. There are still people who were at Yankee … Continue reading
Phi Gamma Delta was founded on May 1, 1848. The “Immortal Six” – John Templeton McCarty, Samuel Beatty Wilson, James Elliott, Daniel Webster Crofts, Ellis Bailey Gregg and Naaman Fletcher – were students at Jefferson College in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, when they founded … Continue reading
Two days after her 54th birthday, Grace Goodhue Coolidge became a widow. The 30th President died suddenly on the morning of January 5, 1933. “Calvin Coolidge, Greatest of Fraternity Presidents, Mourned by Greeks” is the headline of an article in … Continue reading
Today, January 3, is the birthday of First Lady Grace Goodhue Coolidge. As a student at the University of Vermont, she was one of the charter members of the Vermont Beta Chapter of Pi Beta Phi. In fact, the chapter … Continue reading
How many U.S. Vice Presidents have been in a fraternity? A goodly number, it turns out. Here is a list of Vice Presidents since 1869,* when Schuyler Colfax became the first fraternity man to become Vice President. I’ve included all … Continue reading
8/3/1923 Calvin Coolidge, ΦΓΔ, and Grace Coolidge, ΠBΦ, Their First Full Day as President and First Lady
Ninety years have passed since Grace Goodhue Coolidge went to bed the evening of August 2, 1923, as the wife of the Vice President. She was awakened in the middle of the night, dressed and went downstairs to join her … Continue reading