Illinois Eta image

Illinois Eta

Millikin University

Founding date: 3/29/1912

Installing Officer:
Grand President May Lansfield Keller, Maryland Alpha

Philanthropic Event:
Green Eggs and Ham

Installation of Illinois Eta

A local group, Delta Theta Psi, was formed in 1904. The group officially became a chapter of Pi Beta Phi on March 29, 1912. There were a number of women who petitioned to install Delta Theta Psi, a local organization, as a chapter of Pi Beta Phi. These women included Pearl Tippett, Irene Handlin, Esther Starr, Grade Lorraine Thift, Florence Sarah Page, Lucille Logan, Edith Ward Bower, Lucy Curtis, Jessie Elizabeth Patterson, Lois Scott, Norma Louise Council, Lois Brown, Mabel Edmonson, Marie Scott, Helen Page, Margaret Hessler, Helen Keeley, Eula Mason, Ann Stoker, Virginia Bower, Irma Nicholson, Helen Roby and Fannie Johnson.

Grand President May Lansfield Keller, Maryland Alpha, performed the Initiation Ceremony for these women. There were 12 chapters of Pi Phis represented at the ceremony. Illinois Eta was the first of national women’s fraternity on Millikin’s campus. Installation took place in the home of Maryland Alpha Caroline Lutz. It was reported, “The house was an ideal one for the purpose and the local Pi Phis had introduced a few unusual features in decoration and concluding ceremony, which added an especial charm to the initiation.”

At chapel, which some of the visiting Pi Phis attended, the College President announced the establishment of the first women’s fraternity on campus. He then suggested that the student body rise and sing the college song in Illinois Eta’s honor. The President and his wife, a chapter Patroness, hosted an open house at their home to honor the chapter.

The “First Annual” dance announced the installation. Pi Phi colors and carnations provided the decorations. The following afternoon Adele Blackstone hosted the Pi Phis; her sister Marguerite Blackstone, Illinois Zeta, had helped the chapter secure the charter, but was not in town for the installation festivities.

Living at Illionis Eta

The Illinois Eta Chapter house sleeps 40 women. There are 13 bedrooms and many great common areas. Each room in the house has a specific name — bedrooms and common areas. Even with the renovations that have occurred over the years, these names have all stayed the same.

The archival closet contains a lot of chapter history and antique books such as a few books from the Delta Theta Psi chapter (before being installed as a Pi Beta Phi chapter). There are original signatures and pictures of each founding woman. There are many old scrapbook and old pictures that date back to the late 1920s. Everything that is important to the chapter stays in the archives.

Panhellenic Groups on Campus

Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta and Pi Beta Phi

Philanthropic Service

Green Eggs and Ham, which occurs in the spring, is Illinois Eta's main philanthropy event. This fundraiser takes place in the chapter house where members sell breakfast food. There are usually speed reads for entertainment, a children’s book donation bin and presale tickets.

Notable Alumnae

  • Katelyn Epperly, Season 9 American Idol contestant

Grand Council Members from Illinois Eta

  • Mary Elizabeth Frushour Hill