Past National President Alta Allen Loud
By Sally Cutler (Alpha Chi, Butler University), Historian and Archivist
While our seven Founders clearly led the way in establishing Alpha Chi Omega in 1885, other impactful leaders soon emerged. One who stands out for many reasons is Alta Allen Loud (Beta, Albion College). Alta, who was initiated in 1894, was a member of Alpha Chi Omega’s second collegiate chapter and quickly took her place as a leader and role model who would help shape the direction of the young organization.
Alta is the longest-serving National President in Alpha Chi Omega history, serving from 1907-10 and 1912-19. The following examples illustrate many of the impactful decisions made and initiatives undertaken during her terms of office:
- The chapter advisor position was created.
- The open motto and coat of arms were adopted. (You can read more about the open motto in the winter issue of The Lyre!)
- The Initiation Ceremony was adopted.
- Alpha Chi Omega established a relationship with and support of MacDowell.
- Hera was selected as the patron goddess, with the Hera Head pin established as recognition for past national officers.
- A uniform die for the badge was created, standardizing the size, shape and jewels.
- A central office with a paid secretary-editor was established.
- The first history book was published.
- A reserve fund for “special emergencies of the Grand Council or of active chapters” was created.
After leading the committee to design the Fraternity’s coat of arms in 1909, Alta was quoted as saying, “Shall we not then buckle on our armor and, like the knights of old, go forth to battle for Alpha Chi Omega, keeping her fair name untarnished and her standards high?”
Alta was also an accomplished professional and volunteer in Detroit, Michigan. She was a professor of Greek and German at Albion College, a hostess in the Nurses Training School at a Detroit hospital, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and a board member of the Albion City Hospital.
Sadly, Alta died much too young in June of 1933 – at the age of 55 – after being struck by a car. Her sudden death was so shocking and significant to the Fraternity that 20 pages of the November 1933 issue of The Lyre were devoted to tributes and reminiscences from sisters and friends. You can read more on our history website to better understand Alta’s quiet but effective leadership style and her impact on Alpha Chi Omega, which continues to be felt today.
Founder Estelle Leonard reacted to Alta’s passing by stating, “She it was who truly first revealed to me the importance of our fraternity and the scope of its influence. She was never at a loss for the right word in the right place. Her gracious attentions to me at that time, her wise administrations and never-failing courtesies to all, awakened in me an admiration and affection for her that has never faded during the passing years.”
You can also learn about Alta Allen Loud in her Sisters of Significance profile on our digital history website and in The History of Alpha Chi Omega Fraternity: 1910-1935 (p. 40) .
As you discover more about Alta Allen Loud, perhaps you will be reminded of a sister whose strength, compassion and leadership have inspired you to seek the heights. Let us know of these special sisters who lead by example and truly exemplify our open motto. You can share on social media or email us at email@example.com!
Together let us seek the heights!