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Celebrating the Legacy of the House Mother

House Mother

Support for the mission of Lambda Chi Alpha comes in many shapes and forms. From chapter advisors to the house mothers of a bygone era, there have been countless individuals championing the development and growth of Lambda Chi members.

One such positive influence was the late Vera “High Spoon” Emerson, associated with the Alpha-Gamma chapter at the University of South Dakota. Emerson began as an administrative secretary for the university but found a unique way to give back to the students as house cook for the Lambda Chi chapter.

Members soon became accustomed to home-cooked meals throughout the week, but more importantly, the chance to bond with each other and create deeper connections. At the center of each mealtime was the steady force of Emerson.

“I think for a lot of students, including me who lived far away from our college town, I couldn’t just run home every evening or for a weekend, so she definitely helped many of us feel at home,” said Logan Lamphere, member during Emerson’s tenure.

Lamphere and the rest of his Brothers admired how Emerson dedicated herself to the organization when she could have chosen any path to follow. Emerson did what she could to serve as a positive influence for the young men. She also modeled the way for the members in performing each task with passion and respect.

Likewise, the men of the Epsilon-Chi chapter at Mississippi State University have a long history of house mothers who serve as role models for members. John Hendricks, former chapter advisor for the chapter, fondly recalls the staple of the house mother role throughout the years and how they have played a hand in shaping generations of men to become successful family men and professionals in the workforce.

“Having a small group point of reference on a large campus while also having a kind adult ear to listen to a problem…is invaluable,” said Hendricks.

As roles and times have evolved, many chapters have moved away from traditional “house mothers”. Instead, dedicated professionals can be found on each campus supporting Greek Life in various ways and promoting the very ideals that members hope to gain from their Lambda Chi experience: Equal Membership, Timeless Leadership, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Total Health and Strength Through Service.

“I think whether it’s a house mother, a cook or a student advisor…they automatically become a role model, a source of stability, and it teaches the members respect,” said Lamphere. “There’s a certain respect of that older person and even for someone who is not an initiated member of the Fraternity…that person commands respect and teaches us that level of respect.”

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