Kate Gardner Cooke

(Syracuse, 1883)

Stories about this President abound. All Gamma Phi Betas remember Gardner for her passion for new chapters. It was she who, as a student in the midst of an attitude toward expansion, translated the attitude into action with her correspondence with the students who would be the charter members of Beta Chapter (Michigan). She, with other sisters from Alpha Chapter (Syracuse), both inspected and installed the chapter. It was she who, as a student, also served as the secretary of the 1885 Convention. Her handwritten minutes of this event are housed in the Gamma Phi Beta archives. Her service at the international level would continue in her roles as executive board member, then President. Even with her influence at this level, she retained her interest at the local level. A “Brief History of Alpha Chapter” (Wood, 1917) indicated that Gardner had a perfect record of attendance, from her Initiation until that time, at the annual Alpha Chapter (Syracuse) Banquet on the anniversary of the founding of the Sorority. She remained in contact with the collegiate and alumnae members in the Syracuse area and was a confidant of such notable alumnae as Mary Whitford (Syracuse, 1878) and Founder Mary Bingham Willoughby (Syracuse, 1874). She was a mentor for collegiate members and a role model for alumnae.

Kate Gardner Cooke served as Grand President from 1900-01.