I’ve often said that one of the best decisions I made in my life happened at the age of 19. At 19, I said yes to Alpha Phi. I think of where my life would be had I not experienced Alpha Phi as a collegiate member, I realize how many friendships and opportunities I would have missed. But then I think of the thousands of Alpha Phis who didn’t have a collegiate experience, but instead, came to our sisterhood as alumna initiates, and that serves to remind me that some of the best years of my Alpha Phi experience have all happened long after my college days.
Nancy Morris Courtney Bosworth is an alumna initiate whose story resonates with me about what it means to be a lifelong member, regardless of when that lifetime begins.
Nancy attended college in 1956 at Sacramento State, where there was no Greek life on campus, just “locals” associated with the campus. When several friends started a “local,” Nancy joined but missed out on the full experience when she had to leave school due to family circumstances. During the next five years she worked, got married, had two children, was widowed and stayed involved with the local alumnae.
As Nancy tells it, “my Alpha Phi story began in 1967 after I remarried and moved to Minneapolis. Six months into my new life, I received a letter from Alpha Phi International asking if I would like to be an Alpha Phi because my ‘local’ at Sacramento State was being colonized by the Fraternity. I made the trip back to California and was initiated along with the newest members of Epsilon Gamma-Sacramento State.
Alpha Phi alumnae have always had a strong presence in the Minneapolis area. At the time I was initiated, the Minneapolis Alumnae Chapter was 916 strong! Can you imagine that large of an alumnae chapter? Eventually it was broken into more manageable area chapters around the city, and I helped charter a new chapter in the Minnetonka-Deephaven area.
When I moved to Washington state in 1975, I joined the Spokane APhi Alumnae Chapter because it was a perfect way to meet people, or ready-made sisters, as I call them. The alumnae chapter gave me Alpha Phi opportunities, such as serving as the treasurer and 1980 convention delegate. More importantly, they became my support network and close friends and saw me through the tragic loss of my daughter. Without their love and support, quietly lending strength when it was most needed, I wouldn’t have gotten through that time.
My outstanding alumnae chapter experience eventually transformed into a volunteer role as a District Alumnae Chairman (DAC). I provided support to alumnae chapters throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia and Hawaii. I supported these chapters for six years, meeting and corresponding with so many wonderful women, but learning and growing along the way. The self-confidence I gained is immeasurable. Little did I know that this growth would lead me to one of Alpha Phi’s highest honors, a director on the Alpha Phi Foundation Board. For six more years, I learned and grew, stretching my abilities way beyond what I could have imagined, while enjoying a wonderful, eye-opening experience.
Being an alumnae initiate has been an experience I could not have imagined. I do not have ‘collegiate chapter memories,’ but I think that is okay, as I have met some of the grandest women that I count as sisters and long-lasting friends across the U.S. and Canada all because of one letter asking if I would like to become an Alpha Phi.”
Alpha Phi isn’t just four years. For some those four years don’t even happen, but the lifetime they give to Alpha Phi creates lasting memories and friendships that replace anything they possibly could have experienced as a collegiate member.
Nancy Bosworth (Epsilon Gamma-Sacramento State)
With introduction and closing statements by Jennifer Frobish