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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 Pi Beta Phi.
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: Yale 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
It’s February and all over the country, college seniors are thinking about their plans after graduation. Grad school will be the default for many of them. Do those young people realize that there was a time when going to graduate … Continue reading
Today, January 8, is the date of Dr. Charles Richardson’s birth. If he was still alive he’d be a well preserved 151. A Fayetteville, Arkansas, dentist, he did his undergraduate work at Emory & Henry College in Virginia and then studied dentistry … Continue reading
Monmouth College, in Monmouth, Illinois, has digitized its student newspapers. I spent Sunday afternoon trying to read them. Unfortunately, they were not printed on the best of paper and the pdfs are sometimes next to impossible to decipher. What I … Continue reading
Alpha Sigma Phi was founded on December 6, 1845, at Yale University (it was then known as Yale College). The Yale of 1845 was worlds away from the Yale of today. In 1845, only a very small percentage of American … 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
This past weekend was spent working at the Friends of the Library book sale. Every now and then, while straightening up, I’d find an interesting book. The 2003 Illio, the University of Illinois yearbook, suddenly appeared and, of course, I … 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
On June 22, 1844, in room 12 of Old South Hall, 15 Yale College* students from the Class of 1846 organized Delta Kappa Epsilon. The fifteen founders are William Woodruff Atwater, Edward Griffin Bartlett, Frederic Peter Bellinger, Jr., Henry Case, … Continue reading