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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: University of Kansas
On Friday night I fielded a phone call from my daughter about a small carnation guard attached to an arrow badge. I told her it was the old way that Pi Phi signified Golden Arrows, those who had been initiated for fifty … Continue reading
I’ve been away for a week on a research project, my mind is swimming with places, dates, and the faces of those long gone. One of the most interesting tidbits I picked up last week was that Emma Patton Noble, … Continue reading
Yesterday was Founders’ Day for Alpha Chi Omega and Zeta Tau Alpha. How fabulous that the day was celebrated from A to Z! I spent the day at Pi Beta Phi Headquarters, where an Alpha Chi and a Zeta are … Continue reading
I found this gem in an 1880’s University of Kansas student publication, the Helianthus (Helianthus annuus is the common sunflower, the most ubiquitous flower in Kansas). The word “sorosites” was used in contrast to the word “fraternities.” It also tells some interesting history of … Continue reading
Has Fran finally lost it? Why is she using this picture? It looks like a hot mess all the way around. In 2013, taking a candid picture is not at all noteworthy. But back in the summer of 1910 when … Continue reading
Let’s go back 124 years. Pretend it’s 1889 and we’re at the University of Kansas. Forget that generations of students have come and gone in Lawrence since then. An early student publication devotes a page to what seems to be … Continue reading
In 1870, only eight state universities were coeducational; the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas, was one of the eight. Its women’s fraternity system dates to April 1, 1873, when the Kansas Alpha chapter of Pi Beta Phi** was chartered. … Continue reading
This weekend, there was a gathering in a church hall for a local woman who was celebrating her hundredth birthday. I first met her when I came to town and joined the University Women’s Club. She was one of the … Continue reading
By 1870, eight state universities accepted women; these institutions were the Universities of Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Michigan, and California (Newcomer, 1959). Women’s fraternities provided the female students with a support system in an educational environment that was … 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