The History of the Greenville, South Carolina, Alumnae Club
Dr. Alexia Latimer, known to us as “Lex,” served as the club’s first president. Lex taught Advanced Placement courses at Eastside High, co-authored a calculus textbook and pioneered bringing computers into the classroom. The next president was Kimey Reid. After Kimey, Ellen Fitzgerald Stephen was only able to serve one year of her two-year term as president.
During these early years, there were two active chapters in South Carolina – South Carolina Alpha at the University of South Carolina and South Carolina Beta at Clemson University. Because this club is very close to Clemson, Greenville, South Carolina, Alumnae Club stayed very busy. The club members were up and down the highway to Clemson, serving on their Chapter House Corporation and Alumnae Advisory Committee, helping with Recruitment and Initiation behind the scenes, baking arrow-shaped cookies for Cookie Shines and making snacks for the girls to enjoy during exams. The club invited the South Carolina Beta chapter to Greenville for joint meetings of alumnae and collegiate members with supper and a speaker to entertain. The club shared Founders’ Days with the women of South Carolina Beta, alternating locations every other year between Clemson and Greenville. The club presented the graduating Seniors with a gift of an Arrowcraft wooden cutting board.
In the early 1980s, Sara Oliver Millener was the next president. The Club voted to send the upcoming president to Convention the summer immediately following her election. So, Sara was the club’s delegate to the Dallas, Texas, Convention. Jill Lanman Schneider was elected president in 1983. She was the club’s nominee for the Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Award. Darlene Judkins Knight became the club’s president shortly after her marriage, and during her term she had her first daughter and became pregnant with her second daughter. Carolyn Cook Edmonds was the club’s in-coming president and delegate to the New Orleans convention. She came back to the club on fire with wonderful ideas to implement during her two-year term.
Established in 1990 and named for the South Carolina state flower, The Order of the Jessamine recognizes outstanding contributions by women to the club’s upstate communities. Greenville, South Carolina, Alumnae Club members whom have been tapped for membership in The Order of the Jessamine include Jill Lanman Schneider, Susanne Hathaway Hite and Jane Earle Furman Pressly.
Macy Hancock Cravens attended the San Diego, California, Convention as the club’s delegate. EC Orfanedes was the Clemson chapter delegate, and she was kind enough to help carry those famous mints to be sold at the Convention Boutique. Susanne Hathaway Hite became the next president. During this time EC Orfanedes was awarded Clemson’s Norris Award given to the “Best All Around Student” in her graduating class. Lisa Mathiasen agreed to serve as the next president, and she was followed by Lori Deatheridge. Macy Cravens served the next four years as president before Larissa Helper, a South Carolina Beta, volunteered to be the next president in 2001. That Spring she was graduated from Clemson, got married and left for Convention. She was only able to serve for one year, and then realized that being a newlywed, attending graduate school and being a first-year teacher was more demanding than she realized. Renee deGravelles Demos graciously agreed to serve the second year of this term.
In 2003, Sally Faner Bornmueller, as president, led the team to participate in the Champions Are Readers® (CAR) program to an underperforming school, Hollis Academy, by reading to the children and celebrating with a big cake with the CAR logo on it, as well as lots of other treats. Lisa DeLuca Alexander introduced the club to “The Cat in the Hat” Day, a program of the National Education Association’s Read Across America in celebration of Dr. Seuss’® birthday.
Vicki Miller Rubenstein served as Club president. During this term the club adopted the South Dakota Alpha chapter at the University of South Dakota, which had no local alumnae support. The club sent cards, emailed notes and sent treats for finals. Lisa DeLuca Alexander attended the 2009 Convention in Dallas, Texas. In 2011, Alison Jeanette Pilgrim became the President, and then Sally Faner Bornmueller in 2015.
The Greenville, South Carolina, Alumnae Club donates books to an underperforming elementary school, participates in the Champions Are Readers® (CAR) program, participates in “The Cat in the Hat” Day for pre-school children in cooperation with the Lapsits organization in support of the National Education Association and has been able to be a part of Pi Phi’s Fraternity Day of Service 500 program, which helps provide books to teachers for their own classrooms.
The club has three items that they cherish. The first is a beautiful wooden candle holder to use for Founders’ Day, which was custom made for the club in 1979 by William Dassie, husband of Marion Newell Dassie. The club also has a wooden hand-turned arrow custom made for us to hang on the door of the hostess’ home for meetings; the members also treasure a Cookie Shine cloth on which to spread the club’s cookies and candies.
- Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg, former Grand President
- Anna Catherine English, Mrs. South Carolina 2015