Kappa Kappa Gamma

Kappa Kappa Gamma

October 13, 1870 (1870-10-13)
Monmouth College, (Monmouth, Illinois)

39°57′39.10″N 82°59′9.10″W / 39.9608611°N 82.9858611°W / 39.9608611; -82.9858611Coordinates: 39°57′39.10″N 82°59′9.10″W / 39.9608611°N 82.9858611°W / 39.9608611; -82.9858611
Type Social
Scope International
Motto Aspire to be
Colors      Dark Blue      Light Blue
Symbol Key, Fleur-de-Lis, Owl
Flower Fleur-de-Lis
Jewel Sapphire
Patron Roman divinity Minerva
Publication The Key
Philanthropy Reading Is Fundamental, The Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation
Chapters 140[1]
Members 260,000[1] collegiate
Headquarters 530 East Town Street
P.O. Box 38

Columbus, Ohio
Homepage www.kappa.org
The Minnie Stewart House in Monmouth, where the sorority was founded

Kappa Kappa Gamma (ΚΚΓ) ("Kappa") is a collegiate sorority, 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.[2]

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.[3] Kappa Kappa Gamma is also referred to as "KKG" and "Kappa".


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.[4] 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",[4] 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.[5] Soon after, they recruited three additional women, 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.[3]

The Monmouth Duo

The women's fraternity Pi Beta Phi 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.


National symbols

Kappa Kappa Gamma recognizes the following official fraternity symbols:


Kappa Kappa Gamma does not have an open motto. However, the fraternity used "Tradition of Leadership" as a tagline in many fraternity publications. As of June 2012, the new fraternity tagline was changed to "Aspire to Be".


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".

Kappa timeline and fraternity firsts

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)."



In 1997 the television show 20/20 featured an exposé on hazing in the sorority system[7] that included a hazing by three members of Kappa Kappa Gamma at DePauw University and a local sorority Lambda Delta Sigma at Concordia College. The three members of Kappa Kappa Gamma, on November 6, 1997, were accused of branding three pledges[8] with cigarettes in a family hazing rite after a night of heavy drinking. After being burned, the pledges were encouraged to streak across campus and to grovel for cigarettes at a fraternity house.[9] The result was severe enough to send one of the pledges to the hospital with minor burn injuries.[10]

The discovery of the incident caused investigations by the sorority and campus to be launched. The members who were involved with the incident were not charged by the state of Indiana with criminal recklessness under the hazing statute, as had been reported.[9] They did, however, face a possible trial for alcohol possession but due to difficulty proving who provided the alcohol, the members were given community service instead.[9] DePauw's reaction to the hazing for the chapter was to put the chapter on social probation until Fall 1999 and cut its pledge class in half for two years. The thirteen members who had either been involved with the incident or had known about it were given one-semester suspensions and social probation for their participation, and were voted by their chapter to retain membership within the chapter.[9]

In 2014, the Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter at the University of Connecticut was kicked off campus until 2017 for forcing pledges to drink until they passed out, act like animals, and wiggle on the floor like "sizzling bacon".[11][12]

Bruce Ivins

Bruce Ivins, the senior bio-defense researcher at United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID), before allegedly being driven to suicide by the allegations that he was the "sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks",[13] reportedly had a "long and strange obsession" with Kappa Kappa Gamma,[14] as well as with other fraternities such as Chi Omega.[15][16] Ivins reportedly became obsessed with Kappa when he was rebuffed by a woman in the sorority during his days as a student at the University of Cincinnati.[17] The letters containing anthrax spores (which eventually killed 5 people and injured dozens more) were mailed from a drop box approximately 300 feet from a KKG storage facility at Princeton University,[18] and only 60 feet from the KKG office.[19] Katherine Breckinridge Graham, an advisor to Kappa's Princeton chapter, stated that there was nothing to indicate that any of the sorority members had anything to do with Ivins.[20] Officials claim that the sorority link helps explain why the letters were mailed from Princeton, 200 miles (320 km) from the Fort Detrick lab in Frederick, Maryland, where Ivins worked and where it is claimed the anthrax was produced.[21] A US Government investigative panel, called the Expert Behavioral Analysis Panel, issued a report in March 2011 which detailed more of Ivins' obsession with the sorority. According to the panel's report, Ivins tormented sorority member Nancy Haigwood at the University of North Carolina. Ivins stole her notebook, which documented her research for her doctoral studies, and vandalized her residence.[22]

Additionally, Ivins was noted for repeatedly editing Kappa Kappa Gamma's Wikipedia article, attempting to include derogatory information (under the Wikipedia username Jimmyflathead).[16][23][24][25]

Throwing Without Knowing

On January 6, 2015 Kelly Matyas Magyarics, fraternity public relations chairman, announced on a blog post that Kappa Kappa Gamma will no longer post photos of members displaying hand signs on their website and on their social media sites. Kappa Kappa Gamma was one of the first fraternities to abolish the display of hand signs within the Greek community. The hand signs included a resemblance of the letters KKG and also a resemblance of a fleur de lis, which is the fraternity's flower. Kelly Magyarics had a family member who investigates gangs and hate groups take a look at a photo in which Kappa Kappa Gamma members were holding up hand signs. The response she received was that the hand signs showed a close resemblance to gang signs and looked a lot like a white supremacy symbol named the SS bolts. Her family member stated, "They're throwing up the SS bolts, a common white supremacist symbol. In fact, it even looks a little like the Kappa hand sign—it's just that they don't have their fingers open in the pics below, like those for Kappa do. That may be compelling to make them want to stop doing it".[26]

Magyarics went on to conclude that the hand signs used by Kappa Kappa Gamma members could be construed for gang signs and construed as a representation of white supremacy, which was not a correct depiction of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Magyarics stated, "Did you ever stop to think that the photos with hand signs that members of our Fraternity take, post and repost—which are meant to show Kappa pride—could be misconstrued as a symbol of white supremacy? Or that the very concept of a hand sign may be associated by the general public as not a symbol of membership in a Greek organization, but in an organization that uses violent and intimidating tactics?"[27] She encouraged members of the fraternity to stop posting images with hand signs on their chapter websites, chapter social media sites, and as well as their personal social media sites. Comments on the blog post were very conflicted with the entire situation. Many had their own opinions on whether or not hand signs had a negative outlook on the fraternity.

On October 15, 2016 Andrew Albamonte pointed out that the letter "A" in sign language is not universally equated with hate.

Collegiate chapters

Notable Kappas


  1. 1 2 "Kappa Facts". Kappa Kappa Gamma. Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  2. "Kappa Kappa Gamma Founders Day 2010".
  3. 1 2 "KKG History".
  4. 1 2 Tessier, Denise, "History 2000: Kappa Kappa Gamma Throughout the Years". 2000
  5. William Urban et al., Monmouth College, a history through its fifth quarter century. Monmouth College, 1979
  6. Baird, William Raimond; Brown, James Taylor (1920). Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (9th ed.). G. Banta Company. p. 468. OCLC 17350924. Retrieved 2010-05-10.
  7. "20/20 Transcript". May 3, 1999.
  8. "DePauw sorority faces hazing allegations". The Michigan Daily. November 12, 1997. Archived from the original on 2006-07-14. Retrieved 2006-11-03.
  9. 1 2 3 4 Nuwer, Hank (1999). Wrongs of Passage: Fraternities, Sororities, Hazing, and Binge Drinking. Indiana University Press. pp. 159–165. ISBN 0-253-21498-X.
  10. "Hazing burns sorority pledge". The Daily Illini. December 11, 1997. Archived from the original on January 17, 2001. Retrieved 2006-11-03.
  11. http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/UConn-Sorority-Stripped-of-Recognition-258401371.html
  12. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/05/15/how-kappa-kappa-gamma-threw-a-uconn-sorority-sister-under-the-bus.html
  13. Johnson, Carrie; Wilber, Del Quentin; Eggen, Dan (August 7, 2008). "Government Asserts Ivins Acted Alone". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-02-02.
  14. Broad, William J.; Shane, Scott (October 9, 2011). "Scientists Dispute F.B.I. Closing of Anthrax Case". The New York Times.
  15. Shane, Scott (January 3, 2009). "Portrait Emerges of Anthrax Suspect's Troubled Life". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-03.
  16. 1 2 Scott Shane; Eric Lichtblau (August 6, 2008). "F.B.I. Presents Anthrax Case, Saying Scientist Acted Alone". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
  17. Shane, Scott. "Portrait Emerges of Anthrax Suspect's Troubled Life". New York Times. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
  18. Westmoreland, Matt (August 6, 2008). "Anthrax suspect's lawyer: Kappa obsession is not proof". The Daily Princetonian. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
  19. Orr, J. Scott (August 6, 2008). "FBI concludes Ivins carried out anthrax attacks alone". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
  20. Wikipedians. Biological Warfare.
  21. Wikipedians. Biological Warfare. p. 50.
  22. WIllman, Daid. "Report Faults Army in Anthrax Attacks". Los Angeles Times.
  23. "Inside The Anthrax Probe". The Smoking Gun. August 6, 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
  24. https://web.archive.org/web/20091024094214/http://bmartinmd.com/2009/01/bruce-ivins-as-kkg-obsessed-jimmyflathead.html. Archived from the original on October 24, 2009. Retrieved February 3, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  25. "Microbiologist Claims Lone Anthrax Suspect Bruce Ivins Stalked Her for Decades". Fox News. August 9, 2008.
  26. https://www.kappakappagamma.org/kappa/KKGBlogContent.aspx?id=3988
  27. https://www.kappakappagamma.org/kappa/KKGBlogContent.aspx?id=3988
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