In 1966, Eleanor Harvith Gannon, spokesperson for the Class of 1923, contributed the original $1,000 to endow a “memorial fund” which established the tradition of gifts honoring deceased Eta Pi sisters. The Memorial Fund became the foundation of the Eta Pi Upsilon Endowed Scholarship Fund which is the largest provider of scholarships to University College.
Each year, Eta Pi Upsilon awards more than 20 scholarships to women who are earning a degree, often while working, raising families, caring for aging family members at the same time. Scholarships are awarded to undergraduates annually based on academic distinction and financial need. Eta Pi Upsilon scholars are recognized at a reunion luncheon, where they share moving stories of determination and triumph in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
As the 100th anniversary of Eta Pi’s founding approached, the board initiated a three-year campaign to add $100,000 to the endowment fund. Members enthusiastically responded, and the number of scholarships awarded annually grew from six in 1996 to eight in 1998 to more than 25 in 2008, thanks to an endowment now valued at more than $1.6 million. To date, University College women have received 345 Eta Pi Upsilon scholarships.
Those of you who have contributed to the scholarship fund have not only benefited needy women, but you have done something wonderful for Eta Pi itself. Because of your gifts, Eta Pi Upsilon has become a champion for women’s education that all Eta Pi sisters can feel a part of and be proud of, whatever the size of their contributions. – Dori Parker ‘55
Awarding of Eta Pi Upsilon Scholarships
During or shortly after the spring term of each year, women demonstrating academic distinction and financial need while studying at UC are invited to apply for Eta Pi scholarships. Each scholarship covers the cost of three to six credits toward Syracuse University courses, to be used in one of the following three semesters. The University College Scholarship Committee selects recipients and a group of Eta Pi Upsilon board members matches recipients with specific scholarships.
Eta Pi Upsilon alumnae or their families have endowed the following scholarships:
Marian Minnes Bahrenburg ’30
Marian was a School of Speech major and a Daily Orange Women’s Editor who was very active on campus and was selected for three honoraries. She continued her commitment to SU throughout the subsequent stages of her life, which included marriage, childrearing, part-time work, and full-time volunteer activities such as serving as Chairman of the Community Chest. She remained a loyal Eta Pi supporter even after she became legally blind three years before her death, and she bequeathed a sum sufficient to endow an Eta Pi scholarship in her name.
Pearle Ness Clements ’35
Pearle was the very first graduate of SU’s School of Journalism, subsequently working for the Syracuse Post-Standard. She married fellow graduate Mark A. Clements and traveled worldwide with him. In 1987, after listening to moving testimonials from scholarship recipients at an Eta Pi luncheon, she established an Eta Pi scholarship in her name. At her death in 1990, Mark requested that memorials be sent to the Pearle Ness Clements Scholarship Fund. On the occasion of his death in 2004, a bequest of $230,000 was made to the Pearle Ness Clements Scholarship Fund.
Noni Brierley Bristol ’54
Noni graduated with honors from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the College of Arts and Sciences at SU, where she was a member of several scholastic honoraries. After writing for the National News Bureau of the Methodist Church, raising a family and becoming involved in parent education, Noni formed her own company, Constructing Communication. She was recognized by the Rotarians for her community service and named a Paul Harris Fellow. In 1996, Noni and her husband, Harold, endowed a scholarship in her name.
Elizabeth Brydon ’54
Liz was active in student government at SU. She excelled academically, not only belonging to Eta Pi and Phi Beta Kappa, but graduating magna cum laude. She later earned an MBA. Liz was one of the first three women in the New York Telephone Company’s management training program. She worked for NY Tel and its parent company AT&T for 37 years, retiring as Vice President for Information Systems at NYNEX, later Verizon Communications. In grateful recognition of her service to them, the Verizon Foundation endowed an Eta Pi scholarship in her name.
Jean Brydon Kahn ’55
Jean was one of three sisters to attend SU on scholarships, graduating magna cum laude in 1955. She was one of the first female representatives of a major printing company, where she earned a reputation for integrity, professionalism, and a willingness to mentor colleagues. During a valiant 10-year battle against cancer, Jean’s sense of humor, optimism, and courage were a source of inspiration to all. In recognition of her bravery, leadership, and spirit, her family was proud to endow a scholarship in her memory.
The Lapham Scholarships
The Lapham Scholarships were established through a bequest to the scholarship fund from Mildred Stiles Lapham ’30, in recognition of her step daughter-in-law, Joan Bosworth Lapham ’56. The following four scholarships have each been named in honor of early Syracuse University graduates who made a significant contribution to the betterment of humanity:
- Belva Ann Lockwood (1830-1917) 1857, 1872, H’09 enrolled in SU as a 22-year-old widowed single mother. She was the first woman to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court and was a presidential candidate in 1884 for the suffragist Equal Rights Party.
- Sarah Loguen Fraser (1850-1933) 1876 was the first African American graduate of Syracuse University’s College of Medicine and the fourth African American woman certified as a physician in the United States.
- Minnie Mason Beebe (1865-1955) 1890 was widowed after six months of marriage. She became a full professor in English and history and taught from 1900-1937. Active in the ministry, she inspired 600 people to attend her Bible study in the Methodist Church.
- Welthy Honsinger Fisher (1879-1980) 1900, ’21, H’65 was a member of Eta Pi Upsilon in 1900. She devoted her life to promoting literacy, creating World Literacy, Inc., which trained thousands of dedicated teachers in India and China.
The Class Of 1956
Pat Cain Beyle ’56, who had been president of the active chapter her senior year at SU, was impressed by the scholarships and recipients at the 2001 luncheon in their honor. She contacted her classmates about the possibility of establishing a scholarship in the name of their class. She felt that they had been a group of women leaders and they needed to continue to lead. This was one way they could make a difference. Five years later, on the occasion of their 50th reunion, the first Class of 1956 scholarship was awarded.
The Eta Pi Upsilon Alumnae Association Board established the following scholarships to honor outstanding members:
Mary Gilmore Smith ’29, G ’38
Mary Gilmore Smith ’29 G ’38 has the longest and largest giving history of any annual donor to the Eta Pi Upsilon Endowed Scholarship Fund at Syracuse University. Gilmore died Saturday, January 18, 2014 at the age of 106. During her tenure at Syracuse University—as a student, employee, alumnus, and donor—she served on many committees and held numerous leadership positions within the University.
Gilmore devoted countless hours of service to others—especially as an advocate for women. In fact, she was the first vocational counselor of women at SU. While serving as social director and acting dean of summer sessions (1938-1941), she was made an honorary member of Eta Pi Upsilon, the undergraduate women’s honorary society. During her tenure as an academic counselor to women students at University College, she and colleague Nancy Callahan Gelling started the Eta Pi Scholarship Program, which provides financial assistance to women studying part time at SU.
In 1940, Gilmore married Edward Allen Smith, a faculty member in SU’s business school. In keeping with SU’s policy that prohibited spouses to be employed by the University, she stepped down from her position when she married. Smith returned to SU in 1956 and served as assistant to the dean of human development (HSHP) and as an instructor. From 1963-1972 Gilmore was a counselor in the women’s center at University College. Upon her retirement in 1972, she worked for 18 years as director of RSVP for the Volunteer Center in Syracuse.
Among the many recognitions she received, Gilmore was awarded the Chancellor’s Citation and Melvin Eggers Senior Alumni Award (1994) and the Ollie Owen Award for Outstanding Community Service from RSVP (2000). In 2004, she was inducted into the archives of the Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls.
Surviving are her daughter, Elizabeth Smith Hakanson of Syracuse, numerous grandchildren, and several generations of nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held at a later date at Plymouth Congregational Church in Syracuse.
Bernice Meredith Wright ’29, G ’34
“Bunny,” having earned a doctorate in education from Edinburgh University, became a specialist in family relations and child development. She joined the faculty of SU’s College of Home Economics and subsequently served as dean until her retirement. Her many honors included being named the Post-Standard’s “All-Time Woman of Achievement” in 1973 and having the nursery school at SU named for her. She served as president of the Eta Pi Alumnae Association in the early 1960s, and in appreciation of her cutting-edge philosophy empowering women, the Board named its second scholarship for her in 1974.
Nancy Callahan Gelling ’49
Nancy exemplified service to SU from the moment she entered as a freshman and culminated in her recognition with a Chancellor’s Citation in 1979. In the meantime, she worked full time as an academic counselor at UC. Her career spanned thirty years and touched hundreds of students’ lives. The student lounge at UC is named for her. In 1982 a scholarship was named in her honor. When she died later that year, her family requested that gifts in her memory be sent to the fund, and the SU Alumnae Club of Central New York donated their entire 1982-83 monies.
Connie Weibezahl Fisk ’48
An architect by profession, Connie was a rare woman in an elite man’s world. She specialized in designing schools and libraries. Her spare time was spent working tirelessly for the Eta Pi Upsilon Alumnae Association, which she served as president, treasurer, newsletter editor and advisor to the active chapter. In honor of her years of giving of herself to Eta Pi, the Board of Directors named a Centennial Scholarship in her honor following her death in 1999. The first scholarship was awarded in June 2000.