Phi Lambda Chi Sorority SUNY Geneseo

2015 Phi Lamb Premiere edition newsletter

Back in June, we asked Beth Schoenfeldt Exton (S 70) to write an article for The Geneseo Scene, detailing the events of our 50th Anniversary Reunion and our Blazer Project. After working really hard and gathering lots of fine details, the article got “lost” in the editor’s inbox, and, long story short, publication never happened.

Not wanting to see all her hard work wasted, we are submitting it to you for your enjoyment. Since many of you have been out of contact for a while, this will bring you up to date. Here is our “Pre-Premiere” issue.

Interest in our newsletter project is high! Here are a few of the comments we have received:

  • “This is fantastic!” ~ Kim Farquharson Kelly (S 86)
  • “I look forward to sharing important celebrations in the future.” ~ Nicole Pauley (S 86)
  • “What a great idea!” ~ Veronica Infantino Dallaportas (S 68)
  • “Thanks for keeping us connected.” ~ Janene Foster Staffone (Spr 85)
  • “Thank you for keeping the connections and traditions alive.” ~ Donna Kossman McBride (S 84)
  • “To all whose efforts enable us to remain as sisters, thank you so much.” ~ Donna Barr Rubadeau (S 69)

Phi Lambda Chi Tradition Reborn

Click any thumbnail for larger photos slideshow

The Phi Lambs have a favorite longtime saying, “It’s the BEST thing” (to be a Phi Lamb)! We’ve been shouting it out since 1964, better than 50 years now, all over the Geneseo campus. Formed by a core group of 23 women, there are now close to a thousand sisters all over the country who heartily agree. In July 2014, over 200 hundred sisters returned to Geneseo to renew the ties that bind, meet the current sisters, and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Phi Lambda Chi as a Greek organization in Geneseo. (Picture #1–Welcome Reception at 24 Wadsworth)

At the formal dinner, held in the Union Ballroom and emceed by Valarie Scott (S 80), Charter Member, first Corresponding Secretary, and 2014 Greek Hall of Fame inductee, Barbara Yuricek Marco (Charter 64) presented her book on the chapter’s history with biographies and pictures of each charter member. (Picture #2-Barb Yuricek Marco inducted into the Greek Hall of Fame).

Celebrating individuality as a core value, the Phi Lamb motto, “The individual makes the group, the group does not make the individual,” says it all. The friendships formed have stood the test of time and whenever sisters gather, we tell tales from our time together and share our stories from the years since graduation. Friendships nurtured in Phi Lamb are a lifetime thing. (Picture #3–Sisters Reunited–photo by Keith Walters).

Reunions are all about revisiting roots and renewing ties to the people who helped us become the women we are today, and you can’t have a reunion without reliving favorite memories. It was a phenomenal weekend event and we made new connections to older, younger, and current sisters. One of those connections became a game changer. If you’re a sister of Phi Lambda Chi from years gone by, one of the most cherished memories was Dress Up Day, a weekly event when every sister proudly headed out on campus to attend classes or visit the Union wearing her blazer and our brown and camel colors. According to Charter Member Ann Peek McKnight (Charter 64), blazers made their debut on the first day of second semester 1964. It made a statement that Phi Lamb was going to make Geneseo home. Fast forward a couple of decades and the blazers were wearing out, our numbers had grown and there weren’t enough for every sister to have one. There were a tiny handful of survivor blazers, but due to financial strains and changes in fashion, the blazer tradition quietly faded away.

During the Phi Lambda Chi 50th Reunion Weekend, Maryann Zingarelli Gazzini (S 71) and Linda Flesch Marshall (S 71) reminisced with current sisters Nicolette Lukacs (S 13) and Richelle Pennington (S 13) about Dress Up Day. Nicolette and Richelle’s interest in the old tradition led to an offer to provide each of them with a new blazer. But why stop there? Interest among alumnae and current sisters was high, word quickly spread and a fundraiser was born. Spearheaded by Maryann Gazzini and Linda Marshall, who made the first official contribution, momentum built quickly. (Picture #4–Maryann and Linda).

Nicolette Lukacs researched prices, availability, and handled all the details, including coordinating fittings for the active sisters in Geneseo. Maryann Gazzini’s tireless efforts leading the charge and keeping track of donations led to the purchase of over 40 new blazers, enough for every active sister. The blazers were ordered in November 2014 and the sisters received them in a Blazer Ceremony, coordinated by Shannon Walsh (F 14) at the Big Tree Inn on January 25, 2015. While a weekly Dress Up Day is not currently part of the plan, you can expect to see sisters wearing their new blazers with pride on formal occasions. (Picture #5–Blazer Ceremony).

Reunion Weekend was also an opportunity to dig out those old, old Phi Lamb scrapbooks stashed in the house at 24 Wadsworth St. Like the blazers, they had not aged gracefully and definitely needed some love. Pat Friedman Hartung (S 71), a tireless organizer for the reunion, took responsibility for an extensive restoration project. Five scrapbooks from the era of 67-68 to 76-77 were reborn under her loving hands and patient eyes. The restored books were delivered to the house in November 2014 to an enthusiastic response from the current sisters. We learned that Ellen Dagon (S 72) and Mary Fran Love (F 78) restored scrapbooks as well. Other scrapbooks from the 80’s were restored by Chelsea Pierson Hejnas (S 06).

Phi lamb remains today the vibrant organization it was at its inception in 1964, receiving an award plaque in April, 2015 as the Outstanding Greek Organization. Sisters of Phi Lambda Chi, wherever we are, cherish our shared past and celebrate meaningful lifelong friendships. The legacy is alive and well. It’s the Best Thing to be a Phi Lamb. (Picture #6–Outstanding Greek Award).

submitted by Beth Schoenfeldt Exton

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