Helen Snyder Andres Steiner
Helen Snyder Andres Steiner, Beta Pi Chapter, Washington (1907-2000)
Helen Snyder Andres (Steiner), Kappa’s first Field Secretary (now Leadership Consultant) and first Director of Standards, was destined to make Kappa a prominent part of her life, having shared with the Fraternity her birthday, October 13.
Just before her 90th birthday in 1997 Helen said, “I’ve lived Kappa. It’s my other family.” Kappa taught Helen many things, “but most of all I learned how to appreciate people. Kappa is very good at that.”
Helen assumed the presidency upon Eleanor Bennet’s resignation, and she became a force in unifying Fraternity programs on standards, scholarship and finance during her term (1935-1936). Helen pledged Beta Pi Chapter in 1926 where she was Phi Beta Kappa, Mortar Board member and vice president of her class. She attended the 1928 Convention as delegate and became a Co-organizer (the forerunner of Chapter Consultant) at Gamma Upsilon, British Columbia, in 1930.
In 1932, Helen became a traveling Field Secretary, an experience she later called “one of the most significant of my life…I worked with dedicated Kappa officers who helped me bring the best of Kappa practices to our chapters.” In her 1932 report, she said she “stressed good chapter organization, correct ritual, fine standards, strong chapter discipline, good assimilation of pledges, individual responsibility, cordiality and good manners, scholarship in its broadest sense…” – all of which still apply today.
She met her husband, Eugen Andres, Jr., on a blind date; he was a field secretary for Phi Gamma Delta. He died in 1975. Later she married Joseph Steiner.
When she became Director of Standards in 1934, she embraced “the fine idea of relating standards and ideals closer to actual existence.” It is singularly significant that Kappa chose to devote an office to standards and Fraternity education. As director, Helen wrote an article on chapter standards for each issue of The Key maintaining that the Fraternity had a wonderful opportunity to make itself invaluable if it would cultivate fine standards and truly cultural living and thinking. “The greatest criticism of fraternities is that groups are not realizing the possibilities in the intellectual development of their members,” she said.
During her short term as Director of Standards, Helen had much to do with the development of pledge education, chapter techniques and standards. When she became Grand President, the nation was still in the Depression, and she credited Kappa scholarships with keeping many young women in college. Hearthstone was developing and Helen saw its value for alumnae in the future.
Helen chose not to run for a full term of office; she had been pregnant during part of her term and gave birth to a daughter in December 1936. Yet she continued her service to Kappa. She became Panhellenic Delegate from 1936-1940 and Scholarship Chairman from 1940-1946, supervised Graduate Counselors (Chapter Consultants) from 1946-1948 and became Director of Chapters from 1948-1950. She was also Ritualist and served three years as President of the San Jose Alumnae Association, which she helped to start.
Helen also worked to further the petition and installation of Delta Chi Chapter at San Jose State University, where her daughter, Vivienne, served as President. Helen received the Loyalty Award in 1980.
“I only hope future Kappas may have the same influences from the Fraternity that I have had – the privilege of knowing top caliber women who can speak well, think well, give loving consideration to others, use their talents in an effective way and generally raise the quality of the lives they touch.”
Helen gently passed away January 6, 2000. She had seen the new century.