Laura Banks (Texas State-San Marcos)
We are so grateful for long time donor of the Foundation Laura Banks (Texas State-San Marcos). Laura’s friends describe her as “the definition of True and Constant”. So why does Laura support the Gamma Phi Beta Foundation?
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am a retired telecom engineer from Dell, Inc. I spent my professional career working for the State of Texas, American Airlines and Dell, Inc. I traveled the United States and the world designing telecom networks. After I retired, I spent 18 months working for Kendra Scott at one of the retail stores for fun. When I was in high school, my high school counselor told me if I was a "guy" I should be an engineer, but since I was a "girl", I should be a home economist (I don't think that is even a thing anymore). I did go to Texas State University to do just that, but I graduated with a BA in Business and had to learn how to be an engineer when very few women were in the profession.
I have three grown children. My oldest son works for the Department of Defense, my daughter is a Kappa Delta from Texas A&M and works to the State Bar of Texas and my youngest son is an Assistant District Attorney for Bexar County in San Antonio. I have two granddaughters. My husband and I love to travel by car and ship, and he tolerates me wanting to stop at every Gamma Phi Beta House we pass and my Greek letter fashion.
I have volunteered for Gamma Phi Beta almost since the time I left college. I have advised at the Gamma Chi Chapter - Texas State University (where I was initiated in 1972) and the Alpha Zeta Chapter - the University of Texas. I have been involved in building of a Chapter House and chaired the LFMC. I have held several alumnae chapter offices in Houston and Austin, and I have been the Gamma Phi Beta representative to the Austin Alumnae Panhellenic for six years where I am currently the Treasurer. I am currently the Panhellenic Specialist for Region 5. I also serve on the Loyalty Grant Committee for the Foundation.
I have also volunteered for Boy Scouts of America in several local and council leadership positions and received the Silver Beaver Award, which is the highest award given to a leader in the Council. I volunteer for Girls on the Run and lead some of the fundraising activities. I have worked with the Austin Film Festival and South by Southwest volunteering in a number of positions.
When you were a student at Texas State University, what drew you to Gamma Phi Beta?
I went through recruitment in the Spring, 1972 at Texas State University. I was told by a date to accept a bid from any sorority but Gamma Phi Beta. He told me I would never be happy "there". As I looked at each, there were some that looked for someone with a beauty title (I had one, but I didn't put it on my information sheet); they cut me. There were some who wanted someone who was on the dance team – I never could dance that great! So, it came down to two sororities for preference round. When I attended the Gamma Phi Beta party, two women walked me up to a full-length mirror and said their thing and finished with "do you see a Gamma Phi in this mirror?" Of course, I did! There was a Gamma Phi Beta on each side of me, but I could see me as one too. When the party was over, and I had to walk down the stairs to pass all the sisters singing Goodnight Little Sister, I was a mess. I was crying, and I didn't want to leave - I was home! These were the women who understood me, and I wanted to be a part of this amazing group. I still remember that night 49 years later.
What makes you proud to be a Gamma Phi Beta?
There is so much to be proud of in this Sisterhood. I am proud of what Gamma Phi Beta has become. I am proud of the vision of our leaders to guide and direct our sisterhood in tough times and in the easy times. I recognize our sisters who must make some tough decisions about our chapters, as well as tough decisions on how to extend our chapters. I am proud of all the support our sisterhood gives to its members active and alumnae; local and international. I am so proud of our collegiate chapters and how they have thrived these past 18 months. I am proud of our sisters who want to continue to be a part of this wonderful organization even when the pressure on campus is not positive about Greek Life. I am proud to continue to wear my Greek Letters.
Why do you support the Gamma Phi Beta Foundation?
I support the Gamma Phi Beta Foundation, as I believe in the work done by our group. I believe in our programs, scholarships, and grants. I believe if we want a better future for our Sorority, we have to support our Sorority today. It takes each of us giving back whether it is with time, money, words or by whatever means. Our Foundation also provides a wonderful opportunity to remember a sister and create scholarships for members of our chapters. It is such a loving way to give back and remember.