Since its founding in 1897 as the country’s first undergraduate honorary society to recognize women demonstrating scholarship, leadership, service, and loyalty to Syracuse University, Eta Pi Upsilon has responded to the challenges of collegiate life.
Early on, Eta Pi, as it came to be known, provided a connection among women students, who were still something of a novelty. As campus life developed, Eta Pi assumed a prominent leadership role on campus, initiating programs such as the Seminar on World Affairs and Spring Weekend, a highlight of campus life.
When the turbulence of the late 1960s and early 1970s abruptly changed campus institutions, Eta Pi members took over production of the yearbook to keep alive a valued Syracuse tradition. Further changes in college life prompted changes in Eta Pi; by the 1990s, honorary societies had diminished in influence. Eta Pi Upsilon continued its presence through annual recognition of an outstanding woman educator on campus. Eta Pi Upsilon inducted its last undergraduates in 2000.
With more than 1,100 living members and 100 years of service, Eta Pi Upsilon's presence, in a sense, is stronger than ever; in fact, every year it profoundly affects over 20 women, and will in perpetuity. Today’s alumnae association has built on the tradition, begun in the 1960s, of annually awarding scholarships to non-traditional women students at University College, which serves part-time Syracuse University students. Its alumnae have distinguished themselves in education, law, medicine and the arts.