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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: Harvard University
Established in 1636, Harvard University is the oldest of the Colonial Colleges which predate the establishment of the United States. It took women 200 years before they were able to be a part of any form of higher eduction in the … Continue reading
The Panhellenic women at Harvard University – the members of Kappa Alpha Theta, Delta Gamma, and Alpha Phi – operate under extreme conditions at America’s oldest higher education institution, Harvard University. #HearHerHarvard is a campaign to bring this discrimination and … Continue reading
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
Harvard University recently issued an edict which stated that no member of a single-gender organization, i.e., fraternity, sorority, final club, etc., could captain a sports team, ironically most of which are single-gender, or obtain college endorsement for select fellowships (see http://wp.me/p20I1i-2EX). A member … Continue reading
Update 7/13/2017 – On July 12, 2017, a Harvard University faculty committee, in a 22-page report, recommended that Harvard students be forbidden from joining fraternities, sororities, and similar organizations, including ones that include both men and women as members. The … Continue reading
Currently, PBS stations are airing The Roosevelts: An Intimate History. The seven part, 14 hour long series, is another of Ken Burns’ epic works. The series covers the fascinating lives of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Growing up on Long Island, … 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
A two-mile, eight-oared barge race between two teams in 1852 was the first recorded American intercollegiate competition. Harvard defeated Yale on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire and their athletic rivalry began. The College Rowing Association was founded six years later by Brown, … Continue reading
The Phi Beta Kappa Society was founded on December 5, 1776 by five College of William and Mary students. The first meeting of the organization took place in the Old Raleigh Tavern’s Apollo Room. As the first Greek-letter collegiate society, it … Continue reading