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The Illinois College Historic Literary Societies

Men's Literary Society

Illinois College is the only college in Illinois, and quite possibly, the only remaining college in the country that includes literary, fraternal and social activities in one organization. Initial literary society formation on the campus began in 1843 due to strong interest in intercollegiate oratory and requests for organizations specializing in literary and forensic expression.
The seven literary societies, three women’s and four men’s, continue to flourish at Illinois College. They hold weekly business meetings and literary programs, where members offer debates, orations, essays, declamations, dramatic monologues, readings, extemporaneous speeches and individual compositions. They also offer many services and social activities that benefit society members, all Illinois College students and the Jacksonville community.
 
Spring 2014 Literary Production Schedule
 1st MEETING - WOMEN DAY/DATE   TIME LOCATION 
Sigma Phi Epsilon Monday, February 3   7:30 p.m. Smith House
 Chi Beta Monday, February 10   7:37 p.m. Smith House
 Gamma Delta Monday, February 17   7:30 p.m. Smith House
  
1st MEETING - MEN
     
 Phi Alpha Tuesday, February 4   8 p.m. Lower Beecher Hall
 Gamma Nu Tuesday, February 11   8 p.m. Lower Baxter
Pi Pi Rho Tuesday, February 18   8 p.m. Lincoln Hall
Sigma Pi Tuesday, February 25   8 p.m. Upper Beecher
 
2nd MEETING - WOMEN
     
 Sigma Phi Epsilon Monday, March 10 7:30 p.m. Smith House
 Chi Beta Monday, March 17 7:37 p.m. Smith House
Gamma Delta Monday, March 24 7:30 p.m. Smith House
  
2nd MEETING - MEN
     
 Phi Alpha Tuesday, March 11 8 p.m. Lower Beecher
 Gamma Nu Tuesday, March 18 8 p.m. Lower Baxter
 Pi Pi Rho Tuesday, March 25 8 p.m. Lincoln Hall
 Sigma Pi Tuesday, April 1 8 p.m. Upper Beecher
 
3rd MEETING - WOMEN
     
 Sigma Phi Epsilon  Monday, April 7 7:30 p.m. Smith House
 Chi Beta  Monday, April 14 7:37 p.m.  Smith House
 Gamma Delta  Monday, April 28 7:30 p.m.  Smith House
 
3rd MEETING - MEN
     
 Phi Alpha  Tuesday, April 8  8 p.m.  Lower Beecher
 Gamma Nu  Tuesday, April 15  8 p.m.  Lower Baxter
 Pi Pi Rho  Tuesday, April 22  8 p.m.  Lincoln Hall
 Sigma Pi  Tuesday, April 29  8 p.m.  Upper Beecher
       
 * BEST OF THE BEST* Wednesday, April 30 7:30 p.m. Sibert Theatre
Men's Literary Societies

Sigma Pi
Nickname: Sigs
Founded: 1843
Location: Upper Beecher
Colors: Black and Gold
Motto: "Let there be light"
Sisters: The women of Sigma Phi Epsilon

On Saturday, June 24, 1843, Sigma Pi became not only the first literary society at Illinois College, but also one of the very first Greek organizations in the country. Sigma Pi has continued to thrive more than 150 years later.

Notable historic figures numbered among its membership include: William Jennings Bryan, three time presidential aspirant, and John Wesley Powell, first person to explore the Colorado River. Sigma Pi can claim distinguished alumni in every field of human endeavor from medicine to law to politics. These alumni are valuable assets to the current members as they continue to prove their loyalty through their support. For them, Sigma Pi creates a lasting connection to something bigger than all of us. It could do the same for you.

Phi Alpha
Nickname: Phis
Founded: 1845
Location: Lower Beecher
Colors: Blue and White
Motto: "Onward and Upward"

Phi Alpha Literary Society for men was founded in 1845. Today its meeting rooms are in lower Beecher Hall, the oldest college building in the state of Illinois. The men of Phi Alpha have a long-standing commitment to democratic principles, first evident in their spirited discussion of the slavery issue in the early years of the society. In 1881, Phi Alpha took the lead in organizing an interstate oratorical contest in the city of Jacksonville. Their victory of a debate team representing Knox College was the beginning of intercollegiate debate on the Hilltop. In recent years members of Phi Alpha have continued to distinguish themselves in service to our community and the nation.

Gamma Nu
Nickname: Nuers
Founded: 1897
Location: Lower Baxter
Colors: Red and White
Motto: "Know Thyself"
Sisters: The women of Gamma Delta

Founded in 1897, Gamma Nu bases its strength upon quality literary productions, brotherhood, organization and diverse social activities for all of Illinois College. The men in red and white continue to work hard together toward self knowledge and self development through the pursuit of literary and forensic activities. The Nuers, as they are affectionately referred to, consider their bonds of brotherhood to be the strongest among the societies. This tradition, coupled with their parties, spirit and unification for a common cause, goes into making the men of Gamma Nu the unique entity that they are.

Pi Pi Rho
Nickname: Rhoers
Founded: 1929
Location: Lower Whipple
Colors: Blue and Gold
Motto: "Scholarship, Fellowship, Athletics, and Sociability"
Sisters: The women of Chi Beta

Founded in 1929, Pi Pi Rho Literary Society has already accomplished much in its lifetime. From distinguished alumni to current students, Pi Pi Rho is heading for a bright future. Some of our alumni include the president of Western Illinois University, a writer, a playwright and musical composer and owners of a successful computer business in downtown Jacksonville. The name of the society is derived from the equation of the circle, 2piR. This typifies the lasting bond of brotherhood that is built through this wide range of activities: literary meetings, business meetings, athletic competition and informal gatherings. For the social atmosphere, Pi Pi Rho holds parties for their members on select weekends as well as private parties with the female societies.
 
Women's Literary Societies

Gamma Delta
Nickname: Delts
Founded: 1911
Location: Smith House
Colors: Pink and Green
Motto: "Crowned with knowledge, winged with power"
Flower: Red Rose
Brothers: The men of Gamma Nu

Gamma Delta was the first women’s society to be founded on the Illinois College campus. Delts were founded in 1911 and our colors are pink and green. Gamma Delta holds these three virtues as most important in running the society: tradition, creativity and individuality. In addition, Gamma Delta is unique because it focuses on individuality in productions as an integral part of its literary program. Delts are proud to be involved with many activities on campus and also within the community. We stay very busy throughout the school year by taking part in weekly business meetings, fund raisers, rush activities, service projects, literary meetings, joints with other societies and a yearly spring weekend in Missouri.

Sigma Phi Epsilon
Nickname: Phips
Founded: 1916
Location: Yellow and White
Motto: "Knowledge, Love and Service"
Flower: Daisy
Brothers: The men of Sigma Pi

Sigma Phi Epsilon was founded in 1916 by three women: Lucy Gray Gatling, Anne Pescell, and Bernice Wheeler. Since then, it has had a long standing tradition of literary excellence, service, academics and sociability. Service is also a vital part of Sigma Phi Epsilon. Throughout the year, we participate in projects such as: helping at the local soup kitchen, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Ronald McDonald House. Both on the academic and social fronts, Sigma Phi Epsilon also excels. We have many joints with the male societies, and are actively involved in campus activities such as: the Homecoming Committee, Student Activities Board and Forum. We have also had numerous members inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. The bond developed in Phips is a circle of friendship that will remain a part of you for a lifetime.

Chi Beta
Nickname: Betas
Founded: 1920
Location: Smith House
Colors: Pink and White
Meaning of Our Letters: "Christ is risen"
Flower: Pink Tea Rose
Brothers: The men of Pi Pi Rho

Chi Beta is the youngest of the women’s literary societies but we still pride ourselves on our rich history and many traditions. Founded under the name of Senate in 1919, our purpose was intelligent debate. In 1920, our name was changed to Agora. Finally, in 1934, our name was changed to Chi Beta. During World War II, our membership decreased so the society was discontinued only to be refounded in 1946 by seven women. It is in honor of these seven women that we start our literary meetings at seven minutes past the hour of half hour. The women of Chi Beta stress friendship, unity and sisterhood within their society. We put forth great effort in achieving our goals, but we still have a lot of fun doing it

    
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