Two local women are involved in launching Alpha Phi’s Beta Beta Centennial Leadership Program at Michigan State University.

Two local women are involved in launching Alpha Phi’s Beta Beta Centennial Leadership Program at Michigan State University.

Photo provided by Melissa Bunker

Local women impact collegiate community

Residents work on leadership program for 100-year-old sorority

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published December 19, 2023


BIRMINGHAM — In 2024, Alpha Phi will be launching a new leadership program called the Beta Beta Centennial Leadership Program. This program will provide cutting-edge leadership education and strength development for the women of Alpha Phi.

Among the many people involved in this program are two local women who began their journey with Alpha Phi at Michigan State University.

Joy Sayed Murray, president of the House Corporation Board and co-chair of the centennial celebration, lives in Bloomfield Hills and serves on the Bloomfield Township library board. She went to Birmingham Groves High School and graduated from MSU with the Class of 1980.

Murray said she was drawn to join the sorority because her mom and sister were both a part of Alpha Phi. She said her family moved around a lot, but she remembers her mom would look up local sisters and chapters whenever they moved to a new city as a way to make friends.

Around 2014, Murray became involved with the House Corporation Board, where she helped create and maintain a safe, secure, welcoming home for the women in the chapter.

Lorie Dietz, a member of the House Corporation Board and co-chair of the Alpha Phi centennial celebration, grew up in Birmingham and attended Cranbrook. She graduated from MSU with the Class of 1978.

“Being a part of a sorority or other kinds of group activities, it’s always a helpful thing in that you have a group of, in our case 50 people, who lived in the sorority house and we learned to work together to manage the house and we learn to work together to give back to the community,” Dietz said.

About three years before the centennial celebration, they began planning. The centennial took place in October 2022 and ended up being a three-day event with a large turnout of attendees.

“We wanted to make sure that we were going to leave something behind, if you will, in a positive, developmental way. In addition to keeping the house safe and secure, we wanted the women to know that we were looking historically at the women that started our chapter 100 years ago, and recognizing that we wouldn’t have been a part of anything had they not been so bold and created the chapter,” Murray said.

“We thought that the best thing we could do would be to help the women who live in the house have a leg up, if you will, in their college studies, and in finding the appropriate career,” Dietz said.

Early 2022, they solidified their plans for the Centennial Leadership Fund. Dietz said they are about 65% of the way towards their goal of $50,000.

“We were acutely aware that the women in this chapter had been through a lot,” Murray said.

Murray said this was actually prior to the recent shooting at MSU. She mentioned the severe hardships that several students went through due to the pandemic and the Oxford High School shooting.

“We wanted to make sure that they understood that we were supporting them in ways that they might not even recognize until down the road,” Murray said. “We worked with our international executive office and piggybacked on the direction that they were going in really strengthening leadership opportunities for these women and helping them see that there was more to a sorority than purely social things and there’s a very strong philanthropic goal for them, as well as developing leaders by giving them opportunities to lead within the house.”

Murray said the Centennial Leadership Fund’s goal is to strengthen those leadership opportunities for the women in the Alpha Phi.

“I feel fortunate that we’re able to not only serve on the board and continue to provide shelter, if you will, in a home, but I think being able to interact with the women that are living there today is incredibly rewarding,” Murray said. “They are wonderful women.”