64 - Fayetteville Roots

Nestled among the Ozarks, on the campus of the University of Arkansas, the Psi Chapter house betokens the growth, impact, and commitment of Chi Omega that began on this campus in 1895. It stands surrounded by sentiments to our Sisterhood including the Chi Omega Greek Theatre, Holcombe Hall, and Old Main.

After its most recent renovation in 2016, the Psi Chapter house proudly displays the history and tradition of the Fraternity in a way that illuminates the stories of our earliest Sisters while immersing collegians in daily reminders of our humble beginnings. The Founders Library was designed to display Psi treasures permanently, and thanks to Psi archivists and initiates, Anne Hartenstein Morrison and Ann Bigham Engskov, the relics are woven into the daily lives of the women who live here.

Psi Chapter house at the University of Arkansas

“When I was an undergraduate,” says Gena Runnion S.K.A., “the Archives Room was under lock and key. Fraternity men were known to play pranks and items such as composites or recruitment decorations would go missing! Looking back, I can understand the concern of the House Corporation.

“To me, the museum space is the most beautiful outcome of the renovation at 940 West Maple. The open, yet secure, displays afford Sisters and guests the opportunity to see our rich history come to life.”

Today, the Founders Library holds some of our most treasured Chi Omega pieces.

The portraits of Allie and Ina May were painted for the 2016 remodel by Psi alumna, Arden Boyce.

Printers block that reads “Chi Omega Owl”
Original badge sleeve to keep badge when not being worn, circa 1898
Top shelf, early issues of The Eleusis, middle shelf, left, Dr. Charles Richardson driving a car, right, Dr. Charles Richardson with two Chi Omega Sisters, bottom shelf, bust of Dr. Charles Richardson given by Kappa Sigma in 1995
Watch fob
Rare cranberry Psi goblet
Bottom of cranberry Psi goblet presented to Elizabeth Risser on June 25, 1912
Official pearl badge adopted in 1906 given to Psi by Bernice Gilbreath Welch
Recording of Jobelle Holcombe’s 1957 talk at Fall Eleusinia
From left, cardinal and straw ribbon pin to be worn by all new members prior to formal pledge ceremony, official pledge pin
Photo of Psi members in a car with the Chi Omega crest on the door, 1924
Opal badge with Psi guard belonging to Rowena Galloway
Silk hat bands, favors from the 1901 Convention in Little Rock
From left, broach and miniature silver pin belonging to Miriam Austin Vincenheller and gifted to Psi by Mary Virginia Vincenheller
Original plan drawings of the Chi Omega Greek Theatre
From left, early badge, owl stickpin, Chi Omega lapel pin, 50-year member pin
Original 1928 house doorknocker

“I am proud to say,” says Gena, “that I never missed a test question when studying our chapter history and recall leading a study session about our Founders prior to a meeting. As a National Leadership Consultant in the early 1990s, I carried a small photo album with pictures of the Greek Theatre, Psi Chapter house, and Founders’ gravestones.  I loved sharing that history with chapters.  I am and always have been proud to be an initiate of Psi Chapter and feel a great responsibility to share that joy with Sisters across the country.”