Remembering Virginia Bland Fry

With great sadness, we share that retired Pi Beta Phi Fraternity Executive Director Virginia (Ginny) Bland Fry, Tennessee Beta, passed on February 14, 2024. Ginny began working at Central Office—what is now known as Headquarters—in 1977 as a staff member. The following year she became an Assistant Director in charge of membership and jewelry. Three years later, Ginny took on the role of Executive Director, where she led Central Office (CO) staff members supporting the Fraternity for 15 years until her retirement in 1996.

As the Fraternity grew, so did CO as well as the responsibilities of the Executive Director. Periodically, CO also expanded physically—at first in 1983, then again in 1990. “Working through dust, dirt and all kinds of mess is never pleasant, but Pi Phi work continued without a glitch during those times, thanks to Ginny's calm demeanor,” said past Arrow Editor Marilyn Simpson Ford, Nebraska Beta.

During her tenure, Ginny led CO in embracing the future through technology. Bringing all data processing in-house ranked high on her list of important changes, noting that CO had gone from typewriters and index cards to a computer network with a database of 185,000 Fraternity members.

Devoted to Pi Phi, Ginny had been a member of four different alumnae clubs and found each to be a source of friendships and warm welcomes. She also served the Fraternity as a member of the Holt House committee, a coordinator for five chapter installations and a member of the Constitution and Statutes Revision Committee. In 1991, Ginny was honored with the prestigious Dorothy Weaver Morgan Award for Fraternity Loyalty.

In her 15 years as Executive Director, Ginny's leadership style and managerial talents were an incredible asset to Pi Beta Phi. The result was not just a well-run Central Office but also a more efficient Fraternity.

Ginny and CHLFair, compassionate, diplomatic and understanding were words often used to describe Ginny, who never lost sight of Pi Phi’s roots as a service organization. “Much of our time is spent helping those who mean much to each other,” said Ginny in the 1995 Spring issue of The Arrow. “Along with the hundreds of volunteers who are sharing their time and talent with the Fraternity, the professional staff at Central Office is assisting members by providing administrative support. Working with a large and dynamic organization is a challenge; working with our thriving family makes that challenge worthwhile.”

Ginny's leadership extended beyond Pi Phi. She was a member of Central Office Executives Association from 1981-1996 and served as the organization's president from 1985-1987. Ginny was also a member of the Fraternity Executives Association. Reflecting on their longstanding friendship, past Alpha Chi Omega Executive Director Nancy Leonard said, "Ginny Fry has been one of my most valued friends for 15 years. Her wisdom, mixed with just the right amount of whimsy, [made] her very special and important to the interfraternal community."

Ginny was a testament to Pi Phi's core values, demonstrating heartfelt dedication in everything she did; she will be dearly missed. If you would like to honor Ginny’s legacy, memorial gifts may be made to the Friendship Fund at Pi Beta Phi Foundation.

Published February 29, 2024