Yes, say members of Alpha Omicron Pi who returned to Indiana State last summer to reconnect and reflect on their friendships and lives well lived.
People warned Terri Hill Harrison that a time would come when she would go a day without seeing or speaking to her sorority sisters at Indiana State University.
That day seemed unfathomable until 1971 when Hill Harrison, who has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, and her Alpha Omicron Pi sorority sisters graduated and began careers in fields ranging from education to communications.
Over the years, their already busy lives grew busier, as they assumed proudly held titles like wife, mother and grandmother.
But the sisterhood has a way of defying time and distance, said Hill Harrison, who has experience as a teacher, travel agent and marketing professional.
“(My sorority sisters) were all such a significant part of my life, maybe more significant than I realized at the time,” she said. “The reunions have helped me reconnect with these women who, as a student, I couldn’t have imagined going through life without seeing every day. I was told I would make lifelong friends in my college sorority, and I’m still glad all these years later that that was true.”
Social media has helped bridge the gap created by distance, but there’s no replacement for the hugs, laughter and chatter that fill AOΠ’s reunion events, which have become commonplace in the last five years, including one that brought nearly 30 alumnae to campus in June 2015.
“Now my favorite Alpha Omicron Pi memory is reconnecting after 40-plus years with the ladies I had so much admiration and respect for during my days at ISU,” said Susie Hay Gould, ’71, who has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. “We reminisce about our sisterhood and find out about all of the fun and amazing things we have all done since leaving school.”
Indiana State’s AOΠ chapter was founded in 1953 by JoAnn Gibbons-Martin, ’74, who has a bachelor’s degree in English and theater.
“I’ve stayed active with the sorority as an alum and it’s kept me young working with the students – the next generation of our sorority,” Gibbons-Martin said.
Thinking back on her own experiences performing with the Sparkettes at Indianapolis Pacers and Chicago Bears games and enjoying time with her sorority sisters, Jill Zschau, ’70, expects that AOΠ’s next generation has as much — if not more — to look forward to.
“I had a great experience as a member of AOΠ,” said Zschau, a former Clarksville teacher with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and health. “I had an all-around great experience as a student at Indiana State.”
AOΠ was a “home away from home” for former commuter student Susan Zanandrea of Clinton, who pledged the sorority in the fall of 1967, two years before serving as Indiana State’s yearbook editor.
“I had so many good opportunities presented to me as a student at Indiana State and they all served me well,” said Zanandrea, who has a bachelor’s, ’70, and master’s degree, GR ’74, in English and taught high school for four years before spending more than three decades in a communications position with Eli Lilly. “I’m a communicator and enjoy reconnecting with people. I still really like these women, so the last couple of years I’ve been coming to the sorority’s alumni events to reconnect with these women who made such an impact on my life as a student.”