Published March 15, 2016

Alpha Chapter house

New residence for Pi Beta Phi, founded at Monmouth in 1867, to be dedicated April 28
Monmouth College will officially dedicate its new Alpha Chapter home for the Pi Beta Phi women’s fraternity on April 28.

In addition to the formal ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m., there will be house tours, a reception and a Founders Day celebration at the new $2 million house, which is on the northeast corner of campus at 924 E. Euclid.

Pi Beta Phi, which was founded at Monmouth in 1867 as I.C. Sorosis, was the first secret society for women in the United States to be patterned after men’s Greek letter fraternities. The celebration, which will be held at the new house from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., will mark the 149th anniversary of the women’s fraternity, which today boasts 200 chapters nationwide.

From 1:30 to 5:30 p.m., there will be a 75th anniversary celebration at Monmouth’s historic Holt House, where two of the founders roomed and planned the organization. The house was purchased in 1939 by the national organization and dedicated two years later. The new 15-bed house was designed in a modified Greek Revival style to pay tribute to the architecture of Holt House.

In honor of their late mother, Mary MacDill Knapheide ’35, siblings Harold “Knap” Knapheide III of Quincy, Ill., and Vicki Knapheide Wood of The Woodlands, Texas, made a lead gift of $1.2 million to Monmouth College to bring the house project to fruition. Knapheide and Wood will be present for the dedication, as will officials from the architectural firm of Klingner & Associates and Russell Construction.

Talking about his family’s gift to the college at the groundbreaking ceremony last May, Knapheide said, “We considered creating a new dorm, but a new Pi Phi house is more personal for our family. We have a strong connection to it. If my mother were here to see this today, she would enjoy this and be proud that we are helping these students.”

Mary Knapheide serves as a link from the organization’s very beginnings to this recent announcement. During her time as a Monmouth student, the 1932 initiate met four of the 12 founding members – Margaret Campbell, Clara Brownlee Hutchinson, Fannie Whitenack Libbey and Inez Smith Soule. Mary’s grandmother, Lessie Buck MacDill, was not far behind the founders at Monmouth, being the 44th woman initiated.

An open house for the public will be held at the new home on April 30 from 1 to 5 p.m.

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