Texas Alpha image

Texas Alpha

University of Texas, Austin

Founding date: 2/19/1902

Installing Officer:
Grand Secretary
Ida Smith Griffith,
Kansas Alpha

Philanthropy Events:
Pi Phi Kappa Carnival and Pi Burgers
and Phries

Installation at Texas Alpha

The chapter was installed on February 19, 1902. Before 1902, there was a small social club at the University of Texas called “The Valentine Club.” The girls conceived the idea to belong to a national sorority and with so many to choose from, they did some research using books lent to them by their fraternity boyfriends and decided that Pi Beta Phi was not only the oldest but the best sorority in existence. Being forbidden by the university to install a sorority chapter on campus, the installation was held in secret, in the back parlor of Jamie Armstrong’s home on Wednesday, February 19, 1902. Grand Secretary, Ida Smith Griffith, and Austin Pi Phi alumna Illinois Delta Loretta Hood Young, daughter of Mary “Sis” Gault Hood, I.C. Sorosis’ first initiate, performed the ceremonies. The Grand Council decided that if the Valentines were willing to take a chance defying the faculty, then Pi Phi would take a chance on them.

After being called into the University of Texas Disciplinary Committee, the university wisely accepted the fraternity, and gave them the responsibility to prove that sororities were a good thing on the university campus. Mainly, they had to prove that a women’s fraternity were not undemocratic, or demoralizing or purely social in their aims. They accepted that challenge, and Pi Phis still answer that call today.

The installing members of Texas Alpha included: Jennie Armstrong (Bennett), Flora Bartholomew (McLeod), Vivian Brenizer (Caswell), M. Elsie Garrett (Townes,) Ada Hardeman Garrison, Aline Harris (McAshan), Attie McClendon (Marshall), Loula Rose (Kibbe), Minnie Rose (Rector), and Anna Townes

Living at Texas Alpha

The Texas Alpha house is special because it is able to house 67 girls, or an entire New Member class, each year. Texas Alpha is proud of this because it allows each New Member class the opportunity to develop closer relationships and represent Pi Beta Phi as “the house girls.”

Some of the rooms in the house have been dedicated by alumnae. These rooms have gold plaques on the doors in recognition of the women who chose to give this back to the chapter. The house also contains the original signature book from the installment of the Texas Alpha Chapter from 1902.

Panhellenic Groups on Campus

Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Epsilon Phi, Alpha Phi, Alpha Xi Delta, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Delta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pi Beta Phi, Sigma Delta Tau and Zeta Tau Alpha

Philanthropic Service

Texas Alpha has the honor of hosting two main philanthropy events; one in the fall semester and one in the spring. The one in the spring is held during University of Texas’s Round-Up weekend, and it is called Pi Phi Kappa Carnival. Pi Phi hosts it with Kappa, whose philanthropy is also literacy. The chapter attracts a wide range of people for this event. At a recent event the chapter raised more than $7,000 from ticket sales. The event in the fall is called Pi Burgers and Phries, and is held during one of the guest lunches during the fall semester.

Notable Alumnae

  • Susan McBride, author
  • Kelli Kuehne, tours with the Ladies Pro Golf Association
  • Kay Bailey Hutchison, U.S. Senator
  • Ima Hogg, philanthropist; daughter of Jim Hogg, Governor of Texas; President of the Houston Symphony; collector of decorative arts housed at Bayou Bend, now a part of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; established the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at the University of Texas, Austin
  • Gay Warren Gaddis, founder, President and CEO of T3, an Austin, Texas, advertising, marketing and public relations firm that was named one of the largest woman-owned businesses in Texas

Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award Winners from Texas Alpha

  • Nancy Clements Seay (2015)
  • Ann Barnett Stern (2014)
  • Margaret Milam McDermott (2013)
  • Anna "Claire" Buie Chaney (2012)
  • Jo Marie Lilly (2010)
  • Julia Dudley Allison (2005)
  • Gay Warren Gaddis (2003)
  • Dr. Susan M. Cooley (1999)
  • Rita Crocker Clements (1999)
  • Susan Garrett Baker (1996)
  • Kay Bailey Hutchinson (1993)

Grand Council Members from Texas Alpha

  • Ann Dudgeon Phy
  • Nita Hill Stark