My Badge

March is an important month for Phi Mu, as we celebrate our founding. It also includes National Ritual Celebration Week, which is kicked off by International Badge Day, a National Panhellenic Conference celebration.

Phi Mu has a very distinctive badge: the barbed quatrefoil is found in European architecture and the meaning of the shape is special to all initiated members. This March, while we celebrate our Founders’ Day, National Ritual Celebration Week (March 1-6) and National Panhellenic Conference Badge Day (Monday, March 1), we asked each member of the 2020-2022 National Council to tell us about her badge.

When installed, each new National Council member received a National Council badge (pictured), and each of them also has her original badge or one that was given to her. Both National President Andie Kash and Past National President Frances Mitchelson also have the diamond National President badge.

Image of a current National Council badge, modeled after the Philomathean badge.

National President Andie Kash, Delta Eta (Georgetown College), Initiated in 1991

I actually lost my badge at the end of my senior year! I was able to get a replacement, but since 2002 I have proudly worn my National Council badge. I remember, when I was a collegian, then-National President Lynne Bernthal, AK (College of Charleston), visited my chapter. She let me hold her diamond National President badge and I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. I never imagined in that moment that one day I would have the privilege of wearing a National President badge.

National President Andie Kash, Delta Eta, wearing the National President’s Badge

National Vice President Cynthia Bland, Gamma Delta (American University), Initiated in 2000

I have my badge from my Initiation. It’s quite basic and I always thought I might get a fancier, pearled badge, but never got around to it. I do proudly display every possible dangle I have ever earned on my guard!

National Vice President Denise McDermott, Beta Eta (Miami University), Initiated in 1990

I have three badges that are all very special to me. The red and white stones represent my alma mater’s colors and are set in a vintage badge ring estimated to be from the 1940s. I purchased the pink coral badge as a special memory of my first national convention (Boca Raton, Fla., in 2014) and it is a nod to the time I lived in Florida. I also have my original gold badge from my Initiation.

Lynn McGraw’s badge with her chapter guard.

National Vice President Lynn Storlien McGraw, Zeta Sigma (University of Wisconsin-River Falls), Initiated in 1989

My initial badge has four point pearls and a chased embossed edge. I selected it because it was feminine and felt like a vintage style. This option was a budget-friendly way for me to personalize the standard badge.

National Panhellenic Conference Delegate Frances Mitchelson, Alpha Rho (University of Louisiana Monroe), Initiated in 1982

I am blessed to have three badges — my original badge from when I was initiated in 1982, my National Council badge from 1990 and my National President badge from 1994. When I joined Phi Mu, I could only afford to purchase the basic badge as I was paying for Phi Mu myself. When I graduated, my parents had my badge made into a ring and the jeweler created a special quatrefoil mold to hold my badge.

National Vice President Karey Neville, Delta Tau (Western Kentucky University), Initiated in 1998

I have my original badge that I received after my Initiation on May 3, 1998. While I am not typically very sentimental, there has always been something special about that badge that has kept me loyal to it. I just couldn’t ever consider buying a ‘fancier’ one!

From the Phi Mu Archives, this National Council badge was owned by Katherine “Katie” Ginzel Gilchrist, Upsilon (The Ohio State University). Katie served on National Council from 1966-1972. This badge was a gift from her daughter Vicky Gilchrist, Delta Kappa (Bowling Green State University).

National Vice President Jessica Oswald, Gamma Mu (Western Carolina University), Initiated in 2002

I have the plain badge and I purchased a pearl point badge when I was a Graduate Counselor. In that job, I often loaned my badge to the chapter members and I thought I should have a backup. I really want the red and black Disney badge (originally designed in the colors of Minnie Mouse’s skirt for the 2020 National Convention) and I plan to get it in 2024 as a memento of my time on National Council.

National Vice President Dr. Jeanne Bowman Persuit, Beta Mu (The Pennsylvania State University), Initiated in 1992

I have two badges: one is the 2014 Convention Badge from Boca Raton, Fla. I bought it to commemorate my first convention and I love the coral color of the stones. The second badge is an antique badge that was given to me by Audrey Reed Jankucic, Beta Psi (University of Southern Maine), when we both served on the Beta Mu Advisory Council. My Initiation badge had been damaged and Audrey “rescued” one from eBay and generously gave it to me. It is from 1932 and the engraving is from Zeta Beta Chapter, which was the University of Wisconsin-Madison – a fellow Big Ten school!