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Kappa’s Oldest Continuous Chapter Celebrates 140 Years!

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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!



Posted by Blog Admin at 07/11/2014 12:09:25 PM | 

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Posted by: Georgie ( Email ) at 2/6/2016 3:25 PM

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