Once Upon A Time
Joan Deathe MacCallum
Approximately 37 years ago the Montreal Alumnae Chapter decided to try something new
to raise money for the fight against arthritis. The final decision, which everyone thought
would be a fun activity, was a Car Wash.
On the designated day only about 6 to 8 members showed up with their rags, sponges,
pails and car soap. It was a lovely hot morning and a local service station had given us
space for 4 hours and allowed us to use their hose. What could be better?
It took a few tries for us to learn to point the hose somewhat downwards so that our
sisters on the other side of the car would not be the recipients of a free shower. Sloshing
the soapy water in our own pails proved hard on the feet – and of course, we had not
thought to wear big “billy boots,” and so our feet got wet quickly and stayed that way.
Reaching to the middle of the roof of each car was a challenge for most of us. It took a
couple of cars for us to learn to do the roof first and thus avoid having our clothes absorb
all the water on the side of each vehicle. But we did learn! And our clothes were not really
soaking wet, just a gentle damp, which helped keep us cooler.
We had some very skeptical clients at first until they saw the results of our efforts. Then
they could not believe that a bunch of women could actually make filthy cars shine like
new. We even received tips from some happy drivers that day.
After 4 hours we were wet, scraggly-haired, very tired sisters, but we had raised a serious
amount of money. That was when one of our members said loud and clear, “I wonder
how many alumnae chapters can say that they have as a member of their chapter an
International President who is a darn good car-washer!”
Joan MacCallum, 1979-1981, Kappa Phi (McGill University) 3
This is a story of PIPdom. PIPdom is the place where we Past
International Presidents (PIPs) reside as legends in our own minds.
The prerequisite of PIPdom is to be an IP – an International President.
I’m very fortunate that IPs and PIPs have greatly impacted my life and
have been my friends.
Chief among them was Janie Callaway. Janie profoundly challenged,
inspired, and guided me. Once upon a time, she also helped dress
me. When I arrived at the 1973 Convention without my luggage, Janie
loaned me a dress. She later gave it to me. In tribute to Janie, I wore
the dress immediately after I was installed as International President
in 1981. I subsequently contributed it to the Archives.
Another tremendous influence on me was PIP Mary Lindrooth. During
the 1971 Convention, Mary shared her perspectives about our
Founders and Ritual. Mary brought our Ritual alive. That resulted in
my having the revelation that our Ritual is a practical, dynamic
guideline for living.
One of my favorite Ritual memories happened in 1982 while I was
installing Epsilon Alpha Chapter at Penn State. PIP Edith Anderson
had sent me the chapter’s Greek submotto. Edith was hard of
hearing, so I didn’t ask her how to pronounce it. While the first
members I had initiated were joining the formation, Edith said very
loudly, “You’re mispronouncing the submotto!” After that, I didn’t worry
about Edith’s hearing.
Eight years later, I was elected IP. That would never have happened without the
nurturing of many AOIIs and especially by Joan MacCallum. I followed her as Executive
Board Vice President. I followed her as IP. Now, forty-six years after getting acquainted
with Joan, I’m still following her.
Two years after succeeding Joan as IP, the Executive Board’s photo was being taken.
The photographer said Vice President Peg Crawford and I shouldn’t stand next to each
other. I looked down at Peg and said, “I guess we’ll have to elect taller XB members.”
Peg quickly replied, “Or shorter Presidents.” That’s exactly what we did two years later
when we elected Peg as IP.
IPs and PIPs, very important people to me, including those on this stage, wouldn’t have
been in my life if I hadn’t stayed involved with AOII or hadn’t attended Conventions where
I got to know them.
My story wouldn’t be complete without a quote from PIP Mary Louise Roller. She said,
“Put your faith in Council and you won’t be disappointed.” We members of PIPdom aren’t
the only ones who can claim to be legends. Council members rightfully warrant that
distinction, too. And THAT is a happy ending for ever after.
6 Ginger Banks, 1981-1985, Pi Kappa (University of Texas Austin)
Peg Kramer Crawford
Since everyone always wants to hear my Kappa Lambda,
University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada Installation story, I have no
choice but to repeat it now.
It was 1985 and Canada was in the middle of a mail strike. Our
Executive Director informed me that the badges, some pledge
pins, and the Ritual Kit had been sent to me to carry them to
Calgary, along with a $300 check to pay the duty. I called the CA
and was told the duty on jewelry had recently been raised, and so
on our 59 badges it would be $3,000 not $300. When I asked her
what I should do, she said to just get them there anyway I could.
I kept trying to think of ways to transport them, and ended up
pinning them on a chain that I wore around my neck. “Does this
look like a cool necklace?” I asked my daughter, who replied, “No
Mom, it looks like 59 AOII badges hanging on a chain to me.” Her
husband said that he thought that much metal would set off every
alarm at O’Hare Airport. I had no plan for when I got to O’Hare in
Chicago, so at the last minute I put all the jewelry in my purse,
then put the Ritual Kit on the moving belt with my purse behind it.
The security checker became so intrigued with the outlines of the
contents of our Ritual Kit as they passed by on the screen that the
purse sailed thru completely unnoticed!
Next, during the flight there, we had a stop in Winnipeg and were
reminded that we would go through customs upon arrival. It
always shows all over my face when I try to tell a lie, so when
they asked if I had anything to declare, I gulped and said “Yes, I
have a few things!”
They looked at this little old lady and said to forget it, and passed
me on through. However, instead of being allowed to immediately
board the plane on to Calgary, we had to wait for a minor plane
repair. I didn’t dare go back through customs to wait with
everyone else; instead I sat out on the cold tarmac till the plane
was ready for boarding! I had the necklace on when we arrived in
Calgary and was met by the CA.
When she queried, “Well?” I dramatically flung open my coat and
revealed the necklace with all 59 badges! Both of us enjoyed the
10 Peg Crawford, 1985-1989, Iota (University of Illinois)
Barbara Daugs Hunt
Heading off to the University of Milwaukee Wisconsin, I knew no other student.
When I first walked into the Union, tables were filled with gals and men who
belonged to fraternities. Not me. AOII soon found me, invited me to share their
table and invited me to join. Had several of the AOII sisters not found me then, I
would not have experienced a wonderful membership stretching over 57 years!
Attending my first AOII Convention in Biloxi, Mississippi was an experience I will
never forget. We wore white gloves and long dresses to the Rose Banquet, and
were escorted by men from the Coast Guard School from Mobile. The business
sessions allowed me to experience a real, formal business meeting and
glimpsing the heads of AOII’s leadership was a thrill for me. I especially found
Jessie Marie Cramer to be a beautiful and charming women. I wanted to be like
Joining the Milwaukee Alumnae Chapter opened more AOII doors to me.
Longtime friendships were begun and several of us still visit each other, even
flying to their retirement communities far away from Milwaukee. I moved into
Regional volunteering and had a chance to make chapter visits. I never had a
chapter house experience, so I especially enjoyed staying with them, sharing
meals with them, and observing their meeting
I received a call from Ginger Banks, AOII’s International President in fall of 1981.
She asked me to fill a vacant position on the XB and I jumped at the chance. My
first XB meeting involved a drive to Greencastle, IN with Peg and Nancy Clark to
meet at their chapter house. We ran out of gas on the Illinois Freeway, found bats
flying around, and had good conversation in bedrooms after lights went out. And
of course we made decisions on important topics.
Serving on the XB gave me the opportunity to Chair the AOII Foundation, which
had many challenges. Along the way, I met wonderful, talented traveling
consultants. Working with those women for 10 years really made me proud to call
myself an AOII. Our young members had skills, talents and energy. They were
AOII’s future. And now, many of them serve in AOII leadership positions. You go
gals! I’m so proud of you.
Serving as AOII’s Intl. President from 1989-1993 was an honor I will never forget.
To have had the opportunity to lead the Fraternity for 4 years was a significant
part of my life. Yes, challenges always accompany this position, but we had a
talented Board of Directors and all of us felt we could work together for the
betterment of our Fraternity We spent our time in our new HQ building, staying in
the bedrooms and sitting around after the meetings in our pajamas laughing,
exchanging stories, talking about our families, and further discussing fraternity
issues we were facing and, hopefully, solving and moving forward.
During those 4 years, I had the thrill of installing 10 chapters. I remember
installing the Ottawa Chapter (Gamma Chi) in the beautiful Parliament Building
and flying to Texas to install Southwest Texas State Chapter (Zeta Kappa) with
Ginger lifting me over the wet grasses to keep my shoes dry. Having the chance
to meet so many dedicated alumnae who supported these colonies made me
appreciate how many dedicated sisters we have throughout the U.S. and
On a personal level, being present at my daughter’s initiation into Iota Sigma at
Iowa State was a highlight of my life in AOII. To have a daughter be part of an
organization I love so much made the circle complete and I will always treasure
that experience. All of these experiences, and more, are part of who I am today.
I’m pleased I devoted my life to AOII for I have reaped the benefits, friendships
and love of our beautiful Fraternity for a lifetime.
14 Barbara Hunt, 1989-1993, Phi Delta (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee)
Mary McCammon Williams
Several years ago, I was making a three-hour drive to my daughter’s
college campus to be with her for a weekend. There wasn’t much
traffic and it was a good time for reflection about the reason I was
going to be with her. It really begins even before she was in grade
school. As a very little girl, Jennifer’s first baby sitter was an AOII from
the Beta Lambda Chapter just a few blocks away. And as she grew up
she was quite comfortable at the chapter house with the
women. When she was in grade school and high school she loved to
answer the phone – always thinking the call would be for her – no cell
phones in those days, just the good old land line mounted on the wall
in the kitchen. She knew a great deal about AOII and recognized the
voices of my many AOII friends. I remember hearing “Mom, Marian is
on the phone!” She learned them all – “Liz,” “Nancy,” or “Peg” – Peg
was a favorite, even then.
When the time for college planning arrived, I kept my fingers crossed
that she would choose one with an AOII chapter. She did, and she
stayed with AOII during a Panhellenic sponsored weekend. On her
second visit, she stayed at a different sorority. I panicked, but Jen
simply pointed out that she was trying to be fair. When we talked
about recruitment – we called it rush in those days - I was fair and told
her that all the sororities stood for similar ideals and she must choose
the one where she felt the most comfortable. And I stuck to that
approach though I was wounded when I heard from the mother of one
of Jen’s friends that she had heard our daughters saying they would
never pledge the same sorority as their mothers. Ouch.
I tried to stay calm as Jen headed off happily to DePauw University
and recruitment. As she reported in each day where she had attended
my anxiety level rose. I spent hours walking around the block. I didn’t
stray far however, in case she should call (remember – no cell phones
then). Jen’s Dad was very compassionate and helped keep me from
Fortunately, AOII remained on Jen’s invitation list. Then I got a phone
call, “Mom, I’m going to suicide!” (That was the term used for listing
only one choice of the preference card). I nearly died. I couldn’t ask
which group, so I told her “suicide” wasn’t a wise step - it took away
all her options. Her response “But Mom, I only want to be an AOII!”
So, that’s the reason I was making that drive - My daughter did
pledge AOII, was having a wonderful experience in the chapter and
was going to be initiated over that weekend. She has many, many
AOII sisters who are friends, some close in miles, others far away,
just as I have many, many AOII sisters who are friends, both close in
my community and far away. My happiest memory, my best friend, my
sister in AOII, is my daughter.
18 Mary Williams, 1993-1995, Phi (University of Kansas)
Ann McClanahan Gilchrist
Having never wanted to go on a blind date, I did not understand why I
accepted the invitation to do so…for a full weekend! It must have been
the persuasiveness of my AOII pledge class sister. This blind date was
already out of Purdue and I was a junior at DePauw. He was a farm
boy and I knew nothing about the life on a farm. Not exactly soul
mates. As the day grew closer I wondered how could I get out of this!
Of course, my roommates were all too anxious to help me out and
went down the stairs to give him the once over before I met him. “He
looks nice, but he is bald!” was the report I got! By the time the first
evening was over, I knew… “that is the man I am going to marry!” It
was just a gut feeling. Not only had my sisters been there to support
me when I did not make grades, now they had managed to arrange
my future toward a probable marriage!
After realizing that another sister was planning her wedding in my
hometown area and determining that we could double up on the
calendar - if we graduated early - we signed up for summer classes at
home and started planning for our February weddings. Now, it is
important to note that I lived outside of Cleveland which sits on Lake
Erie and tends to get a good amount of snow in the winter months.
Naturally, his fraternity brothers (one of whom was pinned to my AOII
sister who set up the double date) and my sorority sisters determined
that they would make the trip to see the end result of the Purdue
Homecoming blind date.
You have to understand that I was attending a school which, at that
time, required permission to leave campus – especially for a weekend.
When the housemother got word that some of the AOIIs were planning
to ride with the fraternity men to our wedding, the plans took a sharp
turn. “Unseemly…just cannot take that responsibility,” etc. were the
responses. Fortunately, the train ran through the downtown terminal
and my fiance offered to pick them up before the rehearsal dinner.
Did I mention snow? We all know that snow can cause a delay in
flights…it happens to trains as well. The best laid plans of mice and…
grooms. On the way to my family home, a deer got in front of the car
with the groom and his best man and they ended up spending the
night in a garage with a mechanic who felt sorry for them. He got the
car in shape to make the rest of the trip. I asked, “couldn’t you think of
a better excuse if you wanted out of the wedding!”
So, he was late to town and the AOIIs on the train were even later.
Finally everyone was “at the church on time” and after our reception,
the AOIIs headed to the second sister’s wedding on the same day.
Keith and I were fortunate to have great fraternal friends and
interestingly, in my AOII pledge class at DePauw, there were three
sisters who married 3 members of the Purdue Chapter of Alpha Kappa
Lambda. And, each couple celebrated 50 years of marriage. Not only
did I find the right home on campus, but because of that, I also found
the right man!
22 Ann Gilchrist, 1995-1997, Theta (DePauw University)
Linda Peters Collier
I am going to take you back to the 1985 Convention, which happened
to be in Washington D.C. There was an alumnae chapter president
who volunteered for a job in AOII, and she did not really know what
she was getting into. Of course, that AC President was me and the
alumnae chapter was Northern Virginia. The 1985 International
Convention was at the JW Marriott in downtown Washington D.C., just
a few short blocks from the US Capitol and the White House. Back
then we had fewer staff members so local alumnae chapters near a
convention city had a great deal more responsibility in the execution of
convention. As the only local alumnae chapter in the area back then,
we were in charge of much of the convention planning and, as AP,
guess who was now the local convention chairman? ME. Thank
goodness there was an International Convention Chairman who did all
the official planning, but guess who was in charge of actually getting it
done? ME, and the other members of Northern Virginia AC.
We found a local printer to print all programs and a local florist for all
the floral arrangements for Rose Banquet. Try finding red roses in
June at a good price? We organized help from other alumnae
chapters in our region to make table decorations for all the meal
functions. We registered all attendees and manned the registration
tables too! I received all packages from HQ at my home address,
including everything for the Emporium. Yes, my garage held all the
Emporium items and we were in charge of getting everything to the
hotel. Thank goodness we owned a van at that time, but it took
several trips to get everything to the hotel.
Planning for that convention took almost a year and you know what? It
was fun, hard work and exhausting, but the experience was
unforgettable. I experienced things that I never would have otherwise
and I met AOII’s that I had only heard about.
Ginger Banks was our International President and I met her for the
first time! She stayed in the Presidential Suite which overlooked
Pennsylvania Avenue and had magnificent views of the Capitol
building. She invited all attendees up to the suite one night.
Convention was obviously a good bit smaller back then! Just imagine
the noise in the halls and the crowded suite? Peg Crawford was
elected International President at that convention and I got to meet her
as well! Mary Williams and Barbara Hunt were on that Executive
Board and I met Joan MacCallum that year for the first time, too. I will
never forget some of the PIPS who are no longer with us…Edith
Anderson, Mary Louise Roller, Jessie Marie Cramer, Wilma Leland,
Janie Callaway, Norma Ackel and Eleanor McCurdy. I have so many
good memories of that D.C. convention and I hope you all take home
equally great memories from this one. Take the opportunity to meet as
many AOIIs as you can. Enjoy every minute…even the business
That convention started my volunteer life with AOII and I have never
regretted it for a minute. I hope that this convention inspires many of
you to stay involved with AOII.
26 Linda Collier, 1997-1999, Chi Omicron (Central State University)
Carole Jurenko Jones
While I was serving as Chapter President for Alpha Delta Chapter
at the University of Alabama, I had the privilege of representing
my chapter at the 1983 International Convention in New Orleans.
I was so excited as Alpha Delta was one of 10 or 12 finalists, I
can’t remember which, for the Distinguished Service Award.
Prior to the awards banquet, I was “summoned” to a meeting with
our Regional Team, along with my Chapter Advisor. I had no idea
what to expect during this meeting, but I soon found out. We were
being reprimanded for not submitting reports on time, specifically
our recruitment reports. What was really bad was that I had no
idea they had not been submitted, so that was embarrassing!
Needless to say, I knew right then there was no way we would be
winning a DSA later in the week. And we didn’t.
Upon our return to school in early August as we were preparing
for fall recruitment, I received a phone call from AOII
Headquarters asking if Alpha Delta would assist with AOII’s
colonization efforts at Texas Woman’s University in Dallas. The
fraternity was going to charter a bus of our members to drive from
Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Dallas, Texas for a whirlwind trip. We
were being asked to use our recruitment skills for the colonization
events. It was a huge honor to be asked, but it was also a pretty
big surprise since I had just been scolded for not submitting
So, 25 of us, along with our Chapter Advisor, Carolyn Diener,
loaded a bus and hit the road for Dallas, Texas. Little did I know at
the time what an impact that trip would have on me. Not only did
we help establish a new AOII chapter and become big sisters to
these new members, but the Dallas alumnae were gracious
hostesses to us during our time in Texas. Nancy Shaheen and
other alums opened their homes for us. They provided our meals
and a few of us briefly enjoyed pool and hot tub time at Nancy’s
house. On the way out of Dallas, we even stopped at South Fork.
You have to remember that the TV show ‘Dallas’ was a hit at the
time! Ginger Banks was there as International President and
Cindy Visot was there as a chapter consultant.
It was inspiring for me, but never did I expect to become a
longtime AOII volunteer alongside these two incredible women.
30 Carole Jones, 1999-2003, Alpha Delta (University of Alabama)
While I was on the Executive Board I was known for coming to all
of our meetings and conventions with a rather extensive array of
office supplies. I would bring (and still do) highlighters, paper
clips, pens, pencils, several sizes of post-its, and even a mini-
stapler. My fellow board members would tease me mercilessly,
but they were never too proud to ask to borrow something if they
needed it. At some point they decided that I wasn’t going to give
up bringing my office supplies, so they gave me a gift of a cute
little container to replace the plain plastic bag I was using. If I was
going to bring these things, at least now I was going to bring them
in style! But, style or not, the good-natured teasing continued.
In the not very distance past, we used to take roll call at the
beginning of the first business session. The Executive Director
would call out every Council position and the person in
attendance would answer “here.” As you can imagine, this took a
very, very long time. For some reason, we continued to do this
exercise, even after we started using computers or clickers to
check everyone in. Thank goodness we came to our senses and
now rely only on technology for taking roll!
Many of us used the time during roll call to go over our notes for
the business session and other convention events. It was during
that time at one convention, when a page brought me a note from
Susan Danko. In the note, Susan asked if she could borrow a
highlighter. She and I were both on the Executive Board at the
time and were seated at the front table, but we were on opposite
sides of the podium so we couldn’t see each other. I assumed
she was once-again teasing me about my office supplies so I just
scribbled the word “NO” on the note and sent it back to Susan via
After the business session, we were back in the room and I
noticed Susan busily highlighting her script for that evening’s
awards banquet. Only then did it dawn on me – Susan really DID
want to borrow a highlighter! I was horrified that I had been so
rude. I couldn’t imagine what Susan’s face was like when she saw
my answer and realized that I was not going to share. Of course, I
apologized, and Susan (I believe) has forgiven me. From then
on, if anyone ever wanted to borrow any of my office supplies, I
took them right out of my stylish case to lend.
34 Sally Wagaman, 2003-2005, Sigma Tau (Washington College)
As my role as an AOII Traveling Consultant was coming to end, I
needed to consider what my next job would be. Number one on my
list was to move to a warmer climate. Temple Crain Stevenson, one of
the consultants I traveled with, decided we would look for jobs
together in a new city. I wanted to move to Atlanta and she preferred
Dallas. I had never been to Dallas, but she had spent a good deal of
time there working with one of our new chapters and met many
wonderful alumnae. It all came down to a flip of a coin and Dallas won!
My parents were concerned that we were going to a new city with no
jobs and no place to live though we were filled with excitement and
fearless in our pursuit of our next phase of our lives. Traveling for AOII
for a year will do that to you!
A phone call to the AOII Regional Vice President Barbara Kramer, who
we would be staying with in Dallas, my parents’ concerns were
somewhat relieved though they still were worried that I didn’t have a
job!! “No worries,” I said, “the job market is great in Dallas!” So I
packed up all my belongings in a couple of suitcases and flew to
Memphis to meet up with Temple to begin our adventure.
Barbara was very welcoming and as the mother of all boys, she
enjoyed having girls in the house. Temple and I shopped for food on
our limited budget and our diet consisted mostly of Kraft mac and
cheese when Barbara wasn’t cooking delicious meals for us. This was
also when I discovered the magic that is Blue Bell ice cream, fajitas
and all things TexMex.
Temple and I joined the Dallas AC, started interviewing for jobs and
searching for a place to live. We found an apartment on a street called
Lovers Lane with an address more impressive than the apartment, but
we were excited about living there once we secured jobs. I took a job
with the placement agency and Temple secured a job with Proctor and
Gamble. The bad part was Temple’s job was in Houston, which didn’t
fit into our newly developed plans. I was very sad to loose a friend and
roommate, especially since I only knew a couple alumnae in town.
So I went into work and mentioned I was looking for a roommate. One
of my colleagues referred me to someone who had also just moved to
Dallas. They thought we would be a good match because Nancy was
an Alpha Phi from Nebraska and her mom was an AOII. During the job
placement interview with her I asked if she had a roommate and she
looked at me funny, then I told her my story. Sure enough, I found
Nancy a job and and I found a roommate. I trusted her because her
mom was an AOII! It just seemed meant to be.
I have taken many leaps of faith because of AOII and AOIIs have
always proven to be there ready to step in and support me along my
journey. I know if it were not for AOII I wouldn’t be in Dallas, from
Temple persuading me to go, the alumnae encouraging and
supporting us during our first months in the city and to Nancy and her
mom who stepped in at the right time when I needed a friend and
roommate. It has been over 30 years since I arrived in Dallas. I wasn’t
sure I would make it past my first year, but I did. Now I call it home!
38 Susan Danko, 2005-2009, Phi Upsilon (Purdue University)
Barb Dunn Zipperian
I was turning 19-years-old in the September of 1976 as I left Cincinnati,
Ohio for Muncie, Indiana to attend Ball State University as a freshman
theatre major. After growing up in the same community my entire life and
having the same friends, venturing out on my own was frightening and
lonely. I had also left behind a boyfriend who was a few years older than
me and working in Cincinnati. No one in my family had been a member of
a Greek organization and my mother was the only person in my immediate
family with a college degree. Mom encouraged me to go through
Recruitment, as she had several friends who were in sororities and who
wrote recommendations for me. I thought that it would be a great way to
meet new friends, which was something that I had never had to do before.
My freshman roommate was even a friend from my high school.
When I first met Margie Harrelson at the door of my very first recruitment
party I immediately knew that AOII was the best sorority on campus and
that I wanted to be a member! Margie was the current Chapter President
and when she greeted me at the door and we found out that we were both
from Ohio, an immediate bond was made and she took me under her wing.
She introduced me around and made me feel special and wanted. I found
the AOIIs to be kind and welcoming, transparent and loyal, fun and
inspiring. I wanted to be one of them.
But I had something else going on in my life at the time - something that
only 3 people knew about and something that still haunts me today. I was
pregnant… and during my sorority recruitment and on my 19th birthday, I
miscarried and ended up in the hospital, alone, confused, scared and
My parents drove up to get me released from the hospital and pay the bill.
They were disappointed but loving, well at least my mom showed
compassion. My boyfriend showed up a few days later, high on drugs and
happy that he didn’t have to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. I ended up
missing one day of recruitment parties and a day of classes, and then got
back to life as a brand new college freshman. AOII asked me to pledge and
I accepted. They did not know the reason I missed a recruitment party
other than that I was ill. I missed Pledge Night because I was in a play and
had rehearsal. I knew that the play director wouldn’t understand so I waited
until practice was over and then ran to join my new sisters and celebrate. I
felt a belonging and supported. They came to my play, they were there at
the candle passing when I later got engaged and were with me when that
guy cheated on me and asked for his ring back. They encouraged me to
enter the Miss Ball State contest as AOII’s representative my sophomore
year and they asked me to run for Chapter President after serving as
Treasurer. And they were at my wedding when I married my Ken doll
(Barbie & Ken!) after graduating in accounting and moving to Indianapolis,
Fast forward 33 years from the night of my AOII pledge night– It’s June
2009. I’m still married to Ken, I have two wonderful sons, and I’m the chief
financial officer of a brand new bank in Nashville, Tennessee during the
financial crisis and recession. I’m standing in a gorgeous red rose dress at
a podium in front of hundreds of my AOII sisters, giving my Rose Banquet
speech as the new AOII International President. It was a year of transition
for the fraternity as we moved to a new governance style of board
leadership and I walked in with high hopes to build unity, trust and
leadership to the organization and women who were there for me.
Little did anyone know how much AOII had
given to me, and especially at a time when I
needed love, support and acceptance. No
one from my Kappa Kappa Chapter ever
knew exactly how much they meant to me.
Nor the women in the Indianapolis Alumnae
chapter who mentored me and encouraged
me to stay involveOver the next two years as
IP, I struggled to balance life as a wife,
mother, CFO and AOII leader and
representative. It was my mission to give
back to AOII and my hope that if in any way, I
could help one single young college freshman
feel the same sense of love and belonging
that I felt and enjoyed, the time and effort
would be worth it.
As I look back on those days so many years
ago, I can’t help but know that on that day of
my pledging to AOII, I found not only a group
of young women, but an entire sisterhood,
who accepted me, empowered me, enriched
me, grew old with me and helped mold me
into the woman I am today. I am an AOII now
and forever I’ll be, for AOII means more than
the world to me.
Barb Zipperian, 2009-2011, Kappa Kappa (Ball State University) 43
AOII has helped me to grow in many ways over the years through the
support of wonderful friends and exceptional mentors. I feel blessed to
have had a strong chapter and Panhellenic experience during my
collegiate years which provided opportunities for leadership. During
my time as Chapter President, I had the honor of meeting Barbara
Hunt at SEPC (now the Coalition for Collegiate Women's Leadership)
through an introduction by Troy LeForge, who was my Fraternity and
Sorority Advisor at the time. Barbara was traveling extensively for
AOII, yet agreed to speak at our Founders’ Day the following year. Her
visit made a significant impact on me as she was, and continues to be,
a wonderful role model and the epitome of graceful strength. She was
encouraging of the chapter’s work, complimentary of our Ritual, and
personally very supportive as well.
Fast forward several years. I was living in Virginia Beach, involved in
my area alumnae chapter, the area Alumnae Panhellenic, and was a
brand-new Network Specialist of Recruitment. The National
Panhellenic Conference meeting was held in Norfolk that year so our
alumnae chapter president and I were invited to attend a luncheon.
When we arrived at the table reserved for AOII, it was a little
overwhelming to see Linda Collier, who was International President at
the time, Peg Crawford, Mary Williams and Robin Wright were also
there. I remembered Peg from having met her at the 1991 Dallas
Convention when I attended as Chapter President. Peg installed
Epsilon Omega so we “had” to meet her and take a picture to share
with the chapter.
The entire group at the luncheon was incredibly welcoming. They teased me
by saying that one day I, too, could be International President. Of course, I
laughed at that and said that would never happen! Peg then brought me her
coffee cup to use indicating it might bring me good luck.
I never aspired to be International President, but was so blessed by the
opportunity that presented itself while serving the organization we all love.
Traveling and meeting thousands of AOIIs was really remarkable, and I
greatly value the many conversations and interactions that took place. It is so
important for all AOII members to be fully present as we interact with one
another because one never knows the positive impact that can be made
through a single interaction. I am thankful to have crossed paths with these
incredible women years ago, to have grown-up with them in service to AOII,
and to have developed strong bonds of friendship along the way. I appreciate
46 Allison Allgier, 2011-2015, Epsilon Omega (Eastern Kentucky University)