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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: Northwestern University
Harper Lee, Chi Omega, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning To Kill a Mockingbird, announced the publication of her second book, Go Set a Watchman. She finished the book in the mid-1950s and it has the same characters and is set … Continue reading
Today, December 12, 2014, is the 99th anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s birth. Although I was born too late to be a “bobby soxer,” Sinatra’s fans of the 1940s, I adore his music. I had the opportunity to see him in person … Continue reading
Last weekend was spent working at the Friends of the Carbondale Public Library Book Sale. Through our book sales, the “largest in southern Illinois,” according to our claims, we are able to help the Library fund projects and events. Our … Continue reading
In sorting books for the upcoming Friends of Carbondale Public Library Book Sale, I came across a vintage copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. It has a “Pulitzer Prize Novel” prominently displayed on it. That got me to thinking about sorority women … Continue reading
“Playing bridge in the sorority house any time of day or night,” is what a sorority alumna friend told me she remembered about living in a University of Missouri sorority house during the 1940s. Card parties were used as fundraisers … Continue reading
Amy Burnham Onken, an alumna of Pi Beta Phi’s chapter at Northwestern University, attended her first National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) meeting in 1917. She served on Pi Phi’s Grand Council and was a visitor at the NPC meeting. Who could have … Continue reading
“Why are some National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) groups women’s fraternities and some are sororities?” is a question I am often asked. It’s a tough one because the 26 NPC organizations are typically referred to as sororities in everyday conversation (i.e. … Continue reading
In 1870, there were 525 female doctors in the United States (Newcomer, 1959). Among the fraternity women who became physicians were founders of two NPC groups, Rachel Jane “Jennie” Nicol, a founder of Pi Beta Phi, and Eleanor Dorcas Pond … Continue reading
In the fall of 1886, when Jane Marie Bancroft Robinson enrolled at Syracuse University, she had senior standing. Born in 1847, she graduated from the Emma Willard School in Troy, NY in 1871. She then entered the New York State … Continue reading
Amy Burnham Onken was a visitor to the 1917 National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) meeting. At that meeting, few could have imagined the influence she would have on her own organization, Pi Beta Phi, and on the NPC world itself. In … Continue reading