The Strawberry Patch

Enrichment and Inspiration for Beta Sigma Phi Sisters from Marilyn Ross

A Beta Sigma Phi Timeline

 1931 Walter W. Ross, a young man with great plans for the future, founds Beta Sigma Phi with the first chapter in Abilene, Kansas.

 1932 The Torch of Beta Sigma Phi was first published in January of 1932 as a small 4-page booklet. The first contest for Beta Sigma Phi members was held. Gladys Marley of Arizona Beta, Phoenix and Helen Venters of Illinois Delta, Decatur won for their respective entries, "The Song of Beta Sigma Phi" and the "Song of Friendship." The first Founder's Day celebration was held in Vinita, Oklahoma in late April of 1932.

 1933 Pennsylvania Beta, Harrisburg becomes the first chapter to take the Ritual of Jewels degree.

 1934 Members gather in Waterloo, Iowa to enjoy the first Beta Sigma Phi convention. We now have 200 chapters in 28 states.

 1935 Beta Sigma Phi becomes International when California member Rilla Billings moves to Canada (Vancouver, B.C.) and establishes a chapter there.

 1937 Twenty-eight members make history when they sail to Hawaii on the first Beta Sigma Phi ramble.

 1938 The Valentine Contest, our most popular contest, is introduced. Predecessor to Legacy Program, "Initiates Infanta" is begun.

 1939 In Beta Sigma Phi's ninth anniversary year, the number of chapters reached the milestone of 1,000.

 1940 The Exemplar Degree is first conferred on 12 members in Danville, Illinois. The 1,000th chapter of Beta Sigma Phi is installed in the spring at Brattleboro, Vermont.

 1941 Beta Sigma Phi has 23,500 members. Canadian and American members' contributions raise $1750 to purchase a fully equipped ambulance for England.

 1942 Beta Sigma Phi members accept a challenge from the U.S. Government to sell $14 million worth of war bonds, and exceed that figure by an additional $8 million. Beta Sigma Phis purchase more than $1 million of War Bonds.

 Osa Johnson and Eve Curie were welcomed into Beta Sigma Phi as International Honorary Members.

 New Mexico Eta Chapter of Hot Springs established a public library for the city, furnishing the library room and 1,000 books.

 Beta Sigma Phis form the first Women's Ambulance Corps in the Midwest in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

 Quebec is added to our Canadian Roster of Chapters, installed by Melita O'Hara, official Travel Counselor of Beta Sigma Phi.

 1943 The first Canadian Exemplar Chapter was installed, Xi Alpha at Vancouver.

 Alaska Alpha was installed at Anchorage, by International Representative Elsie Guenther.

 The first International City Council for Beta Sigma Phi was established in the Niagara Falls, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York area.

 Sallie Rogers McSpadden, our first International Honorary Member, died August 25th.

 1944 More than 1,000 Beta Sigma Phis are members of the Armed Services, serving in Canada, the U.S. and overseas. Beta Sigma Phis invest nearly $3 million in War Bonds and stamps.

 Twenty-six Army nurses organized Alpha Chapter in North Africa.

 Over 1,000 Beta Sigma Phis are members of the Armed Services serving in Canada, the United States and overseas.

 Nearly three million dollars has been invested by Beta Sigma Phi members themselves in War Bonds and stamps. Anne Jeffreys, California Beta Lambda, Los Angeles, sells five million dollars in War Bonds.

 Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt attends Beta Sigma Phi meeting in Washington, D.C. to speak at Founder's Day observance.

 Chicago and Milwaukee Beta Sigma Phis held Six State Area Convention in Chicago.

 Baton Rouge, Louisiana Beta Sigma Phis sell $325,295.35 in Bonds to purchase a heavy bomber.

 The first WAC to join the American Forces in Normandy was Mabel S. Carney, New Jersey Tau at Camden.

 1945 Less than a year after the war ends in Europe, the first overseas chapter is installed in Great Britain.

 1947 The International Endowment Fund is begun and supported by chapter contributions for the purpose of helping others.

 1949 South Dakota Alpha Beta was installed in a new town, Pickstown.

 Virginia Young (Putzka), Editor of The Torch, celebrated her 15th anniversary as a senior member of the International Staff, with the exception of Mr. Ross.

 New Chapter established in Cuba.

 Alpha Chapter established in Frankfurt, Germany.

 Canada's First Lady becomes an International Honorary Member.

 Japan Alpha at Tokyo was installed by a former member of D.C. Tau at Washington.

 1950 Beta Sigma Phi ramble to England, Scotland and France.

 1951 The financial need of a member after a tragic automobile accident spurs on the establishment of the International Loan Fund, supported by contributions from members.

 1952 The idea of an international theme, to be used throughout the year as a basis for socials, decorating and the like is introduced. The theme is "The Road Ahead."

 1953 Walter W. Ross, III (Bill) and eldest son of the Founder is elected President of the International Executive Council of Beta Sigma Phi. His brother Jack is elected Vice President.

 1954 The Order of the Rose degree is established to honor members of 15 or more years who have distinguished themselves within the organization. Kansas City, Missouri member Ethel Parry is the first to receive this honor. The establishment of Beta Sigma Phi's Honorary degree is announced at Founder's Day in April, 1955.

 1956 The Silver Anniversary of Beta Sigma Phi sees the creation of the Achievement Band Program, in which members can acquire paid-up annual fee status. Nu Phi Mu is brought into Beta Sigma Phi as a degree of membership. The Silver Anniversary year of a fast growing sorority! During this year, we rush 30,000 new members.

 1957 The Daughter Enrollment Plan (Legacy) is announced with the enrollment of Walter W. Ross' three granddaughters, Linda, Judy and Laura - the daughters of Walter Ross' sons Bill and Jack respectively. Establishment of the Exemplar Fund.

 1958 Elsie Guenther of the traveling staff establishes the first chapters in Australia.

 1959 The International Office announces the Preceptor Degree. The first Preceptor Chapter is established in Pocatello, Idaho. The first overseas Convention is held in Wiesbaden, Germany in the summer of 1959. Members from six nations attend.

 The International Office announced the Exemplar Degree.

 1960 Beta Sigma Phi reaches a total of 150,00 members in 7,000 chapters in 14 countries.

 1961 The Program Presentation Contest was announced.

 1962 Beta Sigma Phi World Headquarters building becomes a reality at 1800 W. 91st Place in Kansas City, Missouri.

 1963 The Librarian Service Award was announced.

 1964 The first International Award of Distinction is presented to Gladys Fike Hill in Salt Lake City, Utah.

 1965 New chapters in the East Indies, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Japan are established.

 1966 The International Office announced the conversion to the computer system.

 1967 The Girl of the Year pin was announced.

 1968 16,500 members honored with the Order of the Rose to date.

 1969 Founder Walter W. Ross - April 9, 1900 to June 14, 1969. The Walter W. Ross Memorial Scholarship is established.

 1970 The Founder's Award Contest was announced. 114 Founder's Memory Chapters were organized.

 1971 Our 40th Anniversary.

 A new tradition was started, the Convention Lamp. All International Representatives who attended conventions that year took with them the Convention Lamp. The lamps are to be passed from one convention to the next in each state.

 The Founder's Fund Insurance Plan was announced.

 1972 Girlstown, U.S. A. becomes longest continuing Beta Sigma Phi project for Endowment Fund.

 The first Canadian International Honorary Member was approved.

 1973 Beta Sigma Phi President, Bill Ross, visits Children's Cancer Research Foundation and meets Dr. Sidney Farber. Since 1959 (to 1973), Beta Sigma Phis donated $130,000 to this foundation.

 1974 The new Laureate degree is introduced for members with at least eight years of active membership as a Preceptor degree member. First Laureate chapter established in Centralia, Illinois.

 New Friendly Venture Chapter in Karamursel, Turkey.

 1975 Encyclopedia Americana recognizes Beta Sigma Phi in its latest edition of reference books.

 It's International Women's Year - Beta Sigma Phis everywhere show their support in endless projects.

 International Flag Design Contest was announced. Dell DeMeyer of California Xi Gamma Sigma, Gridley was the top flag designer winning a $100 cash award and a silver Revere bowl with appropriate inscription. (Announced in Nov. '76 issue of The Torch.)

 1976 Endowment Fund giving goes over the $1 million mark.

 The first active Legacy group, Rosebud Alpha, is formed in Denton, Texas.

 A new ritual for 25 year members is introduced, The Silver Circle.

 1977 New computer terminal installed for faster-than-ever service to the membership. Founder's Day finds us now in 24 countries around the world.

 New contest introduced: International Theme Contest, the first time International theme will come directly from a member's suggestion.

 1978 Alpha Chapters begin in six new countries - Hong Kong, China; Cuba, Ecuador, New Zealand, Iceland, and The Netherlands. We are now in 31 countries!

 Life insurance program started.

 1979 This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Walter W. Ross Memorial Scholarship Fund. We have awarded 89 $1,000 scholarships to students.

 1980 Golden Anniversary activities are launched! Dorothy Ross, wife of our founder, dies December 1, 1980. The Walter W. Ross Memorial Scholarship Fund becomes the Dorothy and Walter Ross Memorial Scholarship Fund. Members made reservations for Friendly Venture chapters in Wales, South Africa, New Guinea, Korea, France and Portugal.

 President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau sent letters of congratulations to the International Office for the Golden Anniversary. Hundreds of chapters obtained proclamations for Beta Sigma Phi week in their cities and states.

 1983 The "Golden Circle" Ritual for 50-year members is introduced at Founder's Day.

 1984 A special service effort, to raise money for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is announced. Our goal is to raise $100,000 for this worthy project before Lady Liberty's 100th birthday, July 4, 1986.

 1985 International Endowment Fund giving is at more than $2 million.

 1986 Beta Sigma Phis raise $130,000 for the Statue of Liberty Restoration Project - 30 percent beyond our goal!

 1988 The Master Degree is introduced for members who have been Laureates for 10 years or more.

 1989 U.S. First Lady Barbara Bush becomes an International Honorary Member.

 1990 Beta Sigma Phi sisters help sisters recover from devastating Hurricane Hugo.

 1991 Our 60th Anniversary celebration. Members go into high gear in support of the troops in the Middle East.

 1992 International Legacy Day, the Saturday before Mother's Day is announced to salute the 30,000 plus legacies of Beta Sigma Phi. Beta Sigma Phi Disaster Fund is created.

 1993 Honorary member Hillary Rodham Clinton of Little Rock, Arkansas becomes First Lady. New transplantation immunology center at Stanford University Medical Center named for Beta Sigma Phi in recognition of our many years of generous support.

 1994 Breast Cancer Research Endowment Fund begins. Chapters and councils donate their rushing allowances to fund a high-risk clinic and breast cancer vaccination research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Beta Sigma Phi also promotes "Random Acts of Kindness" worldwide.

 1995 Healing in the Heartland.

 1996 Beta Sigma Phi hits the Information Super Highway - Internet system gives sisters a way to chat internationally, instantly through newsgroups and email. The Beta Journal was established along with the emergence of On-Line Chapters.

 1999 Laura Ross Wingfield, granddaughter of the founder, is named President of the International Executive Council.

 2000 Millennium Membership Program launched by the Rushing and Friendly Venture Department.

 1st On-line Gathering held in Kansas City, MO. Members from all over the United States and Canada attended the weekend events.

 1st Chapter for deaf women and those who work with the deaf community, Kansas Rho Omega, was Friendly Ventured in Johnson County by the members of Kansas Preceptor Delta Delta.

 2001 Beta Sigma Phis celebrate their 70th Anniversary.

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