Ella French

(Syracuse, 1877)

No letters nor other historical documents of Ella French (Syracuse, 1877) are available in the Gamma Phi Beta archives. However, some reminisces from other members of Gamma Phi Beta are available, and it is from these that we know of her fine intellect. She was initiated into Alpha Chapter (Syracuse) and after she finished school she remained an active alumna. She attended most alumnae events and she advised collegiate members on the issues at hand. She was one of two members who visited, recommended then installed Beta Chapter (Michigan). Her father was a dean of Syracuse University, and it was he who, in 1892, started the Alpha Chapter tradition of the “Sophomore Donation Event” when he arrived at a surprise social with a parcel under his arm – which inspired others to donate to the new rented Alpha Chapter house. Like her father, Ella entered academia and became a professor of fine arts at Syracuse University. However, she was as known for her involvement in Gamma Phi Beta as she was for her academic achievements. She was a member of the first Executive Committee, then its Chairman – also known as President. After her death, Syracuse Alumnae Chapter established the Ella French Fund.

Ella French served as Chairman from 1894-95.