The Greatest of Reunions
Lois Fryer Sorenson ‘49, Loila Funk Anderson ‘48, and Bernice Hyer McCowin ‘49 were Kappa Delta sisters at Utah State shortly after the ending of World War II in 1945. While their Aggie husbands have passed on, this trio makes getting together and reminiscing about Utah State a regular activity.
They’ve been dubbed the Greatest Generation, the fine men and women who grew up during and after World War II. And they include people like USU Alumna Lois Fryer Sorenson ‘49, Loila Funk Anderson ‘48, and Bernice Hyer McCowin ‘49.
Around the time the trio entered the Utah Agricultural College, or the AC (the former name of USU), it was an all girls school, at least in practice. “When I got here, there were no men, they were all at war,” says Anderson. “When they returned, we were excited to see them,” hinting that they were all handsome, fit, eligible bachelors with GI bills. Lois and Bernice would join Loila the following year.
All three went on to marry accomplished Aggies. Sorenson’s husband played football for the AC, coached for a time, and ultimately worked in student services; Anderson’s husband was student body president and went on to earn his Ph.D and work at University of Southern California; and McCowin’s husband, after pursuing medical school at George Washington University, practiced medicine in Southern Idaho. But as the saying goes, behind every great man is a greater woman.
When arriving at the AC, Sorenson, Anderson, and McCowin each pledged Kappa Delta. Anderson was initiated in the same house and chapter room as her husband. “Since the men were gone, we were living in the Sigma Chi house at the time. It wasn’t until after the war that we relocated,” she explains. The women’s sorority bond had a lasting impression, helping them to discover the joy and camaraderie that came with leadership and service.
After graduation, each woman pursued the noble profession of teaching elementary or secondary education, taking hiatuses to tend to their own children. Anderson would be teacher of the year in the early 1990’s while working at Woodruff Elementary. During the ensuing years of balancing work and family, each would serve as ward and stake relief society presidents for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
While their husbands’ careers temporarily flung them to different parts of the country, they stayed in touch with Christmas cards and the occasional reunion in Logan. When McCowin’s husband passed away in 1992, McCowin relocated to Logan and the trio’s gatherings became more frequent. “After my husband’s passing, I thought, I’m going to be okay, I have dear friends here.”
Over the years, they made it a goal to get together once a month for lunch. “We’ve been very consistent. We go lots of different places, but our favorite is by far the Skyroom in the TSC. We love the food and the view,” says McCowin. In addition to still working, McCowin serves on the board for the TSC.
The women are in amazing health today, something they attribute to exercise, eating right, and maintaining good friendships. They still attend university events, and particularly enjoy the arts. McCowin has season football and basketball tickets to USU and still attends those activities.“I’m always making excuses to get back to campus,” says McCowin. “I love to see these wonderful kids running around campus.”
We certainly count these women as part of the greatest generation of Aggies. Their ability to stay connected after all these years reminds each of us that we too can live long, fulfilling lives in the company of cherished Aggie friends. Sorenson and McCowin are both planning on attending the Homecoming Aggie Family Reunion event on Friday, October 13. Anderson had hoped to attend but had a scheduling conflict.