1961: Growth in the Face of Adversity
Alpha Xi (Southern Methodist) members after winning first place during a song contest, 1960.
Though criticism was nothing new to members of the Greek system, the turbulent Sixties was the beginning of anti-Greek sentiment that heralded brand new challenges for the coming years. For the time being, however, things were booming. A National Panhellenic Conference statistical report of June 1961 enumerated 2,008 college chapters, 4,787 alumnae chapters and a total membership that topped one million at 1,024,600 women. On top of the growth they experienced in the 1950s, Gamma Phi Beta added another 23 chapters between 1960 and 1969.
This explosive rate of expansion meant their downtown Chicago headquarters was now far too small for efficient operation and in April 1965, the Central Office moved to larger quarters in Kenilworth, a suburb of Chicago.