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Sisterly Camaraderie Saluted

My parents and I read the recent Bulletin article on Kappa Alpha Theta making a comeback at Swarthmore, and on behalf of my late paternal grandmother, Eilene Galloway ’28, we were very excited. Grandma Eilene became a Theta in 1923 at Washington University in St. Louis, before she transferred to Swarthmore, where she continued her affiliation. She enjoyed lifelong, meaningful friendships with her Theta sisters. The networking opportunities mentioned in your article were helpful to her career in outer-space law and gave her connections with professional women of all ages.

On my mother’s side of the family was my grandfather’s cousin Molly Yard ’33, who helped to remove Theta from Swarthmore due to its discrimination against Jewish membership. The portrait of their great-grandmother is in my family’s possession. Her name was Emeline Yard, nee Carrigan, and she regards us with a look that is both contemplative and contented from the wall at my sister’s home.

We are convinced that this new iteration of the sorority is off to a good start with diverse interest and membership. We are confident that the members will overcome the problems with bias, discrimination, and hazing that Greek organizations have been plagued with in the past and all too often, in the present. Grandma Eilene was not an activist, but she would have agreed with Molly Yard on the problem of exclusivity. Indeed, Grandma Eilene and Molly Yard may have crossed paths during Yard’s college years, since grandma taught political science at Swarthmore after graduation. One can imagine that if they did meet, a more inclusive version of the sorority might have come to fruition years ago.

As an undergraduate, I probably would have been skeptical of a sorority. In retrospect, it would have been a good addition to campus life for developing friendships, support, and connections with other female students. My grandmother, Eilene, would have been delighted to know about the return of the Thetas! We cheer this effort.

Jennifer Galloway Decker ’90, Jonathan Galloway ’61,
and Judy Galloway
Burlington, Vt.

The students working to bring a sorority to the campus are missing camaraderie with other women, Wellness Coordinator Satya Nelms (in photo below) explains in the January Bulletin. Are they perhaps missing the camaraderie we knew in the bad old days of single-sex dorms and curfews for women? (I’m not advocating curfews, though I confess I fail to see the allure of coed dorms.)

Sue Willis Ruff ’60
Washington, D.C.

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