The L-o-n-g View of IGU
— a series of quotes and memories by IGU alums
After so many years what does the IGU experience mean in the grand scheme of life? At right, four of the five founding sisters gather for the Spring 2002 40th reunion of Iota Gamma Upsilon. From left are Ginny (Mallison) Stibolt, Judy (Reiker) Pardon, Sue (Morash) Powers, and Lynne (Knubbe) Montross.
Over the years, the academic lessons have faded from my brain for lack of use in everyday life, because who needs to analyze a vector or solve a differential equation? But the lessons learned in IGU such as how to run a meeting, how to mobilize a reluctant team into action, and knowing when to tread lightly have been extremely useful. Learning these important people skills and group dynamics has been ever so useful over the years in both business (I've owned 3 businesses.) and personal venues. (I've been president of community associations and various charitable groups.)
But the life-long friendships are much more important than the leadership skills. When I've faced problems over the years, the first people I call are my IGU friends and the reverse is also true. I recall a spring IGU luncheon a few years ago where a large group of alumns from the '70's rallied around a sister who'd struggled through harsh cancer treatments. It was a major goal for her to be there and she'd made it (wearing a wig). The emotional significance of seeing her surrounded by her long-time friends, some of whom she hadn't seen in twenty years still takes my breath away.
— Ginny (Mallison) Stibolt '65
I pledged in the fall of 1962, the first pledge class when rush was held in Mem Hall. The usual perks of sororities — a house, good food, help from the national — didn't compare to the attraction I felt for the original 16. And the rewards of building a sorority that reflected my values and philosophies made Iota Gam my first and only choice submitted to Pan Hel. I started out as class of '66, but marriage and children postponed graduation until '72.
I can truly say that I learned more about real life from my Iota Gam experiences than from any other source at UMass — how to make do with very little and maximize on all assets, to work cooperatively with others to achieve a common goal, to overcome differences that threaten survival, when to compromise and when to stand firm for important principles, when to be a part of the group and when to stand alone as an individual.
— Helen (Tefs) Marshall '66
I got very teary as I read in the link about the woman whose sisters rallied around her at the 2002 reunion as she was battling cancer; I am that woman...
After a diagnosis on 9/11 (yes THAT 9/11) of ovarian cancer, I am happy to say that I am coming up on my 5th year anniversary and am well. I can not ever explain the lift I got from seeing so many of my sisters that Sat., reminiscing about our days at the house, laughing over stories we would NEVER tell our kids.
My illness prompted 2 of my sisters and I to make a pledge not to wait for a once a year visit. Since then Jeri Ross and Mim Kaiser and I have made an annual winter trip to FL for a girls weekend, and a summer weekend in Maine. We have now known each other for 34 years and there is no friend like an old friend.
In August of 2003 my husband threw a 50th birthday party for me. A dozen IGU's including both my big and little sister and 8 Beta Phi's (some of whom I hadn't seen in 25 years) partied like the old days.
Two weeks ago I spent the weekend in NYC (my daughter Jenna is a student at FIT) with the Craig twins and their husbands. Each has a daughter who is a cheerleader (surprise, surprise) one for UConn and the other for Villanova. We laughed over escapades we had while going to the NIT's. Pam Philips and her husband met us for dinner on Friday night where she reminded me that she finally has her revenge for all the crap I used to give her about being a fashion major now that my daughter is one!
The past few years have reminded me that our rituals say "membership in IGU binds me to her all through life" Yes it does and I will be forever grateful...
— Ann Strandberg-Sico '75
Reunion in 2002
There are now more than 700 alumnae of IGU!
In the photo at left, above: Back row, left to right: June Kokturk, Patty Bosio, Jenny DiManno and Holly McIntyre. Front row, left to right: Jennifer Taub, Maizie Costello, Marjie Levin, Karen Ritchie and Rita Hubner.
50th Reunion in 2012
What a great time to be a Gammie!
On the weekend of IGU's 50th reunion, almost 200 sisters came back to UMass to celebrate the rich history of IGU. Many sisters were delighted to see the new porch that was put on the house in 2010. They also got to tour the house and see the new flooring in the entryway and the NEWLY refurbished kitchen.
Women from all the decades joined IGU for a weekend filled with events, starting with informal networking at the house on Friday night. On Saturday there was a special rededication ceremony at Memorial Hall followed by dinner at the Campus Center. On Sunday there was a fantastic catered brunch on the lawn at the house at which the 50/50 Raffle winner for the Nancy Jean Lahteine scholarship was announced. Holly Broderick generously donated her winnings back to the scholarship fund.
An excellent time was had by all, reminiscing and making new memories!
I am so sad that this weekend has come to an end!!! It was absolutely amazing to meet each and every one of you! Every last person I met had such a beautiful personality and made me so happy to see that even 50 years after IGU was founded the sisters are just as crazy as they are now!!! I know that if I came to UMass in any year I would pledge IGU in a heart beat!!! You all were so wonderful! Come back ANY time you will be welcomed with open arms!
-Liz Engel '14
Stayed up way too late two nights in a row, but who needs sleep when you're with friends and sisters you haven't seen in 30 years. It was great to see everyone again. Thanks to all who organized everything. You did a great job!! Thanks to the current sisters who opened the house to us and made us feel so welcome.
-Donna Adams McCaffery '79
I just want to add my thanks to all the organizers and current sisters for a wonderful and memorable weekend. Hanging out on the porch until the wee hours of the morning brought back some great memories! It was wonderful meeting the active sisters and sisters from past decades...looking forward to another 50 years
-Tracy Sanville Oleksak ''95.
I too had a terrific weekend. It was so nice to be back after 30 years! Thank you to everyone who purchased 50/50 raffle tickets. A very special thanks to Holly Broderick who won the raffle and very generously gifted it back into the scholarship fund. Aproximately $6,000.00 went into the fund as a result of the raffle and Holly's very generous gift. Thank you!!
-Betsy Ann Lahteine Trobaugh '82
If you're an IGU alum and would like to add your thoughts to this page, please email your essay to firstname.lastname@example.org.