Bertie McConnell, 90-Year-Old Kansas Woman, Finally Joins Sorority

10/17/2011 02:17 pm ET | Updated Dec 17, 2011

TOPEKA, Kan. -- A 90-year-old Kansas woman whose sorority dreams were disrupted by World War II is finally getting to be a pledge.

Bertie McConnell was surprised on her 90th birthday Saturday with a certificate of membership from Zeta Tau Alpha. She says she was "absolutely shocked."

McConnell attended several Zeta rush parties in 1941 at Washburn University in Topeka. But everything changed after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

Her daughter, Judith McConnell-Farmer, says her mother never forgot her sorority dreams.

McConnell-Farmer teaches at Washburn, and after sharing her mother's story with her classes, members of the school's Zeta chapter worked with their national council to extend the invite.