Ceres History

  • historyAt the 1984 FarmHouse Conclave a "Proposal for the Establishment of an Agricultural Sorority" was passed unanimously.  Three of the women's groups which had been affiliated with FarmHouse as clubs or colonies (Colorado State ,  Alberta  , Cal Poly-Pomona) for at least the previous two years indicated that they wanted to be a part of forming the proposed ag-related women's fraternity or sorority.

    A committee of members consisting of Roy Wilson, Don Stenberg, C.J. Gauger, Joan Blackwelder, Karen Whipple, Brenda Lea Rumohr, Nora Hirons, John Bard, and Bob Off began the process to make this group a reality.

    This group chose the name Ceres International Fraternity and developed its by-laws and rituals, all of which was subsequently ratified by what were to be the

    three founding chapters and by the FarmHouse International Executive Board. On  October 12, 1985 , Ceres International Fraternity became a reality.   On that date, nineteen women were initiated as chartering members of the Colorado State Chapter.  They were the first members of the new agriculture related women’s fraternity.  This chartering culminated years of discussion and work by the members of FarmHouse International Fraternity and of women in agriculture.  Together these two groups attempted to sort out what role or relationship these women would have with FarmHouse Fraternity.

    The first Biennial Conclave of Ceres International Fraternity was held  August 4-7, 1986 at the   University of  Alberta,   Edmonton,  Alberta,  Canada, in conjunction with the FarmHouse Conclave.  Joan Blackwelder was elected as the first woman president of the International Board of Ceres.  Linda Hawk, Alumna of the Alberta Chapter, was elected vice president.  Other board members included Kathy Pogge, Cal Poly-Pomona; Brenda Lea Rumohr,  Alberta; Chris Lembcke; Kenneth Overhults; Dwane Miller, and Don Stenberg.  Ex-officio board members included Tom Kopacek, president of FarmHouse Executive Board and Bob Off, Executive Director of Ceres and FarmHouse International Fraternities.  The agreement between Ceres and FarmHouse Fraternities was to continue until the 1988 Conclave.

    By the 1988 Conclave, Ceres had successfully grown.  This Conclave marked the beginning of all Ceres board positions being held by Ceres alumnae.  Delegates voted to have Ceres governed by a six-member board.  With the current size of Ceres, a six-member board was deemed most economical.  Donna Giampoli, Fresno; Claudia Sersland, Fresno; and Yolanda Munoz, Cal Poly-Pomona joined the three remaining board members to form the new all-woman team.  The president of FarmHouse and Executive Director continued to serve as ex-officio members of the board.

    In 1994, Ceres celebrated their 10th anniversary at the 5th Biennial Conclave in Scottsdale,  AZ.  This conclave also marked the end of Ceres business being taken care of by the FarmHouse International Office.  The delegation voted to create a Ceres Executive Director position for Ceres Women's Fraternity.  Claudia Sersland was hired to fill the position.  Ceres continues to maintain a six-member board of directors, an Executive Director and an Executive Assistant.