By Sue Breisch Johnson, Founding President
In 1979, Baylor’s Panhellenic Council decided to add another sorority in order to allow for more women to join a sorority. At that time, there were only seven sororities. Under the leadership of Ms. Virginia Crump, Dean of Student Life, the Panhellenic Council unanimously voted to add Alpha Delta Pi.
One of the first steps in starting ADPi was to determine if there were any ADPi members on campus. Coincidentally, I transferred to Baylor from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, as a Junior in the fall of 1979. My reasons for transferring were academic and athletic. Sadly, I left behind my ADPi sisters whom I dearly loved. Feeling this loss, I began to investigate how I might affiliate with another sorority on campus. I even attended some open houses to get to know the sororities. Much to my surprise, I learned about plans to launch ADPi at Baylor. An even bigger surprise followed. Would I consider leading the efforts as the founding president? Apparently, I was the only ADPi at Baylor with two years of active membership and prior experience in a leadership role. After much prayer, I accepted this unique, once in a lifetime opportunity to help start the Zeta Chi Chapter of Alpha Delta Pi at Baylor. One of my motivating factors was to provide more women an opportunity to join a sorority. At that time, many women had to rush multiple years to get a spot in a sorority. It was an extremely competitive and often heartbreaking process.
Another important step was to involve the alumnae chapter in Waco. Fortunately, the existing Waco chapter of ADPI Alumnae accepted the challenge to start a chapter at Baylor. Their leader, Carol Mazzare, graciously agreed to partner with me to lead the efforts. We became close friends during this intense time. Together, we felt a strong sense of God’s favor and provision in our efforts to start Alpha Delta Pi at Baylor. We were amazed by the outpouring of support we received. This gave us the confidence we needed to step out in faith.
Virginia Stafford, ADPi Grand President; Elisse Freeman, Province President; Carol Mazzare and Sue Breisch at National Convention, Summer 1980, Ft. Collins, Colorado
To support our efforts, ADPi Executive Office provided a one-year stipend for a graduate assistant. I recommended my good friend and outgoing president of ADPi at William Jewell, Lindy Laycock*. A native Texan who grew up in the Panhandle and Dallas, Lindy was the perfect choice. Lindy agreed to be our 125th Anniversary Graduate Assistant. For me, I could not have asked for a better core leadership team.
*Lindy subsequently married Baylor alum, Dary Stone, chair of Baylor’s board of regents from 2009-2012.
Once the decision was finalized to colonize Alpha Delta Pi at Baylor and the core leadership was in place, we began to meet frequently with Mrs. Crump and I joined the Panhellenic Council along with the other seven sorority presidents and Ms. Crump. The planning began.
Carol and I attended the ADPi National Conference during the summer of 1980 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. We met with Grand President, Virginia Stafford; Province President, Elisse Freeman; and incoming presidents of ADPi at SMU and TCU to plan for launching in the Fall 1980. The ADPi’s at SMU and TCU agreed to help us hold our first rush in September 1980.
Fall of 1980 was an intense but exhilarating time. Baylor gave us permission to hold a special rush in the fall, just for ADPi, in one weekend. We were to hold all rush activities and select a pledge class in just three days!. Our goal that fall was to recruit, train, bond and initiate enough charter members so that we could participate in Baylor’s formal rush in January along with the other seven sororities. Although I was a member of Baylor’s varsity tennis team, I stepped down during the fall semester to focus on launching ADPi.
Zeta Chi’s First Rush at Baylor: September 19-21, 1980
With only four transfer members, a graduate assistant and a handful of alumnae, we relied heavily on the support of members from other colleges to perform skits, meet rushees, and help us choose our first pledge class The ADPi’s from SMU and TCU drove to Waco to help us hold rush. The SMU ADPi’s performed a skit and showed a new national ADPi slideshow. The TCU ADPi’s lead preference day activities. The alumnae chapter also played a major role in planning, providing food and leading rush activities.
Friday, September 19th: Reception for all rushees
Saturday, September 20th: Skit parties
Sunday, September 21st: Preference parties
Our Charter Pledge Class: 91 pledges!
We recruited an incredibly talented and enthusiastic pledge class. This group of women was excited about building a new sorority at Baylor. They bonded quickly and willingly took on leadership responsibilities not typical for a pledge. After rush we had an extremely busy fall. We embarked on an accelerated and creative pledge schedule which included “charter sisters”, instead of “big-little sisters”. We also participated in campus Greek Life. We won first place in Zigfield Follies during Sigma Chi Derby Days, hosted a lunch during Parent’s Weekend, trick or treated with Sigma Phi Epsilon for UNICEF and held a Fall Pledge Dance on Halloween. Fall activities culminated in Installation Weekend, November 14-17.
October 31, 1980: Fall Pledge Dance
Colony Installation Weekend: November 14-16, 1980
The largest colonization in Alpha Delta Pi History
The weekend of November 14-16, 1980 marked the official installation of the Zeta Chi Chapter of Alpha Delta Pi at Baylor University. Special guests and dignitaries included Grand President, Virginia Stafford, Province President, Elisse Freeman, Mayor of Waco, Dr. David Dow, VP of Student Affairs, Dr. Hyden, and Director of Student Life, Virginia Crump. Dr. Dow proclaimed November 9-16 “Alpha Delta Pi week” in Waco.
Friday afternoon, November 14th: Open House
We kicked off the weekend with an Open House to present our pledge class to Grand Council. The event included songs, skits and presentations.
Saturday, November 15th: Initiation
Initiation of all 90 pledges and 16 honor initiates took place during the day at First United Methodist Church. The 90 pledges were initiated by Grand President, Virginia Stafford, assisted by Grand Council members, Janet Morelock, Lucille Renner, Helen Burkhart Prehn, and Elisse Freeman. Active members from TCU, SMU, UT, Southwestern and SouthWest Missouri State served as sponsors.
Saturday Evening, November 15th: Alpha Delta Pi Installation Banquet
November 16th: Presentation Tea
Needless to say, this weekend was both exciting and overwhelming. Here is a sweet letter I received on the Wednesday after Installation Weekend.
January 1981: Rush
April 25, 1981: First Annual Black Diamond Ball, Plaza of the Americas, Dallas