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Breast Cancer Awareness—Are You Paying Attention?

(Education) Permanent link

Every year, October is designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and as the top diagnosed cancer in women and the second leading cause of death among women, it deserves some attention!

What Is Breast Cancer?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer affects more women than any other cancer, besides skin cancer. The World Health Organization claims that 16 percent of all female cancers are breast cancer. Susan G Komen For The Cure says, “Breast cancer occurs when cells in the breast divide and grow without normal control. Between 50 and 75 percent of breast cancers begin in the ducts, 10 to 15 percent begin in the lobules and a few begin in other breast tissues. Tumors in the breast tend to grow slowly. By the time a lump is large enough to feel, it may have been growing for as long as 10 years. However, some tumors are aggressive and grow much more rapidly.”

What Can I Do to Help Prevent Breast Cancer? 

  1. Know your family history. Knowing your family’s history of cancer can also play a crucial role in prevention. 
  2. Avoid tobacco and heavy drinking. Tobacco is one of the largest risk factors of cancer, and the most avoidable, too.
  3. Diet and Exercise. Monitoring your diet and getting exercise can help with overall health, as well as cancer prevention.
  4. Early detection can contribute to successful treatment. Educate yourself about cancer and what you can do to prevent it.

What Is Early Detection?

All women are encouraged to perform a breast self-exam at least once a month.  Self-exams will help you become familiar with normal so you can know what abnormal feels like and discuss the abnormalities with your physician. Regular mammograms (X-rays of the breast) can also contribute to the early detection of breast cancer. Women 40 years and older should schedule a mammogram every one to two years. If you’re under 40, your physician can discuss when the appropriate time to begin screenings is.

Did You Know?

Breast cancer affects men, too. Statistics show that survival rates between men and women are comparable, depending on the time of diagnosis however, men are much less likely to report symptoms, so they’re typically diagnosed at a later stage.

Kappa’s Oldest Continuous Chapter Celebrates 140 Years!

(Education) Permanent link

Delta Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma at Indiana University was founded October 12, 1872—just a day before our Fraternity’s second birthday.

As we have just celebrated Founders Day—and 142 years of Kappa sisterhood—let’s send our best wishes to Delta Chapter for its 140th birthday! Here’s a look at Delta’s first 100 years.

The Early Years

In the fall of 1872, two students at Indiana University, Lena Adams (Beck) and Anna Buskirk (Hill), applied to Alpha Chapter for a Kappa Kappa Gamma charter. They invited four to join them as founders of Delta Chapter: Lillie Buskirk (Faulds), Ida Woodburn (McMillan), Agnes Wylie (Stuart), and Louise Wylie (Montgomery, Curry). Anna McCord (Hays) also appears on the charter.

No members came from Alpha to install the new chapter; all arrangements were made by letter and Initiation was conducted by the same means. Great caution was observed in this correspondence to safeguard the secrets of the order. The oath was sent in cipher, followed by the key to the cipher. Then the Greek words and the Greek motto were sent in the same manner.

The first business meeting was held on January 2, 1873, at the home of Ida Woodburn. Anna Buskirk was elected chapter President. On February 5, badges were worn in public for the first time. (Women had been admitted to Indiana University just five years before, and Indiana was the first state university to take this step.)

Kappa Business

In October of 1876, a general Fraternity meeting was convened in Greencastle, Indiana, under the auspices of Iota Chapter—DePauw. This Convention, commonly called the second, was really the first General Convention of the Fraternity. The constitution and bylaws were reconstructed, and an initiation ceremony, offered by Delta, was adopted.

Although there is some disagreement among the early chapters on the selection of the two blues for the Fraternity colors, records indicate that Delta proposed the two blues, typical of the “true blue” character and the noble womanhood of Kappa, and that they were accepted  nationally. Delta’s design for the official seal, drawn by Gwynn Foster, a staunch supporter of Kappa, was accepted.


Through its first half century, Delta let housing needs dictate pledge class size. From a rented house (1892), to an owned house (1910), to a larger English Gothic building near the heart of campus, (completed in 1925), through revisions and additions, the needs of the growing chapter have been met.


Between 1951 and 1965, the chapter placed first, second or third in academics among sororities for 28 out of 33 semesters. Many Delta members have been inducted into Mortar Board and Phi Beta Kappa. Judy Roberts (Morris), (1952) and Lesley Bush (Hickcox), (1964 and 1968), represented the U.S. on the Olympic swim teams. “The Kappa Pickers,” organized in 1968, have performed for USO tours, television, Kappa Conventions and have even made recordings.


In 1957, Delta’s 84-year-old Red Book and an 82-year-old badge were presented to the Fraternity. The priceless Red Book contains Delta minutes from the first meeting on January 2, 1873, to November 22, 1889. These treasures, as well as a hand-decorated ritual book and other memorabilia were displayed at the Centennial Convention and are now at Fraternity Headquarters.

Changing Times

The 1960s and 1970s were remarkable for student pressures and changes in attitude toward the Greek system. Several Greek-letter organizations left campus, and Greek membership dropped to about 14 percent. In the spring 1971 issue of Your University, sent to all Indiana University alumni, a feature article made these comments: “Returning alumni often find fraternity life unrecognizable. … Homecoming floats and queens are irrelevant … . The change in fraternities and sororities is not surprising, nor is it evidence … that the Greek system is facing its demise … . Changing times require that systems and institutions change … . Today’s students are more serious … correspondingly the trend now is toward shorter pledgeships, dealing with personal development and university orientation rather than fraternity history.” 
In the same article, Associate Dean of Students Virginia Hudelson Rogers, Beta Lambda—Illinois, was quoted as saying, “Fraternities and sororities will not survive on fellowship alone. They must also have a lifestyle which is complementary to the academic life of the university, and which is stimulating both culturally and academically.”


Actives and alumnae joined over a year in advance to plan Delta’s 100th birthday—October 1972. On this great occasion, attended by more than 200 actives and alumnae, a $3,000 scholarship in rehabilitation was presented by Marjorie Matson Converse, Gamma Delta—Purdue, Fraternity Vice President, on behalf of the Fraternity. It was accepted by John W. Ryan, president of the university, who noted, “the integral function Kappa Kappa Gamma has played in the history of this university.”

--Excerpted and adapted from The History of Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, 1870-1976.

Alumnae Achievement Award Recipients from Delta Chapter:

1960: Madelyn Pugh Martin (Davis)—TV scriptwriter, creator of “I Love Lucy”
1966: Dr. Doris Seward—former dean of women at the University of Kentucky
1970: Mary Elizabeth Hendricks—public relations manager for Eli Lilly and Co.
1978: Jane Pauley—former Today Show anchor, NBC and MSNBC correspondent
1978: Margaret Hillis—former conductor of the Chicago Symphony Choir
1990: Dr. Jamia Jasper Jacobsen—owner of executive training company, author on aging and caregiving
1996: Lucretia Leonard Romey—award-winning artist and quilt maker
Check out Kappapedia—our new resource to collect and record chapter histories!



Founders Day Message

(Education, Sisterhood) Permanent link

Did you ever stop to think about the meaning of the word “founder”? In celebrating the 142nd founding of our treasured Fraternity, it’s significant to take a look at its origins. “Founder” dates from the mid-fourteenth century Anglo-French word “fundur,” meaning “one who establishes, one who sets up or institutes something.” Admittedly, there is nothing surprising in that definition. But it’s also noteworthy to take a step back and review the etymology of the word “find.” The Gothic word “finban,” means “to come upon,” which may have also originated from the Proto-European-English word “pent,” meaning “to go, pass, path, bridge.”

Indeed, if we look back at our origins, a bridge was significant in establishing the beginnings of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Louise (Lou) Bennett and Hannah Jeannette (Jennie) Boyd walked across a little wooden one on campus, pausing to discuss their plan of creating an organization of women supporting women. The two soon shared their plan with Mary Moore (Minnie) Stewart, a vision that would ultimately lead to the founding of Kappa Kappa Gamma.

But the word “find,” and its past tense “found,” also elicit memories of trying to fit in during the fleeting years at our college or university. Why did we seek membership in Kappa Kappa Gamma? Many of us hoped to find: friendship, opportunities for leadership and philanthropy involvement, academic support, a social life on campus, and a home away from home. It’s not even too much of a stretch to say that during our first days on campus, when many of us were lost in a sea of unfamiliar faces and intimidating new responsibilities, we had a great need to be found, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and our individual college experiences.

After graduation our membership in Kappa evolves, as alumna members we turn to Kappa to find a social outlet when moving to a new city, networking and career advice when entering (or re-entering) the workforce, service opportunities in our communities, and volunteer roles in the Fraternity that allow us to give back to an organization that has given so much to each of us. For many, Kappa Kappa Gamma continues to serve as that welcoming solace, and on Founders Day, we celebrate those six revolutionary women who made it possible for us to continue to find just what we need in our membership in Kappa.

Our Founders questioned why women should be satisfied only with literary societies, while male students on campus enjoyed full-fledged fraternity life. The world was moving too slowly for these women, and they believed nothing short of a Greek letter fraternity would suffice. “Our aim,” they said, “was to draw into the society the choicest spirits among the girls, not only for literary work, but also for social development.” Anna Elizabeth Willits, Susan Burley Walker and Martha Louisa (Lou) Stevenson were part of that pioneering plan. And so, Kappa Kappa Gamma started with six proud women walking into Monmouth Chapel on October 13, 1870, wearing badges in their hair.

Educated, intelligent, young women, ranging in age from 16 to 20, the six Founders loved learning and literature. According to The Monmouth College Courier, “They wear a little golden key, sometimes on their foreheads, sometimes on the little blue or red jackets, which very much become them. [The key] has on it: Kappa Kappa Gamma and also Alpha Omega Omicron. We have been able to count only six of them, and as has been intimated, they are on a voyage of discovery.”
One hundred forty-two years later, we celebrate our Founders’ vision and honor their resolution. Today, Kappa Kappa Gamma has grown to become one of the leading women’s fraternities, with 138 chapters, 311 alumnae associations and 247,112 members initiated since 1870.

As we continue to support and advance the vision of our Founders, we are ever mindful of planning for the Fraternity’s future. To that end: 

  • At General Convention, the Fraternity unveiled new branding, which includes the tagline, “aspire to be,” as well as a new blue fleur-de-lis logo. Included in the branding are the four tenets: Inspiring, Preparing, Impacting and Connecting. The Fraternity hopes that chapters and alumnae associations will incorporate these tenets into their goal setting and programming, and that members will also strive for them in their everyday lives.
  • This summer, a brand new website was unveiled. The new website is easier to navigate and find what you are looking for, and is well integrated with Kappa’s online social media presence.
  • Kappa Kappa Gamma will be installing our 139th and 140th chapters in early spring 2013 at Chapman University in Orange, California, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in San Luis Obispo, California.
  • The Fraternity will continue to hold its successful GIRLS Academy retreats, which are scheduled to be held this year in Seattle, Chicago, Cincinnati and Minneapolis. GIRLS Academy stands for Girls Inspiring Respect, Leadership and Service. It provides opportunities for self-growth for middle school girls through a values-based curriculum, including facilitated discussions, small group mentoring, personal journaling and a community service project.
  • Kappa Kappa Gamma continues to focus on academic excellence, and to work with chapters on comprehensive plans to support members in their academic pursuits.
  • The Fraternity continues to support Reading Is Fundamental and literacy-related programs. However, chapters and alumnae associations are also encouraged to support local and national philanthropy programs that are special to them.


Each of us has found something in Kappa that has become the basis—the foundation—for who we are. Our six Founders paved the way for an organization of strong women, one that fosters good leadership, scholarship, service and sisterhood. And since sisterhood is for a lifetime, we can all continue to find relevant, inspirational opportunities in Kappa Kappa Gamma for our personal and professional lives. Happy Founders Day!

Written by Kelly Matyas Magyarics, ΓΕ, Public Relations Chairman

Keeping it Kappa Classy

(Education, Leadership) Permanent link

By Kelly A. Magyarics, Fraternity Public Relations Chairman / Web Editor, Pittsburgh

Chapter members and officers use the term “Kappa Classy” (or “Kappa Klassy”) when referring to maintaining positive public relations. But what does this term mean exactly? And do your actions and those of the other chapter members match this mantra?

Being Kappa classy may denote different things depending on your audience—other Greek groups, the campus community, alumna members, or the Fraternity, for example—but it always entails putting forth a positive image of yourself, your chapter and Kappa Kappa Gamma. Let’s start with photos shared online, as well as those submitted for consideration for a future issue of The Key. Our editors have found it challenging lately to source appropriate photos to be included for publication. Truly classy photos show sisterhood, friendly, loyalty, citizenship, philanthropy, kind-heartedness, and/or a contribution to society in some way. Bid Day pictures should show happy sisters and new members celebrating the growth of the chapter, and of Kappa Kappa Gamma as a whole; they should not (and cannot, for publication or sharing online), show fraternity members or other boys, or any cups, which even when filled with water or soda can be interpreted as celebrating Bid Day with alcohol.

Successful philanthropy events provide a chapter with a fabulous way to generate positive public relations. Whether your chapter hosted its own philanthropy event, or you co-hosted one with another Greek group, photos always need to follow our guidelines for publication, including no alcohol or cups, and tasteful, appropriate attire and poses. If the name of the event is questionable in the photos, and T-shirts depicting that name are visible (and legible,) the photos will not be acceptable for publication. (Certainly, an inappropriate name for a philanthropy, social or other chapter event would not be keeping it Kappa Classy anyway.)

When taking and sharing pictures, remember that all photos tell a story. If your chapter’s story is that members got together for fun and sisterhood, then it’s enough to simply pose as a group and send that photo. Resist the temptation to share pictures showing exaggerated faces, or members making signs or symbols. All women who appear in The Key are Kappas, so it’s merely a distraction to show us anything exc ept smiling faces! The creativity will come through the events you choose to document. Each Kappa is already unique, so please let her shine naturally.

And, when you are sharing on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, please remember that content on these sites can and will be looked at by people who won’t necessarily see the harm in copying, commenting or redistributing that information. It’s important to be aware of this dynamic and remain proactive about the reputation of our organization and its members. Refrain from using tacky or vulgar language when posting on social media sites on behalf of the chapter, as well as mean-spirited, exclusionary or otherwise negative hashtags. Posting appropriate content is another way to demonstrate how we wear our letters 24/7, and it’s another highly visible way to show that you are Kappa Classy.

We look forward to continuing to see and hear about your successes online and in print!


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