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Iowa Gamma

Iowa State University

Founding date: 5/11/1877

Notable fact: Original I.C. chapter (Mu)

Installing Officer: 
Florence Porter Robinson,
Wisconsin Alpha 

Installation of Iowa Gamma

Iowa Gamma at Iowa State University was chartered on May 11, 1877. Mary Carpenter, an Iowa State student, met Elizabeth Cook, a member of the Simpson College chapter, on a train on their way to an oratorical contest. From this meeting came the efforts to organize a chapter at Ames. Famed suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt was a member of this chapter while a student at Iowa State University. All fraternities were banned at Iowa State from 1891 until 1903, and the chapter became dormant in 1894. When the College administration changed, fraternities were once again welcome, in part, to solve a housing shortage. A local society, Iota Theta, was installed as the Iowa Gamma Chapter of Pi Beta Phi on February 24, 1906.

Installation took place at the home of Olive Wilson Curtis, which is now the historic and restored FarmHouse museum on central campus. On the way to the banquet at the home of Iowa Gamma Julia Wentch Stanton, the campanile bells played the “Pi Phi Anthem” and other Pi Phi songs that could be heard across campus. Mrs. Stanton’s home was decorated with thousands of wine carnations. A seven-course meal was served to the 60 Pi Phis in attendance.

Living at Iowa Gamma

Panhellenic Groups on Campus

Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Phi, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Delta Zeta, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Phi Beta Chi, Pi Beta Phi and Sigma Kappa.

Notable Alumnae

  • Carrie Chapman Catt, leader in the women's suffrage movement

Grand Council Members from Iowa Gamma 

  • Mary McDonald Knapp
  • Ruth Barrett Smith