In this bright future, you can't forget your past. - Bob Marley
The future is bright for Psi Iota Xi:
a new long-term National Project was adopted at Convention 2012; our beautiful yearbook, The Helicon, now has a permanent home on the Internet; National Council, State Associations, Chapters and Sisters are all working together to make Psi Iota Xi stronger in our communities and vibrant to our Sisterhood.
But even as we look forward, it is important to look back, and to honor those who have come before us; Founders Day gives all Psi Otes an opportunity to say "thank you" to those who had the gumption and foresight to start a woman's organization dedicated to knowledge, philanthropy and personal growth.
Near the close of the 19th century, "Greek letter" organizations were becoming popular on the East Coast, and when Mayme Johnson, a student at Central High School in Muncie, Indiana, returned home from her summer vacation in New York, she was determined to found just such a group at her school. She and four of her friends, Mary Louise Carmichael, Huda Smith (Kimbrough), Ethelyn Dowell (Hinkley), and Sue Derexa Smith, sought out the advice and support of three of their teachers, Miss Emma Cammack, Mrs. Martha Ivins, and Miss Eve Kessler, and these eight women forged together the name, purpose and focus of our organization. Their original purpose was to publish a magazine which would "benefit and entertain" their fellow students, but their purpose soon grew into the area of philanthropy, as well. They met with obstacles - for a time, "secret societies" like Psi Iota Xi were prohibited in Indiana - but they were determined to succeed. This first group, known as "Alpha" soon gave way to a second group of like-minded women from Evansville, and Beta Chapter was founded. Psi Iota Xi grew, one Chapter at a time, to the thriving organization it is today.
How exciting it must have been for these young women to begin this adventure into sisterhood, and how fortunate are we that they were determined to succeed.
Many Chapters celebrate the founders of our organization each year in September with a dinner, party, or simply a reading of our founders' names, followed by a moment of silence and thankfulness. Alpha Chapter, Muncie, celebrates in grand fashion each year; go visit their chapter website at www.psiiotaxialphachapter.org to see an amazing list of Psi Iota Xi "Firsts" that will make you proud!
If you don't celebrate Founder's Day in your Chapter, I would suggest you start. You don't have to wait until next September 19 - take a few minutes at your next meeting to share the Psi Ote story with your Chapter. Further, celebrate the founding of your own Chapter. What year was your Chapter chartered? Who were your founding members? For some of our older Chapters, this might be a tough question; for members of our newer Chapters, it might be as easy as looking over the meeting table and chatting with one of your founders. Invite Honorary sisters to your meetings (especially your social events) and ask them to recall what they know of the history of your Chapter. Read through your Chapter scrapbooks (these are always good for a giggle - I wore extremely large and round glasses when I was initiated - yikes!) And if you need further help tracing your Chapter's history, remember that it can be easily found in the pages of the Helicon; all past Helicons are housed in the National Office, and are available for you to look through and photocopy, if you like.
Honor our founders. Honor our history as a valuable women's organization. Honor the women who brought Psi Iota Xi to your community, and helped to establish your Chapter as a vital community member.
And if you have special stories of our founders, or the founding of your Chapter, please share them on your Chapter's page on the website! Or even better send pictures for publication in the newsletter so we can all share in your celebration!
Georgiann Coons, National Conductress