Summer 2023

Dear Colleagues,

As I conclude my third year as president some of the most enjoyable moments I’ve spent thus far have been meeting with students in our Greek Life chapters. In every instance I have been impressed with their love of Southwestern University, their genuine commitment to Greek life, and the leadership they have consistently displayed.

Greek Life has long been part of the student experience at Southwestern University. The Xi Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order, our first fraternity, was established on campus November 28, 1883, just a decade after the University was established in Georgetown. This also marked the first KA chapter west of the Mississippi River. The Lambda Chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha was founded at Southwestern University on May 31, 1906, making it the twelfth Zeta Tau Alpha chapter nationwide.

In fact, many of our fraternities and sororities hold single letter designations, emblematic of the first local chapters in their respective national organization’s storied annals. For over 140 years, these organizations have continued to produce some of Southwestern’s best students. Our data tells us that students involved in the fraternity-sorority system at Southwestern have impressive GPAs and high graduation rates. Our Greek alumni go on to become pillars of their home communities and remain involved with Southwestern long after graduation. They volunteer as chapter advisors, and they are represented on our Alumni Council, Board of Visitors, and Board of Trustees. Southwestern Greek alumni are also among our most loyal philanthropists.

Alumni from every Greek organization have established an endowed scholarship for current and future Southwestern students. We are also deeply appreciative of the generous contributions received from alumni to maintain the Pi Kappa Alpha, Phi Delta Theta, Kappa Sigma, and the Kappa Alpha House. The philanthropy of our Greek men and women goes well beyond their individual chapters. Many of them have set up their own endowments as well as served as mentors. In recent years, Greek alumni have sought more support from the University. Fraternity and sorority members currently constitute 30% of our student body. Today, Southwestern is home to six national sororities and four national fraternities, all of which are vital members of our campus community. It is my view that these organizations need an advocate-administrator in order for them to continue to thrive.

The University intends to show its commitment through the addition of a full-time professional starting fall 2023 specifically dedicated to the advancement and enhancement of the fraternity and sorority experience for our students. This Student Life staff member will not only support the success of students already engaged with a fraternity or sorority but will also actively and intentionally work with the student leaders of those organizations to recruit future new members; to develop more programming to support the myriad of positive benefits of Greek Life; and to act as a liaison to the active Greek alumni population as well as the national fraternity-sorority organizations.

This investment in our Greek system is appropriate and timely and will prove to be a major benefit for our students and for Southwestern’s future.

Sincerely,

Laura Skandera Trombley
President, Southwestern University