Wisconsin Alpha image

Wisconsin Alpha

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Founding date: 11/1/1894

Installing Officers:
Gertrude Clark Sober, Michigan Beta (1894); Grand President Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg,
Ohio Alpha (1986)

Philanthropy Event:
Wing King

Installation at Wisconsin Alpha

Wisconsin Alpha was organized by Gertrude Clark Sober, Michigan Beta, and Elizabeth Church Smith, Colorado Alpha. The first installation of the chapter took place in Madison, Wisconsin, in November of 1894. It was installed on November 1, 1894 with the following charter members Elizabeth Church Smith, Elizabeth B. McGregor, Bessie Steenberg (Webster), Anna Pauline Houghton (Williams), Anna L. Meshek (Tillotson), Amelia Ecklor Huntington (Gilmore), Agnes Arlette Perry, Genevieve Church Smith and Nellie B MacGregor (Ellis). 

The chapter closed in 1971, and it was reinstalled in October 11, 1986 by Grand President Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg, Ohio Alpha.

The festivities began with the preparatory service and Cookie Shine held in the historic Grace Episcopal Church. Initiation was held at the Edgewater Hotel. A banquet was held at the Maple Bluff Country Club on Saturday evening. On Sunday afternoon a reception was held at the Edgewater Hotel.

Meetings during the first year were held at Memorial Union or classrooms around campus. Wisconsin Alpha moved into the current chapter house in the fall 1987.

Living at Wisconsin Alpha

The chapter moved into the current house at 130 Langdon Street in 1987. The house is located on Lake Mendota and has its very own dock. Many members use the dock in the summer and spring for enjoying the sunshine, jumping into the lake and having an overall good time! The views of the lake make the house stand out amongst other chapters on campus. There are 21 rooms in the house with a total of 50 women who can live in. Many members live in the house their sophomore year as it’s a great place to become close with the women in a members New Member class!

Something that makes the house special is the secret turret! Known only to Wisconsin Alpha Pi Phis, the turret is located in the top corner of the house and can only be accessed by a separate stair well. The turret houses initiation each year and is a very notable part of the initiation experience! In addition to the turret, the house also has a grand piano. The piano has been a great asset to the chapter’s Humorology performances and makes singing along to Pi Phi songs a whole lot easier. 

Panhellenic Groups on Campus

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

Philanthropic Service

The chapter’s main philanthropy event is Wing King, which is held every fall! Hosted at a local Madison restaurant known as State Street Brats, Wing King raises hundreds of dollars for Read > Lead > Achieve®. Members sell tickets to people in other chapters and the event usually has a great turnout. The food for the event consists of wings, sauces, fries and a fountain drink. There is also a wing eating contest where various people participate to try and win gift cards as well as the ultimate title of the Wing King! 

Notable Alumnae

  • Carol Nechrony Skornika, Wisconsin's secretary of the Department of Human Services; corporate treasurer of Midwest Express airlines
  • Karen Brindley Christensen, circuit judge in Milwaukee
  • Virginia Wolfe, retired circuit judge for Sauk County

Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award Winners

  • Judith Johnson Frick (1995)
  • Patricia Albjerg Graham (1991)

Grand Council Members from Wisconsin Alpha

  • Jessica Craig Campbell  
  • Lillian Freund
  • Florence Porter Robinson