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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: Amherst College
I realized this morning that the two U.S. Presidents whose homes I visited died on January 5 and January 6, in different years. The Calvin Coolidge homestead is in Plymouth Notch, Vermont. It is the boyhood home of the 30th … Continue reading
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
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 was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta chapter at Amherst College. His wife was … Continue reading
This year’s White House ornament honors the presidency of my favorite First Couple. It was during his administration that the White House Christmas tree tradition began. The White House Historical Association does a great job of telling the story of … 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
On May 20, 1841, Chi Psi was founded at Union College in Schenectady, New York. It was the fifth fraternity founded at Union College. Its founders are Philip Spencer, Robert Heyward McFaddin, Jacob Henry Farrell, John Brush Jr., Samuel Titus Taber, … 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