Sweetheart of Sigma Chi

The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi is many things: a representative, a song and an inspiration.

The Chapter’s First Sweetheart

After the Delta Phi Chapter was installed on February 4, 1950, it worked toward naming its first Sweetheart of Sigma Chi.

Sweetheart Candidates

On March 26, 1950, the chapter invited a slate of Sweetheart candidates to the Oakes House for a waffle breakfast held in their honor. A cohort of dedicated mothers of members prepared the breakfast, and brothers served it to the candidates.

Subsequently, the chapter narrowed the field of candidates to four women and held a dinner in their honor on April 10, 1950, at the Top of the Ocean restaurant.

Sweetheart Ball

On April 15, 1950, the chapter held its annual Sweetheart Ball in the grand Crystal Ballroom of the Winthrop Hotel, one of the finest institutions in the city.

At the event, the chapter named Joan Otterson, a member of the Lambda Sigma Chi sorority, its new Sweetheart.

Joan  Elizabeth Otterson

Joan Otterson of Tacoma, Washington, was named the Chapter’s first Sweetheart of Sigma Chi on April 15, 1950.

As an undergraduate at the University of Puget Sound, Joan joined the Lambda Sigma Chi sorority and studied drama. She played the role of “disgusted wife” in a one-act play called “Goodnight, Please!” in September 1949 and appeared in the April 1950 production of “Lost Horizon,” an adaptation of James Hilton’s novel about Shangri-La. Joan later returned to complete a bachelor’s in education.

She taught French and Russian at Curtis High School from 1965 – 1992. She coached the drama students in their high school productions, and repeatedly escorted high school students on trips to Russia and France in the 70’s. Joan completed her Master’s in Comparative Literature in 1980.

Chapter Sweethearts

Listed by year when named Sweetheart. Surnames in parentheses indicate married names.

2019: Ella Denman ’22, Delta Delta Delta

2018: Kayla Stevenson ’20, Gamma Phi Beta

2017: Lilli Patton ’20, Pi Beta Phi

2016: Colleen Hanson ’19, Gamma Phi Beta

2015: Katherine Tannehill ’18

2014: Kallan Christiansen ’15, Alpha Phi

2013: Patricia Cava ’15, Gamma Phi Beta

2012: Kelly Rotstan ’14, Pi Beta Phi

2011: Avery Zoellner

2010: Elizabeth Weil ’11, Gamma Phi Beta

2009: Rachel Kakach ’10, Gamma Phi Beta

2008: (No Information)

2007: (No Information)

2006: (No Information)

2005: (No Information)

2004: (No Information)

2003: (No Information)

2002: (No Information)

2000: (No Information)

2001: (No Information)

1999: (No Information)

1998: (No Information)

1997: (No Information)

1996: (No Information)

1995: (No Information)

1994: (No Information)

1993: Lisa Arner

1992: Jolynn Parker, Alpha Phi

1991: Valerie Suprenant, Gamma Phi Beta

1990: Laura Strong

1989: Stephanie Brown

1988: Lesley Milhem (Broyles)

1987: Helen Black (Harwood), Delta Delta Delta

1986: (No Information)

1985: (No Information)

1984: (No Information)

1983: Kathy Sahr (Calcagni), Kappa Alpha Theta

1982: (No Information)

1981: Lorraine Hingston, Gamma Phi Beta

1980: (No Information)

1979: (No Information)

1978: (No Information)

1977: Cheryl Birdie, Claracy Clyser, Ann Darnel, Liz Erickson, Dianne Hamilton, Ann Catherine Marteny, Jody Policio and Claudia Risdon

1976: (No Information)

1975: (No Information)

1974: (No Information)

1973: (No Information)

1972: Julie Clark, Pi Beta Phi

1971: (No Information)

1970: Linda Rodgers, Pi Beta Phi

1969: Chris Colman, Pi Beta Phi

1968: Nancy Johnson

1967: Nancy Johnson

1966: Elaine Allen, Delta Delta, Delta

1965: Janice Jensen, Kappa Alpha Theta

1964: Sue Charles, Kappa Alpha Theta

1963: Jeannie Hart, Alpha Phi

1962: Sandra Seyler, Pi Beta Phi

1961: Sheri Zabel, Pi Beta Phi

1960: Terry Turnbull, Delta Delta Delta

1959: Gail Pokela, Alpha Phi

1958: Pat Nichols, Alpha Phi

1957: Marsha Smith, Alpha Phi

1956: (No Information)

1955: Roberta Elson, Chi Omega

1954: Lynn Green, Chi Omega

1953: Elberta Claine Conklin

1952: Joyce Anderson, Delta Alpha Gamma

1951: Dorothy Kathleen Powell (Hunt), Delta Alpha Gamma

1950: Joan Otterson (Macpherson), Lambda Sigma Chi

“The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi” 

Sigma Chis Byron D. Stokes and F. Dudleigh “Dud” Vernor (both Alpha Pi, Albion 1913) composed “The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi” in 1911 while studying at Albion College. Stokes wrote the lyrics and Vernor composed the music.

When asked about the motivation behind the song, Stokes responded, “The ‘sweetheart’ is the symbol for the spiritual ingredient in brotherhood. It was the Sigma Chi Fraternity itself that inspired the song. I wrote the words not long after my initiation, and the magic of our Ritual with its poetic overtones and undertones was, I suppose, the source of my inspiration.”

Verse 1

When the world goes wrong, as it’s bound to do
And you’ve broken Dan Cupid’s bow
And you long for the girl you used to love
the maid of the long ago
Why light your pipe, bid sorrow avaunt,
Blow the smoke from your altar of dreams
And wreathe the face of your dream-girl there
The love that is just what it seems.


The girl of my dreams is the sweetest girl
Of all the girls I know.
Each sweet coed, like a rainbow trail
Fades in the afterglow.
The blue of her eyes and the gold of her hair
Are a blend of the western skies;
And the moonlight beams on the girl of my dreams
She’s the Sweetheart of Sigma Chi.

Verse 2

Ev’ry magic breeze wafts a kiss to you
From the lips of your “sweet sixteen.”
And one by one the maids you knew
Bow to your Meerschaum Queen.
As the years drift by on the tides of time,
And they all have forgotten but you,
Then the girl of your dreams the sweeter seems,
She’s the girl who is always true.