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Nu Installation

PI DELTA PHI was founded as a departmental French honor society at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1906, and was nationalized the following year when the Beta Chapter was established at the University of Southern California. Growth of the Society until the end of World War II was slow; only seventeen chapters had been established by 1945. The photo on the right, for example, shows the 1938 National President Olga Norstrom presenting the Pi Delta Phi charter to Chapter NU at the San Francisco College for Women in California (then renamed Lone Mountain College in 1968 before becoming part of the University of San Francisco in 1978). Although a national honor society by 1945, "Pi Delta Phi could hardly be called a national society, geographically speaking" wrote former Executive Director Louis E. Richter. Richter noted that two clusters of fourteen chapters formed most of the society: the first group included schools west of the Mississippi (California, Texas, Oregon, Kansas and Arizona), and a second group of three chapters at schools in the Gulf states of Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. Three other chapters were located in Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York. "In 1948," Richter wrote "this gave rise to the impression that there were two separate honoraries, one in California and the other in the Gulf states." 1

Because of the perceived division, two main objectives were placed on the agenda for the 1948 National Convention of the Society, which was held at the San Francisco College for Women. First, Pi Delta Phi sought to be officially endorsed by the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF); the endorsement was granted in 1949. Second, the Executive Board set a goal to expand the Society on a greater national basis, which was subsequently made possible with the help from the publicity gained from the AATF's French Review.

By June of 1950, Pi Delta Phi had grown to thirty-eight chapters including chapters in Ohio, Louisiana, Minnesota and Arizona. By 1962 there were eighty-four chapters in the U.S. At the present time, Pi Delta Phi numbers more than 370 chapters established at representative public and private colleges and universities in almost every state, as well as chapters at American Universities in Paris and Aix-en-Provence. The society was admitted to membership in the Association of College Honor Societies in 1967.

1 Louis E. Richter, "Pi Delta Phi Notes" The French Review, Vol. 24, No. 1 (Oct., 1950) 94-95.


Pi Delta Phi would like to thank, and owes a tremendous debt to, those individuals who graciously served as members of its Executive Board. The commitment and energy of these volunteers helped the Society to expand. Regretfully, much of the Society's early history is lost or unknown. As such, some of the information below may be missing or inaccurate. Nevertheless we're pleased to share what information we currently have.



Dr. Paul Wood, Ph.D., 1999-2007, BETA OMEGA
Dr. Wood obtained a B.A. from the Athenaeum of Ohio, Cincinnati, Ohio, an M.A. from the University of Cincinnati, and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. He was awarded a National Defense Education Act scholarship to study at Purdue University and the University of Oregon at Tours, France as well as a grant to study in Angers, France, from the American Association of Teachers of French. He was also awarded the Ferdinand D. Di Bartholo Distinguished Leadership Award and has been a member of Marquis Who's Who in the East since 1994 and Who's Who in American Education 1992-96. Before joining the faculty at St. Bonaventure University in St. Bonaventure, New York in 1971, Dr. Wood taught at Akron University in Akron, Ohio, at Loyola University in Chicago, and at the Forest Hills School District in Cincinnati, Ohio. During his thirty-five year tenure at the University, Dr. Wood was a strong promoter of language programs for both collegiate and high school students. He established chapters of Pi Delta Pi, and the National Honor Society for undergraduate students, Phi Eta Sigma, on the campus of St. Bonaventure University. Dr. Wood is the author of numerous articles and instructional materials, and has presented at various conferences and seminars in the United States, Germany, and France. Dr. Wood also served as President of the New York State Associate of Foreign Language Teachers (NYSAFLT), the New York State Council on Foreign Languages (SCOL), and the Western New York Foreign Language Educators Council.


Dr. Rolande Léguillon, Ph.D., 1992-1998, GAMMA ETA
Dr. Léguillon received her Baccalaureate in Latin-Greek and in Philosphy from the University of Paris, her B.A. from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, her M.A. from the University of Houston, and her Ph.D. from Rice University in Houston. Before joining the French Department at the University of St. Thomas in Houston in 1968, Dr. Léguillon taught French at several primary schools in France and pioneered the AP program in French at Lamar High School in Houston. At St. Thomas, Dr. Léguillon served as the Chair of the Modern Foreign Languages, then French, Department for many years and the Chair of the French section for over three decades. Besides serving on and chairing dozens of university committees, Dr. Léguillon was extremely active in local, regional and national professional organizations, including the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF), for which she served as the Southwest Regional AATF representative from 1975-1980, and the Federation of Alliances Françsaises in the United States on whose Board she served from 1986-1999. Dr. Léguillon published and delivered conference presentations on numerous subjects, in particular on Pierre Loti, and the teaching and history of French language and culture. She received many awards and recognitions, including the 1994 Teacher of the Year (awarded by the Texas Foreign Language Association), Who's Who in American Women, Who's Who in American Education, and was the distinctions of Chevalier (1976) and Officier (1995) in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques awarded by the French Government. Dr. Léguillon passed away on March 17, 2012.

Eloise Therese

Sister Eloise Therese Mescall, Ph.D., -1992, GAMMA
Born Mary Virginia Mescall on December 20, 1919, Sister Eloise Therese was raised in Los Angeles, attended Catholic elementary schools and St. Mary's Academy. She entered the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1938 and received the name of Sister Eloise Therese in honor of her two elder sisters. Sister Eloise Therese earned her B.A. and M.A. in French at UCLA, and joined the Mount St. Mary's College faculty in 1948 where she became chair, a position she held until 1961. Before it was even fashionable, she was interested in multicultural issues, and returned to UCLA and earned a Ph.D. in Romance languages in 1959. Sister Eloise Therese believed that classroom teaching was second only to traveling to learn about the world, and in 1955 she founded a program for undergraduates to study abroad in their junior year. She received study travel grants from the Instituto de Cultura Hispánica, the Mexican and Austrian governments, and the Richilieu Institute, and post-doctoral fellowships at Laval University in Québec and the University of Lausanne in Switzerland. A member of many professional and academic honor societies, Sister Eloise Therese served as the Pacific Regional Representative of AATF from 1982-1984. She also received many accolades throughout her lifetime, including an honorary diploma from the University of Madrid, and the title of Officier des Palmes Académiques from the French government in 1975 in recognition of her cultural rendering and strengthening of Franco-American ties. While involved in teaching, traveling, and studying, she also translated not only textbooks and scholarly tomes, but also a four-volume catechetical series from English to Spanish, and edited an Italian work on modernism for Alba Press in 1970. She passed away on May 18, 2001. Pi Delta Phi thanks to Mount St. Mary's College for permission to reprint some of the information from their article "Adieu, Sister Eloise Therese Mescall, CSJ" The Mount, 19:2 (summer, 2001) 3.


Dr. Elizabeth Brandon, Ph.D., BETA BETA
Dr. Brandon was born in Wolkowysk, Poland where she attended the Conservatory of Music in Vilno and was an accomplished classical pianist. She attended the University of Vilno and received her M.Ph. at the University of Warsaw. In 1936 she moved with her husband to Paris where she received received her Masters Degree in French from the Sorbonne. Dr. Brandon moved with her family to the U.S. in 1947 and began her teaching career at the University of Houston and later earned her Ph.D. in French from the Université de Laval where she studied under the Québecois folklorist Luc Lacourcière. She taught at the University of Houston for thirty-three years, served as the chair of the French Department, and was twice awarded the Palmes Academiques by the French Ministry of Education. She also served the as President of Phi Kappa Phi at the University of Houston in 1959. Dr. Brandon's doctoral thesis on Vermilion Parish folklore and folklife, Moeurs et langue de la paroisse Vermillon en Louisiane (1955), includes songs and tales as well as social history and folkways; she was one of the foremost authorities in French Folklore of Louisiana. Dr. Brandon passed away in Houston on September 22, 2002.


Dr. Joseph W. Yedlicka, Ph.D., BETA PSI
Dr. Yedlicka was master of ceremonies for the official luncheon of Sigma Delta Pi, The Spanish National Honor Society, at its 1959 triennial convention in Chicago, held in conjunction with the annual meetings of AATSP and the MLA. Dr. Yedlicka served as Chapter Moderator for both the Pi Delta Phi and Sigma Delta Pi chapters at DePaul University in Chicago where he taught from 1954-1979. Dr. Yedlicka was a tireless promoter of Pi Delta Phi and advocate for the study of French language and literature. Under his tenures as President and later Executive Director, the Society added many chapters. Dr. Yedlicka passed away in 1988.


Dr. Max Oppenheimer, Jr., Ph.D., 1947-1951, GAMMA
American-born, Dr. Oppenheimer lived as a child with his family in Germany before moving to Paris, at age 13, where he studied French, Latin and the English he had forgotten. He graduated with a Bachelier s Lettres from the University of Paris (Sorbonne) in 1935. He returned to the United States in order to enlist in the Army. He received a B.A. from NYU (1941), M.A. from UCLA (1942) and Ph.D. from USC in 1947. Dr. Oppenheimer was teaching at San Diego State College in 1947 when he noticed a call in the French Review to start a new national honor society for French. He immediately replied to the Review and informed them that one already existed, Pi Delta Phi, with which he was already familiar since he completed his Ph.D. from USC (BETA). Dr. Oppenheimer encouraged the French Review to support Pi Delta Phi, which they did and it was this support, according to Dr. Oppenheimer, that "launched Pi Delta Phi again to what it is today." Dr. Oppenheimer resigned the Presidency in January 1951, while an Assistant Professor of Romance Languages at Washington University, when he was recalled to active military duty during the Korean conflict. He served for seven years during that conflict with the General Staff in the Pentagon. He later served as an intelligence officer for the CIA from 1956-1958. After 1958, Dr. Oppenheimer joined the foreign language department at the University of Iowa in 1961 where he helped to establish the Department of Russian. In 1967 he joined the faculty at the Fredonia State University College as a professor and eventually became the chair of the department of languages before retiring in 1976. During his career, Dr. Oppenheimer translated numerous texts, including a Russian book on hydraulics for the U.S. Office of Naval Research. He is the author of Outline of Russian Grammar. (1962). Dr. Oppenheimer also published many scholarly articles in noted language journals. He also completed his autobiography, An Innocent Yank at Home Abroad: Footnotes to History, 1922-1945. (Sunflower Univ. Press, 2000), in which he notes that he joined the GAMMA chapter at UCLA while working on an M.A. degree in Spanish and, as a member of the GAMMA chapter, met the chapter's secretary, Christine, whom he married in 1942 (p. 133). Dr. Oppenheimer passed away on May 23, 2014.


Olga Lillian Norstrom, 1938-1939?, ALPHA
Olga Norstrom obtained her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1934, the same year in which she also served as the Vice-President of the Alpha chapter. She continued graduate work in French at Berkeley and is listed as the President of the Alpha chapter in 1935. Olga Norstrom helped to create the first national publication of Pi Delta Phi, Deux Patries, first published in November 1938 at Stanford University. In her "Message de la Présidente" Madame Norstrom writes, "Je suis particulièrement heuresue de saluer ici la naissance d'une revue qui m'apparaît comme devant inaugurer une nouvelle époque dans l'histoire de Pi Delta Phi. [...] Ainsi se réalisera notre ambition d'établir la Société Pi Delta Phi comme une organisation répandue dans toutes les parties du territoire américain pour y développer l'étude de la culture française." Ms. Norstrom taught at Lone Pine High School in Independence, California in 1936. She passed away on March 7, 2004 in Augusta, Georgia.



Dr. Pamela Park, Ph.D., 2004-2011, Lambda Omega
Dr. Park has been a professor of French at Idaho State University since 1985. She received her B.A. from Fordham University, a License from the University of Nancy, France, and her Ph.D. from the City University of New York. She has taught all levels of French language, many fields in the corpus of French literature, and more recently culture, history, and current events courses. She likes the recent courses, as preparing for and teaching them have given her a broader understanding of the French and of those outside of France who speak French and an increasing grasp of the ins- and- outs of French politics. Four years ago, she started training with ACTFL to attain certification as an interviewer for Oral Proficiency Interviews (OPIs). This demanding process has been fruitful. She has added new skills to the teaching repertoire and begun participating in the OPI process. Being a board member of the executive council of Pi Delta Phi, a highlight of her professional service, has enabled her to promote French and Francophone studies in an effective manner and to become familiar with the scope and current state of French studies in the USA.


Dr. Mary Gutermuth, Ph.D., 1987-2004
Dr. Gutermuth, a native of Columbia, Missouri, is Professor Emerita of French at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, where she taught in the French program for thirty-six years. Dr. Gutermuth obtained her B.S. degree from Saint Louis University, and her M.A., Ph.D. degrees from the University of Missouri. She also received a certificat de la langue française from the Sorbonne in Paris. Besides serving as the Executive Director of Phi Delta Phi for seventeen years, Dr. Gutermuth was also very active in other professional organizations, including the American Association of University Women, the American Association of Teachers of French, and Delta Kappa Gamma (the National Teacher's Honor Society). Dr. Gutermuth served as a panelist on Pi Delta Phi at the 2000 AATF convention in Paris, as a member of the governing editorial board of and regular contributor for French XX Bibiography, and wrote articles and reviews on many topics.


Dr. Joseph W. Yedlicka, Ph.D., -1986, BETA PSI
Dr. Yedlicka was master of ceremonies for the official luncheon of Sigma Delta Pi, The Spanish National Honor Society, at its 1959 triennial convention in Chicago, held in conjunction with the annual meetings of AATSP and the MLA. Dr. Yedlicka served as Chapter Moderator for both the Pi Delta Phi and Sigma Delta Pi chapters at DePaul University in Chicago where he taught from 1954-1979. Dr. Yedlicka was a tireless promoter of Pi Delta Phi and advocate for the study of French language and literature. Under his tenures as President and later Executive Director, the Society added many chapters. He retired from the Board in 1986. Dr. Yedlicka passed away in 1988.

Louis E. Richter, M.A., 1950-1962
Louis E. Richter, Executive Director of Pi Delta Phi, obtained his B.A. from the University of Minnesota in 1940, where he was a member of Lambda Alpha Psi. He served as an Instructor in the Dept. of Modern Languages at Oregon State University where he later received his M.A. 1947; his thesis was titled The Influence of Lamartine on the Lyric Poetry of Gomez de Avellaneda. Professor Richter also studied at the Universidad de San Carlos Borromeo in Guatamala. A member of the Department of Modern Languages at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon for a short time in the early 1950s, he then joined the Modern Foreign Languages Department at Oregon State University in 1943 where he taught until at least 1966. Prof. Richter was a special invited guest at the Sigma Delta Phi 1959 triennial convention in Chicago, held in conjunction with the annual meetings of AATSP and the MLA.


Lucie Lataillade
Mlle Lucie Lataillade is listed as the Secrétaire-Trésorière of Pi Delta Phi in the May 1939 (Vol. 1, no. 3) issue of Pi Delta Phi's first publication Deux Patries. Ms. Lataillade passed away in 1974.


Records of past Vice-Presidents and Editors of the Newsletter are incomplete. As such, some of the information presented below may be inaccurate or missing. Gaps between dates of service may suggest that no candiate nominations were received. Differences in Regional designations reflect regional remapping made by the Executive Board. Affiliations were correct at the time of service.

Central 1992-1997 UT Dr. Guy Lambert Brigham Young University, Provo
Central 1985-1992 MO Dr. Pierre Limouzy St. Louis University, St. Louis
East MD Sister Margaret Flinton St. Joseph College, Emmitsburg
Editor 1992-pres. CA Dr. Karen Renick California Lutheran University, Thousand Oaks
Editor 1988-1992 SC Dr. Judith Barban Winthrop College, Rock Hill
Editor -1988 SC Prof. Thomas Shealy Winthrop College, Rock Hill
Far West CA Sister Eloise Therese Mescall Mount St. Mary's College, Los Angeles
Midwest MO Dr. Jacques Chicoineau Webster College, St. Louis
North Central 2007-pres. MN Dr. John Janc Mankato State University, Mankato
North Central 2002-2007 SD Dr. Scott Fish Augustana College, Sioux Falls
North Central 1997-2001 MI Dr. Camille Vande Berg Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo
Northeast 2011-pres. NY Dr. Eileen M. Angelini Canisius College, Buffalo
Northeast 2008-2011 NY Dr. Beverly Evans State University of New York at Geneseo
Northeast 2005-2007 PA Dr. Dorothea Heitsch Shippensburg University, Shippensburg
Northeast 2001-2005 NY Dr. Clayton Alcorn State University of New York at Cortland, Cortland
Northeast 1990-1998 NY Dr. Paul Wood St. Bonaventure University, St. Bonaventure
Northeast 1984-1989 NY Dr. Marcel Lidji City University of New York, New York
Northeast PA Dr. Anne Helgesen Cedar Crest College, Allentown
Northwest 1987-1993 MN Dr. Claire Mather St. Olaf College, Northfield
Pacific 1990-1993 AZ Dr. Ingeborg Kohn University of Arizona, Tucson
Pacific 1984-1989 CA Dr. Jeanne Rigsby University of San Diego, San Diego
South TN Dr. Carroll Pell Mississippi State University, Memphis
South Central 2010-pres. TX Dr. Moira Di Mauro-Jackson Texas State University, San Marcos
South Central 2000-2008 TX Dr. Patricia Hopkins Texas Tech University, Lubbock
South Central 1995-2000 KY Dr. Mary-Jo Netherton Morehead State University, Morehead
Southeast 2013-pres MD Dr. Olga Amarie Georgia Southern University, Statesboro
Southeast 1998-2011 MD Dr. Carleen Leggett Morgan State University, Baltimore
Southeast 1988-1998 SC Dr. Judith Barban Winthrop College, Rock Hill
Southwest 1992-1997 IL Dr. David Gobert Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
Southwest 1982-1992 TX Dr. Rolande Léguillon University of Saint Thomas, Houston
West 2011-pres. ID Dr. Pamela Park Idaho State University, Pocatello
West 2006-2007 TX Dr. Mary Guthermuth Sam Houston State University, Huntsville
West 1997-2005 ID Dr. Pamela Park Idaho State University, Pocatello

•  www.pideltaphi.org/history.html  •