The Gamma Epsilon chapter of Alpha Phi was installed at Lake Forest College in the spring of 1952. Formal initiation was held on May 24 at the Northwestern (Beta) chapter house, with the Beta collegiates officiating. Afterward the executive board feted the initiates at a gala luncheon at the North Shore Hotel--with many North Shore alumnae as interested guests.
The executive board were hostesses at the luncheon honoring Gamma Epsilon with International President, Clara Ingwersen Gregson (Iota-Wisconsin), as toastmistress, Marian Murphy Strader (Beta-Northwestern), past international president, as principal speaker, Stephanie Carroll giving a welcoming message from Beta chapter with Lura Mae Gibson responding for Gamma Epsilon. Others at the speakers’ table were Doris R. Corbett (Beta-Northwestern), secretary-treasurer; Edna Rattray McGuire (Beta-Northwestern), director of finance; Margaret I. Carr (Iota-Wisconsin), state chairman; Margaret Whitlock Barton (Beta-Northwestern), district governor and chairman of installation; Jean Morrow Meeg (Chi-Montana), advisor to Gamma Epsilon; Janet Powers McGurn (Beta-Northwestern), assistant (then) editor of the Quarterly; Patricia Stevenson, president of Beta chapter.
On Sunday afternoon, May 25, there was a reception at Lois Durand Hall for the new chapter. Alpha Phi and Sigma Tau alumnae, parents, faculty members and representatives of other students groups were the guests. In the receiving line at this party were: Pat Cambridge, president of Gamma Epsilon; Mrs. Gregson, Mrs. McGuire, Mrs. Ernest Johnson and Dr. Johnson, president of the college and Miss Marjorie Bennett, dean of women.
One lovely added feature of the installation was an offer from Mr. Russ, husband of one of Sigma Tau’s advisors, Helen Clark Russ, to endow a scholarship award for the freshman woman with the highest scholastic average for the year. It would be called the Alpha Phi scholarship but recipients did not need to be members of Alpha Phi.
After many years away from campus, the Gamma Epsilon chapter proudly made its return to Lake Forest College on October 3, 2004. The Court of Ivy ceremony was conducted on October 1, 2004. Initiation was held at the home of one of the alumnae in Libertyville. Foundation Board Chair Susan Weiskittle Barrick (Beta Omicron-Bowling Green) presented a scholarship badge and the Foundation's traditional $1,000 gift in celebration of the chapter's installation. Gamma Epsilon designated the gift to the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at the Victory Memorial Hospital in Waukegan. The highlight of the installation was the presentation of the new charter by International Executive Board Member Lindsay Wiggins (Beta Pi-USC) and the president's gavel by past International President Jean Cameron (Gamma Nu-Miami University). Many in the audience were pleased when new members were surprised with the charter from the original chapter, especially Gamma Epsilon alumnae.
The Gamma Epsilon chapter at Lake Forest College was founded in 1952. Alpha Phi and three other NPC sororities were lucky enough to have and grow chapters at Lake Forest at that time. For Alpha Phi, with one of her first alumnae chapters in Chicago, with a long tradition in the Chicagoland area, and a commitment to growth in the Midwest, Lake Forest was a natural decision. The chapter existed at the small, prestigious campus for nine years. All the sorority chapters closed at Lake Forest College in 1961. The University administration and the Panhellenic Council were having a difficult time determining who had the right to choose the members of the organizations. As opposed to continued fighting, damaging the chapters and the campus, the sororities got together and decided it would be better to leave campus. Since the closing of the Panhellenic chapters, several local sororities had formed over the years. However, in 2003, an interest group formed on campus looking to re-affiliate with a Panhellenic chapter, not being satisfied with the local options and interested in the many benefits of affiliating with an international sorority. A letter arrived at the Executive Office in June of 2003 expressing interest in starting the chapter. A few phone calls later, several members of the Executive Office arranged a meeting with the interest group. Everyone knew it was a good match with Alpha Phi legacies, Alpha Phi friends, and so many connections with the group of women they had met. And as the Executive Office members walked out to their cars following the meeting, several members of the interest group followed them and told them how excited they were to have felt a match as well. Following the installation, all of the local chapters at Lake Forest College also affiliated with Panhellenic sororities within the following year making up the Panhellenic Council which exists today.
555 N Sheridan Road, Lake Forest, Illinois
Allie Winkelman – International Executive Board
Jo-Anne Freeman Penttinen – 2006 Michaelanean Award Winner