Graduation Date

1920

Initiation Date

11/17/1917

Chapter

University


Bibliographical Information

For 29 years, Florence Merdian (pictured left, above) kept the Phi Mu membership informed through her work as Editor of The Aglaia. As Editor, she sat on the National Council, contributing a useful continuity to that body.

Florence Merdian attended Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois where she was a member of Sigma Chapter, graduating in 1920. At Knox, Florence had been a talented and prolific student athlete. She excelled in tennis, winning the interclass competition all four years as well as the state championship her sophomore year and both the singles and doubles Little 19 Conference championship her junior year. In addition to tennis, Florence also played basketball, soccer, and hockey at Knox. In 1987, Florence's athletic prowess was recognized when she was inducted into the Knox-Lombard Athletic Hall of Fame as a charter member. Off the court, Florence was the first female editor of both the Knox student newspaper and yearbook. She helped form the Women's Self-Government Association, served as president of the Women's K Club, president of Theta Sigma Phi (the Women in Communications honorary), and secretary of the Panhellenic Association as well as being a member of Mortar Board.

Post-college, Florence remained an active sportswoman, winning the Peoria District Women's doubles championship, the Galesburg Mixed doubles championship, and the Galesburg Women's singles in 1928 alone. She also served as an assistant coach for women's athletics at Knox. Professionally, she became society editor for the Illinois State Register at Springfield and then telegraph and state editor of the Galesburg Evening Mail. She was in charge of the Peoria Journal Star's bureau in Galesburg for 30 years and also wrote for the Associated Press, the Chicago Tribune, and other newspapers and magazines. She became public relations director at Lombard College and at Knox College, and served as editor of the Knox College alumni magazine.

Putting her journalism abilities to good use for Phi Mu, Florence first served as Assistant Editor of The Aglaia from 1921-1924, founding editor of the Phi Mu Star from 1923-1925, and then Editor of The Aglaia (a member of the National Council) from 1925-1954. Recognized for her abilities and leadership, Florence was elected the first chairman of the National Panhellenic Editors Conference in 1930. She served as chairman of the Phi Mu Publications Board for years as well as National Publicity Chairman in the latter half of the 1930s until, at her suggestion, a Publicity Board was set up separately from the Editorial Board in 1940.


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