Pi Lambda Sigma

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Pi Lambda Sigma
Founded June 24, 1921[1]
Boston University College of Liberal Arts
Type Social
Object "... to stimulate the social, intellectual, ethical, and spiritual life of its members; and to count as a world force through services rendered to others."[2]
Motto One Fold, One Shepherd[3]
Colors      White and      Gold
Flower Marguerite daisy
Jewel Pearl[3]
Patron saint St. Margaret of the Dragon
Publication The Torch
Merged with Theta Phi Alpha June 28, 1952

Pi Lambda Sigma (ΠΛΣ) was an American collegiate sorority for Catholic women.[4] Pi Lambda Sigma merged with Theta Phi Alpha in 1952.[1]


Pi Lambda Sigma was founded on June 24, 1921 at Boston University College of Liberal Arts, in Boston, Massachusetts, by women who felt that their need for close relationships and social life could best be fulfilled by a sorority.[1][5] As commuters, they felt that they had little or no chance to form lasting friendships that would draw them back to their university after graduation.[6] Pi Lambda Sigma was originally going to be a non-sectarian sorority.[7] The Founders, after further consideration, decided that the needs of Catholic women students required a Catholic sorority.[7]

The Founders were:

  • Constance Bartholomew
  • Mary O’Shaughnessey Brennan
  • Lauretta Nally Cushing
  • Anne Donohue
  • Viola Mac-Eachern Horrigan
  • Mary Lyons Laffoley
  • Margaret McDermott
  • Teresa Talamini, and
  • Helen Wilson.[1]

In 1923-1924, the chapter joined the National Pan-Hellenic Society of Boston University.[7]

On June 28, 1952 Theta Phi Alpha agreed to a merger, with the four active chapters of Pi Lambda Sigma becoming part of Theta Phi Alpha. Two of the chapters merged with the Theta Phi chapters on their respective campuses and two became new chapters of Theta Phi Alpha.

Chapter List[edit]

Pi Lambda Sigma had 8 chapters in its history.[1][8] Bold text indicate chapters that were active at the time of the merger, italics indicate chapters that had closed.

Name Founded Institution Location Status Notes Reference
Alpha June 24, 1921 Boston University College of Liberal Arts Boston, Massachusetts Active at time of merger Merged with Eta Chapter of Theta Phi Alpha.
Beta March 4, 1927 Boston University School of Education Boston, Massachusetts Inactive by 1940 Had this chapter merged with Alpha? [9]
Gamma April 4, 1927 Temple University Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Inactive in 1947 From the former Alpha Epsilon Club (Alpha Epsilon for Arts in Education), a local. [10][11]
Delta May 4, 1928 University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign Champaign-Urbana, Illinois Inactive (Active through at least 1932, but no later than 1940) Formerly Gamma Theta Phi, a local, founded 1921. [9][12][13]
Epsilon February 23, 1929 University of New Hampshire Durham, New Hampshire Inactive in 1947 Formerly Lambda Phi, a local. [10][14]
Zeta May 4, 1933 University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, Ohio Active at time of merger Formerly Beta Pi Epsilon, a local, founded 1930. Merged with Epsilon Chapter of Theta Phi Alpha. [15]
Eta November 20, 1947 Quincy College Boston, Massachusetts Active at time of merger Became Psi Chapter of Theta Phi Alpha in 1954. [16]
Theta July 22, 1948 Creighton University Boston, Massachusetts Active at time of merger Formerly Chi Mu Kappa, a local, founded 1928. This was the first sorority at Creighton. Became Chi Chapter of Theta Phi Alpha in 1952. [17]


The symbols for Pi Lambda Sigma were[1][2]

  • Colors: White and Gold
  • Flower: Marguerite daisy named for their patron saint.
  • Patron Saint: St. Margaret of the Dragon (feast day July 20)
  • Publication: Torch; Every year, one of its issues was subtitled The Flame, and was a literary issue that contained essays and poetry submitted by sisters.
  • Badge: Black enamel shield surrounded by pearls,with the letters Pi Lambda Sigma inscribed in gold.
  • Pledge Pin: Gold Greek cross and circle
  • Jewel: Pearl [3]
  • Motto: One Fold, One Shepherd[3]
  • Insignia: Cross, Circle, Shepherdess' Crook, Torch[18]


Chapter Student Officers were: President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, Treasurer, Registrar, and Ritualist. Chapters also had Patronesses and an Adviser.[19]

National Conventions[edit]

As of 1939, Pi Lambda held Annual Conventions. The convention in 1939 was in Virginia Beach, Virginia.[20] The Convention in June 1946 was in Boston, Massachusetts.[21] The July 1950 convention was in Cincinnati, Ohio.[22] The Final convention was held in May 1952 in Boston.[1]

Merger with Theta Phi Alpha[edit]

According to Ruth Thompson, a Pi Lambda Sigma sister (at the time) who worked on the merger:

"Pi Lambda Sigma was faced with several alternatives: a.) merger; b.) dissolution with assets set up in scholarship funds; and c.) each collegiate chapter would make its own decision whether to merge, go local, etc. The final vote was for the merger. I visited the Dean of Women at the University of Cincinnati and asked for advice. The administration was in favor of the merger and was helpful. We checked all NPC groups and sent questionnaires to four sororities. We received two responses besides Theta Phi’s. It took two years to finalize our merger with Theta Phi Alpha. The decision was made because the ideals of both sororities were similar and we hoped that together we would become strong."[1]

At the Pi Lambda Sigma national convention in May 1952, the members of Pi Lambda Sigma voted to merge with Theta Phi Alpha. At Theta Phi Alpha’s Nineteenth National Convention in Chicago, IL on June 28, 1952, this merger was ratified by representatives of the full membership. At the Theta Phi Alpha convention, the National President of Pi Lambda Sigma, Alison Hume Lotter, was initiated into Theta Phi Alpha and the merger was accomplished.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Karen Jenkins Rubican. Centennial History of Theta Phi Alpha (1912-2012). Theta Phi Alpha. 
  2. ^ a b Anson, Jack L.; Marchesani, Jr, Robert F, eds. (1991). "Pi Lambda Sigma". Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (20th ed.). Indianapolis: Baird's Manual Foundation. p. VIII-34. ISBN 0-9637159-0-9. 
  3. ^ a b c d Templar 1929 p 269
  4. ^ Templar 1935 p 236 "The organization admits only Catholic girls from any undergraduate school"
  5. ^ Torbenson, Craig L.; Gregory S. Parks (2009). "Appendix: National College Fraternities and Sororities". Brothers and Sisters: Diversity in College Fraternities and Sororities. Associated University Presse. p. 230. ISBN 978-0-8386-4194-1. 
  6. ^ University of New Hampshire - Granite Yearbook (Durham, NH)- Class of 1943 page 130
  7. ^ a b c University of New Hampshire - Granite Yearbook (Durham, NH)- Class of 1947 page 188
  8. ^ Templar 1936, p.232, accessed 21 July 2015.
  9. ^ a b William Raimond Baird (1940). Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (14 ed.). G. Banta Company. 
  10. ^ a b Robson, John, ed. (1968). "Campuses and their fraternities". Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (18th ed.). Menasha, Wisconsin: George Banta Company, Incorporated. pp. 45–238. 
  11. ^ Temple University - Templar Yearbook (Philadelphia, PA) - Class of 1935 page 233
  12. ^ "Gamma Theta Pi installed as new national chapter". Daily Illini. May 5, 1928. 
  13. ^ The Illio (University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign campus) yearbook. p. 525. 
  14. ^ History of the University of New Hampshire, 1866-1941. p. 299. 
  15. ^ "Going Greek: Sororities". Retrieved July 15, 2015. 
  16. ^ 1949 Gyrfalcom (Quincy College yearbook). p. 100. 
  17. ^ 1949 Blue Jay (Creighton University yearbook). p. 100. 
  18. ^ Templar 1930 p 227
  19. ^ Templar 1933 p 288
  20. ^ Templar 1939 p 130
  21. ^ Cincinnatian 1946 p 156
  22. ^ Cincinnatian 1951 p 145