Alpha Rho State History

The number 41 is indeed important in the history of Alpha Rho State because

  • 41 key women educators accepted the first invitations to membership.
  • Oregon is number 41 among the states organized nationally.
  • Oregon became Alpha Rho State in 1941.

 On May 23, 1941, Dr. Annie Webb Blanton installed the Alpha Rho State, Oregon, as the 41st state organization for The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International. The installation was held at the Sunken Gardens of the Multnomah Hotel in Portland. She was assisted by Anne O'Neill of the College of Education, Monmouth.

 Sixteen of the 23 key women educators who attended this historical installation became the founders of Alpha Rho State. They represented the four corners of our great and diverse state. Nine other outstanding women educators were unable to attend this initial meeting and were initiated in later months. One of the selected founders was Anna Mary Gilles, an assistant professor of art at Eastern Oregon College of Education in LaGrande. Oregon women broke the mold as none of the 23 attendees wore formal dress that evening. Dr. Annie Webb Blanton was the only woman in the room attired in a full length blue velvet gown. Squab was the main dish for this first banquet and probably has never been served again at a Delta Kappa Gamma, Alpha Rho State dinner.

Alpha Rho State Founders

Miss Carmelita Barquist, Salem

Miss Edith Bork, Ashland

Dr. Florence Beardsley, Monmouth

Miss Alice Clement, McMinnville

Mrs. Ann Gilles Dick, LaGrande

Miss Emma Henkle, Monmouth

Miss Louise Ingram, Portland

Miss Caroline Paige, Portland

Mrs. Blanche Jackson, Eugene

Mrs. Grace Sehon, Salem

Mrs. Florence Ollman, Klamath Falls

Miss Elphe K. Smith, Portland

Miss Anne O'Neill, Monmouth

Miss Isabel Willsie, Astoria

Miss Clara Augusta Trotter, Monmouth

Mrs. Augusta Parker Dunbar, Klamath Falls

Sixty years later Key Women Educators continue to teach children to be responsible leaders of our nation, provide scholarships, work to bring equity and fairness to our profession, support legislation that enhances education, families, and children, and continue to be joined in genuine Delta Kappa Gamma spiritual fellowship across this great state of Oregon.

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Updated: Sunday, July 14, 2013 12:57 PM