Pi Beta Phi

Pi Beta Phi

Infobox Fraternity
letters= ΠΒΦ
name= Pi Beta Phi
founded= Birth date and age|1867|04|28
birthplace= Monmouth College, (Monmouth, Illinois)
type= Social
colors= Wine and Silver Blue
symbol= arrow
flower= Wine carnation
publication= The ARROW
philanthropy= Literacy,
Champions Are Readers (CAR),
Arrow in the Arctic
chapters= 134
members= 227,000+
address= 1154 Town & Country Commons Drive
city= Town & Country
state= Missouri
country= USA
homepage= http://www.pibetaphi.org

Pi Beta Phi (ΠΒΦ) is an international sorority founded as I.C. Sorosis on April 28, 1867, at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois. Its headquarters are located in Town and Country, Missouri, and there are 134 active chapters and over 330 alumnae organizations across the United States and Canada. Once an initiated member in good standing graduates or otherwise leaves her college or university, she is a member for life.

According to the official web site, "The mission of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for women is to promote friendship, develop women of intellect and integrity, cultivate leadership potential and enrich lives through community service." [ [http://www.pibetaphi.org/ Pi Beta Phi] official web site]


Pi Beta Phi was founded on April 28, 1867, at Monmouth College by twelve Monmouth students who wished to enjoy the benefits of a secret society similar to those formed by collegiate men. The twelve founders were Clara Brownlee Hutchinson, Libbie Brook Gaddis, Emma Brownlee Kilgore, Margaret Campbell, Rosa Moore, Ada Bruen Grier, Nancy Black Wallace, Jennie Horne Turnbull, Jennie Nicol, Inez Smith Soule, Fannie Thomson, and Fannie Whitenack Libbey. They planned their society at the home of Major Jacob H. Holt, where two of the women rented a room. The name chosen for the society was I.C. Sorosis. The motto chosen was Pi Beta Phi.

Shortly after the founding, the sisters had a jeweler design their official badge: a golden arrow with the letters "I.C." on the wings. According to fraternity lore, they first wore their badges publicly in their hair.

The first fraternity convention was held in 1868 at the home of Fannie Thomson. It was also in that year that the fraternity's second chapter was established at Iowa Wesleyan College in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. The expansion made Pi Beta Phi the first national (multi-chapter) women's fraternity.

At the 1882 convention, the fraternity officially adopted its motto as well as the fraternity colors of wine and silver blue. Six years later, the name was changed from I.C. Sorosis to Pi Beta Phi. In 1893, with the number of alumnae members growing, the fraternity organized a national alumnae department. Cooperation among women's fraternities and sororities was formalized in 1902 with the founding of the National Panhellenic Conference, of which Pi Beta Phi was a founding member. Meanwhile, chapter expansion continued, and in 1908 the fraternity's first Canadian chapter was established at the University of Toronto.

The fraternity's first philanthrophy, Settlement School, was organized in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in 1912. It would be followed over the years by other philanthropic endeavors. In 1913, the fraternity also began the practice of support for its chapters through local Alumnae Advisory Committees. Central Office, a fraternity headquarters, was established in 1925.

The Kansas Alpha chapter had begun publication of "The Arrow" in 1885; it would eventually become a quarterly magazine published by the national fraternity for all its members. Today, dues-paying alumnae receive "The Arrow" by mail, while others can access it online at the fraternity's web site.


The official symbol of Pi Beta Phi is the arrow and the unofficial mascot is the angel. The badge (pin) is a golden arrow with the Greek letters ΠΒΦ on the feathers and a golden chain with 12 links to represent each of the 12 founders suspended from the shaft. The pledge pin is a golden arrowhead with the Greek letter Β. The fraternity colors are wine and silver blue. The official flower is the wine carnation. The crest is a lozenge emblazoned with the crest of the Brownlee family, two of whom were founders of the fraternity.

Famous Firsts

*First to have a national philanthropy, Settlement School (now the Arrowmont School for the Arts and Crafts) [http://www.lib.utk.edu/arrowmont From Pi Beta Phi to Arrowmont]
*First to have a Canadian philanthropy, Northern Libraries Project (now Arrow in the Arctic)
*First to have an alumnae department
*First to form Alumnae Advisory Committees to support collegiate chapters
*One of seven founders of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC)
*First fraternity for women to be a national organization


Pi Beta Phi is made up of members who are either collegians (attending college or university and active in a collegiate chapter) or alumnae (initiated members who are no longer in college). Each collegiate chapter operate under a charter granted by the international fraternity, and generally with the recognition of the college or university where it is located. Individual alumnae are members for life, whether or not they join a recognized alumnae club. The fraternity encourages alumnae involvement as a way of promoting philanthropy, providing support for collegiate chapters, and ensuring the strength of the fraternity.

Collegiate Chapters

A chapter is local Pi Beta Phi affiliates at a particular college or university. When expansion of Pi Beta Phi first began to other college campuses, the fraternity adopted the custom of naming chapters with Greek letters in order of their founding. Thus, the original chapter at Monmouth College became Alpha chapter, the chapter established at Iowa Wesleyan College became Beta chapter, and so on. This naming convention became cumbersome as the number of chapters increased.

The fraternity now names chapters by their state, followed by the Greek letter designating the order of founding within each state; for example, Alpha chapter at Monmouth College is now known as Illinois Alpha. The sole exception is the chapter at Knox College, which absorbed the chapter at the now-defunct Lombard College and is now known as Illinois Beta-Delta in recognition of both chapters. Now, if a chapter closes for any reason, its name remains unused until such time as the chapter can be re-established at the same university.

Each chapter elects an Executive Council consisting of a President and eight Vice Presidents (Member Development, Fraternity Development, Finance, Membership, Administration, Philanthropy, Communications, and Event Planning). Each chapter also has an Alumnae Advisory Committee and House Corporation comprising fraternity alumnae living in the area who assist the chapter.

Chapters are grouped geographically into regions, formerly known as provinces, to facilitate national organization and administration. Each collegiate region has a Regional Director and several Regional Specialists covering different functions.

Alumnae Clubs

Pi Beta Phi alumnae, initiated members in good standing who have graduated or otherwise left their college or university, can organize into local alumnae clubs or "pockets" (smaller, less established clubs) which are recognized by the fraternity. Like collegiate chapters, alumnae clubs are grouped geographically into regions, which also have their own officers.

International Governance

The international fraternity is governed by a Grand Council, elected at each biennial convention and comprising a Grand President and six Grand Vice Presidents (Alumnae, Collegians, Finance, Communications, Membership, and Programming). Also elected biennially are four international Directors (Collegiate Membership, Extension, Finance, and Philanthropy) and one Director for each alumnae region and each collegiate region. The work of Directors is supervised by a member of Grand Council.

In addition to the elected officers, there are several appointed international officers assigned certain functions, such as an archivist and a fraternity historian.


Like many sororities and fraternities, Pi Beta Phi members take part in a number of philanthropy programs. Over the fraternity's history, philanthropies have included education, literacy, and the preservation of regional arts and crafts.

Educational and cultural philanthropies

ettlement School and Arrowmont

Pi Beta Phi opened the Pi Beta Phi Settlement School in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in 1912 to provide education, economic opportunity, and health care to the rural area. [ [http://www.pibetaphi.org/philanthropies/arrowmont.html Arrowmont] from the Pi Beta Phi web site] Over the years, as the community took over childhood education, Settlement School began to adapt by offering arts and crafts classes in an effort to preserve and promote the region's crafts tradition. An extension of the Pi Beta Phi Settlement School called the Craft Work Shop was begun in 1945 in cooperation with the University of Tennessee.Josh Flory, [http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2008/aug/16/pi-beta-phi-fraternity-sell-arrowmont-land/ Pi Beta Phi fraternity to sell Arrowmont land] , Knoxville News Sentinel, August 16, 2008] Now an independent nonprofit organization known as the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, it is one of the oldest arts and crafts centers in the South and is a world-renowned facility providing college and graduate level courses. Arrowmont remains a major philanthropic project of Pi Beta Phi.

Arrowcraft Shop

In conjunction with the fraternity's commitment to the arts and crafts tradition of the Gatlinburg area, Pi Beta Phi opened the Arrowcraft Shop in 1926. The shop provided local craftspeople with an outlet to sell their products, thereby providing an economic as well as cultural benefit to the community. While no longer affiliated with Pi Beta Phi, Arrowcraft remains in operation as the oldest gift shop in Gatlinburg. It is now affiliated with the Southern Highland Craft Guild. [ [http://www.southernhighlandguild.org/shop.php?shop_main=5 Southern Highland Craft Guild: Arrowcraft] ]

Pi Beta Phi Elementary School

Another legacy of Pi Beta Phi's tradition of educational philanthropy is Pi Beta Phi Elementary School of Gatlinburg. After the county began to take over administration of the school in the 1940s, the fraternity deeded to the county the land on which the new elementary school was built. The school is now part of the Sevier County public school system. [ [http://www.pbp.sevier.org/schoolhistory.html History of Pi Beta Phi Elementary School] from the school system web site.]

Literacy Philanthropies

Arrow in the Arctic

Pi Beta Phi became the first Greek letter organization to have a Canadian philanthropy in 1967 when, at the dual centennial of Canada and of Pi Beta Phi, the fraternity officially adopted the Northern Libraries Project to provide support for library systems in the Yukon and Northwest Territories. The project was renamed Arrow in the Arctic in 1969. [ [http://www.arrowinthearctic.com/History.htm Arrow in the Arctic History] ] Today, philanthropy funds provide English and Inuit resources for libraries in the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. [ [http://pibetaphi.org/philanthropies/arctic.html Arrow in the Arctic] from the Pi Beta Phi web site] [ [http://www.arrowinthearctic.com/ Arrow in the Arctic] web site]

Champions Are Readers

The Houston, Texas, Alumnae Club of Pi Beta Phi provided the framework for another of the fraternity's national literacy projects, Champions Are Readers. CAR promotes family literacy by targeting third graders with a fully developed reading enrichment program to encourage children to read and reinforce programs already in place in the schools. [ [http://www.pibetaphi.org/philanthropies/car.html Champions Are ReadersSM] from the Pi Beta Phi web site]

Fraternity Day of Service

Pi Beta Phi's annual Fraterity Day of Service is designed to "unite our entire membership–alumnae groups, collegiate chapters and individual members–in our efforts to advance literacy." The first event was held on March 2, 2006, when Pi Phi actives and alumnae participated in the National Education Association's Read Across America Day. As part of the celebration, Pi Beta Phi teamed up with Southwest Airlines to "Share the Spirit" by handing out new Dr. Seuss books to children flying on March 2nd. Other activities held that day included tutoring children and hosting reading parties.

Fraternity Heritage Philanthropy

Holt House

I.C. Sorosis, the name of which was later changed to Pi Beta Phi, was founded in the home of Major Jacob H. Holt, 402 East First Avenue, Monmouth, Illinois, where founders Ada Bruen and Libbie Brook were renting a room. Over the years, the home fell into disrepair. With the approval of the 1938 convention, the fraternity bought the property at tax auction and embarked on a restoration project. Pi Beta Phi still owns and operates Holt House, which is used for various private gatherings as well as meetings by local Pi Beta Phi groups.

Notable alumnae

"For a full list of notable Pi Beta Phi alumnae please visit here. [http://www.pibetaphi.org/aboutus/notable.html] "

*Susan Akin (Mississippi Beta) - Miss America 1986cite web| url =http://www.pibetaphi.org/aboutus/notable/notable_others.html| title = Other Notable Pi Beta Phis| publisher =Pi Beta Phi | accessdate =2007-08-29]
*Faye Dunaway (Florida Beta) - Academy Award-winning Actresscite web| url =http://www.pibetaphi.org/aboutus/notable/notable_theater.html| title = Notable Pi Beta Phis in Theater, Film and Performing Arts| publisher =Pi Beta Phi | accessdate =2007-08-29]
*Jennifer Garner (Ohio Eta) - Golden Globe-winning Actress/Producer
*Kathy Garver (California Delta) - Actress and producer. Played Cissie on "Family Affair."
*Courtney Gibbs (Texas Delta) - Miss USA 1988
*Marilyn Horne (California Gamma) - Opera Singer
*Traylor Howard (Florida Beta) - Actress, ("Monk")
*Nancy Kulp (Florida Beta) - Actress, ("The Beverly Hillbillies")
*Jacquelyn Mayer (Illinois Epsilon) - Miss America 1963
*Patricia Neal (Illinois Epsilon) - Academy Award-winning Actress
*Marilyn Van Derbur Atler (Colorado Alpha) - Motivational speaker and Miss America, 1958. Named Outstanding Woman Speaker in America and the first woman to win the Speakers' Hall of Fame Award, 1980.

*Barbara Bush (Texas Eta Alumna Initiate 2003) - First Lady (wife of President George H. W. Bush) [cite web| url =http://www.pibetaphi.org/aboutus/SummerArrow2007.pdf |title= Summer Arrow 2007 |publisher =Pi Beta Phi | accessdate =2007-08-30]
*Carrie Chapman Catt (Iowa Gamma) - Founder, League of Women Voterscite web| url =http://www.pibetaphi.org/aboutus/notable/notable_govt_and_politics.html| title = Notable Pi Beta Phis in Government and Politics| publisher =Pi Beta Phi | accessdate =2007-08-29]
*Grace Goodhue Coolidge (Vermont Beta charter member) - First Lady (wife of President Calvin Coolidge)
*Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas Alpha) - Senator from Texas
*Lisa Murkowski (Oregon Gamma) - U.S. Senator from Alaska
*Laurie Monnes Anderson (Oregon Gamma) - Oregon State Senator
*Valerie Plame Wilson (Penn State) - Covert CIA officer, central figure in the Plame affair [Wilson, Valerie Plame. "". Mew York: Simon & Schuster, 2007, 20.]

*Sue Grafton (Kentucky Alpha) - Mystery novelist.cite web| url =http://www.pibetaphi.org/aboutus/notable/notable_authors.html| title = Notable Pi Beta Phi Authors| publisher =Pi Beta Phi | accessdate =2007-08-29]
*Jane Bryant Quinn (Vermont Alpha) - Author and Financial columnist
*Patricia MacLachlan (Connecticut Alpha) - Author of "Sarah, Plain and Tall" and recipient of the John Newbery Medal for her contribution to children's literature.
*Margaret Truman (DC Alpha) - daughter of U.S. President Harry Truman and author

*Anna Fisher (California Epsilon) - Astronaut and NASA Physician

*Nancy Hogshead (North Carolina Beta) - Winner of three gold medals and one silver medal in swimming at the 1984 Summer Olympics.cite web| url =http://www.pibetaphi.org/aboutus/notable/notable_sports.html| title = Notable Pi Beta Phis in Sports| publisher =Pi Beta Phi | accessdate =2007-08-29]
*Tracie Ruiz (Arizona Alpha) - Winner of two gold medals in synchronized swimming at the 1984 Summer Olympics

*Ann Turner Cook (Texas Beta) - original Gerber baby featured in advertisementscite web| url =http://www.pibetaphi.org/aboutus/notable/notable_pioneers.html| title=Notable Pi Beta Phi Pioneers |publisher =Pi Beta Phi | accessdate =2007-08-29]
*Cate Edwards (New Jersey Alpha) - daughter of U.S. Senator John Edwards [cite web| url = http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:NIyPpFnhEmkJ:www.pibetaphi.org/aboutus/Arrow/Arrow_Fall04_bookmarked.pdf+%22Cate+Edwards%22+%22Pi+Beta+Phi%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=21&gl=us&client=firefox-a| title= Fall Arrow 2004|publisher =Pi Beta Phi | accessdate =2007-08-30]


External links

* [http://www.pibetaphi.org/ Pi Beta Phi Fraternity For Women]

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