Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chi Omega Founder's Day: April 5, 1895

Happy 116th birthday to Chi Omega Fraternity! Today Chi Omega has more than 235,000 members in more than 170 chapters. Here's a little history of the organization and its founders.

Chi Omega was founded April 5, 1895 at the University of Arkansas by Ina May Boles, Jean Vincenheller, Jobelle Holcombe and Alice Simonds, with help from Dr. Charles Richardson (an initiate of Kappa Sigma Fraternity).

Ina May was an artist and designed the official Chi Omega ring worn by members of the Governing Council. She also designed the seal of Chi Omega and the first crest. Ina May served as the New York City Alumnae chapter president while living in the City with her husband, Benjamin Morton. Many of her paintings are signed Christina Morton. Ina May's sister, Flora, was an initiated by Xi Chapter at Northwestern University.

JeanVincenheller was very active in establishing Chi Omega's esoteric traditions. Jean was a student of music, the editor of a college magazine called "Cardinal," and President of Math and Literary Societies. She served as the first National President in 1900 and as National Vice President from 1900-1901. Jean was married with two daughters; one was initiated at Psi Chapter. Jean is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Jobelle Holcombe was a true intellectual. After graduation, she became an English professor at the University of Arkansas and was the first woman to receive the honor of "Doctor of Laws" from the University. There is a women's Residence Hall named after her at the University called Holcombe Hall. Jobelle served as National Vice President from 1906-1908. She is buried in Fayetteville, Arkansas and marked as a founder of Chi Omega.
Alice (Allie) Cary Simonds was the oldest of Chi Omega's female founders. In school, she specialized in zoology. Allie served as the first President and Vice President of Psi Chapter. She married and had one son, but died shortly after he was born. She was only 27 years old. Allie is buried in the Congressional Cemetery and is marked as a Founder of Chi Omega.
Dr. Richardson studied dentistry at Vanderbilt University where he was an initiate of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He never married, but was a big brother figure to many Chi Omegas. Dr. Richardson designed the first Chi Omega badge from dental gold. He is buried in Fayetteville, Arkansas and is marked as a founder of Chi Omega.

Information taken from the Chi Omega National website

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