Columbia, South Carolina, Alumnae Club

Charter date: 10/30/1933

The History of the Columbia, South Carolina, Alumnae Club

On April 8, 1933, Maude M. Hawkins wrote Ruth Barrett Smith requesting a charter for the Columbia, South Carolina, Alumnae Club. She was advised by Mrs. Smith the club needed a minimum of ten members. Thirteen Phi Phi’s then signed a petition requesting the charter for the Columbia, South Carolina, Alumnae Club as follows: President Maude M. Hawkins, South Carolina Alpha; Secretary Susan G. Sparks, South Carolina Alpha; Treasurer Sarah Davis, South Carolina Alpha; James E. Adams, Indiana Delta; Wyatt Aiken, Louisiana Alpha; Martha Aiken, South Carolina Alpha; Jane B. Bayard, South Carolina Alpha; Charlotte Coker, South Carolina Alpha; Lois Quattlebaum, Virginia Alpha; Helen Terry, South Carolina Alpha; Emily Mullins, South Carolina Alpha; L’Artigue Griffin, South Carolina Alpha and Julia Park, South Carolina Alpha.

On the 75th Anniversary of the club’s charter, they held a champagne brunch anniversary celebration at the Seibels House, a Columbia historic home. One charter member who was still living, L’Artigue Griffin Fishburne, attended. The program included a remembrance of each charter member with a wine carnation. All of the Pi Phis who were initiated during the 1930s sat together at a table as invited guests and it was special to have them there for the anniversary. Those were Mary Lees Graham McGeary, Polly Norris, Wilbur Kirkland Hayes and L’Artigue Griffin Fishburne. This was a great event in the club’s history because of these wonderful women who still loved Pi Phi and who had so much fun sharing their memories. 

Another club highlight was the rare honor to serve as one of five alumnae clubs to host Pi Phi’s Fraternity Day of Service Signature Events, February 26–27, 2016. Through Pi Beta Phi Foundation, 20,000 free books were given to children throughout the state of South Carolina. The club were excited to have 130 recipient groups that participated. It was truly a team effort with 300 volunteers who unloaded, sorted, passed out books or provided food for volunteers.

Also, one of the unique things about the Columbia, South Carolina, Alumnae Club is that in 2016 they had seven alumnae who do not live in Columbia, South Carolina. These alumnae live in Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia or West Virginia, but they continue to support the club by paying local dues. The club appreciate and treasure these former alumnae who want to stay connected with their members. 

After starting with thirteen members, the Columbia, South Carolina, Alumnae Club has grown to 102 members. The club members are excited to have both South Carolina Alpha and South Carolina Beta recently recolonized, which has rejuvenated the club’s support and the number of members who want to assist with chapter support.

Philanthropic Service

The Columbia, South Carolina, Alumnae Club was one of the five hosts for Pi Phi’s Fraternity Day of Service Signature Events in February 2015.

Awards and Club Recognition

  • Club of Excellence (2015, 2014, 2013, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006)
  • Excellence in Chapter Support - Small Group (2014)
  • Excellence in Communication (2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006)
  • Excellence in Membership and Recruitment - Small Group (2014, 2013)

Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award 

  • Mary Geiger Lewis (2014)

Emma Harper Turner Leadership Award

  • Joanne Flowers Duncan (2009)

Meaningful Mementos

Leadership awards of engraved silver bowls are presented to two alumnae club members every two years at the club’s Founder’s Day. They are selected by the Nominating Committee. The first bowl, which has been presented since 1970, is the Mary Lees Graham McGeary Award for distinguished alumnae service which uses the criteria similar to the Evelyn Peters Kyle Award. Mrs. McGeary served as the Alumnae Advisory Committee Chair for South Carolina Alpha for over four decades. The second bowl, which has been presented since 2008, is the Brenda Williams Hellams for outstanding alumnae leadership which uses the criteria similar to the Emma Harper Turner Award. Ms. Hellams has officially and also unofficially served in various leadership roles for the Columbia, South Carolina, Alumnae Club.

Notable Alumnae

  • Sarah Ruth "Sis" Mullis