Eta Pi Upsilon

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.

Receiving the Eta Pi Scholarship was such a blessing. As a military wife and mother, being able to pursue my dream of becoming a social worker with the help of the Eta Pi Scholarship is so greatly appreciated. 

Tasha Benjamin
2014 M. Elizabeth Brydon Scholar

Contributing to Eta Pi Upsilon

Every gift – large and small – has the potential to make a huge difference in the lives of women trying to improve their lives through education. The fund is valued at more than $1.6 million, and this generates enough interest annually to provide over 20 scholarships to UC women each year.


One hundred percent of a donation to the Eta Pi Upsilon Scholarship Fund is used for students in need. None of the donated amount is used for administrative costs.

Donation Form for Eta Pi Upsilon

Eta Pi Upsilon Scholarship Information

Planned Giving

A shining example of this type of gift is the bequest of Mark Clements ‘36, who made a gift in honor of his wife, Pearl Ness Clements. Pearl, an enthusiastic Eta Pi member and supporter, was the first and only graduate of SU’s original School of Journalism in 1935. Years before her 1990 death, Pearl had established the Pearl Ness Clements scholarship, providing awards to two students each year. Her husband Mark was inspired by Pearl’s devotion to Eta Pi, and expressed his love and admiration for her by leaving Eta Pi an additional gift of $573,093 when he died in 2004 and the estate formally settled in 2008. The Clements’ generosity provides five to eight scholarships each year. Another generous gift honors the friendship between Mildred Stiles Lapham ’30 and Joan Bosworth Lapham ’56. As Mrs. Byron J. Lapham, Mildred was stepmother-in-law to Joan, who is Mrs. Byron J. Lapham Jr. The two women enjoyed a “marvelous 50 years of friendship,” and as a tribute, Mildred left a $200,000 bequest to Joan. Together, they decided to direct the funds where they could have maximum benefit, and gave this generous, lasting gift to the Eta Pi Scholarship Fund. Your gift may be as simple as adding Eta Pi as one of your beneficiaries on a life insurance policy. Or, after you make provisions for your loved ones in your will, you can list Eta Pi Upsilon as an organization you’d like to support through a bequest. This may be given in the form of a specific dollar amount or as a percentage of your estate. You could also turn over highly appreciated stock to Eta Pi, avoiding capital gains taxes, and ask that you receive an annual income from that stock gift for the rest of your life. There are significant tax benefits to this type of gift-giving, and they provide a cost-effective way to make a profound difference through Eta Pi when you pass on.

Alumnae Association Board

The Eta Pi Upsilon Alumnae Board is made up of alumnae who live in Central New York and attend periodic board meetings.

  • Nancy Gere O’Neil ’48
  • Dorianne Bright Parker ’55
  • Sally O’Byrne Kelley ’47
  • Suzanne Marsh Johnston ’52
  • Marilyn Mawson Lyman ’54
  • Helene Macdonald Ballantyne ’70
  • Noni Brierley Bristol ’54
  • Marcia Coons Hill ’50
  • Pam Baumgartner Luchsinger ’67
  • Elizabeth “BJ” Ryan Metz ’42
  • Joan Hakanson Sipley ’64
  • Kay McLaughlin Urtz ’45