History "Eight Sparks”
In the spring of 1956, one Sigma, with a list of names and a heart full of enthusiasm brought together seven Sigma’s to organize the Twin Cities Alumnae Chapter. The headline of a newspaper clipping from that spring read, "A Kappa Sparks Twin Cities Chapter”. Thanks to the work of Mable Blaik Newcombe, her “spark” brought together seven other “Sigma sparks” to form this chapter.
Our history records show that Marion Nixdorf took over as President in 1957 and regular meetings were scheduled. In 1959 membership quickly rose to 20 and the Gamma Nu chapter at St. Cloud was charted. Letters from Nationals show that Tri-Sigma looked at Mankato State for a second time (1945 was first) for building a colony.
In the early 60’s, members made pinkie puppets and sewing kits for children at Chapel Hill in North Carolina. A white elephant auction was held to raise money and the chapter hosted the North Central Regional Meet and became a member of the Twin Cities Alumni Panhellenic Association. Dues were set at $5 ($2 to Nationals and $3 to local) and we officially adopted the Gamma Nu chapter in 1965.
Marilyn Carson, chapter president from 1966-68 wrote in a letter to the members, “In no way am I implying that we should make a name for ourselves; this of course, is not our purpose. But, I do say, we must maintain our link in the chain. That same year, we were awarded “Chapter of the Year”.
In the 70’s, Tri Sigma looked at Mankato for the third time and also looked at Winona for building a colony. Money-making card games were held and dues remained at $5. While membership dropped in the early part of the 80’s, it had doubled by the late 80’s and dues were raised to $9.
In the 90’s, membership remained relatively steady. We were awarded “Chapter of the Year” for a second time and implemented a variety of new projects, including a fundraiser with Barnes and Noble, the RPM teddy bears, and making a Thanksgiving basket for a local family in need.
In the 2000’s, Eta Theta was installed at Gustavus Adolphus College. Gea Stanger, passed away unexpectedly in April of 2002.To honor her memory as a recent president of TCAC and the legacy she left behind, the Twin Cities Alumnae Chapter developed the Gea Stanger Memorial Leadership Award, awarded annually to a collegiate in our area. In this decade we were awarded “Outstanding Single Program” a couple of times, including in 2005-2006 for the Birthday Bags made for the Simpson Shelter. In May, 2009, our last living founder, Edna Ahlgrim Holler, passed away.
In July of 2010, the Twin Cities Alumnae Chapter hosted the National Convention “Superior Sisterhood – Finding Your True North”. Tina Enzweiler Blenkush and Jan Zeipen were the co-chairs.
What would the Founders think of our chapter today, over fifty years later? Did they ever envision what the chapter would be like in over 50 years? As members today, have we stopped to think what it will be like in the year 2056 – another 50 years later?
The first line of “Pass it On” reminds us of our humble beginnings and gives us hope for its future:
“It only takes a spark to get a fire going; and soon all those around will warm up to its glowing.”
What better way to show our love and appreciation to our Founding sparks than to continue igniting more sparks and keeping the Twin Cities Alumnae Chapter
Written 1995 by: Linda Manley-Kuitu for the Twin Cities Alumnae Chapter 40th Anniversary Celebration
Updated 2011 by: Allison Hanson