Illinois Epsilon image

Illinois Epsilon

Northwestern University*

Founding date: 5/26/1894

Installing Officers: 
Grand Secretary Grace Lass Sisson, Illinois Delta, and Loretta Hood, Illinois Delta

Installation of Illinois Epsilon 

The chapter was installed on May 26, 1894. The chapter was established through the influence of the Michigan Beta chapter, which helped five women apply for the Pi Beta Phi charter, and Grace Lass (Sisson), who was serving as Grand Secretary at the time.

After the Initiation Ceremony, the women enjoyed a tea at the house of a town member, where they received little plates decorated with carnations. The chapter sent out formal announcements the following week. Additionally, they were given a moonlight boat ride on Lake Michigan by a brother of a member. The charter members were Maude Van Sickle Schiver, Miriam Prindle Waller, Grace Van Sickle Melone, Hila Verbeck Knapp and Addie May Griggs.

The chapter closed June 30, 2021. 

Notable Alumnae

  • Jacquelyn Mayer Townsend, Miss America 1963 and motivational speaker
  • Phyllis Elliott Oakley, Diplomat, United States State Department, served as Assistant Secretary of State
  • Martha Hyer, actress, seen in "McCloud"
  • Patricia Neal, Oscar-winning actress

Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award Winners from Illinois Epsilon 

  • Jane Ehrenberg Rosen (2015)
  • Patricia Neal (1999)
  • Phyllis Elliott Oakley (1996)

Grand Council Members from Illinois Epsilon 

Grand Presidents

  • Amy Burnham Onken, Grand President for 31 years (1921–1952), the longest term of any Pi Phi Grand President; the Amy Burnham Onken Award, Pi Phi's highest individual award, was established in her honor.

Grand Council Members

  • Elda L. Smith
  • Margaretta Penn Putman
  • Mary Jane Stein Derringer