Phyllis Reesman and Paula Kurtz
Phyllis Reesman and Paula Kurtz on Friday June 28, 2019. Sam O’Keefe/University of Missouri

In 1954, Phyllis McDandel Reesman’s sorority sisters took up an unusual collection. Paula Kurtz and others bought a plastic bank in the shape of a telephone and carried it from room to room in the Kappa Alpha Theta house gathering any coins the women could spare.

Reesman was recently engaged. But her fiancé, Dale Reesman, BA ’53, JD ’59, who had graduated from Mizzou two years earlier and joined the U.S. Army, was stationed in Germany.

She longed to hear his voice, but at the equivalent of $100 in today’s dollars, a 3-minute international call was out of the question. She didn’t have it.

That is, not until her sisters presented her with the “phone bank” full of change. Reesman held the bank and cried. She had never felt a greater sense of belonging to her sorority.

Kurtz, BS Ed ’56, who lives Columbia, and Reesman, BA ’55, MSW ’81, who lives in Boonville, Missouri, have grown even closer since then, and both have remained involved in the sorority. “It’s the quality of the people,” Kurtz says. “You want to keep them in your life.”

Fraternity & Sorority Life
Fraternities and sororities have been an integral part of student and campus life at the University of Missouri for nearly 150 years. The University of Missouri is committed to partnering with students, alumni, national headquarters and various stakeholders to ensure that fraternity and sorority members thrive. Learn more about Fraternity & Sorority Life.