Preceptor Beta Chapter: An Idea And 15 Friends

The official entry in the official book at the Beta Sigma Phi International Offices. Photo by Claire Swinhoe
Los Alamos

It just takes one idea and a few friends to make some pretty wonderful things happen that can span a lifetime.

Fifty five years ago this past week, the Preceptor Beta Chapter of internationally known Beta Sigma Phi, celebrated an anniversary of friendship and service to our community. May 24, 1962, 15 women officially established a chapter in Los Alamos and they have been living well and serving ever since.

Today the nine members are led by Claire Swinhoe and include Kathy Enloe, Helen Boorman, Laura Kendrick, Linda Johnson, Lyn Haval, Elena Guerra, Susan Heckethorn and Barbara Evans.

Beta Sigma Phi is the largest International Women’s Organization, with more than 150,000 members. It has been recognized internationally for its philanthropic work, but the main goal of the organization is life, learning and friendship. In July of 2016 Swinhoe had the opportunity of touring their International office in Kansas City, Mo. It was then that she realized a very big birthday was just ahead.

“I got to meet everybody that was working that day from the Founder’s granddaughter Laura Ross-Wingfield to the gentleman who ran the printing works,” Swinhoe said. “Perhaps the highlight was seeing the (recreated) office of Walter Ross and his original manual typewriter where he hand typed the minutes from the very first meeting over 85 years ago.”

Swinhoe loved seeing all the old black and white photographs on the walls with ladies dressed in beautiful formal gowns, a reminder of a bygone era.

Today the Preceptor Beta chapter is involved in many community events from interviewing budding scientists and presenting awards for the local science fair to donating goody bags to seniors during the holidays, making hand-made cards for veterans and baking cookies for school teachers.

Initially sorority is a way those ladies that are new to town to meet people. The friends become family and often together for many years. “We stick together through thick and thin and continue to help and support each other as the need arises,” Swinhoe said.

The ladies all value the service aspect of the organization and love to help and support their community.

The Preceptor Beta Chapter, after 55 years, may just be what founder Walter Ross had in mind all along.

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