Founders Day Message

On 13 November this year Mu Phi Epsilon celebrates its 120th birthday—Happy “Double Diamond” to us! Since sixty years is a “diamond anniversary” (which our MφE Foundation is celebrating in 2023), and 120 is twice 60, we are calling this our Double Diamond Jubilee—one diamond for each of our two founders. I wonder if Winthrop Sterling and Elizabeth Mathias Fuqua had any idea that the fraternity they founded in Cincinnati with 13 women on 13 November 1903 would be a vital organization of musicians of all sexes and all adult ages all across the nation (and even the world) 120 years later. We don’t know exactly what their dreams for the future of Mu Phi Epsilon were, but we all are here today because they had a dream and did the work to make it a reality. Similarly, in Mu Phi Epsilon’s 60th anniversary year, leaders in the fraternity had a dream that became the Mu Phi Epsilon Foundation, which has helped to make so many dreams come true in the last 60 years.

Now it is our turn. We can’t know yet what Mu Phi Epsilon or the Mu Phi Epsilon Foundation will be in another “diamond” of sixty years (and some of us, me included, probably won’t still be around to find out), but unless we dream big and work hard in our present, just as Winthrop Sterling and Elizabeth Mathias did in theirs, a diamond-glittering future is unlikely.

Therefore, for our 120th Founders Day, we are amplifying our historic tradition of Founders Day Pennies and asking each member to contribute this year to our 120/60 Campaign, shared between the Fraternity and the Foundation, with the equivalent of 120 of whatever denomination of coin or currency will be appropriate for them and their dreams for Mu Phi Epsilon. Whether 120 dollar bills or maybe only 120 quarters ($30), there’s a “double diamond” contribution that will be right for every member to take their place in the long line that began with Winthrop Sterling and Elizabeth Mathias—the line of those who have founded the future of Mu Phi Epsilon by dreaming big and doing what they could in their present.

Kurt-Alexander Zeller
International President