15 - To Place Scholarship Before Social Obligation

Chi Omega’s role as a catalyst for it’s members is displayed clearly in our dedication to supporting education and scholarship through the collegiate years and beyond.  Our members are continuously seeking more, doing more, and becoming more. When it comes to their scholarship and education, it is no different. As one of our six founding purposes, scholarship is a priority for every Chi Omega in our Sisterhood.

The Beginning of National Scholarship Acknowledgement

Mattie Holliday Craighill stated it clearly in The Eleusis in February 1904, “But let them all be of good cheer, and remember that their best is all that is demanded. Chi Omega does expect this of all her daughters. We want our girls to stand for good scholarship, as well as for good everything else.”

Before Chi Omega awarded scholarships or presented today’s sought after Founders’ Cup, the Loving Cup was a marker of exceptional scholarly achievements and chapter operations. It was awarded annually to the collegiate chapter making the highest average based on scholarship and chapter management. It is displayed in the museum and used at each biennial Convention Model Initiation. This Loving Cup is a gift from the women serving on the Supreme Governing Council in 1906-08 and 1908-10.  This award began Chi Omega’s acknowledgement of chapters based on their academics.

The first chapter to be awarded this honor was Phi Alpha Chapter at George Washington University for 1905-1910. The tradition continued throughout the years until the last award was given for 1949-1950 to Eta Chapter at the University of Michigan.

The Loving Cup, awarded annually until 1950 to the collegiate chapter making the highest average based on scholarship and chapter management

National Scholarships are Created

The Mary Love Collins Scholarship was started in July 1971 through gifts honoring her dedication of her life to Chi Omega Fraternity. Mary Love Collins led the Fraternity from 1910 until 1952 as the National President, but continued her involvement until her death at the age of 90 in 1972.  She is noted for moving the Fraternity to a position second to none in the fraternal world, shaping the Fraternity’s principles, policies, and practices, and providing irreplaceable guidance and leadership to the entire fraternity world.

Betty Whelchel, Mu Beta/Georgia, was a Mary Love Collins Scholarship recipient and recounts her experience as, “Receiving the Scholarship hugely encouraged, challenged, and inspired me. I am humbled when I read the biographies of Mary Love Collins, Harper Lee, and other amazing Chi Omegas who, from the beginning, broke barriers to accomplish so much before turning to support other women in doing the same. The scholarship, for me, was a very tangible demonstration of the Chi Omega commitment to help women realize their full potential.  That commitment lives on through our Sisterhood and is constantly reaffirmed by my friends in Chi Omega, who continue to be a source of strength, confidence, and joy long after university and law school.”

Betty is now U.S. Head of Policy and Regulatory Affairs for BNP Paribus. In 2010 Betty was honored as a Malinda Jolley Mortin Woman of Achievement of Chi Omega. To read more about Betty, click here.

Mary Love Collins (left) with collegians in 1950

The Elizabeth Orman Scholarship followed next in 1977. Honoring a past National President, this financial need-based scholarship is available for members currently enrolled in their junior year of college or for those returning as a fifth year senior. Elizabeth Carmichael Orman dedicated her life to the education process. Her professional career included positions at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, Oklahoma State University, The Ohio State University, and the University of Alabama. Her devotion to the principles and ideals of Chi Omega was a lifetime commitment that enabled her to serve the Fraternity as an advisor, National Secretary, National Alumnae Officer, and National President.

Former S.H. Elizabeth Orman

In 1982 these two original Chi Omega scholarships were paired to form the Chi Omega Foundation. Thanks to the generous support of many alumnae and the commitment of our collegiate members, the Chi Omega Foundation assists our members through academic and leadership scholarships.

This post in The Eleusis in 1982 was one of the first for the Chi Omega Foundation after forming to manage the Mary Love Collins and Elizabeth Orman Scholarships.

Scholarship as a Purpose in Chi Omega Today

In today’s extremely competitive academic culture, Chi Omega understands the importance of offering continuous support to our members in order for them to excel. In the 2017-2018 academic year, over $214,000 was awarded to 228 deserving Chi Omega alumnae and collegians.

Chi Omega has the following national scholarships listed on our website year-round with information and requirements, and the links becoming active based on application timelines.

Chi Omega scholarships have continuously evolved alongside our membership needs. Opportunities like our engineering scholarship exist because of an alumnae Sister, Bobbie Banaszak Gleiter, initiate of Chi Beta Chapter at Purdue University. Bobbie is an accomplished aerospace engineer and an advocate for women in engineering. She established the Engineering Impact – Bobbie Banaszak Gleiter Scholarship fund for Chi Omega collegians and alumnae pursuing a career in engineering. Bobbie was recognized in 1990 with the Malinda Jolley Mortin Woman of Achievement Award of Chi Omega.

Another emerging need is the growing trend of our collegiate members studying abroad now more than ever. The Humphreys Scholarship exists to assist our members to participate in those beneficial experiences. Cathey, Epsilon Alpha/University of Oklahoma,  and Don Humphreys are philanthropists committed to helping young people pursue their academic and career goals through the experience of studying abroad. This award goes to two women going either to emerging market countries or developed, mature, and advanced market countries.

In addition to our national level scholarships, chapter scholarships exist to provide support for specific chapter needs. Last year, 198 scholarships were awarded by local chapters, both collegiate and alumnae, and the average chapter award was $1,043.

Kate Mahon Ralls, a past recipient of the Mary Love Collins Scholarship, was so impacted that she decided to give back to Chi Omega in a big way.

“I knew I wanted to repay the generous gift I received from Chi Omega and began donating to the organization soon after I graduated. It was a small yearly contribution until I made more in the workplace. When I was able to do more, I decided to start the Kate Mahon Ralls Scholarship for Psi Zeta. I wanted the scholarship to help women from single parent homes who are working and putting themselves through school, since that was my situation when I was a collegian. Last year, I read through so many remarkable applications and chose a recipient who was from a single parent household whose mother was going to college at the same time she was,” says Kate Mahon Ralls, Psi Zeta/University of Houston.

Kate has shared that her philanthropic leadership is born of her own experience.  She lost her father to cancer when she was 10 and was raised by her mother who juggled a full-time career in advertising and nonprofit work.  When she was putting herself through school by working, Kate applied for and received a Mary Love Collins scholarship, for which she was extremely grateful since the scholarship was the reason she was able to remain an active Chi Omega.  Kate was vice president of human resources for Ralph Lauren for 13 years.  Today Kate is a wife, mother of two girls, and an investor. To read more about Kate, click here.

For more information about scholarships and to see Chi Omega’s 2017-2018 Scholarship Recipients, visit  http://chiomega.com/scholarships/.