Date of Award

Spring 5-18-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts - History



First Advisor

Dr. Dana Cooper

Second Advisor

Dr. Scott Sosebee

Third Advisor

Dr. Paul J. P. Sandul

Fourth Advisor

Ms. Linda Reynolds


Shortly after Stephen F. Austin Teachers College (SFA) opened in 1923, students began organizing social clubs. By the late 1920s, women formed the Amities and Pine Burrs to develop friendships and a sense of belonging. The Fideles and Sigma Gammas arrived on campus in the late 1940s as more women began attending SFA. Dr. Ralph W. Steen’s appointment as president brought significant changes to SFA and inadvertently to the social groups.

Responsible for adding more classrooms and dormitories, expanding course work and faculty, the new president also influenced the campus population by attempting to bring in students from metropolitan areas. In an effort to entice a broader student body, Steen supported Ernestine Henry, dean of women, as she helped guide each group’s transformation into national sororities. The result of Steen’s desire to expand SFA brought subtle changes, but ones that had a lasting impact on the campus environment.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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