In November of 1897, two Syracuse University coeds—Mabel Rhoades and Corinne Lewis—went for a buggy ride. Their discussion during that ride focused on the need for a stronger voice for women on campus, as well as how bonds of fellowship and friendship among woman could be strengthened. An idea took shape that day—an idea that became the first university-based senior women’s honorary society in the United States. It was called Eta Pi Upsilon, and it was founded at Syracuse University in 1898.

Since its founding, Eta Pi has made its mission to recognize women demonstrating scholarship, leadership, service, and loyalty to Syracuse University. Every year it profoundly affects more than 20 women, and will in perpetuity, with its scholarship awards. Today’s Alumnae Association has built on the tradition, begun in the 1960s, of annually awarding scholarships to non-traditional women students at University College, which serves part-time Syracuse University students. Its alumnae have distinguished themselves in education, law, medicine, and the arts.