The Strawberry Patch

Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross

Walter W. Ross, A Portrait of Our Founder

Written by Carroll W. Berry (Corporation Counsel for Beta Sigma Phi) ... April 1938 issue of The Torch
(Paraphrased by Marilyn Ross)

 "The Editor of The Torch has given me the privilege of telling Beta Sigma Phi what the friends of Walter Ross think of him. I can say truthfully that I would be fully satisfied with my own reputation if my friends thought as well of me as his friends do of him. What manner of man is he? The adjectives are: just, kind, loyal, generous, and intelligent. He has a modesty without meekness, humility without abasement, and an integrated personality that permits him to be always himself. He is ever courteous without appearing the courtier. He does more fine things with less ostentation than any man I know.

 As a host he makes his guests feel that their presence has added to his happiness. As a guest he makes a hostess take pride in her hospitality. He is a too generous, sympathetic father of two boys, and a husband happy with an understanding, intelligent and charming wife - a lady who deserves recognition on her own part.

 As a businessman he is a careful bargainer, but always fair. As a client he has never asked me, his lawyer, to steer his course in any path but that of straightforward honesty and frankness. When I first met him at the time The Educational Foundation and Beta Sigma Phi were incorporated and associated, I formed my high opinion of him. It has undergone no change except improvement.

 He is not a religionist, yet I believe he is a mystic. He may never have read, but unconsciously lives the Sixth Chapter of Saint Matthew, and the second of the two great Commandments. His philosophy recognizes companionships and friendly contacts as realities with business victories as incidents. But never mistake his gentleness for weakness, nor his unfailing courtesy for a concession to your point!

 Service in the United States Navy on Admiral Sims' flagship, and later, as part of the naval personnel with the American Embassy in London during World War I has given him a taste of discipline that has left a quiet impression on his personality. Visits to Paris and other points on the continent have added Catholicity to his tastes. Early days as a salesman of books have developed aggressiveness, and familiarization with his product, to his literary education, which is exemplified by his fine collection of books on womankind (first editions-most of them.)

 He is English by descent. But a certain Scotch canniness and a French flair for fitness, must have induced the adoption of this hobby of book collection on the subject of his life work, womankind.

 He has personally extended to me and many of whom I know, kindnesses far beyond the requirements of ordinary friendship. In fact, he just never does the ordinary thing. He is a true friend.

 He formed Beta Sigma Phi because he felt that the need for educational opportunity and the field for its development among young women was large. And, then, Beta Sigma Phi just grew! And as it matured, Walter Ross grew with it.

 Perhaps more than any man, other than Walter, I understand Beta Sigma Phi. I am prouder of its corporate organization structure than any work I have ever done as a lawyer. I glory in its growth! The other day Walter exclaimed to me, "I have just had a very exhilarating experience. I have just seen the soul of Beta Sigma Phi revealed in hundreds of letters explaining the meaning of the sorority to the writers. I tell you, Carroll, it makes me humble, very humble, to see what this movement has become and means to these fine young women. They've built something finer into this thing than I ever anticipated."

 I saw those letters from all over this continent and they included the words: "Friendship," "Ideals," "Culture," "Creativeness," "Camaraderie" and "Hope."

 I often think of Walter Ross as Pygmalion, the sculptor, with Beta Sigma Phi as the statue Galatea, hewn (shaped) by his hand, which finally became alive because of his care in the carving and love of his creation. He made it by his work a lovely, inanimate thing with a real use. But the vitalization of the figure came by the grace of the Goddess of Love when she was given a heart and claimed breath and life and soul far beyond the sculptor's original conception.

 I believe I have caught the spirit of this great woman's movement, vibrant, sympathetic, and purposeful. I, too, am humbled by the development of this thing I helped to start, but I do not marvel at it because I know the sculptor, Walter Ross."

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