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College Panhellenic Council at Clemson University

What it Means to be a Sorority Woman


What it Means to be a Sorority Woman

Panhellenic Association

If you told me a year ago that I would be at Clemson in a sorority, I would have thought you were joking. I didn’t know much about Greek life at all, but decided to participate in primary recruitment just to see what it was all about. I started researching the different sororities and watching videos on YouTube in the weeks leading up to move-in day.

That summer, my grandfather surprised me with my grandmother’s sorority paddle from 1965 that he had found in the attic. On it in calligraphy was her name, Joan Imhof, her sister’s name, and the name of her organization, but I had no idea which current organization it could be. (I was too young when she died to ask her about it.) I emailed Clemson Panhellenic, asking if they knew any more information or could point me in a better direction.

I was blown away when about a week later I received an email back! Clemson’s Panhellenic Advisor, Harriett-Graham Courtney, reached out to my grandmother’s alma mater, SUNY New Paltz, to find out more information and forwarded the response.

Attached to the email was a picture of my grandmother with her sorority sisters from the

1965 yearbook!

That small act of kindness, of someone going out of their way for me, made me realize how much participating in primary recruitment really meant to me. My mom literally started crying in the mall when I showed her the photo of her mom! This was a piece of my grandmother that we didn’t have before.


My grandmother's sorority disbanded a long time ago, so I couldn't be in the same sorority as her, but I am now very happy as an active collegiate member of Delta Zeta. I have the picture of my grandmother from her college days with her sorority sisters printed out and hanging on the wall in my room. I couldn’t have been prouder when my own composite picture went up on the hall with my sisters.

I feel her with me at every chapter, every function, and every time I proudly wear my Greek letters. Joan Imhof was a woman of true grace and poise, a voice in her community, and a genuine leader. She lived every second of her life to the fullest, and to me is a shining example of what it truly means to be a sorority woman.