Our Illuminating History: Mary Charles Adams Ashby, Chi

It’s Women’s History Month and we’re spotlighting influential women in our Sorority’s history who demonstrated Illuminate competencies.

“She had a wonderful way of connecting. Sorority was meant for her.”
– Mary Charles’ daughter Emily Ashby McIntire, Alpha Lambda

Relationships are what Sisterhood is all about. But valuing and maintaining relationships are also key to strong leadership – creating loyalty, inspiring others to act, and proving the timeless adage that we are stronger together than we are apart. Past National President Mary Charles Adams Ashby, Chi, had these attributes in spades.

She had only just been initiated when she attended her first National Convention in Buffalo, New York, in 1958. Despite still being new to Alpha Sigma Tau, she took Convention by storm, making fast friends with everyone she met. Her skills creating and maintaining relationships, which she honed over decades of Sisterhood and Sorority service, served her well in her numerous leadership roles – including as National President from 1992 to 1996.

Her focus on using relationships to lead continues to inspire today’s Sorority leaders. “I reflect often on how meaningful Mary Charles’ relationship was to me and as a leader in Alpha Sigma Tau,” says National Vice President Erika McManus Bukva, Delta Rho. “Her warm friendship and sincere encouragement helped build my confidence as an overwhelmed new member in Alpha Sigma Tau and later as a Chapter President. Because of her, I am always looking for ways to continue her legacy of developing and maintaining relationships with Sisters.”

In 2002, shortly after she passed away into the Eternal Chapter, the Sorority honored her legacy by naming both the alumna and collegian Convention Top Tau Awards after her. Learn more about those awards, and Mary Charles, here.

Fun fact:

In 43 years, Mary Charles never missed a Convention – 22 in all between 1958 and 2000.