By Sarah Paez, Omega Chi Reunion Clerk 2017-12-22 15:51:29
The weekend of June 9-11, 2017, more than 200 Kappa Deltas and guests descended on the Ithaca, New York, campus of Cornell University for the Omega Chi centennial celebration. Tying them together was a remarkable and sometimes tumultuous history, a healthy sense of fun, and the bonds of sisterhood. Donna Miller Barsotti, Omega Chi House Corporation president, and Omega Chi alumnae Nancy Law and Lindsay Liotta Forness spearheaded the organization of a luncheon, reception and take-home gift bags, which included a chapter history written by Omega Chi alumna Laura Davis Benson, assistant professor of history at Southern Utah University. Laura was one of several luncheon speakers who reviewed Omega Chi's history from its founding in 1917 to its departure from campus in the late 1960s and re-establishment in the 1970s to its success today. She said the founding sisters chose the name Omega Chi because they thought the letters looked good, prompting gasps of comprehension from the audience. Laura also shared that from its start, Omega Chi Chapter was a leader. Sisters hosted the Kappa Delta National Convention in 1921 and remained integrally tied to the university. During the Great Depression, Omega Chis still managed to have fun by hosting many social teas. "Sisterhood is the heart of who we are," Laura said. Kappa Delta National Panhellenic Conference Delegate Julie Landgren Johnson shared her memories of when she lived in Ithaca and was a member of Omega Chi's chapter advisory board. She said she is proud of Omega Chi's success and Kappa Delta in building strong, lifelong friendships, creating new opportunities and initiating change, Patricia Williams and LouAnne Fisher King talked about the legacy of KD in their families. Pat, a 1956 initiate, and her two sisters joined Omega Chi. While the chapter was off campus in the 1960s, Pat's mother maintained the house. KD, for her, has truly been a "family affair." LouAnne, a 1982 initiate, and three of her four daughters are Omega Chis. She is happy they joined because the women of KD have a diversity of backgrounds and thought. KD has been a great individual experience for each woman. Lisa Ellis, an Omega Chi alumna and former National Leadership Team member, echoes this sentiment, saying leadership, diversity and the lack of cookie-cutter women has sustained Kappa Delta for the past century. Over the years of set-backs and celebrations, growth also has been a constant of Omega Chi Chapter and will carry it forward into the future. As Julie Johnson told the group, "With Kappa Delta, nothing is impossible." With piano accompaniment by Marilyn Zeltner Teel, the women of Omega Chi linked arms and sang the Alma Mater and Evening Song. Many wiped tears from their eyes and hugged their sisters, as if no time had passed since their last meeting.
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