The History of the Monmouth, Illinois, Alumnae Club
The Monmouth Alumnae Club was chartered in 1916 by several Illinois Alpha women living in Monmouth. At their first meeting, four of the founders, Mrs. Soule, of Tacoma, Mrs. Turnbull of Philadelphia, and their own Mrs. Kilgore and Mrs. Hutchinson were in attendance as well as Miss Steele, Province Vice President. They planned to meet every month except the three months in summer. For philanthropy, the Settlement School was discussed and the club decided to sew for the needs of a new hospital. Membership was comprised of sisters living in the area and up to 35 miles away.
In 1928, the Illinois Alpha Chapter at Monmouth College was reinstated and the Alumnae Club was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with and support it. In 1941, the Chapter and Alumnae Club entertained at a tea for the official opening of Holt House.
For almost 90 years, the Monmouth Alumnae Club has been working with the Illinois Alpha Chapter by supporting literacy, serving the club’s community in so many different ways and ultimately, having fun! While there was once talk of having to become a pocket club, many sisters had the determination, dedication and perseverance to keep it active by making phone calls to everyone to renew interest and by distributing a survey to see how the young alums would like to become more involved. Their efforts worked and the club has been building and gaining strength ever since.
The club has the four key officers represented as well as the Cookie Shine Chairman and Song Leader, Alumnae Advisory Committee, and Chapter House Corporation officers. Members celebrate the Monmouth Duo each year with Kappa Kappa Gamma, and host the Panhellenic luncheon every three years and the luncheon with the Galesburg Alumnae Club every other year.
This upcoming year will be a wonderful time to be a Pi Phi alum, especially in Monmouth. The club has witnessed the completion of the new Illinois Alpha home, and will be celebrating 100 years of existence along with the 150th anniversary celebration! As a result, the club’s theme this year is “Honoring the club’s past, creating the club’s future.”
The Monmouth club was one of the clubs that received a Fraternity Day of Service 500 Book Grant for the last two years; in 2017, members will distribute books to 21 preschool sites in Warren County, which includes the library and its three branches. The club also donates to the Local Impact Grant Program, which Pi Phi Foundation matches, and to the Library Summer Reading Program. Students Arrive Ready for School (STARS) also receives donations from the club. Each year the club promotes the Angel Tree, a gifting program in which members can take children’s names off of the tree and in turn buy Christmas gifts for them. The club has also fulfilled a donation requirement to the Friendship Fund, the Literacy Fund, Holt House and the Foundation.
Awards and Club Recognition
- Outstanding Club (2011)
- Premier Club/Premier Club Runner Up (2015)
- Superior Club (2014, 2013, 2012)
The club has the ritual books, which have been used for many years. Club members are very fortunate to live in the community where Pi Phi began and have access to Holt House at any time. Anyone who has seen Holt House knows there are many items not necessarily relevant to the club, but certainly to Pi Phi in general.
- Jo Ellen Dollinger, Illinois Governor’s Volunteer Service Award
- Melinda Fry, One of 25 Women throughout the state of Illinois to be honored and recognized for her work in Philanthropy, Monmouth Chamber of Commerce 2016 Citizen of the Year, and will be inducted into the Greek Hall of Fame on Saturday, October 1st during Monmouth College Homecoming festivities
- Karen Angotti, Monmouth Chamber of Commerce 2015 Citizen of the Year and a Woman recognized in the Warren County Historical Museum
- Denise Turnbull, Curator at Holt House, Birthplace of Pi Beta Phi