In the spring of 1996, National Founder Melissa Jo Murchison-Blake was in search of sisterhood. She wanted to be part of a family that openly embraced all women and crossed cultural boundaries. As a bi-racial woman, she did not want to choose between historically Caucasian or African-American sororities. National Founder Murchison-Blake felt that if she did choose one, she would be denying half of her heritage.
Still wanting to be part of a strong sisterhood, National Founder Murchison-Blake recruited six other women to join hands in her quest to found Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority. At first, the National Founders were discouraged from fulfilling their vision. The Director of Greek Affairs advised them to consider joining an existing organization, expressing his concern that a new Greek organization, based on the principal of multiculturalism, would not survive at UNC-CH. However, the National Founders believed there was a need for such a sisterhood. Their efforts set the stage for Theta Nu Xi’s presence in the Greek, non-Greek, and surrounding communities.
After much work and dedication, the National Founders built the foundation for Theta Nu Xi. Finally, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill officially recognized Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority as the Alpha Chapter on April 11, 1997. With the collaborative efforts of the National Founders and the Sisters of Spring 1998, the organization grew beyond our expectations. The Sorority incorporated on April 29, 1999, and with the participation of the Alpha Chapter and Beta and Gamma Colonies, the National Organization was founded at the first annual National Convention on August 21, 1999.
Lambda Chapter History & Founders
It was evident that there was a need to develop a group that would fulfill the desires of all young women who could not identify their place on the campus of Florida State University. Late in the Fall of 1999, a few freshmen took the initiative to explore the possibility of bringing the first Multicultural Sorority to Florida State University’s campus. The main initiator, Christiane Martins, helped to develop ideas and plans of bringing a Multicultural Sorority to Florida State University. This idea was brought to the head of Greek Life, but was not viewed with enthusiasm. After being discouraged from bringing a Multicultural Sorority to the campus, and instead being encouraged to join one of the already existing Latina Sororities, the inevitable feeling of not belonging anywhere came to mind, but not for long.
In January of 2000, flyers canvassed the campus that spread the news of an upcoming interest meeting. As a result, Christiane Martins enlisted a strong group of interested women. Among them were Dawn Clouse, Elizabeth Lyda, and Melissa Ruiz. The discussion on what it would take to bring a Multicultural Sorority was laid out on the table. Who was truly dedicated? Who would join in this mission to embrace and spread Multiculturalism? Although many were intrigued, few actually fit the mold. They expected to work hard and set themselves apart from all the other organizations, especially since they intended to embrace all cultures, as opposed to just one. Together these four determined women started their journey, a dream that they had yearned for but never had the opportunity to realize.
In spite of the negativity and less than warm welcome, and despite of all of the trials and tribulations, these young ladies pushed forward. They were steadfast in their determination to reach their goal. The ladies formed a community service organization during Spring 2000 called Sophisticated Ladies for Multiculturalism ( SLM ), the first organization of its kind on Florida State’s campus. They worked closely with other Greek organizations, researching and writing up the constitution for the upcoming council that would hold all of these “other” organizations that were left out of the existing councils. After working rigorously for the entire Summer of 2000, Christiane Martins and Dawn Clouse helped to form the Multicultural Council at Florida State University, now known as the Multicultural Greek Council (MGC). Despite the fact that they had assisted in writing the MGC Constitution and established its presence, the voting members of the MGC voted to deny the privilege of recognizing them as Founders of the MGC.
During the Spring of 2001, they selectively recruited five other women to join forces with them: Kimberly Finch, Susan LoBianco, Kasey Santos, Vianessa Syed, and Olga Grullon. The group was now complete. These women became leaders on campus, promptly surpassing all others in completing community service hours; all the while, they were still seeking to bring a Multicultural Sorority to Florida State University. The ladies started to explore the different existing multicultural sororities nationwide. Dawn Clouse took over as the lead investigator on the road to find the perfect sorority and came across Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc. She immediately shared the news with the others and they looked no further. They all read the mission statement and the Theta Woman poem with tears in their eyes. This was it! This was the organization that they had hoped and dreamed for. Dawn Clouse immediately reached out to the National Board of this beautiful organization, as the other 8 women anxiously awaited the response. The group soon received the good news. SLM was already an active, recognized and successful organization, and as a result, Theta Nu Xi deemed that SLM exceeded the requirements set forth for potential colonies. Dawn Clouse and Christiane Martins then worked with the National Vice President to proceed with the discussion of bringing a chapter to Florida State University.
Through the Summer of 2001, these nine extraordinary women pledged Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority, Inc. They crossed on July 28th, 2001 in Atlanta, Georgia, becoming the Founders of the Lambda Chapter. Being the first President and Vice President of the chapter, Dawn Clouse and Elizabeth Lyda established the foundation of the business for the chapter. The first Executive board of the Lambda Chapter also included Vianessa Syed (Treasurer), Melissa Ruiz (Secretary), Kimberly Finch (Parliamentarian), and Susan Lobianco (Dean of Intake). Joanne Clark was interviewed and agreed to be the first faculty advisor. The colony was meticulous in following procedure to gain official chapter status. Chapter status was then received on December 17th, 2001, in record time. After only one semester, the successful Lambda Chapter won runners up to the Presidents Cup, a prestigious Greek award at Florida State University. The Chapter then crossed their first line on April 13th, 2002. Defying all obstacles, the dream of bringing a multicultural sisterhood to Florida State University had finally come true. Not only did they accomplish their mission, they were also the first chapter of any Multicultural Sorority in the state of Florida, as well as being the first Multicultural Sorority at Florida State University.
Summer 2001 – Founding Line “Limited Edition”
1. Susan Mary Lobianco (Gold Nugget)
2. Olga ‘Guita’ Grullon-Herrera (Care Bear)
3. Elizabeth Debra Lyda (Honey)
4. Kasey Santos- Andrada (Bittersweet)
5. Kimberly Stith Finch (Kameleon)
6. Dawn Malie Clouse (Blaque Diamond)
7. Vianessa Aimee Syed (Mystic Rain)
8. Melissa Ruiz (Serenity)
9. Christiane Martins (Set It Off)