One brilliantly cold day in January, Billie Keeton Turner (Beta Zeta-Idaho), director of extension, put Mary Rhodes Johnson (Iota-Wisconsin), district alumnae chairman, and Bernice Shaw Olton (Beta Delta-UCLA), district governor, aboard a plane for the one hour flight “down Maine” to survey the University of Maine campus where Alpha Phi had been invited to establish. Because of increased undergraduate enrollment, it was the desire of the seven national groups on campus to invite at least one more sorority to join them.
The next six weeks were spent in correspondence and telephone consultation with Dean Mary Zink and the university Panhellenic adviser committee. The Panhellenic cooperation that Alpha Phi received from both collegiates and alumnae alike was very impressive and an example to emulate. The Panhellenic collegiates talked to the women in the dorms about the new sorority on campus; they arranged a Panhellenic reception for the first night of recruitment weekend to introduce Alpha Phi. They also were on hand to help with many of the mechanics of recruitment, such as writing name tags and serving refreshments at the parties. The alumnae helped with recommendations in the state of Maine where Alpha Phi had very few alumnae.
Recruitment weekend arrived and many alumnae traveled to Orono for the events. Two bus loads of Boston (Eta) collegiates joined the team to recruit like veterans for the entire weekend.
The friendly spirit of the University of Maine was infectious, and Alpha Phi was proud to become a part of it by welcoming 47 women, and also acquiring two alumnae initiate advisers.
Sandy Shaw remained on campus to teach the new members the ways of Alpha Phi and the meaning of fraternity. Delta Nu learned quickly and made a place for itself on campus almost immediately by winning the Greek Sing.
During the informal party given by Delta Nu Friday evening of installation weekend, the collegiates from other chapters began to arrive. Several Boston (Eta) women who had come for recruitment returned, bringing other sisters.
Bright and early Saturday, May 18, initiation was held. After a post-initiation snack in the Memorial Union, Elinor Davis (Gamma-DePauw) presented the charter to Delta Nu chapter president Jacqueline Towle; it was witnessed by Virginia Comeau (Alpha Lambda-Alumnae Initiate), Billie Turner and Bernice Olton.
A committee of Delta Nu upperclassmen arranged for the housing of the weekend guests and for the banquet which was held in a beautiful dormitory dining room with large windows overlooking the spring green of the campus. Billie Keeton Turner, toastmistress, introduced the women presenting the toasts: Sandy Shaw, Bernice Olton, Jacqueline Towle, Virginia Comeau and Dean Mark Zink. Elinor Davis gave the principal address after which the presentation of gifts was made by Bernice Olton. Sandy Hammenken led the loving cup ceremony. It was with hearts filled with sisterly love and happiness that attendees raised their voices in “Pledge Me a Toast.”
Sunday morning the visiting collegians presented a model meeting. All Alpha Phis old and new went to the chapel service on campus. Because of travel arrangements, many of the out-of-town Alpha Phis could not stay for the campus reception Sunday afternoon in the Memorial Union to which faculty, friends and parents came to congratulate our new members.
All of those who experienced this wonderful weekend will agree that there they found the true meaning of fraternity.
5731 Hancock Hall, Orono, Maine
• Meredith Strang Burgess – 1994 Michaelanean Award Winner
• Katie Foster – 2018 Michaelanean Award Winner
May 18th, 1963
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