Happy Founders’ Day, AOII! Throughout the winter months, AOII sisters will be gathering at a variety of events across the U.S. and Canada for our annual celebration of the founding of our beloved Fraternity. Celebration settings may vary, but the intent remains the same – to commemorate the four inspiring women who set us on our journey of sisterhood and the Fraternity we claim as our own.
We honor Jessie – Jessie Wallace Hughan – a witty and loyal friend who was a passionate crusader for peace and humane conditions. Jessie was a writer, a teacher and served AOII as Grand Secretary. She was also a member of the Rituals and Traditions Committee and the separate Jewelry Committee from their inception to her death.
We honor Helen – Helen St. Clair Mullan – a brilliant student and gifted musician who was to become AOII’s first lawyer. Helen excelled as a wife, mother of two daughters and a successful career woman running her own law firm – remarkable accomplishments for a woman in the early 20th century. She served AOII as both Grand Secretary and Grand President.
We honor Stella – Stella George Stern Perry – a skilled poet, writer and artist who contributed her work to newspapers and magazines; and eventually ran her own advertising agency. A devoted wife, Stella was passionate about causes related to women and children and equally passionate about AOII. She was AOII’s first Grand President and Historian for Life.
We honor Bess – Elizabeth Heywood Wyman – a dedicated teacher and selfless friend who possessed a sweet disposition and wise judgement. Bess was a skilled author of books, essays and plays published in major publications. She became AOII’s first salaried Registrar in 1925 and ably guided the Fraternity through the difficult Depression years as National President.
We honor Alpha Omicron Pi – the Fraternity they inspired and we inherited.
Ambition is defined as a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work. Our Founders were both inspiring and ambitious in their desire to establish AOII. May we be equally as inspired and ambitious to carry her good works into the days ahead. In closing, we leave you with these words from Stella:
“Welcome to our past – may it enrich and inspire you! Welcome to our future – may it be by you enriched, inspired and ennobled! Welcome to our hearts – to our lifelong companionship and protection! Welcome to our upward trek toward the stars that lead us! And in all, may the love that unites us guide and bless you!”
The 2017-2019 AOII Executive Board
Gayle Fitzpatrick Grace Cascio Houston
Susan Bonifield Jessie Wang-Grimm
Crystal Grafton Combs Koren Phillips
Amber Williams Countis Debbie Packard Tam