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Beta Upsilon

Oregon State University

May 17th, 1947

Founding Date

Beta Upsilon chapter of Alpha Phi became a reality on May 17 at Oregon State College. On that glorious spring day the charter for this newest chapter of Alpha Phi was presented to the twenty six newly-initiated collegiate members at the installation service conducted by Margaret Coshun Hutchinson (Psi-South Dakota), at that time vice-president and director of districts, assisted by Gean Wigal Woods (Chi-Montana), governor of district X.


Initiation of the twenty six collegiates and sixteen alumnae, installation of the new chapter, and the beautiful banquet that followed were held in Eugene under the capable management of Valliere Decker Senders (Sigma-Washington), Tau chapter adviser, and Harriet Palmer Gillilan (Nu-Nebraska), president of the Eugene Alumnae Chapter, with the help of other Eugene alumnae and Tau collegiates. 


When all seemed ready for installation of the Beta Upsilon Chapter, a fear beset that the college may not permit Alpha Phi to go ahead as it was an Oregon State College administrative policy that new groups must have lived together successfully before installation. They presented a written petition to the student affairs committee setting forth facts to show that their women had satisfied all requirements except living together. The student affairs committee saw eye-to-eye with the chapter and broke precedent to make an exception for Alpha Phi.


A small caravan of cars took collegiate and alumnae members to the beautiful Tau chapter house at Eugene where initiation was held with the two international officers present. The Tau women were in charge of the ceremony, under the direction of Valliere Decker. Installation took place in the banquet room at the Eugene hotel with Margaret Hutchinson, assisted by Gean Wigal Woods, presenting the charter to Bertha Barry, president of the new chapter. The signing of the charter by each member of the founding group was witnessed by those who had gathered for the formal banquet. 


After these ceremonies came the banquet, carefully planned by Harriet Gillilan (Nu-Nebraska). Seated at the banquet tables were the forty two initiates, installing officers, and visiting members, Eugene and Corvallis alumnae and members of Tau. At each place was a silver program, laced through its latticed front page with bordeaux ribbon. At the place of each initiate was a white corsage, and each initiate found a gold recognition pin attached to her place card, the pins being the gifts of the original small group of Corvallis alumnae who worked so hard to make Beta Upsilon a reality. 


Next came the loving cup service, which closed the succession of happy events that would be forever vivid in the memories of all who participated.


The reception was held the next night, Sunday, May 18, in the main lounge of the Memorial Union building on the Oregon State College campus. Here peonies in white and deep red were strikingly arranged against the rich paneling of the large rooms and many gift bouquets added their beauty to the setting. 


Charter members of the new chapter, all gowned in white and wearing wrist bouquets of red Alpha Phi roses, visited with the reception guests. Throughout the affair, seven of their number formed a dramatic picture as they stood on the grand white marble entrance stairway to greet the guests as they arrived and to say good-bye as they departed. Alumnae, who were the hostesses, were in service in many capacities in the reception rooms and many of their husbands were presented to put male guests at ease.


The reception, which was Alpha Phi’s formal introduction to the campus, brought enthusiastic acclaim from the three hundred guests, including faculty members, townspeople and representatives of college living organizations. On every hand they were greeted with comments on the beauty of the occasion and its friendly atmosphere. Alpha Phi already had established the reputation for being a friendly group at Oregon State.