Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy Founder's Day

Alpha Omicron Pi was founded on January 2,1897 by four young women at Barnard College of Columbia University in New York. Those Founders were Jessie Wallace Hughan, Helen St. Clair Mullan, Elizabeth Heywood Wyman, and Stella George Stern Perry. The most meaningful words about the founding have come from Stella George Stern Perry:

"I used to say that, if the clock could turn back and put us four on your campus as students, you'd know the difference only by our clothes. We were very simple, not one wealthy and not one valuing very highly the slow window superficialities of life.

You see, Barnard College was the first separate college for women to be affiliated with a great men's university, offering the same entrance examinations, the same University courses under the same faculty and granting the same degree not of the college but of the University. So the classes preceding ours felt themselves to be pioneers and took themselves very, very seriously. We were the first class of college girls as we see them now to enter Barnard.

However, we could not be frivolous, for there were few, if any, rich girls in the entire class, and we had all gone to college with definite and practical purposes and an ardor of intention that put earnestness and aspiration in the background of our gay, adventurous, varied days, when we were your age.

Now, having determined to make this democratic unostentatious, simple society, we climbed up a little winding stair into the stockroom of the old Columbia College Library.... a little room way up in a sort of gable attic in which old missals and tomes and dusty Anglo-Saxon treasures were stored. It had a broad window seat in a queer little peaked window, cobwebby but always full of sunshine. On that window seat of that quiet room, pigeons outside and snow lightly falling, with what emotion you can imagine, we pledged one another, on the second day of January at the very beginning of the year 1897. We soon pledged our first initiate, Anne Richardson Hall, and got our pins and announced our existence!"

Happy Founder's Day, Tau Lambda... and AOIIs everywhere!

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