Sisters who Serve the World

In honor of National Philanthropy Day and our alliance with Make-A-Wish America, Chi Omega honors five Sisters who truly embody our Vision Statement: Sisters inspired by our values who serve the world while keeping Chi Omega ever at heart. We are so inspired by each of these alumnae and the way they serve their communities and the world every day, through Make-A-Wish and other incredible organizations.

serve-the-world-connie-oneillSMU Chi Omega alumna Connie O’Neill serves on the Susan G. Komen Board of Directors, ensuring that through the best scientific research and community awareness, the organization can save lives and end breast cancer forever.

“Get involved! Find something you are passionate about and volunteer,” Connie said. “My two passions are health and education. There are countless nonprofits to choose from in any community. Carve out a few hours and do something for someone else.”

Connie has been involved with Susan G. Komen for almost 25 years.  She has also been involved with many other charitable organizations in the Dallas area, including the Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Children’s Health Services of Texas, and as past President of the SMU Alumni Association and the Junior League of Dallas. She has served on the boards of the Presbyterian Hospital Foundation, St. Paul Medical Center Foundation, and St. Mark’s School of Texas Parents Association Board.

jan-george-andrew-west-coastal-lifeCU Boulder Chi Omega alumna Jan George has spent more than half a century volunteering for the American Red Cross, following disasters from West, Texas to Ground Zero and serving as a steady source of support for hurricane victims near her home in Florida.

Jan taught children’s swimming lessons for the Red Cross for years, but after retirement, she knew she still wanted to help.

“I thought, well, I’m not going to teach swimming anymore – but I can certainly do something,” Jan said.

Since then, she has been deployed to more than 20 Red Cross missions across the country, managing dozens of volunteers. Jan was named the Governor’s Hurricane Conference award winner in 2014.

Photo Credit: Andrew West, Coastal Life

erika-togoThree years ago, Erika Wright, an alumna of Tau Beta Chapter at Oklahoma State University founded Somebody’s Mama, a volunteer organization focused on raising awareness and funding global projects focused on women’s healthcare, education, economic empowerment, and ending violence against women.

Along with co-founder Leia Johnson and the support of a Board of Directors that includes two Chi Omegas, Erika has worked to build a community proving that small and simple acts of love can create great things – resulting in the construction of a maternity ward and schools in West Africa, the support of business startups in South Sudan, healthcare training for women in Uganda, and many other successes.

“This not-so-crazy idea we had—doing good things with our friends in a simple and fun way—has become a global sisterhood movement that is bringing women around the world together for good,” Erika said. “I am humbled every day by our giving community and am simply astounded by what we have accomplished together in such a short time.”

jill-prof-picAs an award-winning high school counselor, supporting victims of violence and devastating loss through the Pima County (Tucson, Arizona) Attorney’s Office of Victim Services was a natural volunteer role for Jill Ronsman, an alumna of University of Arizona Chi Omega.

A military mother, Jill often spends between 20-40 hours each month voluteering through victim services in addition to her full-time job as a high school assistant principal.

“The most rewarding part of this opportunity is the hugs I get when I leave the unbearable situation, knowing that my team has helped soften the blow that life can give,” Jill said. “We are just a small part of this big world, and we need to realize that life and happiness is not just about us, it is about what [we] can do to make life better for others. What [we] can do to help our neighbor or sister.”



katlyn-with-wish-child-davidAt 14, Katlyn Gould was diagnosed with stage three Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Two years later, her Wish was granted – meeting Boston Red Sox centerfielder Jacob Ellsbury. When she began college a few years later, Katlyn found a home in the Psi Kappa Chapter at Clemson University, where she was able to volunteer through her chapter’s Make-A-Wish events.

Today, Katlyn is nine years cancer-free and working as a Wish Manager for Make-A-Wish South Carolina, planning and coordinating Wishes for children all over the state.

“There is a reason that both Chi Omega and Make-A-Wish hold special places in my heart and they work hand-in-hand together,” Katlyn said. “They both provide hope, strength, and joy to the individuals that they serve. They have both provided me with incredible memories full of joy and strength, a positive outlook, and helped grow my heart into a more passionate giving heart which has shaped me into the woman I am today.”

We could not be more proud of all Katlyn has accomplished! Chi Omega is honored to partner with Make-A-Wish as our national philanthropy.


Distinguished Alumnae Honored by Chi Omega

Chi Omega recognized exceptional alumnae with two of our highest honors in 2016 through the Roselyn T. Dabbs Philanthropist Award, presented to philanthropist and community leader Linda Gregg Fields (Alpha Zeta/Texas State University) and the Malinda Jolley Mortin Woman of Achievement Award, presented to actress Sela Ward (Nu Beta/University of Alabama).

Linda Gregg Fields, 2016 Roselyn T. Dabbs Philanthropist Award Recipient

Roselyn T. Dabbs Philanthropist Award recipient Linda Gregg Fields is an initiate of Alpha Zeta Chapter at Texas State University, where she earned an education degree. This award was named to honor former Chi Omega Foundation President Roselyn Threadgill Dabbs. It is given to a Chi Omega who has demonstrated outstanding fraternal and charitable responsibility and whose generosity encourages others to take philanthropic leadership roles within the Greek community and in her own community. Linda and her husband, Jerry, are philanthropic visionaries, having donated millions to causes around the globe, including Chi Omega. Her commitment to improving lives reaches many organizations worldwide. The family’s gift of $1 million to the Chi Omega Foundation’s Sisterhood Never Stops Campaign represents one of the largest gifts in Chi Omega’s history, and will be utilized as critical funding to support the emerging needs of the Fraternity in perpetuity.

Sela Ward, 2016 Malinda Jolley Mortin Woman of Achievement

Malinda Jolley Mortin Woman of Achievement Sela Ward is an initiate of the Nu Beta Chapter at the University of Alabama. This national award is the Fraternity’s highest honor, recognizing distinguished accomplishment in service to Chi Omega, an individual’s community, and the nation. The Woman of Achievement Award is named in honor of Georgia resident Malinda Jolley Mortin, a dedicated Chi Omega alumna. Sela has received many awards for her performances, including Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and a Cable Ace Award. Her roles include those in Independence Day: Resurgence, Gone Girl, The Fugitive, Sisters, Once and Again, CSI: NY, House, and many more. Sela is author of the New York Times bestseller Homesick, founder of Hope Village for Children in her native state of Mississippi, and honorary chair of Chi Omega’s premier giving group, The 1895 Society.

Both awards were presented by the Chi Omega Foundation Trustees during Chi Omega’s 61st Biennial Convention in June 2016, with more than 1,200 collegiate and alumnae delegates in attendance. We are honored to be represented by these incredible Sisters and to recognize their impact on Chi Omega and beyond.

Pictured above (L-R): 2016 Roselyn T. Dabbs Philanthropist Award Recipient Linda Gregg Fields (Alpha Zeta Chapter/Texas State), 2016 Malinda Jolley Mortin Woman of Achievement Sela Ward (Nu Beta Chapter/University of Alabama), Chi Omega Foundation President Jane Rogers (Psi Chapter/University of Arkansas).

Chi Omegas in Miss America 2017

Chi Omega was represented on the Miss America 2017 stage this Sunday by Miss Mississippi, Laura Lee Lewis (Phi Delta Chapter/Mississippi State University) and Miss Texas, Caroline Carothers (Theta Kappa Chapter/Baylor University). Both finished in the Top 7 and Laura Lee was Fourth Runner-Up! We are so proud of their accomplishments.

miss-mississippi-laura-lee-lewis-headshotMiss Mississippi, Laura Lee Lewis is an initiate of the Phi Delta Chapter at Mississippi State University, where is pursuing a degree in Elementary Education. Her platform, Mentoring Matters, is focused on establishing a community-based approach to youth mentorship, bringing awareness to mentoring opportunities and the powerful impact they can have on young men and women. Laura Lee was able to perform her vocal talent on the Miss America stage.

miss-texas-caroline-carothers-headshotMiss Texas, Caroline Carothers is an initiate of the Theta Kappa Chapter at Baylor University, where she is also a Feature Twirler. A competitive baton twirler since the age of 6, Caroline teaches twirling to young women and performed her talent at Miss America. An aspiring math teacher, Caroline’s platform, With Math I Can, helps students reach their potential and change negative attitudes about math.

Chi Omega is honored to be represented by Laura Lee, Caroline, and all of the other Sisters who were local titleholders during 2016. We can’t wait to see what’s next for these incredible women. Congratulations to our Panhellenic Sister and former Miss Arkansas, Savvy Shields, for being crowned Miss America 2017!



Sports Journalist Christine Brennan (Xi/Northwestern), in a powerful tribute to Chi omega Sister and colleague, Pat Head Summitt (Xi Zeta/U of Tennessee, Martin): “Every girl and every woman who plays sports, and there are millions of them in this country, owes Pat Summitt one thing today: A thank you. She showed that a woman could be tough and unrelenting and powerful — and be rewarded for it.Mostly, she wanted to win. And win and win and win. And she did, more than anyone else who has ever coached the college game, male or female. She was a women’s basketball coach, yes, but she really was a basketball coach who happened to be a woman.”

Along with many family members, former players, friends, and admirers, Chi Omega was devastated by the loss of our Sister, Pat Summitt on June 28, 2016.

Summitt was initiated into the Xi Zeta Chapter of Chi Omega in 1971 at the University of Tennessee-Martin and remained involved with the Fraternity during her 40-plus years of membership, speaking at local and national events for Chi Omega and inspiring Sisters all over the country.

In 1988, Pat Summitt was awarded the Malinda Jolley Mortin Woman of Achievement Award. At that time, Summitt had won her second national championship. Since then, she won six additional national championships and won more basketball games than any other coach in basketball history.

“Today, Chi Omega mourns the loss of extraordinary Sister Pat Head Summitt,” said National President Shelley Potter. “Her unrelenting drive for excellence transformed the narrative and paved the way for the success of women’s sports. She will long be remembered as a woman of purpose – an inspiration for her own story as well as how she empowered others to be their best selves. A Chi Omega Malinda Jolley Mortin Woman of Achievement, her Sisters at University of Tennessee-Martin also fitting named their lodge in honor of Pat. Chi Omega Sisters join the chorus of all who admire Pat, celebrating her extraordinary life and contributions.”

Our Fraternity is proud to have called Pat “Sister” and offer our condolences to her family and friends, especially her dear Xi Zeta Sisters.