Grand President Amy Burnham Onken,
Installation of Georgia Alpha
Being impressed with the University of Georgia and the potential for growth, the 1938 Asheville Convention unanimously voted to establish Georgia Alpha. In September 1938, eight Pi Phi members transferred to the University to recruit and colonize the new chapter. The chapter was installed on February 4, 1939. Installation of Georgia Alpha took place at the Georgian Hotel, which is located just off campus in downtown Athens, Georgia. Many Pi Phi events, such as formal dances, are still held at the venue. The installation was held later that night at the Georgian. More than 50 Pi Phis from around the country were present for the event. Amy Burnham Onken gave a speech reminding the initiates of the work to be done to continue building the chapter. Awards and gifts were presented and the group sang Pi Phi songs.
Living at Georgia Alpha
The Georgia Alpha Chapter house is located at 886 South Milledge Avenue and affectionately referred to as “The 886.” It actually started out as a family home. It was owned by the Mortons, a well-known Athens family. Over the years it has been renovated and added onto to become the house it is today. The chapter facility is also special because it really is the central part of the sisterhood. From weekly chapter meetings, to hosting dinners on the lawn to raising money for philanthropy, the chapter house is where the sisterhood thrives. We house 58 women in two women rooms, three women rooms, four women rooms and five women rooms.
A portrait of Winifred Smith Page, Colorado Beta/Wisconsin Alpha, hangs in the foyer. A great-niece of founder Inez Smith Soule, she was a notable Atlanta community leader instrumental in chartering Georgia Alpha. Winifred and her husband were among those lost in the 1962 plane crash in Orly, France. The Atlanta Memorial Arts Center was built from donations given in honor of those outstanding citizens.
Another interesting artifact is an angel figure which sat in an armoire in the living room. During a preference round ceremony in 1998, a candle caught the drapes in the living room on fire. Much of the house was badly burned. The armoire stood near the drapes, and almost everything inside of it was destroyed by the fire. The only thing that wasn’t touched by the fire was the angel figure inside the armoire.
Panhellenic Chapters on Campus
Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Omicron Pi, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Delta Zeta, Delta Phi Epsilon, Gamma Pi Beta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Phi Mu, Pi Beta Phi, Sigma Delta Tau, Sigma Kappa and Zeta Tau Alpha
Georgia Alpha hosts two large philanthropy events throughout the year. During the fall semester, the event is called “Pi Phiesta,” and features an all-you-can-eat taco buffet as well as live music from a local Athens band. The event is hosted on the front lawn and has become a very well-known and popular event around campus. The spring semester event changes every year. The most recent event was a skating night, called “Classic City Skate Night.” We rented out an ice skating rink in downtown Athens for an evening, and invited University of Georgia students, and members of the Athens community.