Sorority celebrates 100th anniversary

The baby boomer generation celebrates 100 years at Alpha Gamma Delta.

by Joy Petersen

Monday night meetings at the Alpha Gamma Delta sorority bring the career woman and the domestic woman together, but when Julie Miller pledged as a sorority member in the 1960s, it was etiquette.

Miller said she remembers when Monday night meetings consisted of how to have appropriate dinner conversation, how to interview and how to let someone else light a woman’s cigarette.

Monday’s meeting broke from traditional etiquette lessons to celebrate the sorority’s 100th year on campus.

Alumni from as far back as the 1950s all the way to present day gathered to reminisce and share what it’s meant to be a “Delta Gam” through the years.

Meeting at the house so familiar to all, Sarah Mardell, 1969 alumna, said she remembers meeting her husband for their first blind date in the entryway of the house.

The sorority house, built by architect Roger Johnson in 1965, has 20 rooms which house 38 girls. Designed as a sorority house, Johnson won architecture awards for his design.

The sorority paid nearly $200,000 to build and furnish it in 1964, Pat Funk, 1967 alumna, said. Now, the house is worth millions, she said.

For any changes such as a new patio for current members, Funk said the girls have to raise money on their own.

Returning members remembered phone booths where 38 girls would share four phone lines, 10 o’clock curfews and no men on the second floor.

“It was a different time during the war,” Miller said, noting protests in Dinkytown and anti-war petitions during the Vietnam War.

“Curfews were for safety.” Miller said. “The dorms had the same hours.”

Barbara Pinto, 1963 alumna, said she learned about the world through older members who mentored her.

Pinto said she cultivated a desire to travel through the mentorship of an older member who spent a semester in Italy.

“Through her experiences, I was able to blend science and art,” she said. “That influenced my life.”

Though the culture is different, some things haven’t changed.

“It’s a sisterhood, it’s a commonality,” Funk said. “People are here for the same reason.”

Sorority President Hilary Zimmerman said the members challenge each other academically and promote sisterhood.

“When you go to college, every person wants to be accepted and wanted,” she said. “You can see yourself grow here.”