‘Loyal, dedicated and humble’: Greenfield woman wins national Psi Ote award

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Carolyn Coffin of Greenfield is surrounded by fellow Upsilon chapter members after she won the Psi Ote of the Year award at the national Psi Iota Xi convention in Muncie. Pictured from left are: Stacey Stephenson, Adeen Hargrove, Lori Elmore, Coffin, Tracie Belongia, Dianne Hoover, Katie Ottinger, Deidre Low, Mickie Hansen and Shelby McMaster.

MUNCIE — A Greenfield woman won the Psi Ote of the Year award at the national Psi Iota Xi convention in late June.

Carolyn Coffin was shocked when her name was announced as the winner at the 125th Psi Iota Xi convention, which took place June 24-26 in Muncie.

Fellow Upsilon chapter members kept the news of her win a secret but told her family members, who drove to Muncie to surprise her and celebrate with her after she received the award.

Coffin said she was humbled and honored to have been recognized.

“This award means that maybe I’ve had some success in being helpful to others, which is an important tenet of my sorority and of my Christian faith. It is special because my chapter sisters felt I was worthy of it,” she said.

Psi Iota Xi is a women’s philanthropic organization with over 90 chapters and 1,700 members throughout the Midwest. Chapters are focused on raising money and offering volunteer service to their communities in the areas of speech and hearing, literature, music and fine arts.

The national Psi Ote of the Year award, which members abbreviate to POOTY, recognizes a member who has shown great dedication to Psi Iota Xi and its mission over the past year.

Coffin — a member of the local Upsilon chapter — was the first Upsilon member to win the annual award since it originated in 1981.

“I knew I had been nominated, but it never even entered my mind that I would be selected,” said Coffin, who was among 21 nominees this year.

Each year, all chapters are invited to nominate one of their members and a national committee selects the recipient.

The Upsilon chapter, which was formed in Greenfield in 1920, nominated Coffin for her unwavering service to the chapter and the community. She was also nominated in 2018.

“This is a well-deserved acknowledgement of Carolyn, who has done so much for our chapter,” said Stacey Stephenson, Upsilon chapter president. “It is also an amazing honor for our chapter, and we couldn’t be prouder of Carolyn. It was a wonderful moment to see her and Greenfield recognized at the national level.”

Phyllis Arthur, now a member of the Upsilon chapter, was named national Psi Ote of the Year in 1983 when she was a member of New Palestine’s Theta Alpha chapter, which has since disbanded.

Coffin has been a member of the Upsilon chapter since 2004, serving in several chapter offices, including president.

Over the past year, Coffin has chaired the chapter’s mum fundraiser committee, worked with the Indiana Gaming Commission to plan the chapter’s online purse auction and has been the lead organizer for its spelling bee team.

She was introduced to the sorority by Mickie Hansen, an Upsilon member since 1994, who said Coffin’s acute social awareness has helped the chapter focus on what’s most important in the community.

“Carolyn is a friend that everyone wants to be around, and she just makes everyone happy. I knew she would be a good fit for our group,” said Hansen.

“What I discovered over time was how socially aware she was about what was going on in our community. Her awareness really helped our chapter to expand in our areas of giving, specifically in our field of literature.”

Psi Iota Xi’s national conductress, Sandie Carlson, said Coffin represents what Psi Iota Xi is all about.

“She is generous of her time and talents not only to help her chapter thrive, but also her community,” said Carlson. “She is a loyal, dedicated and humble sister that is always willing to help others. It was an honor to meet and present the Psi Ote of the Year award to Carolyn at our convention this year.”