Pi Beta Phi Badge
Pi Beta Phi (ΠΒΦ) is an international fraternity for women 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 200 chapters ever installed and more than 300 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.”
Pi Beta Phi was founded as a secret organization under the name of I.C. Sorosis on April 28, 1867 at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois. It began to use Greek letters as its name in 1888. Pi Beta Phi is regarded as the first national women’s fraternity. It began when twelve female students 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.
The first fraternity convention was held in 1868 at the home of Fannie Thomson in Oquawka, Illinois. 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 secret society.
At the 1882 convention, the society 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 philanthropy, Pi Beta Phi Elementary, 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.
- First to have a national philanthropy, the Pi Beta Phi Elementary in Gatlinburg, Tennessee (now the Arrowmont School for Arts and Crafts) From Pi Beta Phi to Arrowmont, now Read > Lead > Achieve.
- 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 (AAC) to support collegiate chapters.
- One of seven founders of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC).
First organization of college women to be founded as a national fraternity by founding its second chapter in 1868. First to recognize the value of service of the alumnae by organizing alumnae department.
According to G. William Domhoff, in Who Rules America? (Seventh edition, p. 57), upper-class college women “joined one of the four or five sororities with nationwide social prestige (e.g. Kappa Kappa Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta, Pi Beta Phi, and Delta Delta Delta).”
Main article: List of Pi Beta Phi 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 Gamma 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 nine Vice Presidents (Member Development, Fraternity Development, Finance, Membership, Administration, Philanthropy, Communications, Event Planning and Housing). 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.
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.
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.
In 1990, Pi Beta Phi created the Pi Beta Phi Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The Pi Beta Phi Foundation mission is to enable the Fraternity to realize its vision and ensure the future of sisterhood. Targeting education, leadership and philanthropy, the Foundation seeks to impact Pi Phis, the Fraternity, and the communities in which Pi Phis live and serve.
— Read More History on Pi Beta Phi on Wikipedia
Pi Beta Phi (ΠΒΦ)
- Founded On: April 28th, 1867 – Monmouth College
- Type: Social Sorority
- Colors: Wine and Silver Blue
- Flower: Wine Carnation
- Nicknames: Pi-Phi-Pi-Beta-Phi
- Chapters: 200 Chapters
- Website: www.pibetaphi.org
- Motto: Καλλιεργώντας ειλικρινή φιλία — “Cultivating Sincere Friendship”