In Alpha Phi’s current burst of extension at the time, one of its newest campuses was the 119-year-old University of Evansville in Evansville, Indiana. It was home to Epsilon Pi, Alpha Phi’s seventh Indiana chapter. Alpha Phi’s establishment at Evansville demonstrates that successful extension often takes years. Alpha Phi alumnae first inquired about the possibility of establishing at the campus twenty years prior, and contact had been maintained ever since. Conditions were not right for two decades, but finally the time came. The Panhellenic on campus was strong, and the groups already established, Alpha Omicron Pi, Chi Omega, Phi Mu and Zeta Tau Alpha, realized that more women wanted to join than their chapters could accommodate. Three sororities which had expressed interest were invited to present themselves. In May 1973, Judy Kay Schmidt Mead (Delta Gamma-Northern Colorado), Alpha Phi Director of Extension, and Betty Mullins Jones (Gamma-DePauw), International President, met with representatives of the four sororities on campus. The result? Alpha Phi was the unanimous choice of both the Panhellenic and the administration.
Twenty-one alumnae pulled together to prepare the sorority suite, which was located in Moore Hall, along with the other sororities. It was a challenge for Marilyn Bussing Oldenburg (Gamma-DePauw), to turn the former University Health Center into a cheerful suite of greens, yellow and white! Recruitment was held in September, and twenty-nine collegians and one alumnae joined Epsilon Pi.
On January 18, 1974, the Epsilon Pi new members were bussed to Indiana University, Bloomington, for an Inspiration Ceremony at the Beta Tau chapter. Following a model meeting and lunch at the Beta Tau house, initiates returned to Evansville for an evening banquet. Additional guests at the banquet were Betty Jones, International President and guest speaker; Betty Willett Nixon (Omega-Texas), District Alumnae Chairman; Sue Rainer (Gamma Gamma-Drury), Field Secretary; Nancy Wittgen Burks DeVoe (Gamma-DePauw), District Governor; four vice presidents of the university and their wives, and Mrs. Marie Childers, Dean of Student Affairs.
Welcoming addresses were given by Mrs. Childers; Mary Wynant (Beta Tau-Indiana), retiring president of Beta Tau chapter, and Betty Nixon. Gifts were presented and acknowledged, and the Loving Cup Ceremony was conducted by Betty Jones.
The following morning, University of Evansville President Wallace B. Graves and Mrs. Graves hosted a coffee at their home for all Alpha Phi initiates, alumnae officers and Panhellenic guests throughout the city. All attended church services at the Methodist Temple.
At 2:00 p.m., Alpha Phi hosted a reception in the Great Hall on campus for three hundred well-wishers. The highlight of the weekend was the charter presentation by Betty Jones and Judy Kay Mead.
Carol Davis Snider – 2014 Michaelanean Award Winner
Jan 18th, 1974