Our Very Own ‘Pi Day’

The Pi Chapter was installed at Harris Teachers College in St. Louis, Missouri, on September 14, 1930. Founding members included Sisters of the local sorority Rho Phi Gamma. Of becoming the Pi Chapter of Alpha Sigma Tau, Corresponding Secretary Lillian Vogt wrote in the December 1930 issue of The Anchor, “Our initiation into Alpha Sigma Tau has changed things only a little for we discovered that our ideals fitted in very well with those of A.S.T.”

By their own accounts written for The Anchor, the women of the Pi Chapter were a tightly-knit group of Sisters, gathering frequently for parties, luncheons, and socials. They liked very much to share the details of each social event, down to the menu and decorations, but worked exceedingly hard on their studies, many of them earning places in various honor societies through the years. Sisters Vera Knudsen and Anita Barr were poets, and The Anchor was proud to publish several of their pieces over the years.

The Spring is here
And all around me are the notes
Of Hope, of Love, sincere.
But in my heart
There is a place that ne’er can be
So sweet, so full of glee.
For thou hast gone and with thee, Spring.
The fresh sweet flow’rs are nought to me,
The dawning light, or evening close,
Hold only dreams of thee.
And as I pass another day
I see thy face,
A-glow, within my memory.
And when I hear the happy lark
Sing out in joyful sound
I seem to hear another voice
Ring out, and waken in me
A sadness, quite profound.
For everything I used to love
Has faded, and no more is bright,
The paths thou used to trod with me
Are still adorned the same as old
But they have vanished from my sight
For thou hast gone, and with thee, Spring.

– Anita Barr, Pi
The Anchor, June 1938

Sisters of the Pi Chapter at a recruitment event in 1943
Pi Chapter Sisters spending down time together in 1943

Before its eventual closure in 1974, the Pi Chapter provided us with two National Presidents: Dorothy Bennett Robinson and Elizabeth Wilson.

Dorothy was a founding member of the Pi Chapter, and indeed began her Sorority experience as a member of the original local group. As a college senior, Dorothy was crowned May Queen and graduated with honors. Dorothy went on to help found the St. Louis Alumnae Chapter, which is still active today. An accomplished musician, Dorothy played in the St. Louis Philharmonic with her husband and children. She became our National President in 1949.

“Let us hope that our success and usefulness will be measured by an increasing number of members who find the answer to their need for close companionship, devotion to mutual interests and goals, and loyalty to a cause in Alpha Sigma Tau.”

– Dorothy Bennett Robinson, Pi
Dorothy Bennett Robinson playing music with her family

Elizabeth Wilson may arguably be one of our best known National Presidents. Before becoming a public school teacher, Elizabeth held the offices of Treasurer and President of the Pi Chapter, attending her first National Convention in Pittsburgh as a collegiate delegate. For a time, she served as both National President and Director of the first Alpha Sigma Tau Central Office (similar to National Headquarters), leading to the popular refrain, “Ask Elizabeth,” as she knew everything there was to know about Alpha Sigma Tau.

“You, who are here today, will write the story of Alpha Sigma Tau for the coming decade. Let us hope that each of you will find a way to contribute your share.”

– Elizabeth Wilson, Pi
Elizabeth Wilson’s Membership Card

Notable thoughts from Pi Chapter Sisters:

“And when the Alphas joined hands with us, it seemed to me as if a band were tied around the hands of sisters in all countries, a band of understanding and sincerity which united the whole world. Then, when I was alone under the dark harvest sky, I knew that I was not really alone, that I would never be alone again, and I thanked God with all my heart-I had found my home in Alpha Sigma Tau.”

– Dorte Schwerdt, Pi
The Anchor, April 1952

“These are the best things that one must think of: true things, pure things, holy things, things of good report and virtue wherever found, and what deserves praise. These are worth centering attention on at important moments in our sorority life, especially when we are accepting new sisters into our Sisterhood… The exhortation to think of these essential matters, as we hear them over and over, builds immemorial echoes in our souls.”

– Edith Glatfelter, Pi
The Anchor, June 1943

Are you a Pi Chapter alumna? We’d love to hear from you! Share your experiences and photos with us at communications@alphasigmatau.org.