Day of service 2023 800x485

Celebrating Theta's Founders on Day of Service

Category: Heritage

Noraleen Young

Alpha Chi, Purdue

As we approach Day of Service on Oct. 19, our special way of celebrating founder Bettie Locke’s birthday, I want to share with you how our four founders gave back to their own communities. While we have few details of their service, we know it was part of their lives.

  • Bettie Locke: One of the earliest accounts we have of Bettie is about her participation in a Memorial Day activity, recognizing the soldiers who had died in the Civil War. She also volunteered for several organizations outside of Theta. During college, she was in the Young Ladies Literary Society, bringing suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Greencastle in December 1870. After she married and moved from Indiana to Illinois, then to Kansas, and then back to Indiana, she was actively involved in women’s groups through her church and in the community.
  • Alice Allen: After graduation in 1871, Alice served as a teacher and principal of schools in Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa. When her family settled in Nebraska, she was active in the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. It was said of Alice that, “[N]o one ever attributed her work to selfishness; she was too conscientious for that. What she did was done as a joy, she never refused a call for aid.”
  • Bettie Tipton: With her husband, Bettie settled in Sturgeon, MO, until her death in 1909. During her life, she was known as an individual who took in children and young adults that needed a place to stay.
  • Hannah Fitch: After her graduation in 1873, Hannah married and returned to Lawrenceburg, IN. She was active in her church and a member of several local organizations. It was said in her obituary in 1924 that she was “doing her part to help make the world better.”

Even though the specifics are limited, it is apparent these four women gave of their time. Day of Service is an opportunity for us as Thetas to contribute to our communities either as individuals or in groups with our time. Making the most of Day of Service, whether it is on Oct. 19, in the week before, or anytime throughout the year, celebrates not only Bettie, but all four of our founders’ commitment to bettering the world around them.

We cannot wait to hear what you did to recognize Day of Service! Share with us your stories and photos by sending an email to