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Delta Beta

Texas A&M University, Commerce

Mar 12th, 1960

Founding Date

The Delta Beta chapter of Alpha Phi was welcomed to East Texas State College in Commerce, Texas the weekend of March 12 and 13, 1960. Present at the beautiful installation banquet to offer their congratulations and good wishes to the chapter, were the international president, executive secretary-treasurer, field secretary, district officers of Alpha Phi, almost 50 collegiates from three Texas chapters, and the president of East Texas State College.

 

Les Choisites local sorority was 32 years old when East Texas State College announced that fraternities would be invited to the college early in 1959. The Les Choisites the members decided immediately to seek national affiliation. Alpha Phi was their choice from the beginning. When permission to petition was granted, the members voted unanimously to do so. The petition prepared in October, 1959, was one of the most impressive recently received by the Executive Board, and reflected the fine cooperation of the college administration as well as the qualifications of the group.

 

But the historical coincidence that links this Texas chapter with Alpha Phi reaches back more than 70 years. In the year 1889 Professor W. L. Mayo founded the private school that became East Texas State College. In the same year the young Alpha Phi fraternity installed its fourth chapter, Delta, at Cornell University. 

 

Years later, James Gilliam Gee, young southerner of the distinguished Pickney family of South Carolina, entered Cornell as an undergraduate. One of his letters of introduction was from his Alpha Phi aunt to the Alpha Phis of Delta chapter. When the petition from Les Choisites reached the executive board last fall it carried a recommendation written by the former Cornell student, now Dr. James G. Gee, president of East Texas State College. His gracious welcome to Delta Alpha at the banquet, noted this relationship to Alpha Phi and gave personal interest to his good wishes for the chapter’s success. 

 

Miss Berry, dean of women, gave an inspiring talk on the benefits and responsibilities of fraternity membership in her welcome. Mr. Rollins, dean of men, told of the group’s fine record in the college. Loretta Stone of the collegiate initiates, and Mrs. Hugh Shott, of the alumnae, responded to the welcome from the faculty members.

 

For the Fraternity, Elizabeth Thompson Smith (Omega-Texas), international president; Doris R. Corbett (Beta-Northwestern), executive secretary-treasurer, and Ruth Jones Jayred (Beta Delta-UCLA), district governor, thanked the college administration for the gratifying interest and cooperation given to Delta Beta, and extended warmhearted greetings to the new chapter members. 

 

Congratulatory messages from Elinor Smith Davis (Gamma-DePauw), director of extension; Alpha Phi chapters and individual members were presented by Rose-Mary Magrill, Martha Allen, and Scherry Perkins, collegiate initiates, who also exhibited the beautiful gifts received.

 

Programs of silver and bordeaux named the initiates and announced the toast theme developed on Alpha Phi song titles and phrases. Jesse Mary Hill, district alumnae chairman, and a founder of Omega, was toastmistress. Ninety-four guests attended the banquet which was held Saturday evening, March 12, at 1116 Main Street in Commerce.

 

The initiation service was held Saturday afternoon in the annex of the First Presbyterian Church. Sandra Duckworth, president of Gamma Omega chapter, installed only four months earlier, directed the service. More than 30 Omega collegiates and a few collegiates from Gamma Eta and Gamma Omega participated. Martha Caufield and Jesse Mary Hill of Omega’s first year also were present for the initiation. Thus the span of Alpha Phi’s 40 years in Texas was reflected in this initiation and in the model meeting over which Omega members presided following the initiation. 

 

Twenty-two women were initiated as charter members of Delta Beta.  The alumnae initiates with one exception were connected with the college faculty and were to serve in advisory capacities to the chapter. Following the Saturday initiation and banquet, the Delta Beta collegiates celebrated with a formal dance. Having constructed decorations in advance, they moved into the Student Union Building immediately after the banquet and swiftly transformed its assembly hall with ivy and a great coat of arms of silver and bordeaux to make a setting for their Alpha Phi debut. 

 

On Sunday the entire group of Alpha Phis attended the morning service at the First Presbyterian Church. On Sunday afternoon, preceding the reception in the Student Union, Elizabeth Smith presented the Delta Beta charter in the formal Fraternity ceremony, and the charter members inscribed their names.