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The Deer Park Community

Sorority encourages service, friendship among women

Written by Barbara Jennings. Posted in Community

BSPSharen Burden, Diane Schimnowski, Barbara Jennings, Carroll McCullough, Susan Watson, Sherrie Cox at Founder’s Day, April 2017. Jan’s Bridge is named after deceased member of Laureate Psi, Jan Henrickson. Photo provided by Barbara Jennings.Beta Sigma Phi International Sorority was founded in Abilene, Kansas in 1931 by Walter W. Ross. The sorority is a non-academic sorority. Membership is by invitation. It was founded for social, cultural, and civic enrichment. Originally service was not part of the organization, but due to the huge hearts of members, it was a natural step. Chapters still have the option of being involved with service projects or not. Since its early beginnings, the sorority has grown to more than 150,000 active members in more than 10,000 chapters in 10 countries.

All chapters can join a city or area council for the purpose of creating inter-chapter harmony, social interaction, inspiration, and the dissemination of information.

This kind of bond between women is like no other by offering companionship and acceptance. Beta Sigma Phi has chapters all over the world. Members may move to another state or continent and still have sisters.

The Greek letters of its name represent Life, Learning, and Friendship, which is the organization’s motto. Beta Sigma Phi is the largest sorority of its kind in the world. This sorority is a great avenue to offer women a way to grow and to bring the best that is in them to the surface.

The official international magazine is The Torch which was first published in January 1932. In 1934 the first state convention was held in Waterloo, Iowa. In order to showcase the many outstanding women in Beta Sigma Phi a Valentine Contest was created. Chapters all over the world nominate their chapter sweetheart and the contest is judged yearly by a famous business personality. In 1939 the first judge was Cary Grant. Catherine Chowning of California Alpha Sigma, San Pedro was the first winner.

Many famous women have received the honor of International Honorary Member. They include such names as Pauline McGibbon, Lieutenant governor, Ontario, Canada, Minnie Pearl, Country comedienne, Norma Brown, Major General, U. S. Air Force, Ginger Rogers, State and movie actress, Muriel Humphrey, Former U. S. senator, Minnesota and Nancy Reagan, Wife of Ronald Reagan, political activist and former first lady.

In the summer of 1969, the founder of Beta Sigma Phi died. A Walter W. Ross Memorial Scholarship Fund was established. The scholarship honored Mr. Ross and his philosophy of life: ”The only right you have is the right to be useful.”

There are several degrees that a member can obtain during her years as a Beta Sigma Phi. The degrees are Nu Phi Mu; Ritual of Jewels, Exemplar Degree, Preceptor Degree; Laureate Degree, Master Degree; and the Torchbearer Degree.

Beta Sigma Phi colors are black and gold and the flower which represents the sorority is the Yellow Rose. Each year in April the chapters celebrate Founder’s Day with a banquet where awards are given for yearbook, scrapbook, and programs. Each chapter elects a Woman of the Year for their chapter and she is announced along with the City Council of Beta Sigma Phi’s Woman of the Year.

Every year the International Office provides a theme for the coming year. A few of those themes are “You’re Among Friends”; “Rekindle the Torch of Friendship”; “Gateway to Friendship”; “Paint a Living Masterpiece” and the current theme “In Touch with Tomorrow.”

Beta Sigma Phi honors husbands with membership as Envoy Members. Laureate Psi Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi which was established in 1980 has honored Robert Barr; Henry Liles; Kenneth Schnell; Don Smith; Hylton, Webb; Ray White; and Bob Jennings.

Sorority is a wonderful outlet for women. In order to be all a woman can be she must first take care of herself. Many say they enjoy sorority because it is the only thing they do for themselves. Everything they do is for someone or something else.

Anyone interested in learning more about the organization can send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..