The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International

Iota Chapter, Pennsylvania

Organized March 1, 1947






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History of IOTA Chapter
Alpha Alpha State
Delta Kappa Gamma International

    IOTA chapter of Alpha Alpha State Delta Kappa Gamma International was formed March 1, 1947 at the Penn Alto Hotel in Altoona, Pennsylvania  IOTA was the ninth chapter formed in Pennsylvania.  Blanche Foster, Alpha Alpha State president, conducted the proceedings.  Assisting in the ceremony were Edith Spenser, dean of women at Juniata College, Dr. Mary Willard, professor of micro-chemistry at Penn State, Miss Mary Carson of Indiana, Miss Ethel McCormick, director of elementary education in Altoona, and Miss Helen Gardner, psychologist from Bedford.

             The charter members of IOTA were: Miss Edith Spenser, Miss Gertrude Butler and Miss Lillian Evans of Huntingdon; Mrs. Loula South of Lewistown; Dr. Mary Willard, Miss Lydia Tarrant, Miss Harriet Nesbit, Miss Lora Pinder, and Miss Margaret Raab of State College; Miss Jean Kerr and Miss Gertrude Lake of Johnstown; Miss Helen Gardner of Bedford; Miss Dorothy Williams of Clearfield; and Miss Ethel McCormick, Miss Dorothy Crist, Miss Ann Eifler, Miss Irene Sauserman, Miss Maude Minster, Miss Josephine Corle, Miss Carolyn Cox, Miss Mary Crist and Miss Clara Cockerille of Altoona.

             IOTA’s first president was Miss Ethel McCormack, grade supervisor in Altoona public schools.  Following the initiation, organization proceedings and luncheon, Dr. Mary Willard, also a state founder, presented an address called “Intrepid Women.”

             IOTA chapter sponsored three other chapters.  The Bedford chapter was formed immediately after IOTA was organized.  Beta Epsilon was sponsored in 1963 and covers much of the same geographical area as IOTA.  Beta Xi was sponsored in 1975 and covers the State College area.  IOTA, Beta Epsilon, and Beta Xi meet every two years in the spring for installation of officers.

             At the time of IOTA’s 25th anniversary, Helen Louise Sellers was president.  A celebration was held in the Logan Room of the Penn Alto Hotel in Altoona.  Connie McClain was president at the time of IOTA’s 50th anniversary.  A celebration was held on March 12, 1997 with a special dinner at the art museum at St. Francis College in Ebensburg.  President Connie celebrated the same milestone.

                Several chapter achievement awards have been given in the past years.  The first was to Helen Louise Sellers and Dorothy McGregor.  Both recipients were members for over 50 years.  Other recipients were Wanda Keller, Elaine Smith, and Edna Neely.

 IOTA chapter, age fifty-eight,

Claims ’47 as her birth date.

Her charter members, twenty-two,

Held promise of what IOTA would do.

Blanche Foster, State President, spoke that day,

Starting the chapter on its way.

Altoona’s Penn Alto was chosen to be

The site of all this activity.

In spite of March weather’s wintry blasts,

These members knew their group would last.

Ethel McCormick, charter member soon to be

State President, filled that office most capably.

IOTA’s members have served her well,

Clara Cockerille and Mary Willard were but two

Of many whose abilities we knew.

Combined meetings, speakers, projects, plays,

Drew members closer through the days.

Many took an active part

In serving the chapter from the start.

From her early beginnings IOTA would see

Two chapters formed as active as she.

These two chapters, both nearby,

Were Beta Epsilon and Beta Xi.

Now for her members a new year will be

One of challenge, growth, opportunity.

 (Revised April 9, 2005)