HISTORY OF BETA UPSILON
In October of 1956, six women began the colonization of the Gamma Phi Beta Beta Upsilon chapter here at Kansas State University. With help from the Sigma Chapter at Kansas University, the new chapter recruited 36 women who went through a five week new member program. Gamma Phi Beta became the 10th sorority on the campus of Kansas State University.
32 of the initial 36 women were initiated into Gamma Phi Beta on March 22nd, 1957 at the Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. This was done with the help of twenty women from the KU sigma chapter and the original Manhattan alums. Each contributed an original song and a decorated paddle. A reception followed initiation at the Wareham Hotel, and the chapter was designated Beta Upsilon. The international president, Mrs. Gerald Arnold, granted the Beta Upsilon president with their charter. The first lady of Kansas, Mrs. George Docking, was also in attendance. The Beta Upsilon then held their first Rush during the fall of 1957.
After the chapter’s colonization, the women began to search for a place to live. Initially, the chapter rented a house off of 17th street, where they conducted their first Rush. But after much discussion and consideration, the chapter decided to hire an architect and establish a more permanent home on an empty lot northwest of campus, on Todd Road. It took two tries for the women to agree to the right architectural plan.
On January 31st, 1958 the Beta Upsilon chapter moved into a $165,000 Ultramodern home. The modern styling was said to have shocked the neighborhood. Forty-six women moved into this new chapter home, but had difficulty adjusting to the lack of telephones and furniture. Since the house was completed in January, cables could not be laid until Spring time. The only real furniture the house contained was mattresses for the second floor. So, the Gamma Phi’s got creative with furniture by making tables out of rustic doors and borrowing furniture from alums for their first Rush Week.
Along with alums, the original 36 women in the Beta Upsilon chapter set the precedent of the chapter. The women were involved in everything, and they started a standard for which future generations of Beta Upsilon Gamma Phi’s would continue to build upon.