Alpha Kappa Lambda
FoundedApril 22, 1914; 109 years ago (1914-04-22)
University of California, Berkeley
Motto"Αλήθεια Και Λόγος"
 Alethia Kai Logos
("The Truth and the Word")
Colors  Purple
FlowerYellow Rose - Souvenir de Claudius Pernet
PublicationInsideAKL and The Logos
PhilanthropyThese Hands Don't Hurt
  Cystic Fibrosis
    Adopt a School
Chapters25 active
Members1000+ collegiate
28,000+ lifetime
Headquarters354 Gradle Drive
Carmel, IN 46032

Alpha Kappa Lambda (ΑΚΛ), commonly known as AKL or Alpha Kapp, is an American collegiate social fraternity founded at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1914. Today, it operates 25 active chapters and has approximately 28,000 living-initiated members.

History and tradition

Alpha Kappa Lambda was founded on April 22, 1914, by a group of young men attending the University of California, Berkeley. Its birth, however, dates back to 1906 when a group of friends, the Los Amigos Club, discussed the "need of Christian men for a place to live and study that was within their [financial] means." These eleven men celebrated as the Fraternity's founders, were:

  • Herman Ritchie “Dickie” Bergh
  • Harold Alonzo “Hal” Savage
  • Charles Oscar “Oscar” Perrine
  • Allen Holmes Kimball
  • Ludwig Rehfuess
  • Gail Cleland
  • Charles Junius “Charlie” Booth
  • William Barnum
  • Leonard Herington Day
  • Harry Levi Osborne
  • Joseph Leon “Joe” Taylor [1]

After assisting in the cleanup of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, four of the group re-addressed their desire to organize a house club during a YMCA conference in Pacific Grove, California. They formed Los Amigos in January 1907, a house club named from the Spanish translation of "The Friends." Shortly after, seven more men joined Los Amigos.

The club adopted its Greek letter name Alpha Kappa Lambda on April 22, 1914. The fraternity contemplated an early expansion program and adjusted its operational model into a more permanent fraternal association model. However, its growth was put on hiatus by World War I. After the war, active members and alumni focused on expansion, establishing Beta chapter at Stanford, followed by chapters at several Midwestern universities.[1] The fraternity joined NIC in 1930.

The Great Depression and World War II disrupted the geographic expansion of the fraternity until 1949 when it hired its first full-time employee. Expansion resumed with an aggressive plan in 1950.[1] Alpha Kappa Lambda became a senior member of NIC in 1954.

The fraternity has eliminated Hell Week, personal duties by pledges, and hazing.[1]


Alpha Kappa Lambda is a non-secret order with no pledges of secrecy in the ritual, grips, passwords, or other clandestine signs. Reliance upon honor and the "members' finer feelings [are] depended upon" to safeguard the ritual and meaning of the fraternity.[1]

The official badge of the fraternity is made of ten-carat gold. An Α and a Λ rest in the background, covered with the flowers of a dogwood, representing Christian principles, and a Κ that is raised, set with eleven whole pearls. The pearls represent the eleven founders of the Los Amigos Club. The badge is to be worn only on collared shirts, sweaters, or suit vests, and in the traditional position over the heart. It may only be worn by initiated members of the fraternity. There is also a pledge pin that is a small hollow diamond.[2]

The fraternity's colors are purple and gold.[2] Its motto is Alethia Kai Logos which means "The Truth and the Word " in Classical Greek; the motto's'initials are the same as the fraternity's abbreviated name.

National service projects

These Hands Don't Hurt

These Hands Don't Hurt is the fraternity's response to the sexual assault problem on college campuses and was founded in 1996 by the Beta Zeta chapter at East Tennessee State University.[3] The project fights sexual assault through education, service, and philanthropic fundraising projects. Members fundraise through a "Promise Wall" that is displayed in a high-traffic area of campuses. Students, faculty, and members of the community are asked to add their hand to the Promise Wall for a contribution of $1. By placing their hand on the wall they make a promise that their hand will not be used to harm others. In the spirit of "growing the movement," Alpha Kappa Lambda has allowed other student organizations from around the country to use the program as a way to raise awareness about domestic violence.[4]

Cystic Fibrosis

The fraternity adopted cystic fibrosis as a national philanthropy at the 1990 National Conclave. Chapter fundraisers provide financial support to local organizations, research, and individuals. Chapters also provide manpower to help local organizations' events.


The Adopt-A-School program was endorsed by the National Executive Council during a 1994 Winter meeting. The program provides one-on-one relationships between local college students and local elementary students. It allows college students to give something back to their host communities while being positive role models for children.


Main article: List of Alpha Kappa Lambda chapters

Notable members

Name Chapter Notability Reference
James Chamberlain Baker Gamma (honorary) Educator, bishop, and organizer, and head of the first Wesley Foundation [5]
Joe Coulombe Beta Founder and former CEO of Trader Joe's [6]
Allen Drury Beta Journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner [7]
Tim Leavitt Eta Mayor of Vancouver, Washington
Rian Lindell Eta Former professional football player
George C. Martin Theta Project engineer on the Boeing B-47 and chief project engineer of the Boeing B-52 [8]
Carl Rogers Eta Psychologist
Eric Schmitt Xi U.S. Senator and former Missouri Attorney General [9]
John Laurence Seymour Alpha Composer and playwright [10]
John V. Shields Businessman and former CEO of Trader Joe's [6]
Oliver P. Smith Alpha U.S. Marine four-star general and decorated combat veteran of World War II and the Korean War [7]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Anson, Jack L.; Marchenasi, Robert F., eds. (1991) [1879]. Baird's Manual of American Fraternities (20th ed.). Indianapolis, IN: Baird's Manual Foundation, Inc. p. III-15–16. ISBN 978-0963715906.
  2. ^ a b Baird, Wm Raimond; Brown, James Taylor (1923). Baird's manual of American college fraternities; a descriptive analysis of the fraternity system in the colleges of the United States, with a detailed account of each fraternity. New York: James T. Brown, editor and publisher. p. 67 – via Hathi Trust.
  3. ^ "These Hands Don't Hurt – AKL". Retrieved 2023-04-06.
  4. ^ From the THDH Program summary. See the These Hands Don't Hurt website, accessed 19 Feb 2021.
  5. ^ "James Chamberlain Baker: An Adventurer in Christian Higher Education" (PDF). The Logos. 33 (3): 17. May 1964.
  6. ^ a b Becque, Fran (2015-04-23). "Alpha Kappa Lambda and Its Connection to Trader Joe's". Fraternity History & More. Retrieved 2023-04-06.
  7. ^ a b "National Award Recipients – AKL". Retrieved 2023-04-06.
  8. ^ Jensen, J.J. (May 26, 2003). "George C. Martin, chief engineer of 'Stratojet'". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2023-04-06.
  9. ^ Adjei, Abigail Angorkor (2022-08-03). "Eric Schmitt education: Where did Eric Schmitt go to college and high school?". Ghanafoa. Retrieved 2023-04-06.
  10. ^ "Brother of the Alpha Kappa Lambda". Out of the Box. Claremont University. 2019-03-13. Retrieved 2023-04-06.