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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: Pi Beta Phi
We were driving in I-70 to Dayton, Ohio, from the airport in St. Louis, where my husband picked me up. As we were almost through Illinois, I was looking out the window and I spotted a sign that noted we … Continue reading
When Grace Goodhue Coolidge fell asleep on the evening of August 2, 1923, she was the wife of the Vice President. In the middle of the night, she awoke to news that President Harding was dead. She dressed and went … Continue reading
My life has been lived east of the Mississippi, the last half of it just miles from the river. When we first moved to Illinois, it was odd to tell people that we were five hours from Chicago, the only … Continue reading
Yesterday morning, I found myself taking the 7:30 a.m. train to Champaign so that I could get some research done for a project I committed myself to early in the year. It needs to be off my to-do list. However, … Continue reading
Yesterday, I read an essay, My Last Conversation with My Father, which a friend recommended. Written by Robin Wright, it appeared in the June 17, 2017 New Yorker (see http://bit.ly/2tOQlnt). The name rang a bell and after reading it, I … Continue reading
John Calvin Coolidge, Jr., the 30th President of the United States, was born on July 4, 1872 in Plymouth Notch, Vermont. He attended Amherst College in Massachusetts where he became a member of Phi Gamma Delta. After graduation, while working … Continue reading
The women of I.C. Sorosis are in St. Louis celebrating a century and a half. One hundred and fifty years is a long time and the world of 1867 is vastly different from the one of 2017. The young women … Continue reading
Despite belief to the contrary, it has never been easy to be a member of a Greek-letter organization. Anti-fraternity sentiment has been around since about the time of the founding of the first chapter of the first fraternity. I like to … Continue reading
I spent Friday and Saturday in Monmouth, Illinois, where Pi Beta Phi was founded on April 28, 1867. I was able to stand in the very room where the organization came to life 150 years ago and I shared that … Continue reading
Today, Pi Beta Phi turns 150 years old. I wasn’t sure how I was going to celebrate this in a blog post. I was likely going to use the letter I wrote for the commemorative Arrow, but a few days … Continue reading