All in the family

Dan Murtaugh

While her new sorority sisters are going Greek this Saturday, Gwynne Fox will be doing what she’s done for most of her adult life.

Going home to her family.

Gamma Phi Beta pledge Gwynne Fox, 38, joined Gamma Phi through a program that allows older women to join in special circumstances.

Fox’s special circumstance: Both her mother and grandmother were in Northwestern’s chapter of Gamma Phi.

Fox, a mathematics department assistant at NU, was not able to continue that tradition during her college years because she went to a small school in upstate New York that didn’t have a Greek system. When she was given the chance to join Gamma Phi and continue her family’s legacy, she jumped at it.

“I’m happy to be able to join because I thought that window of opportunity had passed,” she said. “I think that as you get older, you value something like this even more.”

One reason she wanted to pledge Gamma Phi was her grandmother, whom she called “Grandma Phi.”

“I’m joining (Gamma Phi) out of a sense of nostalgia for tradition,” Fox said. “I have fond memories of tagging along with my grandmother at the (Gamma Phi) house. I had a warm feeling getting pledged in the same house.”

Fox said her grandmother “devoted her life to Gamma Phi Beta,” and served on the sorority’s president’s council in the 1950s. She said she wants to have the same lifelong relationship with her sorority.

“There’s a closeness that you have in a sorority that’s more than what’s in a typical woman’s club,” she said. “Alumnae come across trouble in their lives and their sorority sisters are there for them more than your average neighbor.”

Fox received her sorority pin with the rest of Gamma Phi’s pledges this year and will be initiated with them later this quarter.

Gamma Phi President Heather Smith said she was excited to have Fox join.

“It shows it’s more than a collegiate experience; it’s a lifetime commitment,” said Smith, a Weinberg senior.

And there might one day be another Fox in the Gamma Phi den.

Said Fox: “My daughter said to me on her own, ‘It would be neat if I pledged Gamma Phi Beta. I would be the fourth generation.'”