New alumna Lauren Kotmel, 2008 Lambda Delta/Kent State U, left, with her hero and career mentor, Lauren Edson Lyons, 2003 Xi Kappa/Texas A&M U.
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Side by Side
Your Chi Omega Hero
"Your Chi Omega hero” is the Side By Side topic we’re exploring in this issue of The Eleusis. Demonstrating the outstanding role models we are for one another and the depth of passion we have for our Sisters, we received a plethora of responses.
(Initiation years are listed with our respondents’ and heroes’ chapters and schools.)
1975 Nu/U of Wisconsin–Madison
My niece and
goddaughter, Rachel Leih, 2008 Theta Delta/Carroll College, is my hero.
She is smart, has shown great courage in challenging times, and makes me smile
every time she Facebooks her love for Chi O!
Cathy Coers Frank, 1979 Psi Zeta/U Houston
My hero is Joni Hruska Fichter, Alpha Zeta/Texas State U
1980—the perfect Chi Omega. She is a business owner, a diligent volunteer, a
board member/president of many, many non-profit organizations, and a hard
worker. She always has time to be a wonderful friend and I can always count on
Hiltz, 1980 Epsilon Gamma/U of Tulsa
hero is Jean Mermoud Mrasek, Epsilon Gamma/U of Tulsa 1980, my Chi O roommate
and the most incredible Sister I know.
Harris, 1980 Psi Gamma/Mercer U
S.TB. Mary Evelyn Merritt White, Iota/U of Texas–Austin, is my hero. As
a member of Chi Omega’s Executive Headquarters staff, I worked with Mary Evelyn
after her election to the Governing Council. She is the most sincere,
thoughtful, and fair person I’ve ever known.
Monson, 1982 Alpha Alpha/U of North Texas
My hero is my
sister, Keri Salie, 1980
Alpha Alpha/U of North Texas, who was G.H. when I pledged.
Throughout her life, Keri has made it a point to mentor and assist anyone with
anything. She inspired me to take on professional leadership roles and supports
everything I do. She is a loving aunt to my beautiful legacy and will always be
my sister, Chi Omega hero, and friend!
Eryn Lynn Hackett Fisher, 1988 Chi Delta/Millsaps College
Stathos, Epsilon Alpha/U of Oklahoma 1984, is my hero. I met her when I was a
pledge and she was a chapter visitor. I sat next to her at a dinner and knew
immediately from her poise, knowledge, and humor that
I wanted to pursue becoming a national consultant when I graduated. What a role
model! Six years later we were roommates for a summer while we both worked for
Chi Omega’s executive office in Cincinnati!
Ford Perez, 1993 Chi Kappa/George Mason U
Pierson, 1995 Chi Kappa/George Mason U, is my hero and my best
friend. Not only was she an outstanding collegiate leader, but today, as the
executive director of the local Boys and Girls Club, she continues to inspire
me. Stefani takes great pride in her work and does everything with elegance,
grace, and strength.
Taddeo, 1993 Eta Lambda/America U
As an advisor while I was a collegiate, Patsy Blackwell
Rutledge, 1953 Alpha/U of Washington, provided wise guidance.
Today, she’s a friend, a mentor, and a fabulous “Nana Patsy” to my children. It
was Patsy who, after my first year of law school, reminded me that Chi Omega is
for a lifetime and that it was time to be an involved alumna.
Anne Hester Brooks, 1998 Theta/West Virginia U
Matish Larson, 1999 Theta/West Virginia U, is my hero. While in
college, she was an inspirational G.H. Today, after a liver transplant, five
months in the Mayo Clinic, and now requiring constant healthcare supervision
while at home, Jana’s courage gives new meaning to the words, “to be
Melissa Alexander Lee, 1999 Epsilon Alpha/U of Oklahoma
My hero is Laura Chalfant “Jean”
Jack, Epsilon Alpha/U of Oklahoma 1948. She was my fifth grade English teacher
and I always admired her poise, grace, and spunkiness. I didn’t know that she is
a Chi Omega until we met at an alumnae tea while I was a collegian. She is the
quintessence of our Symphony.
Lavan, 1999 Psi Mu/U of Central Florida
When I was a new, new member who hardly knew others in
the chapter, Lindsay Dorf, 2000 Psi Mu/U of
Central Florida, asked: “Want to come home with me this
weekend?” Twenty minutes later, we were headed to South Florida and on our way
to being best friends! Lindsay always made Sisters feel welcome and important.
2001 Lambda Gamma/U of Virginia
When I first
joined Chi Omega, my mom told me to look to older Sisters as mentors on how to
act, how to dress, and how to succeed. Alli
Klos Eagan, 2000 Lambda Gamma/U of Virginia, was that older
Sister for me. Her commitment to our chapter inspired me. Most importantly, she
has been a dear and constant friend.
Schanck, 2003 Psi Gamma/Mercer U
My hero is Jessica Thompson Allred,
2001 Psi Gamma/Mercer U. She was G.M. when I pledged. I don’t
think she knows how much she means to me. Much of my leadership style when I
was G.M., and now as an advisor, is modeled after Jessica’s. I hope I can
inspire younger members to love Chi O the way that Jessica inspired me!
Erin Micacchione, 2006 Psi Gamma/Mercer U
My hero is Meredith Manning, 2005 Psi Gamma/Mercer U. When I had heart surgery, she was at the hospital
during the procedure and at my bedside when I woke up. Since then, she has been
my rock, an inspiration, and a true Sister.
Alex Butts 2008, and Zoe Butts 2011, Rho Epsilon/Texas
Our mom, Jeanie LeBlanc Butts, 1978
Tau Beta/Oklahoma State U, is our hero because she has devoted so
much time to serving the Fraternity. She’s an area recruitment advisor and
personnel and recruitment advisor for a local chapter. She perfectly
exemplifies the Fraternity’s ideals. We love her so much, are honored to share
Chi Omega with her, and strive to be just like her.
Anderson, 2008 Gamma Theta/Eastern Kentucky U
2009 Gamma Theta/Eastern Kentucky U, is every Gamma Theta’s hero. When she was
diagnosed with cancer, we wanted to be models of support for her. Instead, she
became our support. Her strength, passion for life, her friends, and her depth
of love are inspirational. She has taught us the meaning of “to be discouraged
Lauren Kotmel, 2008 Lambda Delta/Kent State U
My hero and career mentor is Lauren Edson
Lyons, 2003 Xi Kappa/Texas A&M U. Lauren’s passion for her work inspired me to attend graduate
school, showed me how to effect change through the arts, and how to find joy in
what you do. She is the epitome of “to speak kindly, to act sincerely, to
choose thoughtfully that course which occasion and conscience demand.”
Meredith Leigh Dimitrew, 2008 Chi Kappa/George Mason U
Anna Burks, Chi
Kappa/George Mason U 2006, is my hero. As a collegian, she embodied The
Symphony. She was “womanly always” and “discouraged never,” and is still a role
model for Sisters everywhere. I am blessed to have met Anna.
Erin Courtway, 2009 Kappa Beta/Rhodes College
Omega hero is my Sister Maggie Cupit, 2010 Kappa Beta/Rhodes College, who just
survived Ewings Sarcoma after a year-long battle. Her sweet spirit, courageous
attitude, and love for others inspire everyone who knows her or meets her.
Maggie's zest and love for life, even through her battle with cancer, changed
my perspective on how to live and love wholeheartedly. She truly is a hero!
Casey Curran, 2009, Mu/U of
Whenever my grandmother, Karla Payne Curran, 1954 Epsilon Alpha/U of
Oklahoma, and I flip through her old college scrapbooks, her face
lights up as she remembers the Chi O Sisters and stories behind every picture.
After marrying her fraternity sweetheart, she moved to Sacramento, where she
immediately looked up and contacted the local Chi Omega alumnae chapter; my
grandma really does think Chi Omega is for life! When I told my grandma I was
pledging Chi O, she cried and immediately insisted on coming to my initiation,
where she also cried. My grandma is living breathing proof that The Chi
Omega Symphony is alive
and well. Her essence encapsulates what it means to be Chi Omega.
Katie Jones, 2009, Sigma
Sigma Lambda’s personnel and
financial advisor, Allison Harvey Zuchowski, 1991
Rho Zeta/East Carolina U, is one of the most dedicated, fun Chi
Omegas I know. I can only imagine how trying it must be to have a full-time job
and a family, and work with 150 women daily, but Allison does it with flair and
a wonderful sense of humor. She is everything that a Chi Omega should strive to
be: giving, kind, sincere, lovable, and loyal. She has inspired me to become
the best Sister I can be, and to actively participate in Chi Omega long after
Alyssa Smathers, 2009,
Gamma/Florida State U
My hero is my Big Sister, Mandy Maddox, 2008 Gamma/Florida State U.
She is everything a Big Sister is supposed to be. She knows how to brighten my
day and knows when something is wrong. She is what made Chi Omega so special
for me. Now that she’s graduated, the phrase “BIG shoes to fill” is truly an
Danielle Campoli, 2009, Pi
Kappa/Appalachian State U
Chapter advisor Gay Butler Murphy, 1974 Pi Kappa/Appalachian
State U, is a spectacular leader. Regardless of circumstances,
she is always available to talk, offer advice, or show support. All who have
met her find that she is special in every way: empathetic, empowering, loving,
and respectable. Every Pi Kappa would agree that she is our hero!
Mary Claire Bennett, 2010, Phi
Alpha/George Washington U
My hero is the most inspiring
woman I have ever met: my mother, Betsy
Thrasher Bennett, 1972 Sigma Epsilon/Vanderbilt U. Though I
didn’t know it at the time, my mother taught me the principles of Chi Omega for
the first 18 years of my life. The things that attracted her to Chi Omega
attracted me as well, and our bond as Chi Omegas has brought us even closer
together. I know that Chi Omega is not something I have become, but something I
have always been.
Keisha J. Schultz, 2010, Upsilon
Zeta/W. Texas A&M U
Cleta Deatheredge Mitchell, 1969
Epsilon Alpha/U of Oklahoma, and I met in February at the Conservative Political Action
Conference. I was proudly wearing my Chi Omega badge, hoping to meet other Chi
Omegas. As I waited to meet Mitt Romney, Ms. Mitchell noticed my badge. We
instantly bonded. She is a wonderful woman to look up to. I aspire to be just