T O DA Y ’ S F R I E N D S , T O M O R R O W ’ S L E A D E R S , F O R E V E R I N S E R V I C E
OPA’s 50th CELEBRATED WITH GIRL SCOUTS 50TH CELEBRATION CONVENTION
SUSAN TERZIAN AWARDS
IN MEMORIAM: PAMELA MCEWEN
VOLUME 50 | 01
The Chevron is a quarterly newsletter produced for Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority alumnae and active chapters. National Executive Board Members President | Jan Titsworth VP Communications | Thea Moritz VP Finance | Pamela McEwen VP Lifetime Membership | Suzy McTaggart VP Programs | Andie Hixson Chevron Editors Editor | Thea Moritz Layout Editor | Shelley Lai Copy Editor | Donna Pintek Writers | Stasia Charter, Catherine Ferrell, Mackenzie Garretson Graves, Morgan Mills, Natalie Pita Distribution Dates and Deadlines October 1 | due August 15 January 1 | due November 15 April 1 | due February 15 July 1 | due May 15 Submissions If you would like to submit a feature story about an alumna or a service project happening at your chapter, please email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org Please send photos in 300dpi JPG format. National Office Mailing Address Omega Phi Alpha National Office PO Box 955 East Lyme, CT 06333 Official National Website omegaphialpha.org Contact List To request a list of all sorority officers,
Convention 2017 marked OPA’s 50th anniversary in many memorable ways. Time capsule contents offered a glimpse into the past and reminded us how far technology has come. A record number of alumnae came to Bowling Green, OH, including many former national presidents. Sue Fehlner Hess, OPA’s first national president, reminisced about the initial gathering of Alpha, Beta and Gamma chapters and vividly described the scenarios that led to the adoption of Ophia and the yellow rose. We’ve come a long way since 1967—progress that is definitely worth celebrating! Listening to Sue’s stories and talking with other early national presidents reinforced my perception that these women were trailblazers. I thought about all of them again over Independence Day weekend when I was hiking in Colorado. One of my personal goals is to climb to the top of a 14,000-ft. mountain each summer, and July 2 and 3 were the appointed days this year. The journey would take 16 miles, a night under the stars, and 10 hours of actual hiking time. When my husband and I arrived at the trailhead, I was full of anticipation and energy. I hit the trail at a lively pace and met people along the way who inspired me by sharing stories of what they had seen. As the elevation began to get steeper, my pace slowed, and I had to dig deeper to keep my eyes on the prize. At times, others passed me, and I had to keep reminding myself that I didn’t need to be first—I had to persevere and make it to the top. About a mile from the top, the trail became nonexistent, and I had to pick my way across a field of boulders, trying new techniques and relying on my best judgment. At the summit, I felt a true sense of accomplishment and could see clearly for miles. Then it was time for the next phase of the journey—a whole new challenge! Descending uses different muscles and requires different techniques. It’s easy to get
caught up in the momentum, and I had to purposefully steady myself to gain traction. By mile 14, I was tired, but new people I met on the trail encouraged me to keep going. I shared my own stories of what I had seen to make their journey easier and inspire them along the way. That experience parallels what our founding mothers encountered and provides some food for thought as we begin to blaze the trail for OPA’s next 50 years. At that first convention in June 1967, the founders were full of anticipation and energy. The sisterhood grew as people shared stories and were inspired. Over the years there have been times when persevering through challenges was necessary. To continue to grow, we needed to find new ways of doing things and chart a different course. At the 50th celebration, we felt a true sense of accomplishment—and rightly so. Now we are embarking on the next phase of the journey—a whole new challenge! We’ve adopted a new structure, because this next phase will require some new ways of thinking and new techniques. It’s important for us to more forward purposefully and not just get caught up in momentum, so we develop a strong, sound organization at the local and national levels. Our journey together will require taking the time to share our stories to encourage and inspire one another. We’re at the trailhead. A lofty destination beckons. Let’s explore new heights together and plant yellow roses along the way. Jan Titsworth (Delta), National President
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Kayli Baker (Alpha Zeta) and Brownie Girl Scout Eden O. participated in “Girl Games” at Convention 2017 service
project in Bowling Green, OH.
GIRL GAMES KICK OFF OPA ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
More than 100 convention attendees led 55 Toledo-area Girl Scouts, from Daisies to Cadettes, in a special service project called “Girl Games” on June 15, at the Perry Field House at Bowling Green State University. The event kicked off OPA’s 50th anniversary national convention, which was held in nearby Perrysburg the same week. All proceeds collected from the games were donated to the local Girl Scouts’ service units. Convention organizers created this highly anticipated activity to recognize the historical connection between the two national organizations. When Omega Phi
Photos by Mary Pencheff
Alpha National Service Sorority was founded 50 years ago at BGSU, several members were former Girl Scouts, which at the time was a prerequisite to join the local sorority chapter. “The Girl Scout values align well with Omega Phi Alpha’s principles,” said Alpha alum Katie Blanco, who helped organize the event. An active Girl Scout for the past 20 years and a lifetime OPA member, Katie enjoyed seeing the two organizations interact to share a common goal. At the games, the sisters and scouts divided into nine teams and participated in various fun-filled physical and mental activities that
focused on leadership, team building and STEM. Everyone shared in winning. “Speaking with girls, leaders and parents, it’s clear the event was a huge success! Our girls are excited for future activities with Omega Phi Alpha,” added Vicki Blanco, Katie’s mom and the service unit manager for the Rambling River Service Unit. A Girl Scout mom from Holland, OH, concurred on Facebook, “My daughter went to the Girl Games and had a great time. She was nervous about going without her friends, but was excited to share that she met a new friend at the event.”
A TIME TO REFLECT AND RENEW OPA Celebrates 50 Years at Convention 2017
It seems impossible that Omega Phi Alpha’s 50th anniversary has already come and gone. And with it also came renewed feelings of friendship, leadership and service. During the five-day convention, nearly 150 OPA sisters, young and old and from far and wide, came to Perrysburg, OH, near Bowling Green State University, where the national organization got its start on June 15, 1967. Fifty years to the day, more than 100 sisters exemplified OPA’s primary mission by mentoring local Girl Scouts at the “Girl Games” service project. (See page 3.) Those who arrived early on Wednesday attended the Welcome Home Reception that evening at the Hilton Garden Inn, the site for most of the convention activities. After the service project on Thursday, the birthday party lunch started! With balloons and cake, OPA officially began to celebrate a half-century of sisterhood. The highlight of the event was revealing the contents from OPA’s 25th anniversary time capsule. Epsilon alumna Julie Filson, who attended Convention 1992 at BGSU, pulled out VHS tapes, cassettes, newspapers, notes, T-shirts and “a letter from the sisters of the 20th century to the sisters of the 21st century.” Business meetings were held in the afternoon, as well as a legislative review and the first-ever candidate meet-and-greet fair, where delegates spoke with the candidates running for the national executive board and learned about other national team positions. By that evening, out came the tie-dye shirts, go-go boots and big hair for a memorable Throwback Thursday mixer. Complete with disco lights and five decades of popular music, the sisters danced the night away. Outgoing president Heather Pritchard (Nu) began Friday with more business and a summary of Vision 2020, OPA’s strategic plan. After the candidates forum, everyone headed to the awards lunch, where Sigma Chapter swept up the service awards. (See page 8.) Next came the budget. VP Finance Pamela McEwen (Epsilon), explained the current and projected budgets. [Editor’s note: this would unfortunately be Pam’s last convention, as she passed away suddenly a few months later. See her tribute on pages 12–13.] During the business session, the delegates voted on bylaw amd constitutional revisions, clarifying a “year” as being an “academic year,” and confirmed actives and alumnae can wear OPA letters to be in line with LOA status. After handing out the official convention
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OPA past presidents, from left: Geri Climer Dunkle (Gamma), Sue Fehlner Hess (Alpha), Heather Pritchard (Nu), Vicki Jedlicka Cooper (Alpha), Andie Bowman Hixson (Epsilon), Pam Jones Caskie (Epsilon), Ginger McGarity (Delta/Nu), Sarah Hatley Van Dyke (Delta), Cheryl Follansbee Roberts (Beta), Pamela McCullough McEwen (Epsilon), Susie Pack Larson (Mu), Jan Becker Titsworth (Delta)
T-shirts, the 100-plus attendees posed with them on, forming the number 50 outside on the hotel’s lawn for an aerial group photo. Everyone traveled to Bowling Green on Friday evening to tour the BGSU campus and Alpha Chapter’s sorority house, which is part of the university-run Greek housing. After a pizza dinner, sisters entertained each other in a talent show featuring a reprised performance of “Down with the Damn Blue Daisy,” a skit written by former president Ann DeMatteo (Beta) 25 years ago. The skit was followed by group dances, sing-alongs, and a solo by NEB member Thea Moritz (Beta). The delegation wrapped up business and elections on Saturday morning and then watched OPA history unfold before their eyes during the Peek into the Past session. They saw old pledge uniforms, scrapbooks, archival photos, paddles and mimeographed Chevrons. Linda Terzian Cartiglia (Beta), Susan’s sister, made a tearful Facetime appearance for a special 50th message. (See page 7). Sue Fehlner Hess (Alpha), OPA’s first president, and former president Cheryl Follansbee Roberts (Beta), each spoke about how OPA traditions began and evolved. Actives attended an Idea Share lunch, while the alumnae luncheon took place honoring Susie Pack Larson (Mu) with the Ann DeMatteo Alumnae Service Award and Omega Iota as Alumnae Chapter of the Year. (See page 14). Five diamond and six topaz sisters were inducted into the alumnae society in an afternoon ceremony. (See page 16.) Sparkles and gowns sauntered down a red carpet by evening, as sisters were abuzz with Saturday night’s 50th anniversary dinner. Held on the BGSU campus, the glittering event highlighted the celebration of OPA’s core values with presentations by outgoing
NEB member Ginger McGarity (Delta/Nu), incoming president Jan Titsworth (Delta), Gamma alumnae Arlene Ruder Green and Geri Climer Dunkle, Delta alumna Pamela Faulkner, former national vice president Mary Morrison (Delta), and Cheryl Roberts. Twelve former national presidents in attendance were recognized (see photo), as were four Alumnae Service Award recipients. Cheryl recited the past Susan Terzian Award winners, with six who were present that evening, and then TWO more were awarded to Andie Bowman Hixson (Epsilon) and Thea Moritz (Beta). (See page 6.) Finally, a rousing keynote speech was given by Sue Hess, who wowed the audience with her humor mixed with reality and a little dose of the evolution of technology during the OPA years. “This is paper, this is a pencil, and this is a pen!” she exclaimed. (See page 15.) On Sunday morning after brunch, the new NEB was installed (see page 5), and Ginger announced that the 2018 Digging for Diamonds event would be in Dallas. Jan, reprising her role as national president, explained in her speech how the life expectancy for today’s children is going down instead of up. For this reason, she named Childhood Obesity as the 2017–18 President’s Project. (See page 7.) Everyone formed a circle and gave three words to describe their convention experience before singing the national song for the final time that week. The 75th anniversary time capsule was filled, and it was time go home. Thank you to everyone who organized this top-notch event and to those who were able to experience it. See you in two years! By Thea Moritz (Beta), VP Communications
MEET THE NEW NEB President—JAN TITSWORTH Jan (Becker) Titsworth (Delta) is pleased to be reprising the role of OPA national president—a position she held in the early 1990s. As executive director of Blue Zones Project Fort Worth in Texas, Jan leads a community-wide well-being improvement initiative focused on making the healthy choice the easy choice. In her prior role as president of B2B Strategies, Inc., Jan provided turnkey management of new initiatives from concept through implementation. She also served as program director for Leadership Fort Worth, engaging community leaders in discussion of relevant issues. Prior to that, she was the assistant dean of administration in the M.J. Neeley School of Business at Texas Christian University. In OPA, Jan also was an expansions director, vice president and Susan Terzian Award recipient. She holds a BBA from Texas A&M University and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame. Jan and her husband, Jim, enjoy traveling, especially to locations with spectacular hiking trails. They have two adult children, Mitch and Lauren. VP of Communications—THEA MORITZ Thea Moritz graduated with a BS in graphic design from the University of Bridgeport (CT), the home of founding Beta Chapter. She pledged OPA during her senior year, when she met sorority legend, Ann DeMatteo, who convinced Thea to join as a lifetime member. She later served multiple terms as national publications editor and on the alumnae board. This past June she was surprised to receive the Susan Terzian Award. Thea also earned a master’s in communication from Fairfield University, followed by a 35-year career as a creative professional for primarily schools, colleges and nonprofit organizations. Beginning her second VP term, Thea looks forward to building a strong image for OPA’s cardinal principles. She lives in Middletown, CT, with her husband Greg Amy, and dogs, Hanna and Schatzi. Vice President of Finance (Emeritus)—PAMELA MCEWEN (see box in right column*) Pamela (McCullough) McEwen (Epsilon), who retired to Florida last year, has been a valued NEB officer in other OPA roles including national president and alumnae administrator. Sadly, Pamela passed away shortly after being elected and just before this Chevron went to print. Her involvement with OPA impacted the sorority in many ways, not the least of which was helping OPA obtain taxexempt status. She was also a recipient of the Susan Terzian Award. Pamela will be greatly missed by all her sisters. See pages 12–13 for her tribute. Vice President of Lifetime Membership—SUZY MCTAGGART Suzy (Sweeney) McTaggart (Gamma) pledged OPA in 2003, a decision that led to amazing friendships, leadership and growth within the sorority. She is passionate about promoting lifetime membership and national collaboration. She previously served as national alumnae societies coordinator and alumnae convention coordinator. She is an Ann DeMatteo Alumnae Service Award recipient for her work with Yaks Give Back, a nonprofit she cofounded with her husband’s hockey team. Suzy graduated from Eastern Michigan University and is currently re-enrolled there studying mathematics and statistics. She works for the University of Michigan Medical School and lives in Ypsilanti, MI, with her husband, Mike, their beautiful toddler, Lily, and Beagle Bassett dog, Buddy. Vice President of Programs —ANDIE HIXSON Andie (Bowman) Hixson is a proud alumna of Epsilon Chapter (Tennessee Tech University), where she earned a degree in communications. A 2017 Susan Terzian Award recipient, Andie is thrilled to be serving as the vice president of programs for the sorority and looks forward to the opportunities the new structure provides. She is eager to begin working with “Team Programs” to improve OPA’s chapter support, leadership development and events. Andie is also a past national president and vice president of membership. Professionally, she works in special education at an elementary school in Chattanooga, TN. Andie and her husband, Craig, celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary in September. She enjoys traveling, advising the Sigma Chapter sisters, helping her students master new skills, and binge-watching TV shows. She hopes all members will participate in the leadership program and make plans to attend a District Summit this spring.
NEW VP OF FINANCE* Omega Phi Alpha is pleased to announce that Michelle (Salisbury) Brannon (Delta) has been appointed to complete the term of vice president of finance on the NEB. Michelle is a certified public accountant with 24 years of accounting experience. She began her career in public accounting, specializing in audit and tax preparation for not-for-profit and governmental organizations. Michelle gradually combined her career with her desire to serve others and left public accounting to work for various not-for-profit organizations. She served as tax accountant of Good Shepherd Health Systems and as director of accounting for Panola Harrison Electric Cooperative. Currently, she is the accounting manager for iClassPro, Inc., a technology company that develops webbased classroom management software. Michelle earned her Certificate of Public Accountancy in 2000 and is licensed in Texas. A graduate of Oklahoma State University with a bachelor of science in accounting, she started her collegiate education at Texas A&M University, where she pledged Omega Phi Alpha in 1987. Michelle and her husband, Stan, are longtime residents of Hallsville, TX. Their daughter, Carolanne, is a student at Texas A&M.
ALPHA EPSILON CHAPTER CLOSES With several semesters of declining membership, the most recent active members of Alpha Epsilon Chapter have graduated and transitioned to alumnae status. After a great deal of thought, the National Executive Board declared Alpha Epsilon Chapter inactive on August 6, 2017. Founded in 2006, the chapter was located at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, LA. The chapter and national leaders worked hard but were unable to turn the decline around, especially since the chapter lost campus recognition as a student organization. Alpha Epsilon alumnae are lifetime members and are encouraged to stay connected with Omega Phi Alpha sisters across the globe.
TERZIAN SPIRIT LIVES ON
Forty-nine years ago, Susan Terzian (Beta), was OPA’s second-ever national president. She was an especially tireless sister who was part of the creation of our national organization. It is this OPA spirit that lives on in all of us, and especially to those who earn the sorority’s highest honor, the Susan Terzian Award. This prestigious award was named in Susan’s honor after she suddenly passed away in 1968. With unanimous NEB approval, Omega Phi Alpha is proud to announce that Andie Bowman Hixson (Epsilon) and Thea Moritz (Beta) were each presented with the Susan Terzian Award at Convention 2017. The awards were presented at the June 17 celebration dinner in Ohio. Andie (secretly nominated by Thea) received the award “for her reliable, dedicated, passionate service not only to our national organization as a whole but to each individual OPA member.” Thea (secretly nominated by Andie) earned the award “for her dedication to our sisterhood, her extensive rebranding efforts, and her tremendous display of friendship.” Neither was aware of her nomination until the awards were presented by former President Heather Pritchard (Nu). Passion for service In Spring 2003, Andie joined OPA and had her first taste of national by attending the convention in Atlanta that summer. She was elected national vice president of membership in 2006, acquiring first-hand experience with conflict resolution and pledging procedures. Andie’s accessibility, self-motivated enthusiasm and prompt responses to NEB and local chapters never let anyone down. Former Sigma Chapter president Cecilee Dickens said recently, “Anytime Sigma has reached out to Andie to ask for help or guidance, she set up a time to visit us and made sure we got back on track. She really truly cares about everyone in our sorority.” As national president-elect in 2009, Andie compiled numerous proposals for OPA’s request for a strategic planning facilitator, leading to the selection of the Harral Group to help guide OPA’s strategic effort. When Pamela McEwen handed over the presidential gavel at Convention 2010, Andie wasted no time in naming “Financial Education” as the national President’s Project. Having experienced her own financial challenges, she explained it this way, “This knowledge will help sisters in their own lives and hopefully help chapters and the whole sorority make even better financial decisions.”
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Thea Moritz (Beta) and Andle (Bowman) Hixson (Epsilon) together before each receiving the Susan Terzian Award at the 50th celebration dinner last June
Andie named “Archiving OPA” as the 2011–12 President’s Project. She chose the project because she realized the importance in recovering OPA’s membership records. This decision to permanently document OPA’s history in preparation for the 50th anniversary showed great planning and foresight into what would be a monumental task in preserving OPA’s legacy. For the 2012–13 President’s Project, Andie reflected back to her college years when she was inspired by an Epsilon sister who faced challenges different from other students. The “Community Inclusion” project was for sisters to help promote a more inclusive environment for differently abled people, whether on campus or in the community. It wasn’t long after her term as president before Andie took on the daunting role of planning for OPA’s conventions in 2015, 2016 and the 50th anniversary convention in 2017. This fall, Andie returns to the NEB as the new national vice president for programs. Keeping the vow “I vow to give of my time and efforts.” This line from OPA’s activation ceremony holds true meaning with many sisters. OPA is fortunate that Thea has given her time and efforts to the sorority over the past few decades serving many terms on the NEB and also behind the scenes. During her earlier terms as national publications editor, Thea shared her vision for how OPA could better leverage technology to improve national communications. She introduced the legislation that broadened the NEB role from publications to communications overall,
leading to OPA’s first national website and online presence. More recently, Thea was instrumental in finalizing a new national OPA website, completing the task in her first year back on the NEB. She used rigorous vetting of marketing firms and kept the project on schedule and within budget. With OPA’s design team, she quickly updated the look of the Chevron and worked diligently to streamline OPA’s image and brand identity. She also led the effort on engaging a licensing firm, so that OPA could better control its commercial brand, resulting in a new revenue stream for the sorority. One of OPA’s cardinal principles is friendship, a crucial element in sisterhood. Sometimes people say, “Hard times will always reveal true friends.” Recently, former national president Ann DeMatteo was battling cancer. Thea was there as her dearest friend in OPA. She cared for Ann through times of laughter and tears, visited Ann at the hospital, scheduled visitors, helped organize at Ann’s home, assisted her in writing her popular newspaper columns, and so much more. “Thea is an unbelievable woman with quiet strength who was always there for Ann and her family during this very difficult time. Thea did things patiently, diligently and with grace,” commented others. After the loss of her dear friend and OPA’s beloved sister, Ann, Thea dedicated her 2014–17 NEB term to Ann’s memory so that we never forget her. Reelected at Convention 2017, Thea continues to serve as OPA’s vice president of communications.
A Special 50th Message from Linda Terzian Cartiglia Susan’s younger sister, Linda, recited this letter and answered questions live via Facetime during Convention 2017. Congratulations on OPA’s 50th anniversary and to the recipients of the Susan Terzian Award, past and present. You are all undoubtedly extraordinary women, who have untiring dedication, talents and abilities. In some ways, it feels like yesterday when I pledged OPA, having proudly followed in my sister, Susan Terzian’s, footsteps at Beta Chapter. Allow me to tell you a little bit about her. Susan was smart, funny, sensitive and compassionate. She was my protector and a loyal friend to many with a huge heart! She was a dreamer and a bit of an idealist. She had a real problem with human injustices of any kind and wasn’t afraid to “fight for the rights” of those who were misjudged or mistreated. Susan LOVED OPA. She worked tirelessly to create and define its cardinal principles. She held several offices, including
Linda’s favorite photo of herse lf with her sister Susan, lef t
Beta president and was serving as national president at the time of her death. It was November 1968, six months after her graduation, and we were looking forward to Thanksgiving. This particular Friday, Susan felt uneasy and stayed home from work. In the evening, she left to go to a service project with several Beta sisters in Bridgeport, Connecticut. That night the car she and four others were riding in was struck by a speeding
drunken driver. Despite being thrown from the vehicle, she walked around tending to her injured sisters after the crash. Five days later, however, she succumbed from her severe brain injury. She was the only fatality. The pain for everyone who knew and loved her was unfathomable, and continues, even to this day. In my family, my daughter, Susan, is a walking legacy of the aunt she never knew. She wears her name proudly, and we couldn’t be prouder of the good work she is doing with holistic health and wellness. I’m sure my sister Susan is smiling down from above. And each and every one of you is a living, breathing legacy. OPA sisters continue to provide service and leadership on campuses and in your communities. Be proud of your legacy and continue to pass it on! The Terzian family can’t thank you enough for being an example and role model for countless others. In fond sisterhood, Linda Terzian Cartiglia (Beta)
President’s Project 2017–18: Childhood Obesity Since Omega Phi Alpha was founded, a health statistic has taken a troubling turn: • Percentage of children who are overweight or obese has tripled since the 1970s. • Today, 1 in 5 (some sources say 1 in 3) American kids and teens is overweight or obese. • Parents’ No. 1 health concern, ahead of drug abuse and smoking. Childhood obesity has immediate and long-term impacts on physical, social and emotional health. Overweight and obese children and teens are: • At higher risk for chronic health conditions such as diabetes, asthma, joint problems and heart disease. • Bullied and teased more than average-weight peers. • More likely to suffer from social isolation, depression and low self-esteem. Our children are our future. Since the U.S. was founded, every generation has seen a longer life expectancy than their parents’ generation—except this one: • Today’s children are expected to have a shorter life span than their parents. • Only 20 percent is due to genetics. • The other 80 percent can be addressed by environmental changes.
WHAT CAN WE DO? We can: • Get kids moving more (basketball clinics, bike rodeos, National Walk to School Day on October 4). • Encourage kids to limit screen time. • Create ways for kids to make healthy food choices (school gardens, community gardens, work with food bank for underserved areas, work with scout troops and after school groups on new fruit and vegetable tastings). • Limit how much candy children eat on Halloween night and teach them about moderation. Visit omegaphialpha.org/blog for “8 ways to help your community fight childhood obesity” or email firstname.lastname@example.org to share or obtain ideas for service projects. By Jan Titsworth (Delta), President
NATIONAL AWARDS 2016–17 Individual and chapter awards given at Convention 2017
National Service Awards This year, Sigma Chapter took home the service award for each of the six areas of service for the following innovative projects. Permanent Project (Mental Health) Sisters visited the Lantern at Morning Pointe, an Alzheimer’s care facility, and participated in activities ranging from muscle memory games to walks in the garden. President’s Project (Chapter Choice) Sigma hosted holiday parties for Signal Centers, a center for adults with intellectual disabilities. For Halloween, sisters wore costumes for a parade, played games, sang and danced with the participants. They hosted a Valentine’s Day dance with an 80s theme, and the participants used videos to invite sisters as their dates. Community at Large Sigma hosted a Hoops for Hardy basketball camp for students at an inner-city elementary school. Teachers of grades 1–4 picked students with the best behaviors to attend. Lunch was provided, and then the UTC men’s basketball team gave a pep talk about the importance of staying in school and finding extracurricular activities to stay on the right path. University Community Sigma hosted a sexual assault awareness and healthy relationship seminar. With a packed audience, a counselor gave examples of what a healthy relationship should be like. A Family Justice Center speaker engaged the audience with tips of how to avoid and get out of unwanted situations. A university police officer also led a rape aggression defense class. Members of the Sorority Sigma focused on the entire sisterhood instead of just their chapter. Each active was required to write letters to an alumna of any chapter, national officers, sisters on LOA status, and/or other chapters around the country. Nations of the World Sigma hosted a 5k and raised $2,500 for the nonprofit Project 541, an organization committed to empowering girls and women in La Moskitia, Honduras. A lot of effort went into Sigma’s largest service project to date. They requested donations and sponsorships, created PR materials, tabled to raise awareness, designed the race course, etc.
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National Service Award The most distinguished yearly service honor for an active chapter, recognizing the highest cumulative score of the six areas of service was awarded to Sigma Chapter.
Outstanding Chapter Secretary Adrienne Dagen, Sigma Rachel Dudzik, Gamma Lindsey Paramo, Alpha Nu Brittanie Stowers, Alpha Gamma
National Membership Award Alpha Zeta
Outstanding Chapter Treasurer Katie McGrath, Alpha Gamma Brittany Witkowski, Nu
Outstanding Chapter President Kylie Armstrong, Alpha Alpha Cecilee Dickens, Sigma Morgan Martin, Rho Courtney Shirley, Nu Outstanding Chapter Vice President Paige Amoroso, Sigma Katherine Fallon, Omicron Ashleigh Hancock, Alpha Nu Cara Heise, Alpha Alpha Hannah Wallis, Alpha Gamma Outstanding Chapter Service Director Hally Acuna, Alpha Gamma Ashley Brady, Nu Alyssa Enriquez, Alpha Alpha Sunya Fareed, Nu Erin Hart, Alpha Gamma Gabrielle Lambardo, Alpha Theta Sarah Lemke, Gamma Learyn Miller, Sigma Brianna West, Alpha Zeta Outstanding Membership Director Anna Bollag, Nu Jessica Cooney, Alpha Kappa Isabella Denton, Alpha Alpha Krista Linehan, Alpha Zeta Anna Marie Lynn, Gamma Gabby Ringenberg, Rho Melanie Schaefer, Sigma Jenna Scotti, Alpha Theta Lyndsey Stevenson, Nu Neda Venzor, Alpha Kappa
Outstanding Chapter Alumnae Liaison Tiffany Chu, Nu Cathryn Ellis, Rho Corin Hill, Alpha Alpha Allison Marx, Alpha Gamma Kathleen McGrath, Alpha Theta Rachel Pelicano, Sigma Analise Ybarbo, Alpha Nu National Website Award Sigma National Scrapbook Award Alpha Gamma National Travel Award Phi Alumnae Travel Award, Individual Pamela (Mudd) Conlan, Delta Alumnae Travel Award, Chapter Delta Top 10 Individual Service Awards Caty McAfee, Nu—227.58 hours Amie Just, Alpha Kappa—225.5 Caren Levin, Alpha Theta—187 Alana Mazzei, Alpha Theta—174 Ashley Berta, Epsilon—168.5 Caroline Keech, Alpha Theta—162 Shelby Bettles, Alpha Kappa—160.5 Sammy Ford, Alpha Xi—158 Alexandra Iemmello, Alpha Theta—151.5 Sarah Heiland, Alpha Theta—146.5
Sigma Chapter took home the national service awards.
THANK YOU, DONORS
2016–17 contributions as of June 30, 2017
FRIENDS OF OPHIA Annual $5 gifts support OPA’s mission Elizabeth Anderson Melanie Avila Kayli Baker Mary Blanco Esther Blue Megan Bodmann Jessica Campbell Pamela Jones Caskie Raissa Chandler* Pamela Mudd Conlan Nola Derheimer Lynn Dudash Cassidy Edenborough Pamela Faulkner Crystal Spurgeon Genter* Megan Gonzales Arlene Green Lisa Guest Penny Guiles* Emmalee Herlocher Meagan Higgins Andie Hixson* Susie Pack Larson* Radha Manthe Caty McAfee Pamela McEwen Leigh McMahon Suzy McTaggart Mary Morrison* Ashley Parks Thelma Riehle Megan Sheppard* Jan Sedory Amanda Smith Emily Soster Rebecca Stewart Alexa Tavasci Dawn Tupper Faithe Wiseman* CHEVRON SOCIETY Supports day-to-day operating expenses Lisa Burnette Michele Hughey Radha Manthe Pamela McEwen Kripa Patel Thelma Riehle Jan Sedory SCHOLARSHIP TRUST Pamela Conlan Karen Knoppow Susie Pack Larson Mary Morrison
HONOR A SISTER OPA has been developing service-minded leaders for 50 years. These members honored other sisters by donating $5 to OPA. Melanie Avila— Jordan Clark, Maeve Cosgrove, Jessica Kelley, Chelen Lopez, Brittany Phelan, Jordan Spraker Brooke Cancilliari—Brittany Disney Jessica Campbell—Brittany Disney Pamela Conlan—Pamela Faulkner, Mary Morrison Pamela Faulkner —The 13 Founding Mothers of Delta Chapter Chanda Glover—Melanie Gast Lisa Guest—honored one sister Emmalee Herlocher—Brittany Disney Andie Hixson—Nichole Barton, Mandi Roberson, Leann Williams Melissa Knoblock—Vicki Breit Brown Susie Pack Larson—Ann DeMatteo, Karen Wallace Musgrove Pam Leid—honored three sisters Patti Light—Brandy Allred Finck, Rebecca Lee Peterson, Victoria Theodossopoulos, Mandy Reeves Townes, Sarah Van Dyke Pamela McEwen—Ann DeMatteo, Susie Larson Suzy McTaggart— Lynn Dudash, Penny Guiles, Andie Hixson, Ginger McGarity, Kelly Wade Thelma Riehle—Ann DeMatteo Colleen Ryan—Cecilee Dickens, Andie Hixson, Marybeth Steffey Emma Seslowsky—Madison Berman Megan Sheppard—Andie Hixson, Heather Pritchard Crystal Spurgeon Genter— Katie Blanco, Meghan Bodmann, Christina Gerdeman, Penny Guiles, Juli Anna Johnson Stuart Stewart—Pamela Faulkner Alexa Tavasci—Alyssa Lopez Jan Titsworth—Ann DeMatteo, Jamie Hopmann, Ginger McGarity Raven Walker—Colleen Ryan, Marybeth Steffey
$50 FOR 50 YEARS Over the past 50 years, OPA has donated more than a million service hours to making communities stronger. These donations of $50 for 50 years are put toward OPA programming, expansions and leadership development. Elizabeth Anderson Megan Bodmann Pamela Faulkner Lisa Guest Sue Hess B. Hinkles Marianna Cronrath Kate Goodwin Susie Pack Larson Pamela McEwen Suzy McTaggart Marlene Purdy Jan Sedory Jan Titsworth
Other honorees on convention display board: Julie Dang Catherine Ferrell Julie Filson Crystal Genter Megan Gonzales Marlene Purdy Lynn Richardson Rhonda Rafsnider Diane Schlegal Please email corrections to email@example.com *Recognized for $25 contribution at Convention 2017
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50TH ANNIVERSARY 3
Memories of OPAâ€™s 50th Celebration Convention 1. Nu Chapter delegates and alumnae 2. Rose twirling in agreement 3. Delegates show off the round program at the celebration dinner 4. Business meetings bring out bubbles 5. Susan Terzian Award recipients 6. Ragan Walker (Sigma) finds some cuddle time 7. Plenty of photo ops at the celebration dinner 8. Stylinâ€™ at the throwback mixer 9. Alumnae and actives together at the celebration dinner 10. Alpha Xi delegates, Brittany Perry and Erica Agnello Patmon 11. Sue Hess, seated in center, surrounded by Alpha and Gamma alumnae and Alpha Omicron delegates 12. Alpha Nu sisters introduce themselves to the delegation 13. Delta alumnae read the fashion memo. Whoop! 14. New Omega Man, Seneca Toms, with former VP Expansions Jessica (Cole) Toms, Samantha and Patrick 15. Sue Hess and Alpha alum Thelma Riehle look at old scrapbooks Photos by Mary Pencheff Order photos from Convention 2017: pencheffphoto.photoreflect.com/store and click on Events
Pam loved OPA more than any other sister I have ever met. She was giving, wise, thoughtful, funny and humble. She was my mentor and dear friend. I will miss having our traditional meal together at every OPA event, especially us getting dessert. I will think of her every time I eat carrot cake. I sure hope heaven had plenty of coffee waiting when she arrived. God bless our Pam, our sister forever.—Andie Hixson (Epsilon)
My fondest memory of Pam will always be our meetings at O’Charley’s. When she was outgoing president in 2010, she couldn’t wait to take a break from OPA. Several weeks after that convention, I asked her how it felt to not be on the national board. She said, “Well, technically, I am now the VP of Advancement Planning.” She is the reason we have so many giving programs now, especially her favorite, the OPA Scholarship Trust. Not only did Pam love OPA, but she loved her sisters as well. She brought me back an OPA umbrella that year. That is our Pam, always giving of herself to make a difference for OPA and her sisters. —Susie Pack Larson (Mu)
Pam truly epitomized what it means to have a servant heart. I was so blessed to know you and serve with you. —Megan Sheppard (Alpha Iota)
Miss you, Pamela! Give Susan Terzian and Ann DeMatteo a hug up there for us!—Jessica Toms (Phi)
Pam has meant a lot to our sisterhood. Heaven sure gained a beautiful angel. You will be greatly missed but loved and remembered forever. I’m so thankful I got to know you and call you my sister. —Crystal Genter (Alpha)
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Celebrating the Life of Pamela M. McEwen
OPA’S ANGEL 1952-2017
Our sister and national vice president of finance, Pamela (McCullough) McEwen passed away Sunday, August 27, 2017. However, we all can take comfort in knowing that she fulfilled her sense of purpose through her service to Omega Phi Alpha. Despite work demands and health issues, she made OPA a constant priority in her life. Pamela retired as the chief financial officer from Nashville Metro Social Services after 35 years last year, but she never retired from OPA. At Convention 2017, she was elected as vice president of finance on the newly restructured NEB, with the aspiration “to focus on strategic plans to improve and grow the sorority.” This role capped more than two decades of national OPA experience, most of them as vice president of finance or national treasurer. Pamela pledged OPA in the spring of 1973 at Epsilon Chapter, where she served as vice president of the Alpha pledge class. After graduating from Tennessee Tech, she joined the National Alumnae Association (NAA), a separate organization that existed before lifetime membership was implemented. In one of her first efforts to improve and grow the sorority, she was instrumental in planning the merger of the NAA with OPA and the development of the lifetime membership process. She went on to become a charter member of the sorority’s first alumnae chapter. In 1982, Pamela became involved on a national level and has been actively engaged ever since. In addition to several terms related to financial governance, she was also a past national president, vice president of advancement planning and alumnae administrator. Throughout the years, the NEB depended upon Pamela’s ability to see issues clearly and form an unbiased point of view to guide them on many issues. Plus, she managed to make convention financial workshops enjoyable! During all those years, she embodied improving and growing the sorority by participating in the development
of the Scholarship Trust, creating the first set of financial procedures for the sorority, establishing a national membership database, and working on the National Structure Task Force to reorganize the new leadership structure of the sisterhood. Pamela is the only sister to be honored with both the Susan Terzian Award and the Ann DeMatteo Alumnae Service Award. She earned the Terzian Award in 1989 for her contribution and dedication to the sorority, and the Alumnae Service Award in 2014 for her work toward securing tax-exempt status for the sorority. The Fall 1989 Chevron recounts Pamela’s reaction to receiving the Susan Terzian Award. “This is the greatest honor I can receive, even more than my CPA certificate. I’m just flabbergasted to get this kind of appreciation. I can’t believe it…I just can’t believe it,” she said. That level of modesty demonstrates who Pamela was—a steadfast financial leader, a caring friend and mentor, and a sister committed to serving others. Thank you, Pamela, for the legacy you have entrusted to us. We will do our best to emulate your commitment and spirit of excellence. By Jan Titsworth (Delta), President
How to Donate to the OPA Scholarship Trust Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority is welcoming memorial donations to the OPA Scholarship Trust in honor of Pamela McEwen, as it was her wish. The Scholarship Trust is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization and directly benefits individual OPA members who apply and qualify for the scholarship. Please visit the sorority’s website at omegaphialpha.org/give/scholarships for the online donation link via PayPal. In the notes section of the online PayPal form, please indicate your donation is to recognize Pamela McEwen. Checks can also be mailed to Omega Phi Alpha National Office, PO Box 955, East Lyme, CT 06333, and again please indicate the donation is to honor Pamela.
SUSIE PACK LARSON (MU) ALUMNAE SERVICE AWARD Being an alumna sister can be tricky at first. New alumnae may struggle to find their place in OPA after they graduate and become an alum. That’s why it is critical for OPA to have alumna members who stay involved to serve as an example to others. Susie Pack Larson, a Mu Chapter alum and Nashville resident, has done a bit of everything. She has served as a national officer, a member of the nominating committee and a scholarship trustee. Almost every year, she applies to be an alumnae delegate. Whenever she is selected, she takes the role very seriously. She studies the proposed legislation and gets feedback from the sisters she is representing. Watching Susie’s continued dedication to our sisterhood and service is inspiring. This makes her an excellent choice to receive the Ann DeMatteo Alumnae Service Award. “I loved Ann so much. It’s so nice to be recognized with an award with her name on it,” said Susie at the alumnae luncheon. “But we don’t do it for awards—we do it because we love to serve others.” Another way Susie loves to serve is by staying involved with an alumnae chapter. She is a cornerstone member who is always pushing others to also be involved. Through
the alumnae chapter, she organizes activities to support the interests of sisters outside of OPA, too, such as scheduling a group to go see a sister who was in a play. She has supports her alumnae chapter’s participation in the local Buddy Walk, which raises money for children with Down Syndrome. These are wonderful ways to serve OPA, but Susie does more service too. She loves
to volunteer as a mentor in the Tennessee Promise program, where she helps students navigate going to college and stay enrolled in secondary education. She also assists them as they complete their volunteer hours. Susie organized a special service project with her alumnae chapter to support victims of human trafficking. After getting names of victims, she orchestrated an event in which sisters wrote encouraging letters to them. Her face really lights up when she talks about volunteering at her church and the Christian Cooperative Ministry. Susie helps ensure that the less fortunate members of her community stay clothed and fed through her work with the ministry, an organization that helps with food and clothing distribution, as well as sack lunches for the homeless. Each year, the Ann DeMatteo Alumnae Service Award is given to one or more deserving alumnae. The 2017 award was based on service performed for or outside of OPA by a majority vote of the Board of Alumnae Affairs and the former vice president of alumnae relations. Through her dedication over the years, Susie is a shining example of what OPA stands for. By Andie Hixson (Epsilon), VP Programs
Alumnae Chapter of the Year: Omega Iota At the Convention 2017 alumnae luncheon on June 17, Omega Iota was named the Alumnae Chapter of the Year. Phi Chapter alumnae Christina Jutting and Esther Blue served as facilitators for the group, which is based in the Phoenix area. During the past year, the chapter hosted a BBQ/pool party, annual meeting, fall service project (weekend hunger backpack assembly with Valley of the Sun United Way), a sisterhood paint night, a spring semester Phi Chapter senior ceremony, and the annual Adopt-A-Family Christmas present drive for three families via the U-Haul program. Many members also attended Convention 2016 in Arizona. Regular members include Omaya Ahmad, Jennie Bergeron, Esther Blue, Courtney Coker, Trista Guzman, Jessica Humphries,
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Christina Jutting, Serena Lopez, Erica Maskulinski, Caryn Massey, Ginger McGarity, Allison Nguyen, Afsanieh Raasti, Isabella Rohrbacher, Stormy Scott, Mateja Shipley and Alexa Tavasci. Former Vice President of Alumnae Relations Ginger McGarity described the alumnae chapter as “a delightful
mix of people from different collegiate chapters and/or different eras whose collegiate memories of OPA aren’t necessarily the same but whose greater affiliation to OPA doesn’t depend on that.”
Arizona alumnae Trista Guzman, Alexa Tavasci and Esther Blue represented Omega Iota Alumnae Chapter as they were presented with the Alumnae Chapter of the Year award. Inset: Omega Iota at Convention 2016 in Phoenix.
GETTING TO KNOW SUE FEHLNER HESS OPA’S FIRST NATIONAL PRESIDENT When she was a high school student in Cleveland, OH, Sue Fehlner Hess (Alpha) knew she was destined to live a life of service. She had her heart set on teaching and Bowling Green State University was considered “a school for teachers” at the time. “Leading up to OPA meant me coming here to college and getting my degree for teaching,” said Sue, whose involvement in the sorority was entwined with hours observing educators in the classroom and while student teaching. Omega Phi Alpha started when Sue was in her junior year of college. Since cell phones and similar technology were not around then, her senior year was largely consumed with riding back and forth to the other two chapters of the sorority (Beta and Gamma), while also student teaching at Kenwood Elementary in Bowling Green. After graduation, she secured her first teaching job at Ridge Street Elementary School. That was short lived, however. At 3:30 p.m. on her first day as a teacher, the superintendent asked her to move back to Kenwood Elementary, where she would spend the next 34 years teaching, until her youngest daughter graduated from the elementary school. She was a dedicated instructor, going far beyond the time required of her. She found little time for outside activities, including OPA, after her term as the first national president. Echoing the sorority’s emphasis on service, she worked on educational committees and got involved with her students’ activities. At age 40, still single, she decided she wanted to adopt children of her own. She considered adopting a family of four children, and finally received approval, when her entire life changed. That June, she met the man she was going to marry. The two said “I do” in October, and Sue immediately had a 15-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter of her own. When she gave birth to another son and daughter the following two years, people thought she was out of her mind. In addition to her work with the Teachers Association and her service as a mother, she became involved with the Bowling Green Women’s Club, a group known for service projects directly related to the community. She was president of the organization for two years—the same two years she gave birth to her two youngest children. When her tenure as a teacher ended, she looked for ways she could become involved with senior citizens. The senior center in her area was the first one to be established in Ohio, and many other senior centers were
“We’ve got a good thing going, and I think we need to keep going,” Sue said. “I think our nation needs it, and I think our world needs it. And I think we can do it.” modeled after it. She started taking some of the classes offered at the center. “After three years of taking classes, I decided I needed to be giving something to the seniors instead of the seniors always giving back to me,” she said. Sue decided to join the Wood Count Committee on Aging Governing Board, and, after four years, she is up for reelection for two more years. Since the center has outgrown its current space, she is helping to organize plans and funds for a new senior center. Although she lost touch with OPA over the years, she simply could not miss the 50th convention.
“I went to 25th convention and I said at that time that I would come to the 50th,” Sue said. “I didn’t say this time that I would go to the 75th. The only way they’re going to get me there is to wheel me in, in a wheelchair.” Reaching the 50th anniversary of the organization she helped create has given Sue a chance to reflect on the growth the organization has experienced over the past half century. “I’m pleased and amazed. I can’t imagine going from a budget of $0 to the current budget of $300,000,” she said. “That just blows me out of the water—from making our first newsletter on copy paper trying not to get ink on ourselves and looking at the Chevron now. It’s like going from a horse and buggy to a car.” When Sue first started with OPA, she and her sisters were babysitting and doing service with the Girl Scouts. She is impressed to see younger sisters serving all over the world. Although she has been amazed by how much OPA has expanded, she has even higher expectations for the next 50 years. She wants to see chapters in other countries, and she hopes OPA will show the rest of the country that “we can all work together and get along.” Sue believes the closeness between the sisters makes the OPA so unique. “There’s closeness not only within a chapter, but there’s a closeness at the convention and there’s a closeness in the exec committee,” she said. “Once you get a group of people who are close together and someone sparks something…everyone gets on board with it. You can take a little idea and go with it so far. It’s been one little thing after another, and eventually we’ve come to be the organization we are now.” She believes this closeness and the quality of service that the OPA performs will take the organization to the next level. By Natalie Pita (Chi), Chevron writer
OPhiA’s Life, Yours and Mine Eleven sisters were honored for their continued commitment to OPA’s cardinal principles by being inducted into the alumnae society at Convention 2017. These sisters gave us glimpses of their OPA stories.
member of Omega Phi Alpha’s alumnae society.”
DIAMOND: 40 YEARS Vicki Jedlicka Cooper (Alpha) Graduated 1972 Favorite memory: Doing service projects and attending Convention 2017 at Bowling Green.
Norma Underwood Penn (Alpha)
Sandi Kindig Hoover (Alpha) Graduated 1978—BS Child and Family Services Past National Expansions Coordinator and Historian 1979–82 Favorite memory: Travelling to Beta Chapter for the convention. We spent a day in NYC and visited the Twin Towers. I have several pictures and a group shot of the convention attendees with the towers in the background. In the early years of OPA, we were a small, but tightknit executive board, even though we lived a far from one another. Also, being inducted as a diamond member of the alumnae society and attending our 50th Celebration Convention is a memory that will last for years! Pamela Caskie Jones (Epsilon) Graduated 1979 Pamela was OPA national president in 1977. On Facebook she wrote in June, “So I have been officially fossilized, as a diamond
Pamela Leid (Alpha) Graduated 1975
Rebecca Whitehead Stewart (Alpha) Graduated 1976—Library and Educational Media/BS in Education Favorite memory: My memories of OPA revolve around the friendships I made when pledging in 1974, including some that continue after graduation and moving away. I loved the service aspect of OPA, and my involvement as a volunteer with various organizations over the years (including more than 30 years with the Boy Scouts of America) began with OPA! TOPAZ: 10 YEARS Esther Blue (Phi) Graduated 2010—BA Broadcast Journalism and Mass Communication Director of Alumnae Affairs, West Region Omega Iota Alumnae Chapter in Phoenix Favorite memory: At the convention in Denver, CO, my pledge sister Crystal and I were recognized for having the highest number of service hours nationally amongst actives. As a member of a service sorority, this was a special honor. Nola Derheimer (Alpha) Graduated 2003—BS Secondary Education, Integrated Science Favorite memory: My Best friend and fellow OPA sister Stefanie and I dancing for Dance Marathon. The best most exhausting and rewarding 36 hours of my collegiate career. Danielle Zeiler Sendi (Alpha) Graduated 2010—BFA Graphic Design Favorite memory: Rushing with my college best friend and deciding on OPA together. She was always my partner in crime, and our littles were best friends too. Dawn Wilson Tupper (Alpha Delta) Graduated 2008 —Bachelor’s in Education, Family and Consumer Science Favorite memory: Being a Founding Mother and watching the chapter grow and thrive over the years. Kara Pisklak Zinsmeister (Alpha Theta) Graduated 2008
Top left: Vicki Cooper; top right: Dawn Tupper with her children; middle left: Danielle Sendi; bottom (back row): Esther Blue, Kara Zinsmeister, Nola Derheimer (front row): Pamela Leid, Rebecca Stewart, Pamela Jones, Sandi Hoover
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Compiled by Mackenzie Garretson Graves (Alpha Delta)
Mu Honors Ruthie Evans Omega Phi Alpha extends its love and support to Mu Chapter sisters for the passing of fellow sister, alumna and dear friend Ruthie Evans in August 2017. Mu members and alumnae honored her memory with a special candlelight vigil. Ruth, who is from Franklin, TN, and Gloucester, UK, graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a bachelor’s degree in social work last December. Her OPA bestie, Jocelyn Cruz, said, “She was the most selfless person I have ever met. Her smile lit up the room, and her laugh was the absolute best. Her outgoing energy made everyone around her smile just as much as she did. Her love for unicorns and Mountain Dew was never ending, as was her passion for those in her life. I remember when she first rushed Omega Phi Alpha, her heart was pure and her personality was infectious. From then on, she continued to grow and become a better version of herself. She loved our sisterhood so much, and we loved her even more. We will always miss this amazing sister of ours, and are looking ahead for ways to honor her life.” Lekisha Paige, Ruth’s pledge mom, added, “It was by amazing chance that we all became sisters with Ruth. But it was even more incredible when she chose to be our friend. Ruth made sure that every single sister smiled and knew that she was there for them. She will always be a guiding light for Mu on how sisters should treat each other. You will always be loved and missed Ruth, as we are forever sisters in service.”
Alumnae Chapter Reports OMEGA DELTA Nashville, TN Greetings from Greater Nashville area alumnae! Five sisters from our chapter attended Convention 2017 in Ohio: Julie Filson, Carrie Johnson, Nicki Kozub, Susie Larson and Pam McEwen. As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, OPA opened its time capsule from 25 years ago. It was fun to rediscover what the sisters felt was important to OPA back then. Julie wrote a poem called “Sisters Forever” that was discovered in there, and it was read at the awards luncheon. Also, a new time capsule was made at this convention to be opened 25 years from now. Susie retired her “Bubbles” bee wings to the archive. No worries, Susie is “buzzy” working on a more suitable design to be featured at Convention 2019. Congratulations to Susie Larson, recipient of the Ann DeMatteo Alumnae Service Award. Our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Pam McEwen. We look forward to a fun year of sisterhood and service. We will be participating in the Down Syndrome Buddy Walk in November. We continue to support our sister, Faithe Logan, and family, by volunteering, donating, walking and promoting for Down Syndrome, as we “Light up the Dawn” for their daughter.
Any sisters interested in joining Omega Delta alumnae group or helping to “Light up the Dawn,” please message us on Facebook. OMEGA EPSILON Chattanooga, TN To stay up to date on activities, please join the Chattanooga area alumnae Facebook group at facebook.com/groups/opachattanooga/. OMEGA TAU Houston, TX The sisters of Omega Tau recently participated in the Christian Community Service Center (CCSC) Back to School event, which helped benefit more than 2,500 children in the Houston area. They are looking forward to the activities planned for this year, including the Labor Day luncheon, Houston Walk for Mental Health in October and CCSC’s Jingle Bell Express in December. To stay up to date on activities and chapter information, please email Omega_Tau@omegaphialpha.org.
Omega Tau alums Ariel Castillo, Sandra Huerta, Pamela Conlan and Mary Morrison
Active Chapter Reports ALPHA Bowling Green State University Bowling Green, OH • Founded 1967 Convention Reflection: Since Convention 2017 was at our school, a lot of our sisters attended, and it was so much fun. Learning about the President’s Project was great, plus we enjoyed having other sisters visiting our new sorority house and seeing where Omega Phi Alpha was founded! We really enjoyed meeting the alumnae who were in our chapter when OPA was just starting out. For childhood obesity, we are planning on going to a local elementary school and hosting a field day to get the students active and moving around. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org GAMMA Eastern Michigan University—Ypsilanti, MI Founded 1967/Re-chartered 1993 Convention Reflection: The convention was close to us for a change! Delegates Shaina
Gamma delegates at Convention 2017
Wolinsky and Jackie Whitus represented our chapter. Shaina said, “My favorite part was making new friends and learning from other chapters. I also liked feeling that I was a part of something bigger than myself and helping make decisions about our sorority to make us even better in the future.” Jackie, a new member, added, “My favorite part was seeing Andie Hixson and Thea Moritz receive the Susan Terzian Award. I also got to shake Sue Fehlner Hess’s hand, and that was just an awesome moment.” Both learned quite a bit and look forward to sharing that information with the chapter, so we can continue to grow in friendship, leadership and service. Contact: email@example.com
Omega Iota members gathered at Red Robin for their summer sisterhood event.
OMEGA IOTA Phoenix, AZ Omega Iota alumnae chapter sisters attended Convention 2017 and had the honor of being named the Alumnae Chapter of the Year. Recently, sisters met for dinner at Red Robin then went to the movies together for their summer sisterhood event. The sisters are looking forward to planning the next calendar year of events at their upcoming annual meeting. KANSAS CITY PROVISIONAL ALUMNAE CHAPTER Kansas City, KS The members of the Kansas City provisional alumnae chapter participated in multiple service projects within Kansas City, including the Ronald McDonald House. For sisterhood projects, they have done Yoga in the Park and hosted Christmas parties. They also sent holiday cards and “pick-me-ups” to let sisters know they are being thought of and to stay in touch with other sisters. Compiled by Stasia Charter (Alpha)
DELTA Texas A&M University—College Station, TX Founded 1970 Convention Reflection: We sent Ashley Duke and Katy Wood as our delegates. Ashley enjoyed meeting new sisters from all over the country and sharing chapter experiences. Ashley said, “One of my favorite things was hearing from the founding mothers. It really made OPA mean that much more because more than 50 years later, they are still doing things with their sisters. It isn’t something that ends with college. It really is lifelong.” Seeing how big the sorority really is was amazing, because OPA is the underdog on the A&M campus. Katy said, “My favorite part was the lunch and getting to talk to our officer groups to brainstorm and share ideas and projects to use with our chapters later. We’re doing good work, and that is something I’m proud I’m a part of.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org EPSILON Tennessee Technological University Cookeville, TN • Founded 1973 Contact: email@example.com
CHAPTER REPORTS MU Middle Tennessee State University Murfreesboro, TN • Founded 1983 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org NU Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA • Founded 1988 Convention Reflection: Our delegates particularly enjoyed learning about the history of Omega Phi Alpha. We loved hearing from Linda Terzian Cartiglia, the sister of Susan Terzian, and we loved the stories from Sue Fehlner Hess (especially regarding OPA and her dog). The rich history of OPA inspire us to continue these traditions and make new ones as our organization grows! Contact: email@example.com OMICRON Auburn University Auburn, AL • Founded 1992 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org RHO Western Kentucky University Bowling Green, KY • Founded 1993 Convention Reflection: Our delegates enjoyed bonding with their Rho sisters and with many other chapters that attended. It was cool to celebrate 50 years of growth with some of the founding mothers of OPA. Overall, they thought it was a rewarding experience. Contact: email@example.com
meeting new sisters! We also have lots of fun sisterhood events planned this year. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org UPSILON University of Louisiana at Lafayette Lafayette, LA • Founded 1997 Contact: email@example.com
Phi sisters at Convention 2017
PHI Arizona State University Tempe, AZ • Founded 1998 Convention Reflection: Delegate Kaitlin Johnsen said, “My favorite memory was the morning we ‘went back in time’ and saw old photo albums, pledge uniforms, and heard about the experience of the alumnae during their time in OPA, and how things have changed over the past 50 years.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org CHI University of South Carolina Columbia, SC • Founded 1998 Contact: email@example.com PSI Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi Corpus Christi, TX • Founded 1998 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cecilee Dickens of Sigma and Sue Hess, right, at Convention 2017
SIGMA University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chattanooga, TN • Founded 1993 Convention Reflection: We sent a few delegates this year. Our Spring 2017 president, Cecilee Dickens, absolutely fan-girled over Sue Hess! As for the upcoming semester, we are partnering with the Humane Educational Society (HES) in Chattanooga, and bringing dogs to campus for students to de-stress, as well as promote adoption for the animals at HES. Contact: email@example.com TAU University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX • Founded 1994 Convention Reflection: We were unable to send delegates to Convention 2017. However, we’re looking forward to rush this fall and
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OMEGA Rutgers University—New Brunswick, NJ Founded 2000/Re-chartered 2015 Convention Reflection: Our two delegates, Sarah Kempf and Jenna Zielinski, commented, “Our favorite part was connecting with OPA sisters from around the U.S., and sharing our passion for OPA. It was amazing to learn, hear and see more of the history behind OPA from the past 50 years. Being able to sit down and talk to other people who hold our same positions in their own chapters gave us an opportunity to bring some new, refreshing ideas back to our chapter. Having connections with OPA sisters from all over, with an extensive network of people with whom we can share our ideas, made convention such an incredible experience.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org ALPHA ALPHA Northern Arizona University Flagstaff, AZ • Founded 2000
Alpha Alpha dressed up for throwback mixer at Convention 2017
Convention Reflection: Our favorite part was meeting so many amazing OPA members from across the country and feeling instantly connected to all of them. We really didn’t know how life-changing this event would be, the relationships we would form, and how much our love for OPA would grow. Hearing the alumnae stories really filled our hearts and rekindled our passion for OPA. We are very excited to continue working with other chapters, keeping these relationships growing. Contact: email@example.com ALPHA BETA University of Mississippi Oxford, MS • Founded 2003 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alpha Gamma members who traveled to Convention 2017
ALPHA GAMMA Oklahoma State University Stillwater, OK • Founded 2004 Convention Reflection: We sent two delegates, Katie McGrath and Taylor Dodd. Active sister Morgan Mills also attended. They loved meeting with other chapters, bouncing ideas off of each other, and meeting alums and national officers. One memory they all hold dear is getting to dance the night away with their Alpha Kappa sisters. “This was my third convention, and it was by far my favorite,” said Morgan. “There was something magical about the 50th anniversary of our sorority…the events were amazing, and business went by quickly. I loved how there were many national presidents and alumnae in attendance. You were really able to see how much this sorority is there with you through life! I can’t wait to see where our sorority will be in 25 years.” Contact: email@example.com ALPHA DELTA Georgia Southern University Statesboro, GA • Founded 2006 Convention Reflection: Delegate Caleigh Shaw said, “I loved the complete convention experience and nearly everything about it. I
Alpha Delta at Convention 2017
enjoyed meeting girls from other chapters, especially Epsilon and Omicron, one of our founding mothers, and important people in OPA’s history such as Sue Fehlner Hess.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org ALPHA ZETA Kennesaw State University Kennesaw, GA • Founded 2006 Convention Reflection: Both of our delegates, Krista Linehan and Nissa Summerlin, had an amazing experience, seeing what this organization can do as a whole, rather than just our chapter. We are planning an amazing rush for this fall, making sure service is our prime focus. We also plan on making sure our potential new members are just as crazy about service as our actives and alums are! Contact: email@example.com
Hugs with Alpha Theta
ALPHA THETA Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA • Founded 2006 Convention Reflection: Both Julia Danon and Anna McComb served as our delegates. Julia said, “I loved learning about the constitution and being able to vote on amendments that will benefit all the chapters. I also enjoyed meeting sisters from across the country.” Anna’s favorite part was the service project with the Girl Scouts. Alpha Theta Chapter is incredibly proud of our many sisters who received awards, such as Outstanding Chapter Service Director (Gabrielle Lombardo), Alumnae Liaison (Kate McGrath), Chapter Membership (Jenna Scotti), as well as the individual service recipients. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
to Convention 2017. They enjoyed seeing the past winners of the Susan Terzian Award and opening the time capsule from the 25th convention. Gabriella Toro had this to say, “OPhiA has always felt like a second home to me. Attending the 50th celebration was more than a blessing—it brought great memories, along with a reminder of why I love this sorority so dearly. I am forever grateful to be a part of such a wonderful organization.” Ashley Reece agreed and added, “My time at Convention 2017 is something I will never forget. I loved spending the week honoring the past, celebrating the present, and looking forward to the future of OPhiA. I am so glad to connect with alumnae and actives alike—we bonded over our shared passion for OPA!” Contact: email@example.com
Alpha Lambda hanging out at Convention 2017
ALPHA LAMBDA North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC • Founded 2010 Convention Reflection: Delegate Amber Black said, “I really enjoyed getting to know the other chapters and hearing about what they’ve been doing. At one point, a huge group of us were talking, including sisters from South Carolina, West Virginia and Arizona. That helped me realize that OPhiA is so much bigger than just our chapter.” Delegate Haley Denny said, “I loved working with the Girl Scouts for our service project, and all of the business sessions were informative. I particularly enjoyed talking to members of other chapters and sharing ideas. I loved getting closer to one of the other chapters in the Blue Ridge District. If I was given the chance to go to another convention, I absolutely would!” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org ALPHA MU Boston University Boston, MA • Founded 2011 Contact: email@example.com
ALPHA IOTA Notre Dame of Maryland University Baltimore, MD • Founded 2009 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org ALPHA KAPPA University of Kansas Lawrence, KS • Founded 2010 Convention Reflection: We sent six actives
Alpha Nu sisters
ALPHA NU Texas State University San Marcos, TX • Founded 2013
Convention Reflection: One of our delegates, Mercedes Marsh, said, “My favorite memory was meeting all of the different members from the other chapters, and learning how they do things differently.” Contact: email@example.com ALPHA XI University of Central Florida Orlando, FL • Founded 2014 Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org ALPHA OMICRON University of Florida Gainesville, FL • Founded 2014 Convention Reflection: We sent two delegates this year. Both had an amazing time, and have fond memories of singing OPhiA songs with actives and alumnae. They also enjoyed all of the cake! Alpha Omicron is looking forward to our fall service projects, and our next pledge class! Contact: email@example.com ALPHA PI West Virginia University Morgantown, WV • Founded 2014 Convention Reflection: Our delegate, Nichelle Draganowski, said, “My favorite part was meeting the alumnae, and seeing OPA as a lifelong commitment to our three goals, and not just college memories. It was great sharing ideas on solutions to common chapter problems, new community service ideas, as well as fundraising and sisterhood ideas to bring our chapter to the next level.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org ALPHA RHO Virginia Polytechnic Institute Blacksburg, VA • Founded 2017 Contact: email@example.com Compiled by Catherine Ferrell (Alpha Gamma)
In Memoriam: Geretta Pressley Wood At press time, we learned that Geretta Pressley Wood, a founding sister of Epsilon Chapter, passed away on Friday, August 4, 2017. She is survived by her husband of 28 years, Doug Wood of Lenoir City, TN. OPA sends condolences to her family and friends.
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1. Phi Chapter at the awards luncheon 2. Delegates and Alpha Kappa member Corey Goodburn (with plastic bag on head placed there by Sue Hess) sing the national song at the 50th celebration dinner 3. Delegates enjoy the celebration dinner 4. Anna Pearsall (Epsilon), front, with Taylor Blanchard (Omicron) at the awards luncheon 5. Alpha Omicron delegates during the business session
Memories of OPAâ€™s 50th Celebration Convention More photos inside
Photos by Mary Pencheff