35 - Ann Lee Konneker

“…that she may be a symphony of high purpose and helpfulness…

This line of the symphony clearly illustrates the nature of Ann Lee Konneker’s desire to always be giving back, whether it be in her St. Louis community, to Ohio University, to the Zeta Alpha housing project, or to the Chi Omega Foundation. A 1945 initiate of Zeta Alpha at The Ohio State University, Ann Lee Hancock Konneker’s time in the chapter was just a drop in the bucket compared to the rest of her lifelong commitment to the Fraternity.

Ann Lee currently serves as a Foundation Advisor for the Chi Omega Foundation and has been a member of the St. Louis Alumnae Chapter since 1948. In 2004 she became a recipient of the Roselyn T. Dabbs Philanthropist Award of Chi Omega. Additionally, Ann Lee is a recipient of The Order of the Owl and a member of The Margaret Hyde Heritage Society.

From left to right, Ann Lee Konneker, Laura Hambaugh Hoke, Pi/Tennessee, and Pat Rumsfield Heaton, Sigma Alpha/Miami – Ohio selling pecans for their St. Louis alumnae fundraiser

Along with remaining active in Chi Omega, Ann Lee and her late husband, Will, have been involved with many charitable organizations over the years in St. Louis, including the Center of Contemporary Arts, the St. Louis Symphony Board and Volunteers, and the Opera Theatre of St. Louis to name just a few. Ann Lee has served as an officer, fundraiser, Foundation Advisor, and community volunteer throughout St. Louis, where she still resides today.

In 1980 Ann Lee and Will purchased the Grosvenor House located on the Ohio University campus. She took the hands-on approach to the project and assisted with the restoration of this facility to its early 1900’s origins, and it now stands on Ohio University’s campus as the Konneker Alumni Center. Though Ann Lee graduated from The Ohio State University, she attended Ohio University and completed a bachelor’s degree in 1946. In 1998, she received the University’s Baker award for her work and dedication to the institution. She currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Kennedy Art Museum at the university and has been an active participant in University fundraising campaigns, alumni events, and other University activities for years.

Ann Lee Konneker and her husband, Dr. Wilfred Konneker, in front of the Grosvenor House at Ohio University

In 2005 Ann Lee and Will stepped forward with a $1 million estate commitment to inspire greater alumnae generosity during the Chi Omega Foundation’s A Loyalty to Sisterhood Campaign for endowment. At that time Ann Lee and Will’s gift was the largest bequest commitment ever received providing valuable resources for generations to come. When the gift was announced Ann Lee shared in The Eleusis:
“Will and I have enjoyed our involvement with a number of outstanding organizations, but few have touched my life as deeply as has Chi Omega. I appreciate the many blessings in my life, but none so great as the friends and Sisters I have from my years with Chi Omega. It is a unique pleasure and honor to be able to help provide these opportunities for the generations of young women who follow in our traditions.”
Ann Lee and Will’s generous spirit and leadership encouraged others to identify Chi Omega as a philanthropic prioirity. Together Ann Lee and Will have been pivotal to the Foundation’s historic growth.

Ann Lee Konneker Keynote Address of Chi Omega

In April 2006, the Foundation President at the time, Jane Rogers, announced that Chi Omega would honor Ann Lee Konneker’s lifelong commitment to the Fraternity by naming the Keynote Address at the biennial Convention for her. Foundation contributions are used in part to support educational programs at the Fraternity’s biennial Convention, and a signature educational event at the Convention is a keynote address delivered to all attendees. The Ann Lee Konneker Keynote Address celebrates Ann Lee’s more than fifty years of service and support of Chi Omega and her community.

The Zeta Alpha House Project

Through the years, Ann Lee has followed her chapter’s growth and taken great pride in their achievements. Zeta Alpha’s chapter house has served as home in Columbus, Ohio for thousands of women over the past 65 years, but today shows signs of its age and is no longer functional. With the success of the chapter, they have also grown in numbers causing chapter meetings to have to be held in a classroom on campus, the inability of to have a sit-down meal with the entire chapter, and a lounge and living room space busting at the seams with members trying to study or spend time with their Sisters.

With the support of Zeta Alpha alumnae like Honorary Campaign Chair Ann Lee, the Zeta Alpha House Corporation (ZACO) has determined that a newly built chapter house is vital to the members’ safety and continued success of Chi Omega at Ohio State. The Building Committee has designed the plans to ensure that Zeta Alpha’s Chapter facility is a modern home-away-from-home for current and future Sisters. To date, with Ann Lee’s help and other alumnae, $1.7 million has been committed to this important project (http://www.buildingforzetaalpha.com/).

Ann Lee Konneker and her husband, Dr. Wilfred Konneker

What is your favorite memory from Zeta Alpha/Ohio State?

I remember the nights – there was a sleeping porch, and the House Mother gave me permission to sleep out there, which I did whenever I could.

Why is it important to support the Zeta Alpha Building project?

They desperately needed a new house!

Why did you pledge Chi Omega?

I wanted to do something different than my older sister who pledged Alpha Xi Delta.

You have been involved in Chi Omega throughout your lifetime. What has kept you so involved?

I joined the St. Louis Alumnae when Will and I moved to town early in our marriage. Virginia “Jackie” Jackson is my biggest memory of my early involvement with the St. Louis Alumnae. She was talented in so many ways, and she helped the St. Louis Chapter. She was a good Chi Omega. For several Conventions Jackie would have all of us write the name tags for Convention. Jan and Elmer Boehm were one of several Chi Omega couples that played bridge together for many years. As I got involved with the Chi Omega Foundation, Will was very impressed with National President Mary Ann Frugé and her work for Chi Omega.

Ann Lee currently resides in St. Louis, Missouri. Ann Lee has one daughter, Barbara Lynn (B. Lynn) Webster, and two grandchildren, Cara Lane Webster and William H. Webster III (Trey). Trey and his wife, Shannon, have two sons Michael William and Levi Wilfred Webster making Ann Lee a great grandmother.