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Historically Speaking: Pioneering the Path of Equity in Academic Excellence

(Scholarship) Permanent link

Denise Rugani, UC Davis, History Chairman 2012-2014

Every Founders Day, members of Kappa Kappa Gamma celebrate the women who boldly marched into chapel wearing gold keys in their hair and provided us with our Fraternity name, badge, colors and much more. We take pride in their courage and desire to provide a fraternal structure for women, just like the men. Although their vision established an organization that has persevered for 142 years, what is truly astounding is the role Monmouth College and our Founders played in creating an equitable educational field that promoted intellectual development for women in the 1870s.

Following the Civil War, there were several societal changes that contributed to the demand for higher education for women. The public school system grew and provided girls a place of learning, as well as increased the demand for teachers. Women were viewed as excellent teachers, so in turn; higher education for women became more acceptable and necessary. During this period of time, the gas light was invented, which allowed women to read in the evening. The industrial revolution soon followed and our country was introduced to the stove, sewing machine and other inventions that increased leisure time for women, since they no longer needed to spend 100 percent of their time on domestic tasks. As women became more educated through their reading and schooling, it became increasingly apparent that higher education would better prepare them for the increasing demands of employment opportunities.

Monmouth College was founded in April of 1853 as one of the first educational institutions in the country to admit women from its inception. Unlike other educational institutions of the time, where women took courses that were less rigorous than that of the men, women at Monmouth took courses that were of equal rigor and held the same requirements as men. Some historians say that the women’s fraternal movement, which was modeled after the Greek-letter fraternities of men, was lead by Monmouth’s equitable treatment of women. Pi Beta Phi, founded in April of 1867 as I. C. Sorosis, and Kappa Kappa Gamma, founded in October of 1870, both hail from Monmouth College. 

In 1870 only 0.7 percent of the female population went to college.  Yet, three of our six Founders not only graduated from Monmouth College but also went on to earn Masters Degrees. Jennie Boyd received her Master’s Degree and went on to have a 30-year teaching career. Lou Bennett obtained her Master’s Degree and worked as a proofreader and editor first in Omaha, where she assisted her husband with the publication, The Christian Hour, and later in Los Angeles, California, where she worked for Baumgart Publishing Company. Anna Willits received a master’s degree from Monmouth and served as a leader in many community organizations, including serving on the Monmouth Board of Education. Lou Stevenson received her Bachelor’s Degree from Monmouth College and moved with her husband, William Oliver Miller, to Missouri where he founded Tarkio College. Susan Burley Walker and Lou Bennett became pastors’ wives and Minnie Moore Stewart taught public school in Monmouth and later became a high school principal in Florida. 

The visionary beliefs of Monmouth College combined with the extraordinary intellect and tenacity of our Founders created a perfect storm, which enabled women to strive for academic excellence and begin the path toward equality with men. We can proudly look back on how Kappas and women everywhere have been positively impacted by these amazing women. 

From Historically Speaking, October 2012. Some information based on research by Julie Martin Mangis, George Washington


Fight Back! Go Red!

(Education) Permanent link
Guest Blogger Lucy First, DePauw

I have a confession to make. I’ve never admitted it to anyone except my family. But I’ll admit it to you if you’ll do me just one favor. Sound good? Here it is: I have been overweight for the majority of my life. I remember when I became aware of my weight. It was in the third grade when we all went to the nurse for physicals. I stepped on the scale and the number was much larger than my friends’. In the weeks that followed, my mom took me to the doctor and then to a nutritionist. Thus, I began my struggle with weight.

Over the years, I tried to lose weight. It would work for a while, but the weight always came back. I thought it was a losing battle. And honestly, I didn’t think much of it. I just accepted that I would never be a “skinny” girl. I had come to terms with it.

It wasn’t until I began my internship with the Columbus, Ohio chapter of the American Heart Association (AHA) in 2012 that I realized my weight meant more than just never wearing a cute bikini on the beach. As a communications intern, I was responsible for raising the public’s awareness of AHA’s mission and its initiatives. Researching and writing blog posts, press releases and social media messaging required a lot of research. The more I read about heart health, the more I realized that my weight was putting my heart in jeopardy. I came to realize that obesity was increasing my chances of high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.  

But perhaps the most frightening statistic I learned is that heart disease is the number one killer of women. If I continued down my current path, then I was increasing my odds of becoming another victim of heart disease. I had a choice. It was time to make my heart top priority.

I took the American Heart Association’s advice and started to get healthy. I reduced the amount of fat and sodium in my diet. I started eating more whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. I carved out 60 minutes a day to go to the gym, and I decreased my stress level by going for walks. Over six months, I made these tips into habits. I’m happy to say it became a part of my daily routine, and I even began to enjoy my new lifestyle. Slowly, my weight began to decrease along with my risk for heart disease.

We aren’t all going to be the same size. Nor should we strive to be. But we should strive to live heart healthy. Living a heart-healthy lifestyle is more than just the number on the scale or the size of dress you buy. It’s about choosing the right food, and making time to be active. It’s about making your heart and your health your top priority.

Now, it’s time for you return the favor. This month, in honor of Heart Month, join me and Go Red for Women! Make your heart a priority and start living a heart-healthy life. Let’s make this commitment together, and together we can reduce heart disease.

To read more information about Heart Month, check out Have You Checked Your Heart Health? by Jane Sutton, NPC Chairman
Please consult with your doctor or other qualified health care professional before beginning any new diet plan, exercise program or other lifestyle change.

Using LinkedIn for Networking

(Education, Leadership) Permanent link

By Guest Blogger Lisa Burton, CMP, LSU, Vice President, Meeting Expectations

College students preparing to enter a highly competitive job market—or Kappas in any phase of their careers—should recognize the value of LinkedIn as a powerful networking tool. Kappas are working in every industry and are always inclined to lend a helping hand as you evaluate career paths, investigate specific companies you’d like to join or prepare for job interviews. Here are some tips for using LinkedIn effectively.

  • Make sure your profile on LinkedIn is complete. There is a status bar that provides suggestions on how to have a complete profile. Don’t forget about volunteer and extra-curricular activities. If you’re an initiated member, join Kappa Kappa Gamma’s members-only LinkedIn group!
  • Make sure the picture you use on LinkedIn is professional in nature. This isn’t Facebook, it’s a career tool.
  • Build your connections:
    • Find connections from your current and previous jobs, internships and volunteer experiences.
    • Look at the connections of friends and colleagues to see if you’re missing any potential contacts.
    • Go through your personal contact list and Facebook account to make sure you’re connected with all contacts through LinkedIn.
    • Include a comment with your connection request to inform the recipient of any mutual acquaintances and common connections (your status as a Kappa!).
    • Keep in mind many people consider a LinkedIn connection an endorsement of sorts, so don’t be surprised if someone with whom you have not interacted directly does not accept a request.
  • Look on profiles of friends and colleagues to see which LinkedIn Groups they belong to and join those. Groups range from professional networking forums to alumni associations to special interests.
  • Once you’re a member of LinkedIn groups, monitor the weekly or daily group digest emails and participate in discussions where you are able. Does someone make a comment on a discussion that you should contact?
  • Use the company search feature as a resource. If you’re interested in working for a particular company, visit their page and see if you’re connected to any of their employees. You can also follow that company’s news to remain informed in the event an interview opportunity should arise.
  • If you are looking for opportunities in particular cities, be proactive and post a discussion thread on an appropriate group’s discussion board to build your contacts in those cities. Don’t be shy about asking for help and engaging in conversation.
  • Be active! Look for articles in the industry you’re targeting and post them to LinkedIn using your status update. Don’t forget that LinkedIn is a professional tool. Don’t tie it to your Facebook or Twitter account.
  • Keep in mind that hiring managers and HR will look at LinkedIn and other social media tools when evaluating someone for employment. Don’t put anything in cyberspace that you wouldn’t want your current or future employer to see. View your various social networking profiles as the public would see them and make sure everything is appropriate. Google yourself regularly, too.
  • Lastly, think of this as your virtual résumé and treat it as such.
    In the last year my company, Meeting Expectations, has hired two Kappa alumnae based on connections made from the Kappa LinkedIn group.

I was so happy that I was able to assist fellow Kappas, particularly ones that demonstrated resourcefulness by using this excellent networking tool that is at everyone’s disposal.

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