Anita Cory never planned on becoming the director of the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life when she began her stint at WSU in 1993.
“I took a job here in Pullman and thought I’d be here a couple of years,” Cory said. “Then my husband came out here, and we thought it’d be a couple more. Now it’s close to 20 years, so it’s been a while.”
Cory started her journey to Pullman when she transferred to the University of Nebraska as a junior in college.
“For me, transferring and then joining a sorority a semester later had such an impact on my life,” Cory said.
Cory became a Chi Omega and soon moved to the graduate school at the University of Nebraska. She had the opportunity to work with 200 Greek members as their hall director
“My boss was the professional Fraternity and Sorority Life adviser, and she was a great mentor and encourager,” Cory said. “Originally, I thought I’d be a councilor, but through working with Greeks as a graduate student pseudo-professionally and through her mentorship, I really started to see that I could work with fraternities and sororities professionally.”
Chi Omega and her job showed Cory a different career path. Cory said a lot of people in the student affairs line of work change their minds on career paths due to their experiences.
“No one starts college and says, ‘When I grow up I’m going to be a hall director’ or ‘When I grow up I’m going to be a Fraternity and Sorority director,'” Cory said. “Sometimes it’s our life experiences that help guide our career and not necessarily our educational background.”
After graduate school, Cory said she decided to look for jobs practically anywhere in the United States that worked with fraternities and sororities professionally. WSU offered her the coordinator of Greek Life for Fraternities and Sororities position, which gave her an opportunity to build and change the program’s processes.
In 2000, Cory took her current position as the director of the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life. With her husband John, the associate director of the CUB, they made a plan to stay in Pullman and raise their family here.
“We have that life outside of working at WSU that is really a wonderful life,” Cory said. “I am totally sold on raising my kids in a college town and living in a college town is fabulous."
Cory has three children: her oldest is a sophomore in high school, her middle child is in seventh grade and her youngest is in third grade. When she is not working, she is busy registering her kids for school and spending time just being a mom.
Cory said she believes Pullman is a good environment for kids due to the experiences and events they get to see because of the university, like the events that come to Beasley Coliseum.
“Being immersed in an education-oriented environment is an advantage,” Cory said. “My kids have friends from all over the world due to faculty and people coming to work at WSU because a college town is more of a melting pot.”
A recent major accomplishment for Cory is her PhD. While working full-time, raising her children, and taking classes every semester, she completed her doctorate in Higher Education Administration.
“I’m really proud of finishing my PhD,” Cory said. “My dissertation is on how fraternity and sorority membership influences leadership identity development among college students, and I found that they felt like the support encouraged them to be a leader.”
Among her accomplishments as a mom and a director at WSU, Cory was nominated twice, once in 2001 and again in 2010, for the Outstanding Fraternity and Sorority Life Professional in the Western Region award by her Greek students. She said she is honored by the awards and is really proud of the above-average mindset the Greek Community is working to adopt.
“Its hard to measure what we do in this job, to know if what I’m doing is making a difference,” Cory said. “It’s that life-on-life experience that you’re not quite sure what was accomplished, but it means something to that person.”
Working with college students can be rough for many, but Cory said she absolutely loves her job. She said it is a privilege to collaborate with those who have youthful enthusiasm and with the high-caliber professionals at WSU.
“There is a high burnout rate in fraternity and sorority work because there is a lot to it,” Cory said. “I enjoy working with college students when they’re really engaging in this process of not only just the classroom learning, but also the out of class leadership and life learning.”
In the future, Cory said she aspires to create a more connected Greek Community and teach the members how to live closer to their values of leadership, scholarship and character development. She said she also hopes her career will continue to expand on WSU’s campus.
“It’s really serendipitous how I got here,” Cory said. “I don’t have any plans to leave, but maybe with a PhD there will be some more opportunities for me at WSU.”