Colorado Springs, Colorado, Alumnae Club

Charter date: 1/1/1934

The History of the Colorado Springs, Colorado, Alumnae Club

Eighty-three years ago, in spite of difficult times in 1933, a group of Pi Bet Phi alumnae in the small city of Colorado Springs began to gather for tea and friendship. In the era following the Depression, they found comfort in recalling the happier days of their college years and the Fraternity life they had in common. They shared memories, laughter, stories of family and caring friendships. Encouraged by Amy Burnam Onken, Grand President of the Fraternity, who was attending a meeting at the Broadmoor Hotel that summer, the seventeen original founders of the Colorado Springs Club applied for and were granted a charter of their membership in the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity in 1934. A research of the existing scrap books indicates that highlights of their eight meetings in early years included a salad luncheon in September, a Settlement School Tea at which craft items were available to the public and a Founders’ Day celebration, the first of which was a luncheon at the Antlers Hotel. Other meetings were in members' homes.

Substantial growth was not realized until after World War II. During the war years, the club was able to maintain its standing with as few as seven members during l943 to 1945. The focus of meetings changed from social functions to reflect the hardships of the time. Garage sales took place where members were able to purchase cleaned and refurbished items. Fundraisers in the form of elaborate fashion shows and champagne brunches raised money for the Settlement School. Later, Arrowmont craft sales, bridge parties and teas were incorporated into the social calendar. Delegates from the convention returned with new ideas and philanthropy was stressed.

In the 1970s and 1980s, participation increased. Peg Houston received the first Evelyn Peters Kyle Award and the Colorado Springs Club was named an Ideal Club. Peg Houston and Kathe Eller started the first Geranium Sale. The idea blossomed and has spread to many other Pi Phi Clubs, including to Canada where funds support the Arrow in the Arctic project. The club honors the memories of Peggy and Kathe, who passed away in the early 1990s. The Houston family sponsors a speaker at convention and has endowed a Foundation scholarship.

In the 1990s, the club introduced special interest groups, including a luncheon Group, two book clubs, a golf group, a hiking group, and a longstanding bridge group. A Moonlight Angel Group for younger members meets in the evening.

In 2000, the club's emphasis changed as literacy became the Fraternity’s foremost philanthropic endeavor. The Read Across America project celebrating Dr. Seuss’ Birthday has become a yearly event. Members volunteer at preschools, kindergartens and in public schools, and donate books through First Books. Books are also collected and donated to three mountain town libraries for adults.

In 2003, the Colorado Springs Alumnae Club assisted the Chartering of Colorado Epsilon Chapter at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS). Now in it’s thirteenth year it is thriving. Alumnae serve on AAC and HC, and there are many interactions between the club and chapter members.

Philanthropic Service

The club hosts the annual Geranium Sale to raise money for Pi Phi chartiable causes and a literacy-related charity. The club also hosts a Day of Service, during which club members read at schools, preschools and libraries.

Awards and Recognition

  • Alpha-Beta Province Ideal Club Award (1996, 1995, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1991, 1990)
  • Club of Excellence (2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007)
  • Club of Superior Performance (2006)
  • Emma Harper Turner Award, Psi Province – Marie Wagenseller Rankin (2001), Kathy Fossceco Phillips (1998), Shirley Damon Portouw (1997)
  • Emma Harper Turner Award, Region 5 – Ann Couch (2014), Kris Woods Olson (2012), Lynda Ward Schedler (2011), Ann Brockman Axelrod (2007)
  • Evelyn Peters Kyle Angel Award, Alpha-Beta Province - Jane Haymaker Floersch (1993)
  • Evelyn Peters Kyle Angel Award, Psi Province – Virginia Weissinger Grant (2005)
  • Evelyn Peters Kyle Angel Award, Rho Province - Kathe Merkt Eller (1988)
  • Excellence in Communication (2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006)
  • Excellence in Communication, Region 2 (2004, 2002, 2001)
  • Excellence in Membership Recruitment and Retention, 251-600 members (2011, 2010, 2009, 2008)
  • International Best Chapter/Alumnae Club Relations Award (2004)
  • International Best Chapter/Alumnae Club Relations Honorable Mention (2003)
  • International Jesse Moeur French Award (2005)
  • International Nashville Alumnae Club Honorable Mention (1997)
  • International Top 10 Alumnae Club (2005, 2004, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996, 1993)
  • National Top 10 Alumnae Club (1992)
  • National Yearbook Award (1992, 1989, 1988, 1986)
  • National Yearbook Honorable Mention (1984)
  • Psi Province Ideal Club Award (2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997)
  • Rho Province and National Community Service Award (1982, 1978)
  • Rho Province Ideal Club Award (1982)

Alpha-Beta Province Dove Award

  • Tricia Mundt Nixon (1994)
  • Dorris Eberly Stead (1992)
  • Ann Allison Leach (1989)

Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award

  • Judith Summers McCollum (2008)

Emma Harper Turner Award

  • Kathy Fossceco Phillips (2004)

Evelyn Peters Kyle Angel Award

  • Margaret George (Peg) Houston

Psi Province Dove Award

  • Dee Wittwer Jones (2005)
  • Alison Hennig Moore (2004)

Notable Alumnae

  • Lucille Adams, first President of Club (1934)
  • Fran Knutson, last survivor of charter members of club who remained active until her death in 2000
  • Peg Houston and Kathe Eller, started the first geranium fundraiser together in 1976. They became known for co-chairing the event until Kathe lost her battle with cancer in 1991. Peg carried on the sale with the help of others until she died tragically in a climbing accident in 1993. The club honored them in naming the Houston/Eller memorial. A Pi Phi Foundation Scholarship was established by Peg’s family and the Peg Houston Speaker’s Fund at Convention.
  • Virginia Grant, chairman of the Bridge Group since the early 70s. She was also active with the fashion shows of that period.
  • Jane Floersch, Province President during the 80s and is now a Diamond Arrow after many years of service to the club.
  • Olivia Bennett, Province President and very active during the 80s.
  • Judith McCollum, recipient of the Carolyn Lichtenberg Crest Award for her work with Colorado Springs School District 11.
  • Alison Moore, joined the Colorado Springs Alumnae Club in the early 80s, and as president in 1987, attended her first convention embarking on a long career as a national officer. She was a Province President for six years and Arrowmont Ambassador. In addition, she was the Anniversary Celebration Chairman for two years. She served six years on the Fraternity’s National Nominating Committee, the last two years as Chairman. She has attended 15 Conventions and been Historian and Photographer for our Club. She now serves on the House Corp Committee for Colorado Springs Epsilon Chapter at UCCS.

Past Presidents

Lucile Adams 1934-35

Margaret Smith 1935-36

Betty Lowell 1936-37

Emily Corning 1937-38

Jane Smith 1938-39 

Mae Campbell 1939-41

Mary Haney 1941-42

Mildred Martin 1942-43

Allene Brugger 1943-45

Melda Poe 1945-46

Adeline Crouch 1946-47

Frances Dunning 1947-48

Jean Taylor 1948-49 

Peg Davis 1949-50

JudyTuckey 1950-51

Evelyn Darby 1951-53

Mary Haney 1953-54

Joyce Johnson 1954-55

Dorothy Maudru 1955-56

Jeanne Malone 1956-57

Adeline Crouch 1957-58

Frances Knutson 1958-59

Mary Ann Bond 1963-65

Jean Foutch 1965-67

Laureda Bunker 1959-60

Jane Wilcoxson 1960-61

Herron Folk 1961-62

Jacklin Foushee 1962-63

Marilyn Severs 1967-68

Janet Johnson 1968-69

Luanne Collier 1969-70

Virginia Goodbar 1970-71

Virginia Grant 1971-73

Jane McKesson 1973-74 

Peg Houston 1974-75 

Pam Del Bosco 1975-76 

Bev Johnston 1976-77 

Kathe Eller 1977-78 

Bonnie Kollen 1978-80 

Jane Floersch 1980-81 

Patti Warner 1981-82 

Joan Agee 1982-83 

Susan Suggs 1983-84

Elizabeth Sevier 1984-85

Cosa Garvert 1987-88 

Ann Leach 1988-89 

Judy McCollum 1985-86

Alison Moore 1986-87 

Lee Mundt 1989-90 

Mildred Divelbiss 1990-91

Dorris Stead 1991-92 

Patricia Nixon 1992-94 

Janet Pettigrew 1994-95

Shirley Portouw 1995-97

Anne Watson 1997-99 

Lynda Schedler 1999-00

Dorris Stead 2000-02 

Kathy Phillips 2002-04 

Dee Jones 2004-05 

Ann Axelrod 2005-07

Marilyn Dewey-Davis 2007-09

Pat Shrack 2009-10 

Barbara Litchfield 2010-11

Kris Woods Olson 2011-13

Ann Nelson Couch 2013-15

Mandy Gardner 2015-16