Hear What Our Sisters Have To Say

Over the years, the academic lessons have faded from my brain for lack of use in everyday life, because who needs to analyze a vector or solve a differential equation? But the lessons learned in IGU such as how to run a meeting, how to mobilize a reluctant team into action, and knowing when to tread lightly have been extremely useful. Learning these important people skills and group dynamics has been ever so useful over the years in both business (I've owned 3 businesses.) and personal venues. (I've been president of community associations and various charitable groups.)

But the life-long friendships are much more important than the leadership skills.  When I've faced problems over the years, the first people I call are my IGU friends and the reverse is also true. I recall a spring IGU luncheon a few years ago where a large group of alumns from the '70's rallied around a sister who'd struggled through harsh cancer treatments. It was a major goal for her to be there and she'd made it (wearing a wig). The emotional significance of seeing her surrounded by her long-time friends, some of whom she hadn't seen in twenty years still takes my breath away.

Ginny Mallison Stibolt, Founding Sister

I joined in the fall of 1962, the when rush was held in Mem Hall. The usual perks of sororities — a house, good food, help from the national — didn't compare to the attraction I felt for the original 16. And the rewards of building a sorority that reflected my values and philosophies made Iota Gam my first and only choice submitted to Pan Hel. I started out as class of '66, but marriage and children postponed graduation until '72.

I can truly say that I learned more about real life from my Iota Gam experiences than from any other source at UMass — how to make do with very little and maximize on all assets, to work cooperatively with others to achieve a common goal, to overcome differences that threaten survival, when to compromise and when to stand firm for important principles, when to be a part of the group and when to stand alone as an individual.

Helen Tefs Marshall, Spring '62

I got very teary as I read in the link about the woman whose sisters rallied around her at the 2002 reunion as she was battling cancer; I am that woman...

After a diagnosis on 9/11 (yes THAT 9/11) of ovarian cancer, I am happy to say that I am coming up on my 5th year anniversary and am well. I can not ever explain the lift I got from seeing so many of my sisters that Sat., reminiscing about our days at the house, laughing over stories we would NEVER tell our kids.

My illness prompted 2 of my sisters and I to make a pledge not to wait for a once a year visit. Since then Jeri Ross and Mim Kaiser and I have made an annual winter trip to FL for a girls weekend, and a summer weekend in Maine. We have now known each other for 34 years and there is no friend like an old friend.

In August of 2003 my husband threw a 50th birthday party for me. A dozen IGU's including both my big and little sister and 8 Beta Phi's (some of whom I hadn't seen in 25 years) partied like the old days.

The past few years have reminded me that our rituals say "membership in IGU binds me to her all through life" Yes it does and I will be forever grateful.

Ann Strandberg-Sico, Fall '75

IGU is one of the best decisions I ever made. The friendships you will make through the sisterhood will be lifelong and the most special you will ever have. We are so lucky to have such an incredible group of women in our group. They are my best friends for life! We have been through so much over the past forty years as a group. I can’t imagine ever having gone through my life so far without this special group! I consider myself so very lucky to be part of what is so special about Iota Gamma Upsilon!

Kathy Fraser Huntington, Fall '77

Every last person I met had such a beautiful personality and made me so happy to see that even 50 years after IGU was founded the sisters are just as crazy as they are now!!! I know that if I came to UMass in any year I would join IGU in a heart beat!!!

Liz Engel, Spring '11

I decided to go Greek and join IGU because I went to a small private high school and as an out of state student, I wanted to find a home away from home and a sisterhood similar to the one I found in high school. IGU gave me the opportunity to get more involved in the community, gain leadership skills, and meet lifelong friends.

Emma Sinclair, Fall '15

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