Commitment That Runs Deep
By Holly Mace Massingill ’94
I often tell students who are starting their college search, “If you want to expand your horizons, go to a small school.”
I have seen time and again that at a large institution, a young person can usually surround themselves with like-minded people. At a small school, that isn’t always the case.
When I had the privilege of returning to campus this fall to celebrate the Centennial Celebration of my sorority, Kappa Gamma Chi, I realized that my mantra is truer than ever. At Homecoming, over 200 Kappas gathered in Sherman to celebrate 100 years of sisterhood. And, while Kappas have always been known to enjoy a good party, it was far more meaningful than that.
As I reflected on the weekend, I had to ask myself, “Why?” Why would all these women from all age ranges come from all over the country to attend Homecoming for our local sorority?
The answer is because the commitment to Kappa runs deep for us. Not just because of our rich history (our founding member, Ms. Lola Belle Perkins, was a revolutionary who came to campus with the first group of women ever allowed admission) but because our relationships with each other run deep.
Just like our sorority, just like our classes, just like our town—“smallness” is what makes Austin College special. As ’Roos, our relationships with each other are not due to sameness. They are not a result of like-minded individuals finding one another at the age of 18. I argue that our strength is in large part because we are different.
Of my six pledge sisters who attended Homecoming 2019 and myself, our occupations include veterinarian, librarian, attorney, coach, nurse, realtor, and community outreach coordinator. We are a diverse group, and I wonder if we would have found each other at a large school or in a big sorority. I wonder if we would have cared enough to attend our Homecoming 25 years later.
I have come to appreciate the smallness of the city where Austin College resides as part of our uniqueness. Sherman isn’t an obstacle. It’s part of the winning combination. While out on the town during Homecoming, I saw so many familiar faces. In a big city, I simply would not have run into 100 of my friends at a local restaurant. I would assume this experience is true in the daily lives of our current students as well.
Attending a small school in a small town and being a member of a small sorority resulted in a much bigger life. For that, I am eternally grateful. n
Holly lives in Rollingwood, Texas, with her husband, Gavin, and their son, Mace. A broker associate with Keller Williams Realty in Austin, she also is the sole proprietor of Lone Star Legacies. Holly is a member of Austin College’s Board of Trustees.