HISTORY (Page 1)

One hundred and thirteen years ago, Dr. Horace B. Silliman founded an industrial-arts school that started with only a handful of students in an old post office building. It grew and later became Silliman University. By 1964, 63 years later, Silliman had attracted foreign students with its academic reputation. A significant number of students coming from Indonesia, India, Korea, Thailand, Iran, Africa and the USA came to Silliman. The scenic, quiet campus by the sea also drew students from other schools in the Philippines whose parents decided that Silliman was the best school for their children due to its high standards, good reputation and conducive environment.

The year 1964 was significant as one event stood out: the inception of Pan Hellenic Society. Fourteen students mostly coming from the University of the Philippines conceptualized a campus organization that would actively promote fellowship, service and academic excellence. The group was initially named "Pan Hellenic Society" which meant "All Greek Society" as suggested by Edgar Griño. However, the SU Student Council frowned on the name "Pan Hellenic" as it carried a connotation of control over the Greek-letter campus organizations. For this reason, Alex Ting suggested the name Gamma Phi Fraternity or the "Gentlemen's Fraternity." Recruitment of new members became a priority. Rituals and ceremonies were initiated as part of the process of accepting new members and instilling loyalty to the fraternity.

Ephraim Bejar and Susan Monte de Ramos were two young Silliman staff members whose seminal ideas coalesced and defined the fraternity. Both put long hours drafting the Preamble, Code of Ethics and Constitution. Gamman principles of brotherhood, service, excellence, equality and loyalty became the fraternity's guiding values. Edgar Griño composed the frat whistle which, beginning 1967 was easily remembered by the words "Lucila Lalu," an unsolved Manila murder case. It became fashionable to use these words as complementary closing in correspondence between members. A Narra wooden paddle etched with Gamma Phi (ГФ) letters became the traditional instrument for ceremonies and rite of passage. It is kept by the Lord Chamberlain and used during initiation rites as "the decider." The fraternity's first officers were Gauttier Bisnar, Jr., Grand Archon; Edgar Griño, Archon; Alexander Ting, Jr., Lord Chamberlain; Edwin Almirol, Master of the Rolls; and Faustino Guiterrez, Jr., Guardian of the Coffers. The rest of the Gamma Phi charter members were Beaven Agustin, Edgar Apolinar, Ephraim Bejar, Edgar Bisnar, Mitchell Cudal, Oswaldo Esperat, Salvador Flores, Jr., Eugene Malahay and Virgilio Tan.

After a semester on probation, Gamma Phi became a registered campus organization in 1964. A year later, Gamma Phi welcomed its first neophytes (Maiden Batch): Roberto Apolinar, Jorge De Guzman, Dylan Dizon, Alevestro Donesa, Buen Guerrera, Florante Quijano and Thomas Reyes. That same year, Gamma Phi established the Gamma Sigma Sorority, signifying the "Gentlemen's Sisters." The prime batch of 12 coeds was selected for their academic excellence, moral character and exemplary leadership. They were Claudita Arquiza, Gina Bejar, Aida Cunanan, Rose Marie Calderon, Virginia Llego, Susan Monte de Ramos, Farida Sibala, Concepcion "Inday" Utzurrum and Manuela Utzurrum. Honorary Members included: April Rowland, Leslie Rowland, Dorothy Salaver and Joyce Wiseman, all from the US. The members were led and inspired by Elsa Martinez, the sorority's first Grand Archoness.

Professor David Quemada was the first adviser and was succeeded by the venerable music/art Professor Albert Faurot who, in 1966, wrote and composed the "Gamman Song." Thereafter, the sorority composed its Gamma Sigma Hymn and Gamma Sigma Chant. Subsequent advisers to the fraternity and sorority included Amabelle Chuatico, Rev. Dr. Harry Pak, Dr. Salvador "Buddy" Martinez, Dr. Luz Sobong-Porter, Dr. Salvador Benjamin Vista, Dr. Susan Ferrolino-Calumpang, Grace Xenia Marigomen, Dr. Margaret Udarbe-Alvarez, Dr. Rolando Regalado, Dr. Emmanuel Katada, Dean Myles Nicholas Bejar and Asst. Prof. Lourdes Angela Florendo-Piñero.

During the early years, the Gamma Phi and Gamma Sigma competed in friendly rivalry for the honor of being adjudged the best organization on campus. An unfortunate event disqualified Gamma Phi due to an initiation technicality during its second recruitment period. Gamma Sigma Sorority edged out the Gamma Phi and other campus organizations, and claimed the highest honor in its first year of existence.

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