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Beauxs and Arrow

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Bid Day

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Big and Little

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Colorado Gamma

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Hiking!

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CSU and Letters

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Fall

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Go Pi Phi!!

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Hats

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Homecoming

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HOPE

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Initiation

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Lemonade for Literacy

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On the Oval

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Pi Phi Leadership

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Pi Phi Camping Wings

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Ramfest

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Recruitment

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Rocky Mountain Showdown

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Winter at CSU

History

About Pi Beta Phi 

 Original Founders 


HISTORY OF PI BETA PHI


Pi Beta Phi was founded on April 28, 1867, at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois. Our 12 founders had the vision to form the first secret society for women patterned after men’s groups at a time when only five state universities admitted women. These courageous women set the stage for a thriving organization continuing to enrich the lives of many during their collegiate years and beyond.

Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women distinguishes itself in the fraternity and sorority world by leading the way as one of the first of seven founding members of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC). Pi Phi was also the first to organize a national philanthropic project, form an alumnae department and establish an Alumnae Advisory Committee (AAC) for each collegiate chapter.

Today, Pi Beta Phi continues to encourage women to develop meaningful relationships as they reach for their personal goals. Collegiate membership in Pi Beta Phi and the relationships it yields help members adjust to college life by providing a sense of belonging, mutual support and leadership development. As an alumna, members are part of a network of sisterhood and friendship of more than 200,000 sisters worldwide. To view the Pi Beta Phi Timeline, click here.

MEET THE FOUNDERS

The founders of Pi Beta Phi created the Fraternity to cultivate sincere friendship, establish real-life objectives and promote happiness.

  • Jennie Nicol, M.D. (1845–1881) 
Jennie was a pioneer among physicians; she was one of the first women to study medicine.
  • Libbie Brook Gaddis (1850–1933) 
The youngest founder, she established Pi Beta Phi’s second chapter at Iowa Wesleyan College.
  • Clara Brownlee Hutchinson (1850–1931)
 Gentle and shy, she was Emma Brownlee’s younger sister. In challenging circumstances, she showed an admirable strength of character.
  • Ada Bruen Grier (1848–1924)
 A teacher and minister’s wife, she formed friendships in Pi Phi that lasted her entire lifetime. Her son, the Rev. James Harper Grier, became president of Monmouth College.
  • Emma Brownlee Kilgore (1848–1925) 
A true leader and Pi Beta Phi’s first president, she was the only founder to live continuously in Monmouth, Illinois. The Fraternity coat of arms is derived from the Brownlee family crest.
  • Fannie Thomson (1848–1868)
 Radiating happiness, with a beautiful voice, in her short year of membership she was a faithful and enthusiastic member. The first Pi Beta Phi Convention was held at her house in Oquawka, Illinois, in August of 1867.
  • Margaret Campbell (1846–1939) 
Pi Beta Phi’s first treasurer and a promoter of philanthropic work.
  • Jennie Horne Turnbull (1846–1932) 
Quiet and charming, she planned her life around her work as a minister’s wife and Pi Beta Phi. Jennie was a charter member of the Philadelphia Alumnae Club and had Illinois Alpha granddaughters.
  • Rosa Moore (1849–1934)
 Generous and sensitive to the needs of others, she spent her days in social work and missionary endeavors.
  • Nancy Black Wallace (1845–1918) 
Pi Beta Phi’s first secretary and an enthusiastic extensionist. She installed the third chapter of I.C. Sorosis at the Seminary in Mount Pleasant, Iowa.
  • Inez Smith Soule (1846–1939)
 Independent, beautiful and known for her keen wit, she established a long Pi Phi legacy through a Pi Phi daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter.
  • Fannie Whitenack Libbey (1848-1941)
 It was in her home that the groundwork was laid for Pi Beta Phi. She always remained young at heart and found great joy in meeting with the women of Pi Beta Phi. 

With a presence at major universities in 43 states and Canada, more than 13,000 collegiate members, over 330 alumnae organizations and hundreds of thousands of women claiming membership, Pi Beta Phi works hard to provide ongoing support for all members as they continue a journey of lifelong commitment to the Fraternity.