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HistoryIT | We Give History A Future


University of Nebraska

Oct 1st, 1906

Founding Date

“We have received fifteen applications for charters during the present administration, and we have granted one. This is no plea for indiscriminate extension, but rather for a recognition of the advantages of growth, and for an open-minded attitude toward opportunity therefore, as it arises” - Cora Woodward (Delta-Cornell) November, 1906 in the Quarterly. 


Cora’s letter announced with great pride that extension was indeed on the mind of a broad-visioned Board. On October 1, 1906, Nu chapter at the University of Nebraska was installed. The day, it was remarked, “will long be remembered by a group of girls in Nebraska as the day on which was consummated a cherished hope which they had for so long a time patiently and loyally nurtured.”


The charter members of Alpha Phi’s “lucky” thirteenth chapter owed a debt of gratitude to Cora Woodward. The University of Nebraska, founded in 1869, was home to a group of students that had petitioned Alpha Phi for a charter for many years with no early success. By 1902, not much progress had been made. If not for Cora Woodward’s personal visit to the university, a charter might never have been granted. Earlier that year, in 1906, on her journey to visit the western chapters, Cora had made a detour to visit the Nebraska group seeking a charter. She had been in Indiana, visiting Gamma chapter, when a letter from one of the Nebraska students reached an Alpha Phi member at DePauw. When the letter was shared with Cora, she was so impressed that she decided to take a short detour to meet these women for herself. After meeting them, she vowed to deliver their petition to the Board personally, and soon the charter was granted. 


On October 1, 1906, Frances Staver (Beta-Northwestern), Ora Davenport (Beta-Northwestern), and Ono Mary Imhoff (Zeta-Goucher) arrived in Lincoln and “were welcomed by smiling faces and cordial greetings, and driven to the home of Mrs. J. E. Miller, one of the patronesses, whose loyalty, hospitality and earnestness have been, from the beginning, a wonderful help and inspiration.” The installation took place at ten o’clock with the initiation of the chapter’s members. The group then assembled at “The Lincoln” for a banquet replete with toasts and good wishes to Alpha Phi’s newest chapter. Dr. Faulkner, father of one of the Nu sisters, then “added to the pleasure of the day by providing a ‘personally conducted automobile tour’ of the city and surrounding country immediately after the banquet.” 


By the time Alpha Phi came to the University of Nebraska, seven sororities were already established there, the first having been installed in 1884. Following the installation of Nu chapter, the new members found themselves caught up in the whirlwind of the Greek life on campus. “[W]e went to a reception given in our honor to the university sororities and to the faculty by Kappa Kappa Gamma, at the home of one of its members,” the sisters reported of the days following the installation. “Delta Delta Delta gave a card party for us at the chapter house on the next Saturday, and in the evening Phi Kappa Psi entertained in our honor at their chapter house. Saturday, October twentieth, all of the university sororities gave a reception in our honor at the Pi Beta Phi house.” These events were followed by meetings with a Delta chapter member, now living in Omaha, and with Jane Bancroft Robinson, who spoke at the university convocation while in Lincoln to attend the Woman’s Home Missionary Society Convention as the society’s vice president. Soon after the installation, the Nebraska Alumnae Chapter was formed. “These are all the social distractions we have had up to date,” the Nu sisters wrote in their first letter to the Quarterly, “and we expect to get down to serious thought of our lessons.”