Every two years, the Supreme Governing Council selects a new member who upholds the true meaning of Chi Omega, excels in her studies, is loved by her friends, and exemplifies the six purposes to serve as the Supreme Governing Council Model Initiate at each Convention.
The Model Initiate is initiated several months after the rest of her pledge class as the entire Convention delegation witnesses her experience at the biennial meeting. In the time between when her chapter initiates her new member class and when she herself is initiated she wears a special pin to recognize her as the Supreme Governing Council Model Initiate. The badge was designed in honor of Chi Omega’s 100th anniversary and has been passed down to Model Initiates since it was created.
The Model Initiate’s chapter officers perform the Chi Omega Initiation ceremony during the special event at each Convention, which is an incredible honor for the collegians that participate. This honor demonstrates that the chapter has built a strong foundation of membership and cultivated an environment that recognizes and fosters Chi Omega’s high standards. This special event has been a Chi Omega tradition and a Convention highlight since 1900.
The first Supreme Governing Council Model Initiate in 1900
Not much was recorded of the first Supreme Governing Council Model Initiate, but at the 1900 Convention Jean Vincenheller stated, “Our first session consisted principally of becoming well acquainted, and accompanying Mary Berry, of Marion, Arkansas, on her journey through Greekdom by the portals of Chi Omega.”
Ruth Dickinson, Psi, also briefly mentioned the Model Initiation at Convention 1900, “The meeting was opened in regular form, the necessary committees appointed, and the convention proceeded to business. The first session was devoted to the initiation of Mary Berry, a pledgeling of Psi Chapter. At the second session the constitution was taken up. The growth of the fraternity has been so rapid that several constitutional amendments were necessary.”
Supreme Governing Council Model Initiates 1901-1907
2nd Convention, 1901: Georgia Dickinson, Psi
3rd Convention, 1904: Susan Webb, Sigma
4th Convention, 1906: None Listed
Convention 1908 Supreme Governing Council Model Initiate
The first Model Initiation with substantial records took place at the 1908 Convention in Chicago, which was the fifth Chi Omega Convention. It was in the true spirit that characterized the preparation for the ancient Eleusinian mysteries that the Convention assembled on Wednesday evening, June 24, for the Model Initiation Ceremony. All attendees had looked forward to this event as one that was sure to be a memorable experience of the Chicago Convention.
One hundred and fifty Chi Omegas dressed in white gathered in the second floor corridor of the hotel. They formed in double line in the order of chapters, the six council members leading. In this order the pilgrimage was made “from Athens to Eleusis,” in the absolute silence which was fitting of the dignity and importance of the occasion. They walked toward the large dining-room of the hotel on the main floor, which had been beautifully and appropriately arranged for the initiation ceremony.
“Entering this room, over which the subdued lights and the perfect appointments for the initiation ceremony combined to throw just the spell that fitted the mood and the occasion; the double line advanced, separated, and took their places in the same spirit of reverent quiet, in the long lines of seats on either side of the room, just behind the places prepared for the six council members, who were divided by the parting of the lines into groups of three. The ceremony, conducted by Omicron Chapter, was perfect in its dignity, and beautiful in its revelation of the significance of the Ritual. No one present could fail to recognize anew this wonderful significance, and to pledge herself with greater earnestness to the high and good things for which Chi Omega stands,” The Eleusis, August 1908.
The initiate was Edith Perry Bagby, a pledge of Zeta Chapter, and everyone recognized in her a young woman who appreciated the great honor placed upon her, and one who would always prove herself worthy to wear Chi Omega’s badge.
The officers of the Initiation were :
Wendla McCaskey, G. H.
Julia Barrett, G. T. B.
Alberta Clark, G. K. A.
Agnes McDougall, G. N. V.
Louise Huse Pray, G. M.
Hazel Mahler, H .
The music was under the direction of Mildred Porterfield and she was assisted by: Edna Throne, Flossie Smith, Edwina Abbott, Rose Abbott, Fanny De Wolf, Clare De Wolf, Gertrude Lee, Ona Horine, Rubie Sundeen, Bessie Matthews, Jessie Dillon, Lucia Barrett Murphey, Adela Berger, Frances Pitkin, Blanche Popejoy, Estelle McCarthy, and Angele Pinkeley.
“The highest praise is certainly due Mrs. Bain, and Omicron Chapter, both active members and alumnae, who conducted the beautiful ceremony. No higher tribute could have been paid to them than the sincere appreciation that was accorded by all to the interpretation given so truly in the spirit of Chi Omega’s initiation ceremony,” The Eleusis, August 1908.
Supreme Governing Council Model Initiates 1910-Today
6th Convention, 1910: Kate Hinds, Psi, and Virginia Gillespie, Psi
7th Convention, 1912: Sara Norvell Craighill, Sigma; Sara was the biological sister of Mattie Craighill Nicholas.
8th Convention, 1914: Anne Nevellie, Zeta
9th Convention, 1916: Katherine Lea Dubose, Sigma
10th Convention, scheduled for 1918 was not held due to war
11th Convention, 1920: Margaret Askew, Psi; Margaret was the daughter of Psi Charter member Nora Reynolds Askew.
12th Convention, 1922: Rose Elaise Hill, Xi Alpha
13th Convention, 1924: Lillian Farra, Chi
14th Convention, 1926: Martha Randolph, Iota
15th Convention, 1928: Jean Watts, Sigma, and Barbara Watson, Phi Alpha; Barbara is pictured below with her mother Vesta Lockwood Watson, who served as S.N.V. at the time.
16th Convention, 1930: Dorothy Loper, Iota Alpha, and Madeline Daugherty, Iota Alpha; Both women are pictured below.
17th Convention, 1932: Carmen Arnold, Rho Beta; Carmen in pictured below.
18th Convention, 1934: Jaquelin Ambler Nicholas, Upsilon Alpha; Jaquelin was the third daughter of Mattie Craighill Nicholas and is pictured below.
19th Convention, 1936: Julia Zull, Pi Alpha; Julia is pictured below.
20th Convention, 1938: Doris Plummer, Omicron
21st Convention, 1940: Frances Cash, Kappa Beta; Frances is pictured below with her Chi Omega mother, Evelyn R. Cash, Rho.
22nd Convention, 1942: Jean Oppenheimer, Beta Gamma, Ann Shirley Hart, Iota, Jean Sellon, Kappa Alpha, and Nina Nichols, Phi Gamma; All four women are pictured below.
23rd Convention, 1944: Marion Crocker, Mu, and Barbara Shade, Mu
24th Convention, 1946: Annie Bond Parran, Gamma Beta
25th Convention, 1948: Mary Kay Hickey, Rho
26th Convention; This number was skipped.
27th Convention, 1950: Stewart Haller, Nu Gamma, and Marie Ann Brown, Nu
28th Convention, 1952: Beverly Dickinson, Nu Gamma
29th Convention, 1954: Susan Anne Whiteside, Theta
30th Convention, 1956: Betsy Burton Willis, Pi; Betsy Burton Willis was the daughter of Catherine Burton, Upsilon, who was the longtime Personnel Advisor at Pi and was a member of the Supreme Governing Council. Betsy is pictured below with her Pi Sisters.
31st Convention, 1958: Katherine Long Collier, Lambda Alpha; Katherine is pictured below with her Lambda Alpha mother and sister.
32nd Convention, 1960: Linda Lyn Cloherty, Tau Alpha
33rd Convention, 1962: Jacqueline Champaign, Phi Gamma; Jacqueline is pictured below flanked by her mother, left, and her godmother, right.
34th Convention, 1964: Elizabeth Smith, Upsilon Alpha; Elizabeth is pictured below with her mother.
35th Convention: This number was skipped.
36th Convention, 1966: Laurie Meek, Rho; Laurie was a fourth generation Chi Omega and is pictured below with her aunt.
37th Convention, 1968: Priscilla Bell, Kappa Zeta; Priscilla is pictured below with her mother, left, and her grandmother, center, who were both initiates of Omicron.
38th Convention, 1970: Patricia Lynn Barnes, Chi
39th Convention, 1972: None listed
40th Convention, 1974: Jane B. King, Pi; Jane is pictured below with her mother, aunt, and cousins.
41st Convention, 1976: Lynne Hyatt Kishler, Sigma Alpha; Lynne was the daughter of The Eleusis editor Bunny Hyatt, Zeta Alpha.
42nd Convention, 1978: Harriet Frances Riley, Tau; Harriet is pictured below with her mother, Frances Riley, Chi Delta.
43rd Convention, 1980: Terry Sue Walters, Iota; Terry is pictured below with her mother, Donna P. Walter, Tau Beta.
44th Convention, 1982: Cyndi Penberthy Graham, Iota; Cyndi is the granddaughter of former S.H. Winnie Bowker, Psi, and daughter of Punky Bowker Penberthy, Iota Alpha, who served as a member of the Supreme Governing Council. Cyndi is pictured below flanked by Winnie, left, and Punky, right.
45th Convention, 1984: Elizabeth Ehrhardt, Nu; Elizabeth is pictured below with her mother, Betsy Ehrhardt, and aunt, Margy Lyon, Xi, who served as Convention honorary chairman and former Governing Council member.
46th Convention, 1986: Lisa Godwin Wilimon, Psi Kappa
47th Convention, 1988: Vera Ellen Stephens Miller, Tau Theta; Ellen is pictured below with past S.H. Kirk Bell Cocke Hassell, right, and her mother, Mary Erwin, Psi, and Tau Theta G.H., Michelle Lee. Ellen is the fourth generation niece of Jobelle Holcombe.
48th Convention, 1990: Kristy Niemczyk, Lambda Gamma
49th Convention, 1992: Susan Stephens, Zeta Alpha
50th Convention, 1994: Jill Williamson, Rho Epsilon
51st Convention, 1996: Megan Elizabeth Miers, Epsilon Gamma
52nd Convention, 1998: Laura Connor, Psi
53rd Convention, 2000: Anne Klipp, Omicron
54th Convention, 2002: Sara McGarvey, Lambda Alpha
55th Convention, 2004: Dabbs Anderson, Tau, and Frannie Wesberry, Chi Delta; Pictured below are Dabbs, front center in white, and Frannie, front right in white. Both women are granddaughters of former S.H. Roselyn Dabbs and are shown below with Chi Delta and Tau Sisters.
56th Convention, 2006: Riley Duke, Zeta Gamma; Riley, center, is pictured below with her Zeta Gamma Sisters.
57th Convention, 2008: Emily Jane Moseley, Lambda; Emily is pictured below with her mother, Jane Ogden Moseley, Lambda.
58th Convention, 2010: Julia Bradley, Epsilon Delta
59th Convention, 2012: Ellie Stern, Mu
60th Convention, 2014: Isabelle Graham, Xi, and Ellis Millard, Psi
61st Convention, 2016: Natalie Thompson, Epsilon Alpha
62nd Convention, 2018: Emily Calloway, Rho Epsilon, Lucy Hargis, Lambda Alpha, Corinne Menz, Psi, and Caroline Smith, Kappa Zeta; Pictured below, left to right, are Emily, Lucy, Corinne, and Caroline.
For the 2018 Convention, we were thrilled that there was not one, but four Supreme Governing Council Model Initiates. As our chapters have grown and faced challenges with space and time, Convention offered an opportunity to model conducting a meaningful experience for multiple initiates much like what a lot of our chapters experience today.