GammasMore than 50 Kappas attended the 2009 reunion, which kicked off the 50-Plus Reunion that year. The popular event will return as the opener for the 2011 50-Plus Reunion.

Sometimes a great idea just hits you. That’s how it was with Penny Penrose Bignold ’56 and the idea for a reunion of her Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority sisters who graduated 50 or more years ago.

"I was attending a 50-Plus reunion three years ago, and I was staying in Prentiss Hall. I heard the clock tower bell strike midnight, and I thought to myself, ’This is just too good; we’ve got to have a Kappa reunion in the Kappa section of Prentiss!’"

Her idea blossomed into a one-day Kappa reunion at the opening of the biennial 50-Plus Reunion in 2009. The popular idea quickly spread and for the upcoming 50-Plus Reunion — June 10-12, 2011 — members from fraternities and sororities that were on campus before 1961 will arrive a day early, June 9, for Greek Day.

Most groups are planning a dinner event for the evening of June 9, and some are planning additional activities for their members throughout the weekend, said Angela Torretta, assistant director for events for development and alumni relations.

About Greek Day 2011

Date: June 9, 2011

Participating fraternities: Sigma Chi, Phi Delta Theta, Tau Kappa Epsilon and Beta Theta Pi.

Participating sororities: Delta Gamma, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Alpha Phi, Phi Mu, Alpha Chi Omega and Delta Delta Delta.

For more information or to RSVP, click here.

If you are interested in organizing an event for a Greek group that was on campus before 1961 and is not listed above, e-mail Angela Torretta in the alumni office at torretak@whitman.edu or call her at (509) 526-4794.

At the 2009 event, Bignold had "so much fun watching the groups of five or six Kappas walking along on campus that weekend. You could tell they had picked up right where they left off more than 50 years earlier."

Wayne Silzel ’58, a Sigma Chi organizer for the 2011 event, said his work on the Greek Day reunion has already reconnected him with fraternity brothers he had lost contact with over the years.

"Reconnecting is an important objective for all of us," he said. "This is a chance to regroup and learn of life’s blessings and lessons we each have experienced."

Silzel also sees Greek Day as an opportunity "to reaffirm the value of fraternity and sorority living and its effect upon our academic pursuits during our years at Whitman and beyond, including the importance of alumni associations and employment references and contacts. The value of Greek group living contributes vitally to a well-rounded student experience. Learning to live with other students having dissimilar interests and goals is beneficial and necessary in the world beyond college."

Judy Lytel Price ’56 has two reasons to be excited about helping to organize Greek Day plans for her Alpha Phi sorority. It was announced this fall that, pending faculty approval this spring, Alpha Phi will return to Whitman after a nearly 30-year hiatus. "Greek Day gives us a great way to connect, and I am thrilled at this news," Price said.

When Bignold sent out the letter for the first Greek reunion, she titled it "Once in a Lifetime."

"Before we left that Sunday, the word was out that it was not going to be a ’Once in a Lifetime,’" she said.

— Lana Brown