Pi Beta Phi

Pi Beta Phi in 1956


In 1956 the women of Pi Beta Phi strived to uphold the principles of "true democracy, good sportsmanship, and high standards of conduct," according to the Microcosm entry on the organization.  The officers of the organization were Carolyn Menin, president; Carol Odorizzi, vice-president; Joanne Creveling, secretary; and Helen Herr, treasurer.

Pi Beta Phi in 1955


According to its entry in the Microcosm, in 1955 the women of Pi Beta Phi encouraged all members to participate in campus activities and to maintain high scholarship.  They held a number of social events including a formal in honor of the seniors, a pledge formal, and a pledge tea.  In 1955, the officers of Pi Beta Phi were Susan J. Marquardt, president; Suzanne S. Ruggles, vice-president; Susan D. Epley, secretary; and Alma M. Balla, treasurer.

Pi Beta Phi in 1954


In 1954 the women of Pi Beta Phi dedicated their time to a number of philanthropic and social activities.  Their most important philanthropy continued to be their contributions to the Pi Phi Settlement School in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.  Members were expected to uphold the principles of "true democracy, good sportsmanship, and high standards of conduct."  The officers of Pi Phi in 1954 were Rae E. Halberstadt, President; Mary E. Smith, Vice President; Frances J. Holt, Secretary; and Doroth L. Dykstra, Treasurer.

Frances Weighs in on Sororities in the 1920s

April 21, 1994

Frances Vuilleumier (Class of 1924) reports in an interview that Dickinson had four sororities: Pi Phi, Chi Omega, Phi Mu, and Zeta Tua Alpha. She characterizes Pi Phi as the oldest and strongest sorority as well as the only sorority that "survived." According to Vuilleumier, "it was considered quite a good thing to be a Pi [Phi]," and daughters of faculty members often joined Pi Phi. Chi Omega, explains Vuilleumier, was not as old as Pi Phi. Vuilleumier claims that its members were "very social." Vuilleumier's sorority, Phi Mu, was a newer sorority and was always academic.

Sororities and Independent Women

August 1962

According to "Inside Information" a guidebook for women published by the Dean of Women's office, there were four national sororities on campus, Phi Mu, Pi Beta Phi, Chi Omega, and Zeta Tau Alpha as well as a group known as the Independent Women. The Independent Women was a social group of women that chose not to participate in the greek system.

Chi Omega and Discrimination during the 1950s

March 28, 1988

According to Jane Myer Sellers (Class of 1955), there were no women of color and only one or two men of color at Dickinson during the 1950s. She reports that there were "a few Asian girls" who were considered to be minority students. The only sorority that accepted minority students, says Sellers, was Pi Phi.

"Personals" - What Now? [Part 4]

February 1924
  • Lily Mault, class of 1895 (Law School) became the President of the Woodhaen Women's Republican Club.
  • Jessie Houck, class of 1901, married and become Mrs. N. H. Shaffer. She moved to Oak Lane.
  • Elizabeth M. Craighead, class of 1901, became a French teacher in a Worcester, MA High School.
  • Edith Super, class of 1902, married a Mr. Clifford Anderson. Both were from Bakersfield, California. They became the "happy parents" of David Byron.

Sororities and college discriminate during World War II

April 12, 1990

In an interview, Mary Synder Hertzler reports that groups at Dickinson College did discriminate in membership policies or in rush during the World War II period. "We were the only ones that did," says Hertzler of her sorority, the Pi Phis. The Chi Omega sorority "left," according to Hertzler, because the national chapter prohibited the extension of membership to minorities. Hertzler initially claims to remember one woman of color at Dickinson College but later revokes that statement, recalling that there "were some Puerto Ricans or somebody" at prep school.

Pi Beta Phi in 1953


In 1953, Pi Beta Phi members held a full schedule of scholastic, social, and philanthropic activities. They continued to support their settlement school in Tennessee and they also assisted a struggling German family through connections with one member who was studying abroad there. They also sponsored the annual Pledge Formal, Pledge Tea, Spring Formal, and Spring Tea. The group was led by Ann L. Prescott, president; Shirley J. Chase, vice president; Julia T. Yoshizaki, secretary; and Caroline T. Rhodes, treasurer.

Pan-Hellenic Constitution of 1921-22

September 1921

The Pan-Hellenic council was made up of Pi Beta Phi, Chi Omega, and Phi Mu sororities. The constitution, printed in the 1921 student handbook, details its purpose, officers, and regulations on voting and amending the constitution. According to the constitution, the purpose of the Pan-Hellenic council was to:

  • fix the date of pledge day
  • regulate the rules for rushing
  • regulate any other matters of inter-fraternity interest
  • cooperate with college authorities in questions of general college interest