The History of the Southern Fairfield, Connecticut, Alumnae Club
The Southern Fairfield Alumnae Club of Pi Beta Phi began in October 1956 at an alumna’s home in Darien, Connecticut. Members hail from the Connecticut towns of Bridgeport, Cos Cob, Danbury, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Fairfield, New Canaan, Newtown, Oxford, Ridgefield, Riverside, Rowayton, Salisbury, Shelton, Southbury, Southport, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, Wilton and several towns in Westchester County, New York. The former Westchester Alumnae Club merged with the current club in 2004, extending the club’s border westward to the Hudson River and southward to New York City.
Earliest members included suburban homemakers, mothers and grandmothers, and eventually included recent graduates and working women. Members came from many areas of the country and graduated from diverse colleges and universities. There are 53 different chapters that are currently members of the club. These ladies share their experiences and talents, adding to the enjoyment of new relationships and programs. Friendships have thrived here.
Throughout the club’s 60 years, meetings have been held in homes or convenient, common locations. Daytime and evening groups enjoyed programs about current events and members’ interests. Fraternity, collegiate and alumnae news was always of interest. Smaller groups developed outside of regularly scheduled meetings. Bridge, tennis, book groups, an out-to-lunch bunch and Moms and Tots were popular interest groups. Members also currently serve on the Advisory Committees or House Corporations at the club’s three local chapters: Connecticut Alpha, University of Connecticut; Connecticut Beta, Yale; and Connecticut Gamma, Quinnipiac University. In 1989, the club was instrumental in the Installation of a chapter at Yale University. Quinnipiac University was installed later in the 90s. Club members also share a love of food and cooking. They would often trade recipes, which led to the creation of the club’s own cookbook, "Tried and True," in 1989.
Members have enjoyed get-togethers with Kappa Kappa Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta and Gamma Phi Beta, and have supported the local Panhellenic Association with annual fundraisers. Founder's Day luncheons were more formal affairs, with special attention given to the candle-lighting ceremony honoring the club’s 12 Founders as well as Golden and Diamond Arrows. National's "Links to Literacy" program encouraged the club to create a library at Children's Hospital at Yale New Haven in 1994. Members continue to serve on its board, look after the space, reading materials and personnel involved. The New Haven Alumnae Club and Connecticut Betas also volunteer there. The complexion of the club is changing with new leadership and membership. Blending the older members with the newer generation is invigorating and hopeful. The club is eager to see what’s in store for 2017 and beyond.
Awards and Club Recognition
- Arrowcraft Award (1979)
- Club of Superior Performance (2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)
- Excellence in Communication (1997, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007)
- Foundation Support (2007)
- Ideal Club (1997)
- Kay Cross Baker, Director of Alumnae Activities; Director of Alumnae Programming; Alpha Province Alumnae President, Connecticut Beta; Yale Installation chair; guided Yale Children's Library creation
- Jane Conyers Fitzpatrick, Physical Therapist; Director National Officer overseeing Northeast chapters and one Canadian University; Founder and Executive Director of Pegasus Therapeutic Riding Program; CHL Award National winner
- Janet "Joey" Hamilton, Alumnae Province President for three terms; Director of National Extension; founded first overseas chapter in London
- Lou Ann Carter, Grand Treasurer
- Ellie Sassano and Marge Fritz, granddaughters of founder Jennie Horne Turnbull, were members of the Westchester Alumnae Club
- Eileen Heckart, actress; Oscar winner; awarded Three Emmys and a Golden Globe
- Maxine Kohl Mackle, Educator; introduced computer to business and educational systems in Canada
- Lori Hanley Moody, communicator; film writer; director; producer
- Joyce M. Hergenhan, journalist; Public Relations Vice President at General Electric
- Catherine Wartinbee Townsend, librarian; outstanding Girl Scout leader in USA and Paris
- Gayle Badley Mimnaugh, United Airlines Customer Service Award Winner; International Flight Attendant representative for JFK and Newark airports; oversaw merger of Westchester Alumnae Club with SFCAC in 2004
- Dianne deWitt, international runway and print model; Pi Phi Convention Speaker