Kappa Kappa Gamma Badge
Kappa Kappa Gamma (ΚΚΓ) (“Kappa”) is a collegiate women’s fraternity, founded at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, United States. Although the groundwork of the organization was developed as early as 1869, the 1876 Convention voted that October 13, 1870 should be recognized as the official Founders Day, because no earlier charter date could be determined. This makes Kappa Kappa Gamma one of the oldest extant women’s Greek-letter societies.
Kappa has a total membership of more than 260,000 women, with 140 collegiate chapters in the United States and Canada and 307 alumnae associations worldwide.
Kappa Kappa Gamma is a women’s fraternity, because it was founded before the term “sorority” came into use. Because men were able to create fraternity groups, Kappa’s founders thought they should be able to do the same. However, since it admits only women, it is referred to as a sorority. Kappa Kappa Gamma is also referred to as “KKG” and “Kappa”.
Kappa Kappa Gamma
Flower — Fleur-de-Lis Flower
The idea of Kappa Kappa Gamma was conceived in a conversation between two college women, Mary Louise Bennett and Hannah Jeannette Boyd, on a wooden bridge over a stream on the Monmouth College campus in the late 1860s. Though the coeducational college was considered progressive at the time, the women were dissatisfied with the fact that while men enjoyed membership in fraternities, women had few equivalent organizations for companionship, support, and advancement, and were instead limited to literary societies. Bennett and Boyd began to seek “the choicest spirits among the girls, not only for literary work, but also for social development”, beginning with their friend Mary Moore Stewart. Stewart, Boyd, and Bennett met around 1869 in the Amateurs des Belles Lettres Hall, a literary society of which the women were active members when they first decided to form a new society. Soon after, they recruited three additional women including Anna Elizabeth Willits, Martha Louisa Stevenson, and Susan Burley Walker, to join in founding the fraternity.
The six founders met at the home of Anna Willits to lay the groundwork for the formation of the first chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma, later known as the Alpha Chapter. It was there that they chose the golden key as their badge and prepared to make their official debut by ordering their badges from Lou Bennett’s family jeweler. A formal charter was also drawn up by Minnie Stewart’s father, who was an attorney in the state of Illinois.
The six founders declared their intention to organize as a women’s fraternity when on October 13, 1870, they marched into the most public venue on Monmouth campus, the chapel, wearing their golden key badges in their hair. This day is nationally recognized by the fraternity as “Founders Day”.
In 1871, the young fraternity expanded by chartering their Beta Chapter at nearby St. Mary’s Seminary. The next year, the fraternity expanded again to Gamma Chapter at Smithson College and Delta Chapter at Indiana University. Though the Beta and Gamma chapters failed to survive more than a few years, the Delta chapter became the fraternity’s oldest continuously active chapter (Alpha was closed in 1874 but later re-established) and contributed a great deal to the organization of the fraternity in its early years.
Since 1870, Kappa has continued to expand and has chartered 160 chapters, 138 of which are active today.
The Monmouth Duo
Pi Beta Phi women’s fraternity was founded as I.C. Sorosis at Monmouth College in 1867. Kappa Kappa Gamma was founded at the college in 1870, and in 1888 I.C. Sorosis adopted Greek letters and changed its named to Pi Beta Phi. Because both fraternities have their origins at the same college within three years of one another, they are often called “The Monmouth Duo”. On campuses with Pi Beta Phi and Kappa Kappa Gamma chapters, the groups often hold joint social and philanthropic events.
Kappa Kappa Gamma recognizes the following official fraternity symbols:
- The badge of membership is the golden key. The standard badge is one inch in length and is sometimes jeweled with sapphires, pearls or diamonds. On the front of the key are the Greek letters ΚΚΓ (on the stem) and ΑΩΟ (on the ward). Often the initials and initiation date of the member to whom the badge belongs are inscribed on the back of the badge. The original keys were larger and were not standardized; many were specially made to the member’s specifications, sometimes including stones such as opals. They were also worn on members’ lapels, foreheads or hair, whereas today, badges are uniformly worn on the left side of the chest. The badge is worn strictly as an emblem of membership and only by initiated members. Members are encouraged to return their badges to fraternity headquarters upon their death.
- New Members of Kappa Kappa Gamma wear a different badge: a Sigma within a Delta enameled on silver in the two colors of the Fraternity, dark blue and light blue. The new member pin is only worn during the new member period, after which it is returned to the chapter.
- The fraternity colors are light blue and dark blue.
- The owl is the official mascot of Kappa Kappa Gamma. The owl is the symbol of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom.
- The fraternity flower, the fleur-de-lis, combines the fraternity’s colors of dark blue and light blue. Since the fleur-de-lis is a mythical flower, the iris is often substituted for practical purposes.
- The fraternity jewel is the blue sapphire. The sapphire is recognized as a symbol of truth, sincerity, and constancy.
The fraternity Coat of Arms combines all the symbols of Kappa Kappa Gamma: the key, the Greek letters, the new-member pin, the fleur-de-lis, the owl, the head of Minerva, and two colors of blue.
Kappa Kappa Gamma does not have an open motto. However, the fraternity uses “Tradition of Leadership” as a tagline in many fraternity publications. As of June 2012, the new fraternity tagline was changed to “Aspire to Be”. Some chapters use “On the heart of each sister, lies a key that binds us” as a motto although it is not nationally recognized.
Collegiate chapters contain a governing body of members that include a President, Treasurer, Secretary and officers assigned to chapter functions such as membership, standards, events, and philanthropy. Often these officers supervise committees as well. The chapter officers are advised by and report to alumnae volunteers who serve as chapter advisors, traveling chapter consultants, and fraternity council officers.
The national fraternity council consists of eight alumnae serving as President, Vice President, Treasurer, Director of Alumnae, Director of Chapters, Director of Membership, Director of Programs and Education, and Director of Standards. The fraternity headquarters is located in Columbus, Ohio, at the address 530 East Town Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215.
The National Panhellenic Conference
Kappa is a member organization of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), an umbrella organization that includes 26 American sororities. Kappa Kappa Gamma is one of the founders of the NPC, which was organized at a meeting of seven sororities in 1902 in an effort to establish guidelines and practices to regulate sorority membership.
In order to join Kappa Kappa Gamma, potential new members (PNMs) must be enrolled at a college or university with an active chapter of the fraternity. They must also have a minimum grade point average (GPA) to be considered eligible. Women must participate in sorority recruitment and if they are issued an invitation to join, they enter the New Member period, the first of three phases of membership. After six to eight weeks, New Members are initiated and enter the second phase of membership as active collegiate members. Upon graduation, members enter the third and final phase of membership and become alumnae. Alumnae have the opportunity to join local alumna associations and remain active participants in fraternity life by engaging in social and philanthropic events, volunteering as advisers to collegiate chapters, and serving as fraternity council officers.
Kappa Kappa Gamma supports a three-part Philanthropy program, often referred to as “Philanthropy 1-2-3”.
- The first branch of philanthropy supports the “Kappa family” through the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation, which provides funding for Kappa museums, members-only scholarships, educational and leadership programming, and the Rose McGill fund, which provides emergency financial aid to sisters in need.
- The second branch supports the local community by encouraging chapters and alumnae associations to volunteer and raise money for charities in their regions.
- The third branch encompasses the entire Fraternity through its national Philanthropy, Reading is Fundamental (RIF). The fraternity officially adopted RIF, which works to promote literacy in children, as the national philanthropy in 2004.
Kappa Timeline and Fraternity Firsts
- In 1882 Kappa Kappa Gamma was the first women’s fraternity to publish a quarterly journal – The Key. Today, it is published triannually, and printed through Watkins Printing Company.
- In 1891 Kappa Kappa Gamma was the first to call a meeting of all the other women’s fraternities – thus the precursor to the National Panhellenic Conference.
- in 1907 the 6th sister pledged, Kappa Kappa Gamma at the University of Texas, making it the first sorority to ever have 6 sisters (out of 6), in the same family (Gardner), pledge the same sorority, at the same university.
- In 1942 Kappa was the first women’s fraternity to set up Service Women’s Centers during World War II.
- In 1952 Kappa Kappa Gamma was the first to purchase a Headquarters building, and base their operations permanently in Columbus, Ohio.
- In 1965, University of Pittsburgh Kappas were the first to share a house with another fraternity, Kappa Alpha Theta.
- In 1980 The Heritage Museum was established, and Kappa became the first fraternity to own and operate a public museum.
- In 1989 The Minnie Stewart Foundation purchased the Stewart family home, which was then merged into the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation in 2000. Kappa is the only women’s fraternity to own the home of a Founder and operate two historic house museums.
- In 2000 Kappa Kappa Gamma launched Pathways – Kappa’s Continuous Education Experience, leading men’s and women’s fraternities into new frontiers of education and training.
In 2002 Kappa Kappa Gamma released The Voyage of Discovery, a virtual tour through women’s history.
- In 2004 The Leadership Academy began offering undergraduate and alumna members intensive leadership development at an outdoor weekend retreat. Programming for the Leadership Academy has been developed in partnership with The Tompeters! Company and Bradford Woods, an outdoor education facility in Indiana. More recently, Leadership Academy has taken place at Heartland Conference Retreat Center in Marengo, Ohio, near the Columbus, Ohio Fraternity Headquarters.
- In 2009 Kappa Kappa Gamma launched the Kappa Learning Institute, an interactive online portal which provides free e-courses to active members and alumnae.
According to G. William Domhoff, in Who Rules America? (Seventh edition, p. 57), upper-class college women “joined one of the four or five sororities with nationwide social prestige (e.g. Kappa Kappa Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta, Pi Beta Phi, and Delta Delta Delta).”
— Read More History on Kappa Kappa Gamma on Wikipedia
Kappa Kappa Gamma (ΚΚΓ)
- Founded On: October 13th, 1870 – Monmouth College
- Type: Social Sorority
- Colors: Dark and Light Blue
- Flower: Fleur-de-Lis
- Nicknames: KKG-Kappas
- Chapters: 140 Chapters
- Website: www.kappa.org
- Motto: Παράδοση της Ηγεσίας — “Tradition of Leadership”