Willard Sorority Celebrates 125th Anniversary; Sorority Pin Tradition Returns

The country’s oldest local sorority is celebrating a milestone.

On April 26-27, current and former Willard Sorority members will celebrate the Greek organization’s 125th anniversary, just one year after Nebraska Wesleyan University celebrated the same milestone.

While the quasquicentennial provides special opportunities to celebrate and reflect on the changes throughout the years, the anniversary is also providing a reason to reinstate a tradition: sorority pins.

Sorority pins often display Greek letters and images that represent the organization. Members wear their pins to sorority events and after graduation are kept as a special keepsake. Members of national sororities are required to wear their pins but local sororities stopped requiring them over 20 years ago.

“In the years without pins, we have lost the history,” said Susy Miller, a development officer at Nebraska Wesleyan and advisor to Willard Sorority.

Miller joined current members in an effort to return the tradition. Funds were raised for new pins that were made based on a mold. The sorority’s leadership also turned to its alumni, asking for donated pins to share with current members.

“We got an outpouring of response and support,” said Miller.

First-year students will receive new pins. Sophomores, juniors and seniors will receive the donated pins, many of which will be matched with students of similar academic majors and extracurricular interests of the alumnae who donated the pins.

Current Willard members already know they will receive a pin, but how and when is a surprise.

More than 200 alumni are expected to return to Lincoln for the anniversary celebration, which will include social activities, campus tours, tours of the original Willard Sorority house at 5034 Madison House and the current house, and the annual alumnae luncheon where active members will be recognized for their academic achievements and alumnae officers will be initiated.

“It means the world to me to be a part of the 125th anniversary celebration,” said NWU junior Kelly Krueger, whose family includes several Willard Sorority members. “I am really excited to meet more alumni because they are the women who shaped the house I love so much and made it what it is today.”

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Willard Sorority is the oldest local sorority in the country at 125 years old.
Willard Sorority was originally located at 5048 Madison Ave., across the street from its current location.
Alumnae and current Willard Sorority members will celebrate the special milestone April 24-25.