Washington Gamma image

Washington Gamma

University of Puget Sound

Founding date: 9/9/1948

Installing Officer:
Grand President Amy Burnham Onken,
Illinois Epsilon

Philanthropy Event:
Pie a Pi Phi

Installation at Washington Gamma

A local group, Kappa Sigma Theta, was formed in 1903. The group officially became a chapter of Pi Beta Phi on September 9, 1948. The installation took place at the University of Puget Sound, formerly known as the College of Puget Sound.

The history of Kappa Sigma Theta began in 1903 when it became the first sorority on the campus. Mrs. Dix Rowland was founder of the group. Finally in 1946 and 1947, the college administration opened the campus to national groups and Kappa Sigma Theta immediately petitioned Pi Beta Phi. In October, 1947, Isabel Clark Winkler visited the campus. In February, 1948, the local was honored by visits from representatives of all the Pi Phi chapters in Lambda province.

Initiation ceremonies began September 7. Grand President Amy Burnham Onken, Illinois Epsilon, officiated in the Little Chapel of Jones Hall. The Inez Smith Soule Alumnae club entertained at an informal buffet in the reception room of Anderson Hall that evening. Kansas Beta Gladys Forester was chairman of the event.

The chapter was formally installed September 9, 1948. The Crystal ballroom of the Hotel Wintrop was the setting for the installation banquet Thursday evening, with more than 250 local and visiting Pi Phis present, including large delegations from the alumnae clubs of Seattle and Olympia. Jane Hagen and Mrs. Edward Burkhalter were co-chairmen for the banquet. The theme for the dinner was "Visions." Wine and silver blue were dominating colors in the decorations.

The chapter was installed by Grand President Amy Burnham Onken assisted by Isabel Clark Winkler, Ruth Barrett Smith, Emily Babcock Draper and Louise Wheelock Dobler.

Living at Washington Gamma

What makes the house special is that members are drawn to the cottage-like house because of the people who are in it and the memories made inside. The chapter doesn't have a chef, cleaning services or even a House Director, but it is still the central place for everyone to meet up (e.g. before going to dinner, for Working Group where the chapter has weekly discussions led by members), do homework or relax between classes in the great room. The Washington Gamma house truly feels like a home for everyone. It can house 38 women at a time. There are 22 rooms in total. When Pi Phi was new on campus, the chapter was in a residential hall on a campus before moving into the house.

Washington Gamma Christine Maynard Cordenas donated two wooden, hand-carved Pi Beta Phi symbols to Washington Gamma — a shield and an arrow. Both of Christine’s parents attended Monmouth College, and Christine’s father carved these Pi Phi symbols for her mother, Illinois Alpha Margaret Janet Ward when Margaret was initiated into Pi Beta Phi at Monmouth College in 1936. When Christine was initiated into Washington Gamma fifty years ago, the hand-carved symbols were passed down to her. Christine gifted the hand-crafted shield and arrow to Washington Gamma in Fall of 2015 because of her fond memories, joy and personal growth she experienced during her time in college. On the condition that Washington Gamma is ever dissolved, she wishes that the symbols be passed on to Pi Beta Phi Headquarters

Panhellenic Groups on Campus

Alpha Phi, Delta Delta Delta, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Alpha Theta and Pi Beta Phi

Philanthropic Service

The chapter's main fundraising event is Pie a Pi Phi, where members of the campus community are invited to throw pies in members' faces or even the faces of their own friends! The chapter typically chooses a sunny day in the Spring and set up a pie booth in front of campus' cafeteria. In addition to Pie a Pi Phi, the chapter also volunteers at the local Tacoma Rescue Mission biweekly in order to promote literacy

Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award Winners from Washington Gamma

  • Julie Jacobson Gates (2009)

Grand Council Members from Washington Gamma

  • Luellen Clymo Smith