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7 Facts You Didn't Know About Epsilon Chapter, Illinois Wesleyan

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1.    Epsilon holds the oldest written charter—dated 1873. Although Delta Chapter, Indiana, is the longest continuing chapter, Delta didn’t receive its signed charter until 1875. (Sorry, Delta.)

2.    The first female student at Illinois Wesleyan (1870) was Kate Ross, who became one of three charter members of Epsilon. (Way to go, Kate!)

3.    One girl’s change of heart changed history in 1873. Millie Clark became interested in Kappa through a cousin at Monmouth College. Alpha Chapter, Monmouth, then pledged Millie, but instead of going to Monmouth in the fall, she went to Wesleyan, where she, Kate Ross, and Kate Graves (Walter) petitioned Kappa. (Smart girls.)

4.    When the Kappas wore their key badges for the first time at a social in 1875, they created quite a stir and some amusing young men came wearing huge imitation door keys sewn to their lapels. (Don’t you wish we had a picture?)

Epsilon Social

5.    Chapter minutes, kept carefully from November 25, 1873, broke off on February 10, 1881, and did not reappear until December 2, a mystery that has never been explained. At the December 2 meeting, chapter officers requested a copy of the new constitution by mail. Until its arrival, the chapter adopted the colors pink and heliotrope! (Seriously, pink and purple?)

6.    Epsilon held early meetings in an old dormitory, then classrooms or members’ homes. In 1889, the college granted use of a room near the chapel entrance. The room was higher than it was long, crowded, not beautiful, but it was Epsilon’s home for 36 years. Everyone stopped by on her way to or from chapel. (The place to see and be seen.)     

Epsilon Meeting

7.    By 1927, the university lifted the ban on houses for women’s fraternities, and the Kappas rented the home of Congressman Frank H. Funk. The next year, the Funks returned from Washington so the chapter was on the move again. The House Board was considering building when an elegant house came up for sale. After much redecorating, 1401 North Main Street was ready in the fall of 1935 and was the chapter home for 35 years. (There’s no place like home!)

Read more about Epsilon Chapter’s history and other Kappa chapters at http://wiki.kappa.org. You can even add missing details to your chapter’s history!

--excerpts from The History of Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, 1870–1976.

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