In the fall of 1889, in the first year of the life of Nebraska Wesleyan University, seven young women of similar ideals founded the first society of women. They were: Pauline Winter, Elsie Bromwell, Julia Taskett, Myrta Applebee, Grace Becker, Grace au Miller, and Blanche Martin. They chose for the name of their society, Willard, in memory of Frances E. Willard, who was a symbol of perfect womanhood. Willard was the only society for women. They were socially affiliated with the Everetts, now Zeta Psi, but they were two separate organizations—Willard for the women and Everett for the men.
In the beginning, the Willards were given the use of the northwest room on the third floor of the Main Building (now Old Main) and were organized as a literary society where they held their meetings and social gatherings. In 1917, the Willards established their house; in 1929, they bought their first house. Groundbreaking ceremonies on the current property were December 5, 1961, and our present home at 5110 Madison Avenue was completed on May 13, 1962.
Willard means many things to many women, but it first means a house whose halls and rooms have rung with laughter and shared many secrets, and whose doors have shut out the rest of the world while problems were met and solved.
After 125 years, Willard is still the oldest and largest local sorority in the United States. Throughout our long history, we have continued to strive towards perfect womanhood set forth by the five ideals of character, scholarship, sisterhood, community and service. Willard sorority has gone above and beyond to make the world a better place and will continue to succeed for many years to come.
- Outstanding Chapter Advisor, Chris Baker
- Greek Emerging Leader, Carlie Pickrel
- Most Philanthropic Member, Sydney Langley
- Outstanding Inter-Fraternal Involvement Award
- Outstanding Leadership Development Award
- Outstanding University Outreach Award
We, the women of Willard Sorority, seek the crown of perfect womanhood. In this pursuit, we strive to obtain the qualities of love, generosity and integrity, while aiming to achieve intellectual development. Thus, we, the women of Willard, endeavor to nurture unique individuality of each member in order to strengthen the fellowship of our sole chapter.
Annually, Willard holds three philanthropies benefiting various organizations throughout Nebraska. B.Y.O.B or Build Your Own Burrito takes place in early March and benefits Fresh Start. The second philanthropy of the spring semester is the Super Fun Run, which is a 5k around campus. In 2015, the money raised was given to Sammy’s Superhero’s of Columbus, Nebraska and went to support the family of a Willard alum. This organization brings awareness to childhood cancer and funds research to find a cure. Sammy and his family members were able to attend the philanthropy and cheer on the runners. In the fall, we hold our annual philanthropy, Rock-A-Thon. Willard teams up with the men of Zeta Psi to rock for 24 hours and the money earned from the event is donated to the Nebraska Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help the granting of wishes to children with a life-threatening medical condition.
Together, all chapter members completed approximately 1,220 volunteer hours in the Lincoln community during the 2014 year. This volunteerism speaks to how Willard reaches out to the local community. Our members give their time to diverse organizations such as the People's City Mission, TeamMates Mentoring Program, Capital Humane Society, and El Centro de las Americas.
Our members are not only committed to our house and the Greek community, but Nebraska Wesleyan’s campus. Each member is involved in a group or organization outside of Willard Sorority, many of those women also hold positions of leadership within their organizations. Our sisters participate in a range of activities such as Student Affairs Senate, Order of Omega, Ambassadors, sports, music, and various academic honorees.