Frances Fatout Alexander
Frances Fatout Alexander, Iota, DePauw (1907 – 2007)
The social revolution that started during Mary Whitney’s term was full-blown when Frances Fatout Alexander became President (1964-1968). Fran presided during a most troubled period of Fraternity history.
As President, she signed innumerable statements of Fraternity membership policy and procedures and dealt with a constant stream of questionnaires. While it was important for her to meet the demands of administrators and assure them Kappa’s policies were non-discriminatory, Fran felt it was even more important and vital to keep the membership together at a time when emotions were running high.
During her presidency, too, Headquarters was extensively damaged by fire on February 11, 1965.
Throughout this trying time, however, no chapters were lost, Kappa strengthened its Panhellenic ties, and the Fraternity retained the respect of college administrators for its firm stand and honest statements.
“My entire term as President was overshadowed by the terrible pressures and concern for existence that rocked the fraternity world,” Fran related later in the 1970s. “I am glad to have had a part in holding us together.”
At DePauw University, Fran earned her B.A. in English and was interested in creative writing. She never held a major chapter office, but always felt she should “give back” to the Fraternity. She once told Clara O. Pierce, “I’ve spent my life as an alumna trying to make up for my deficiencies as an active.”
Fran was involved with alumna groups as she moved around the country (St. Louis, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Charlotte), but she really focused on the Fraternity when she moved to Atlanta in 1938. There, she served three terms as President of the Atlanta Alumnae Association.
Fran served as chairman of the colonization of Delta Upsilon Chapter at the University of Georgia (accomplished in 1947), a monumental but rewarding task. One charter member, Jean Hess (Wells), later became Fraternity President.
With the accomplishment of a successful installation of Delta Upsilon, Fran’s Kappa career was underway. From 1947-1952 she was Mu Province Director of Chapters, from 1952-1954 served as Fraternity Chairman of Pledge Training and in 1954 was elected Director of Chapters.
She became Vice President in 1958 and served as National Panhellenic Conference Delegate from 1961-1964. When she became President in 1964, her husband sent a telegram to the Fraternity that read, “How could you do this to me?” (He also sent his love to Fran.)
Fran and Frank had one son during their marriage but had lost two daughters in infancy. The collegians at the 1964 Convention a poignant reply to Frank’s question: “You’ve not lost a wife, you just gained 70,000 Kappa daughters!”
In addition to handling turbulent years with firm frankness, Fran was able to convince the Finance Committee that a January meeting of Council (in addition to the annual June meeting) was essential. She shortened Council attendance at Convention (it had been three weeks!) and established a very successful training school for Province officers in Columbus, Ohio, in June of Associate Council election years. Three new chapters were added during Fran’s administration: Epsilon Iota – Puget Sound, Epsilon Kappa – South Carolina, and Epsilon Lambda – Tennessee.
Fran received Kappa’s highest accolade, the Loyalty Award, at the Centennial Convention in 1970.