Chapter L

While picnicking in Washington Park, members of Chapter L took time to visit the site of their beginning at One Wardell Court.

ROCK SPRINGS – Chapter L of the Wyoming P.E.O. Sisterhood will mark its 100th anniversary on Saturday, September 25, 2021, at the Broadway Theater in downtown Rock Springs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for an open house celebration.

P.E.O. members and friends are invited to come by and sign the guest book as well as view some of the scrapbooks and memorabilia of the Chapter.

According to Liz Strannigan, Corresponding Secretary, CDC guidelines, and social distancing will be observed.

On September 24, 1921, 11 women gathered at One Wardell Court to establish the 17th Wyoming Chapter of what is now known as P.E.O. (Philanthropic Education Organization.

The P.E.O. is dedicated to helping women further their education, whether it be immediately out of high school or at some later stage of their lives. They have made an international impact as well. Funds are made available through the P.E.O. projects which include the Educational Loan Fund (ELF) for women seeking financial assistance; P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship (IPS) for women around the world hoping to study in the United States or Canada; the P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education (PCE) for women who had their education interrupted and are returning to complete their degrees in higher education; the P.E.O. Scholar Awards (PSA) which is a merit-based scholarship for women seeking a doctoral degree or post-doctoral research; and the P.E.O. STAR Scholarship for high school female graduates continuing to college. Each of these projects has its own set of guidelines and eligibility criteria.

Local chapters play an active role in awarding of the scholarships and work vigorously to support young women who need the assistance these projects provide. The P.E.O. website ( can help interested students in locating a project to help them in their monetary needs to continue college.

Additionally, P.E.O. owns its own college, Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri. It is described as a nationally ranked, fully accredited, independent, liberal arts/sciences college for women. The college is owned/supported by the P.E.O. since 1927. It offers Baccalaureate and Associate Degrees in a variety of majors.

“Cottey College is a debt-free institution welcoming women from around the world,” Strannigan explained.

P.E.O. International was founded January 21, 1869. The original membership of seven, young college students have grown in the United States and Canada to several thousands.

Over the years, Chapter L has welcomed more than 300 women as part of its ranks.

The founding members of Chapter L included Josephine Vail, Kate Helene Joslin, Lucy Ramsay Taliaferro, Ida May Stanley-Oliver, Willetta Jamison Schweiring, Estalene Hughins Elder, Margaret Lee Harns, Helen Simmons Park, Mae Athen Brooks, Mary Bryant Lee, and Mae Bosworth Chambers. Among this group of women was an educator, a librarian, a county treasurer, a sorority house mother, and a political activist who helped establish the auxiliary American Legion Archie Hay Post 24 in Rock Springs. She is currently participating in the Daughters of the American Revolution.

The current officers of this centennial Chapter are: Sandy Seppie, President; Lori Grube, Vice President; Recording Secretary, Nellie Nutting; Treasurer, Sysser Duncan; Corresponding Secretary, Liz Strannigan; Chaplain, Susan Magnuson; and Guard, Zoanne Henderson.

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