Our Founding Members
Anna Allen Smith 1870-1933
Always interested in music from earliest childhood, she was the youngest student to do advanced work at the School of Music at DePauw graduating when she was nineteen. She was a brilliant accompanist, an accomplished performer and a successful teacher in the School of Music for 10 years.
Olive Burnett Clark 1867-1956
Olive attended Indiana Asbury University and taught for two years while carrying on her studies. To quote her, "I have found no greater happiness in my life than in Alpha Chi Omega. All I have ventured to give toward the upbuilding and uplifting of our fraternity has been from the depths of my heart, and has been repaid in thousand-fold by my girls. I believe fraternity life to be a vital influence for good. I believe fraternity spirit to be the Spirit of Youth, Love, and an understanding of all things beautiful and sacred in life. This much has Alpha Chi Omega given to me;it has taught me my Faith in God, Faith in all Mankind, and Faith in my Girls everywhere."
Bertha Deniston Cunningham 1869-1950
Bertha was musically talented and her parents thought it best that she continue her studies in the School of Music at DePauw. She had to play for Dean Howe to determine how advanced she was. She soon grew to be the envy of all the music students because of her remarkable ability to compose. Hers is the only one of the five original badges that is in existence today. It is on display at Alpha Chi Omega Headquarters. She was an accomplished performer and a successful teacher in the School of Music for 10 years.
Amy Dubois Reith 1868-1915
Amy was only 15 when she entered DePauw University. She studied both voice and piano. She was selected to sing important roles several times but all the honor and attention did not spoil her. She had a quiet and straightforward manner which endeared her to all. Her influence endured long after she left to teach music in Kansas.
Nellie Gamble Childe 1867-1960
Nellie studied piano from an early age and after much deliberation chose DePauw University. She was known for her gentle voice and manner, but was described as having a quiet influence for good. She reflected on Alpha Chi Omega as having a small beginning, but loyal girls with high standards who have achieved marvelous results.
Bessie Grooms Keenan 1866-1920
Bessie was one of three Greencastle girls among the founders. She was a small child when she began her study of music and was an accomplished pianist by the time she entered DePauw. Her daughter, Hannah, eventually became the Director of the Central Office for Alpha Chi Omega to see her mother's dream continue.
Estelle Leonard 1860-1955
Estelle entered DePauw with the ambition of learning music as a means of livelihood. Most of her time was spent practicing or studying. She served as Dean Howe's secretary for two years. She graduated in 1891 and taught in colleges in the area. Some of her compositions were published. She returned to Indianapolis to live out the remainder of her life, and always maintained her unbounded enthusiasm for Alpha Chi Omega.