Arkansas Alpha image

Arkansas Alpha

University of Arkansas

Founding date: 12/29/1909

Installing Officer:
Grand President May Lansfield Keller, Maryland Alpha

Philanthropic Event:
Pi Beta Phi 5k

Installation of Arkansas Alpha

A local group, Gamma Epsilon Delta, was formed in February 1906. There were 28 members initiated on December 29, 1909, in the bottom right bedroom of Mary Campbell’s home on Dickson Street.

The group officially became a chapter of Pi Beta Phi on December 29, 1909. Installation activities took place in had been the Arkansas building at the 1904 World’s Fair.

Living at Arkansas Alpha

Recently the chapter members moved into its new home after a large renovation. The first home on the University of Arkansas campus sits at 519 North Oakland Avenue in Fayetteville. This house was called “The Arrow Lodge” when Pi Phis still lived there, but Alpha Delta Pi moved into this house in 1952.

This is when the chapter moved to 502 W. Maple Street, where the second home and new house currently sit. The second house on campus held many nicknames including the Princess Palace and the Pink Palace, was torn down in 2015 so the chapter could rebuild and expand. “The Pink Palace” still holds a very special place in chapter member’s hearts; however, the women are excited about this new era for Arkansas Alpha.

The new house is 42,000-square-feet. There are 98 beds for chapter members and an additional bed for the House Director. The chapter room has a "hidden wall" that will allow it to function as a New Member room during the New Member period as well as the chapter room all at the same time! After initiation, the wall will be pushed back and the space will function as one larger chapter room. Members are proud of this new facility, because it was built to meet the needs of college women today, and also for decades to come. Arkansas Alphas everywhere were challenged to build the house, and they rose to the occasion. It is a beautiful, fresh and welcoming home for all who live and visit the house, which is reflective of the wonderful members who will live there.

In the old house, members had a saying of "I'll leave it on the marble," or "sign up on the marble,” and everyone knew exactly what it meant. The marble was removed from the old house and a custom piece of furniture was made with the marble on the top, in hopes that it can serve the same purpose in the new house. This piece of furniture is located where everyone passes by on a regular basis, so there is excitement to see how the marble's purpose remains the same.

In the new house there are two fireplaces. The stone and brick was saved from the old house's two fireplaces to be used in the new house. Especially relevant is the brick from the old fireplace which was brick from the original Wilson homestead that once stood on the property. This brick is used on the second story fireplace. The crest that was in the old chapter room was saved for the new chapter room. The table where the President sits during chapter meetings was also preserved. The chapter has a tradition that all Chapter Presidents sign the bottom of the table.

The cornerstone of the new house is being inscribed for Arkansas Alpha Mary Campbell Gregory, who was a founding member and first Chapter President. She and her husband also donated the property to the chapter in the 1950s, which is noted on the cornerstone. Sealed in the walls of the new chapter room is the "graffiti" of the women who served on Chapter House Corporation, Alumnae Advisory Committee and Executive Council during the building process. There are two special Balfour Cup displays that were carefully removed from the old house and saved for the new one. One case, holding the three latest consecutive Balfour Cup wins is displayed in the living room. The other case, which holds one Balfour Cup, representing the previous three consecutive wins, are displayed in the library and foyer.

The new home houses 98 women in 37 bedrooms consisting of doubles, triples and quads and a presidential suite. This new facility is incredibly special because many of the rooms in the house and bricks around the outdoor living space were purchased and dedicated by alumnae who have made a huge impact on the chapter.

One of the trademark decorations in the house is the “arrow wall” of framed arrows that previously lined the staircase in the old house, but is now in the dining room. Another special piece in the home is the angel fountain that members often sat around to chat, study and share meals. The angel fountain was rebuilt for the new house in order to maintain some of chapter member’s favorite aspects of the old house and to keep tradition alive.

Arrow pillows are one of the chapter’s favorite traditions. Each New Member receives a handmade arrow pillow that is unique to them with their name from their Big Sis/mentor after initiation. Members keep their arrow pillows on their beds or in their rooms for the duration of the collegiate experience. It is definitely the most common decoration in the house!

Panhellenic Groups on Campus

Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Omicron Pi, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Kappa Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Phi Mu and Zeta Tau Alpha

Philanthropic Service

Arkansas Alpha’s largest philanthropy event is the annual “Pi Beta Phi 5k.” Recently the chapter raised $39,000, and the event continues to grow within the community each year. The race starts and ends at the Pi Beta Phi Centennial Gate on campus and businesses in the community come to show their support for the philanthropy. The Pi Beta Phi Centennial Gate is a beautiful gate donated to the University of Arkansas campus by Arkansas Alpha after raising $1 million to celebrate 100 years on the University of Arkansas Campus in 2009.

Notable Alumnae

  • Gene Jones, philanthropist

  • Jennie Allen, author
  • Beth Brickell, actress
  • Rev. Peggy Bosmyer Campbell, first female Episcopal priest ordained below the Mason-Dixon line
  • Patricia Pulliam Upton
  • Dorothy Davis Stuck, Arrow editor

Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award Winners from Arkansas Alpha

  • Kasey Lowe McCall-Smith (2011)
  • Gene Chambers Jones (2008)
  • Patricia Pulliam Upton (1991)

Grand Council Members from Arkansas Alpha

  • Freda Stafford Schuyler