Alumnae connect Greek life, success

by Conlan O'Leary | 11/11/05 6:00am

The Panhellenic Council will kick off this year's Dartmouth's Distinguished lecture series Friday with an event at Alpha Xi Delta sorority featuring Karen Francis '84, who was the founder and president of Kappa Alpha Theta, now Epsilon Kappa Theta sorority.

The program aims to give students opportunities to hear from exemplary alumnae who were involved with the Greek system during their time at the College, Panhell officials said.

Francis is now a Dartmouth trustee and chairman and chief executive officer of Publicis and Hal Riney, a leading marketing and advertising company.

Panhell Secretary Lauren Kaufman '07 said the speakers in the series will be women who were active in the Dartmouth community, both during and after their college years. They will focus on how being involved with Greek organizations at Dartmouth helped them achieve success in their careers.

"The speakers in the series will give people an idea of what it means to be Greek," Kaufman said. "They will also provide a view of the future and how you can take what you learn in the Greek system and apply it to the real world."

While female students and Greek members will find the lecture series particularly relevant, Kaufman said, the speakers appeal to a much wider audience. Anyone interested in how the Dartmouth experience affects life after college can get something out of the lecture series.

"There will be a long question-and-answer session in which people can ask pretty much anything they want," Kaufman said. "Even questions just about being a Dartmouth student or Dartmouth alum are fine."

Prior to her current position, Francis was the vice president of Ford Motor Company, CEO of ConsumerConnect and general manager of General Motors for the Oldsmobile division.

"We are very excited to have a trustee as successful as Karen Francis speaking," Kaufman said.

Kaufman said Panhell will use the first speech in the series to figure out the directions in which they can take future lectures.

According to Kaufman, Dartmouth's Distinguished would ideally host two alumni a term. Panhell is also considering whether or not to include others affiliated with the College who have been supportive of the Greek system.

Given the lack of incidents recently between the College and Greek houses, Kaufman said the lecture series will be about more than improving the image of fraternities and sororities on campus. Instead, Dartmouth's Distinguished will bring students together with alumni who share similar experiences.

"I just hope that everyone that attends gets something out of it, whether its feeling inspired, gaining knowledge or just enjoying cookies," Kaufman said. "It is really a great experience to be able to reconnect with alumni."

Francis will be speaking at 5 p.m. on Saturday at Alpha Xi.