Leadership Dinner Inspiration presented by Region 3 Collegiate Specialist Mary Vale Jensen, Eta Delta-North Florida
When I look back on my life and the choices that have brought me to where I am now, I inevitably think about my decision to become a sister of Delta Gamma and the road that got me here to this moment. I think about that fateful night in the recruitment room when I was just 18 years old. I think about the gift that was bestowed on me by the women who believed in me that day, and the women who have encouraged, supported and championed me through my life since. I reflect fondly on my Delta Gamma journey and how I have gotten to where I am now. I think about how the course of my entire life was forever impacted when I said yes to Delta Gamma for the first of many times.
When I think about the path I’ve traveled to this moment, of my relationship with Delta Gamma and of the woman I am today because of her, many times I am reminded of the Robert Frost poem, the Road Not Taken, which I will share with you now:
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
To me, this poem is not about the road that was taken; the one more or less travelled, the route that was expected or unexpected. To me, it’s about the choice itself and it’s about the journey after. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what road the narrator took; because in choosing either path, her course would be forever changed.
Anchor Academy Lunch Inspiration presented by Region 6 Director Maura Brady Sharp, Gamma Zeta-Louisiana State
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Robert F. Kennedy. Two years before he died, he traveled to Capetown, South Africa to address a group of college students, who in the grand scheme of things were not so different than the collegians in this room today.
June 1966 was a tumultuous time. As Kennedy spoke in South Africa, apartheid was the law of the land, forcing separate and quite unequal treatment based on race. In Asia, the Vietnam war raged on. And in the U.S., the civil rights movement…kept moving, as there was still so much work to be done. With that backdrop, Kennedy arrived in Capetown. I hope his words then will inspire us as Delta Gamma leaders today.
“Each time a [wo]man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, [s]he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls...”
Let us send forth tiny ripples of hope today and every day.
Opening Banquet Inspiration by Region 4 Finance Specialist Andrea Prewitt, Delta Beta-Kentucky
Good evening. As we gather here today as members of Delta Gamma Fraternity, we pray that we are ever mindful of opportunities to render friendship, sympathy and assistance to our fellow sisters, our universities and to our communities. We are thankful for this day that has been given to us and we pray for strength and guidance as we spend the next few days together conducting business and making memories. May we be challenged to give our best always and continually strive to Do Good.
Alumnae Involvement Breakfast Inspirations presented by Director of Advisers Lauren Delibro Smith, Zeta Nu-Montevallo
Like many of you, the course of my entire life was forever changed when I first said yes to Delta Gamma; And, as way leads on to way, the compounded decisions year after year related to that initial step towards the path of sisterhood have brought me to this moment here with each of you; my decision to become a sister, to become a big, to become an officer, to be an adviser, to serve on the regional team, to give an inspiration.
We were each given the opportunity to make a choice related to Delta Gamma. Whatever your situation, whatever your background, whatever your path was that brought you here to this moment- and regardless of the reasons why you chose this path- you are each making a decision to continue on your DG journey and travel down your road.
While we may choose different paths in the future and we may travel those roads together or separately; here in this moment, at our 68th biennial convention, we have been given the shared opportunity to create roads for those coming after us, to remember our own paths and to Reflect on our Sisterhood.
“Beginning when we are girls, most of us are taught to deflect praise. We apologize for our accomplishments. We try to level the field with our family and friends by downplaying our brilliance. We settle for the passenger’s seat when we long to drive. That’s why so many of us have been willing to hide our light as adults. Instead of being filled with all the passion and purpose that enable us to offer our best to the world, we empty ourselves in an effort to silence our critics. The truth is that the naysayers in your life can never be fully satisfied. Whether you hide or shine, they’ll always feel threatened because they don’t believe they are enough. So stop paying attention to them. Every time you suppress some part of yourself or allow others to play you small, you are ignoring the owner’s manual your Creator gave you. What I know for sure is this: You are built not to shrink down to less but to blossom into more. To be more splendid. To be more extraordinary. To use every moment to fill yourself up.”
- Oprah Winfrey "What I Know for Sure"
General Session 1 Inspiration presented by Detroit North Suburban alumnae president Kathleen Mullins Westerlund, Beta Xi-Michigan State
As we begin the 1st General Session of our 68th Biennial Convention, it is important to remember that our great fraternity continues to thrive because of all of you…. Volunteers who continue to do good. Erma Bombeck reminds us of who we are when she wrote:
“Volunteers have style. They are fiercely independent. If you have to ask how much they cost, you can’t afford them. They are part of an aristocratic era that is disappearing from the American scene-a luxury in a world that has become very practical. They are civilization, at least the only part worth talking about. They are the only human beings on the face of this Earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfishness, caring, patience, need and love for on another. Their very presence transcends politics, religion and ethnic backgrounds. They are a luxury too often taken for granted. It frightens me, somehow, to imagine what the world would be without them.”
Thank all of you for volunteering to Do Good and keep our great fraternity alive and well.
Friday Lunch Inspiration presented by Taylor Johnson, Alpha Omega-Arkansas chapter president
Human Family by Maya Angelou
I note the obvious differences in the human family. Some of us are serious, some thrive on comedy. Some declare their lives are lived as true profundity, and others claim they really live the real reality. The variety of our skin tones can confuse, bemuse, delight, brown and pink and beige and purple, tan and blue and white. I've sailed upon the seven seas and stopped in every land, I've seen the wonders of the world not yet one common man. I know ten thousand women called Jane and Mary Jane, but I've not seen any two who really were the same. Mirror twins are different although their features jibe, and lovers think quite different thoughts while lying side by side.
We love and lose in China, we weep on England's moors, and laugh and moan in Guinea, and thrive on Spanish shores. We seek success in Finland, are born and die in Maine. In minor ways we differ, in major we're the same. I note the obvious differences between each sort and type, but we are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike. We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike. We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.
General Session 2 Inspiration presented by Hannah Talarico, Beta-Omega chapter president
A poem by Henry Van Dyke
I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
And starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch
Until at length.
She hangs like a speck of white cloud, just where the seas and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says, “There, she is gone.”
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull
And spar as shew as when she left my side.
And she is just as able to bear her load and living freight to her
Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my aside says, “There, she is gone!” there are other eyes watching her coming.
And other voices ready take up the glad shout,
“Here she comes!”
General Session 3 Inspiration presented by Silicon Valley alumnae president Elana Langer, Epsilon Sigma-San Diego State
There once was an oyster Whose story I tell Who found that some sand Had got into her shell.
It was only a grain, But it gave her great pain. For oysters have feelings Although they’re so plain.
Now, did she berate The harsh workings of fate That had brought her to such a deplorable state?
Did she curse at the government. Cry for election, And claim that the sea should Have given her protection?
No, she said to herself As she laid on a shell, Since I cannot remove it, I shall try to improve it.
Now the years have rolled on, As the years always do And she came to her ultimate Destiny-stew.
And the small grain of sand That had bothered her so Was a beautiful pearl All richly aglow.
Now the tale has a moral For isn’t it grand What an oyster can do With a morsel of sand?
What couldn’t we do If we’d only begin With some things That get under our skin.
Awards Banquet Inspiration presented by Eta Phi-NYU New Chapter Coordinator (NCC) Mary Gratton, Zeta Alpha-Villanova
There were other joys to be found in their (friends’) company which still more powerfully captivated my mind – the charms of talking and laughing together and kindly giving way to each other’s wishes, reading elegantly written books together, sharing jokes and delighting to honor one another, disagreeing occasionally but without rancor, as a person might disagree with himself, and lending piquancy by that rare disagreement to our much more frequent accord. We would teach and learn from each other, sadly missing any who were absent and blithely welcoming them when they returned. Such signs of friendship sprang from the hearts of friends who loved and knew their love returned, signs to be read in smiles, word, glances and a thousand gracious gestures. So were sparks kindled and our minds were fused inseparably, out of many becoming one. (Confessions Bk IV.8.13)