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Kappa Alpha Theta
Kappa Alpha Theta crest.png
FoundedJanuary 27, 1870; 152 years ago (1870-01-27)
DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana, United States
MottoLeading Women
Colors  Black   Gold
SymbolKite, Twin Stars
FlowerBlack and Gold Pansy
PublicationThe Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine
PhilanthropyCourt Appointed Special Advocates (CASA),
  Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation,
    The Friendship Fund
Chapters212 collegiate, 200+ alumnae
Members270,000+ collegiate
Headquarters8740 Founders Road
Indianapolis, IN 46268
United States
WebsiteKappa Alpha Theta homepage

Kappa Alpha Theta (ΚΑΘ), also known simply as Theta, is an international women’s fraternity founded on January 27, 1870, at DePauw University, formerly Indiana Asbury. It was the first Greek-letter fraternity established for women.[1][2] The fraternity (the term "sorority" had not yet been invented) was founded by four female students, Bettie Locke Hamilton, Alice Allen Brant, Bettie Tipton Lindsey, and Hannah Fitch Shaw.[3] The organization has 147 chapters at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. The organization was the first women's fraternity to establish a chapter in Canada.[4] Theta's total living initiated membership, as of 2020, was more than 250,000.[4] There are more than 200 alumnae chapters and circles worldwide.[4]

Kappa Alpha Theta is a member of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), an umbrella organization that encompasses 26 social sororities found throughout North America. The organization's own headquarters are located in Indianapolis, Indiana.


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The Alpha chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta was founded at Indiana Asbury College, now DePauw University, on January 27, 1870. The university began admitting women in 1867 after 30 years of a male-only student body. However, women were excluded from male-only clubs and societies. In response to the lack of women's organizations, the fraternity's founding members established the first Greek letter women's organization. The Founders were:

Bettie Locke developed the idea for a Greek letter women's society through the encouragement of her father, a professor at Indiana Asbury and a member of Beta Theta Pi, and the members of Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) at Indiana Asbury, which included her brother. Initially, the collegiate men of FIJI offered Locke their badge as a token of their friendship, but voted against initiating her as a member. Locke refused to wear the badge as she did not know the secrets and purposes the badge represented, since she was unable to become a member. Ultimately, the fraternity gifted her a symbolic silver fruit basket instead to represent their relationship and fondness for her.

Upon discovering that there were no Greek letter fraternities for women in existence (only literary societies for women existed at the time), Locke decided to create her own Greek letter fraternity for women. Kappa Alpha Theta's ritual, organizational structure, badge, and coat of arms were influenced by those of Beta Theta Pi and Phi Gamma Delta due to her familial connections. Locke and her friend Alice Allen wrote a constitution, planned rituals, designed a badge, and sought out women on campus to become members. Along with Hannah Fitch and Bettie Tipton, the first initiation was held in secret on January 27, 1870, establishing the Alpha chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta.[1]


In 1887, Theta became an international organization with the establishment of the Sigma chapter at The University of Toronto. This became the first Canadian women's fraternity.[2][5]

G. William Domhoff, writing in Who Rules America?, listed Kappa Alpha Theta as one of "the four or five sororities with nationwide prestige" in the mid-1960s.[6]


Kappa Alpha Theta's colors are black and gold. The official symbols are both the kite and twin stars, while the official flower is the black and gold pansy. The fraternity does not recognize an official stone.[1]

The badge is a black and gold kite with a white chevron in the middle.[7]


Omicron chapter members at USC circa 1890s
Omicron chapter members at USC circa 1890s

The Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine

Theta's Grand Convention voted to establish a magazine in 1885 and to place its editorship with Kappa chapter at Kansas. In the intervening years, Kappa Alpha Theta's magazine has undergone a change of title (from The Journal to The Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine), and a change of publication schedule (from monthly to quarterly). Today, The Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine is published in April, June, September, and December of each year.[8]


Kappa Alpha Theta has more than 143 active college chapters and more than 212 alumnae chapters across the United States and Canada. Alumnae chapters are alumnae groups that have been granted charters from Grand Council. The following is a list of the chapters of Kappa Alpha Theta:[2][9] Active chapters and colonies listed in bold, inactive chapters listed in italics.[1]

Collegiate Chapter University State/Province Charter
Alpha DePauw University Indiana 1870
Beta Indiana University Indiana 1870
Cincinnati Wesleyan Ohio Wesleyan Female College Ohio 1870–1871
Indiana Gamma Moores Hill Indiana 1871–1874
Millersburg College Millersburg College Kentucky 1871–1872
Gamma Butler University Indiana 1874–1886, reorganized 1906
Delta 1[10] Illinois Wesleyan University Illinois 1875–1895
Epsilon College of Wooster Ohio 1875–1913[11]
Zeta Ohio University Ohio 1876–1886
Eta University of Michigan Michigan 1879–1886, reorganized 1893–2016
Theta Simpson College Iowa 1880–1891
Iota Cornell University New York 1881–1965, reorganized 1980
Kappa University of Kansas Kansas 1881
Lambda University of Vermont Vermont 1881–2005, reorganized 2010
Gamma Deuteron Ohio Wesleyan University Ohio 1881–1882, reorganized 1924[12]
Mu Allegheny College Pennsylvania 1876–?, reorganized 1881
Nu Hanover College Indiana 1882–1899, reorganized 1959
Xi Wesleyan University Connecticut 1883–1887, reorganized 1989–2004
Omicron University of Southern California California March 3, 1887October 1, 1895, reorganized April 14, 1917[13]
Pi Albion College Michigan 1887–1908, reorganized 1955[14]
Rho University of Nebraska Nebraska 1887–1889, reorganized 1896
Sigma University of Toronto Ontario 1887–1889, reorganized 1905–1941
Tau Northwestern University Illinois 1887
Upsilon University of Minnesota Minnesota 1889–1891, reorganized 1892
Phi University of the Pacific California 1889–1892, reorganized 1959
Chi Syracuse University New York 1889
Psi University of Wisconsin Wisconsin 1890
Omega University of California, Berkeley California 1890
Alpha Beta Swarthmore College Pennsylvania 1891–1934, reorganized 2013
Alpha Gamma Ohio State University Ohio 1892
Phi Deuteron Stanford University California 1892–1944, reorganized 1978
Delta University of Illinois Illinois 1895
Alpha Delta Goucher College Maryland 1896–1950
Alpha Epsilon Brown University Rhode Island 1897–1912, reorganized 1984
Alpha Zeta Barnard College New York 1898–1915
Alpha Eta Vanderbilt University Tennessee 1904
Alpha Theta University of Texas at Austin Texas 1904
Alpha Iota Washington University in St. Louis Missouri 1906–1973, reorganized 1987–2000
Alpha Kappa Adelphi University New York 1907–1951
Alpha Lambda University of Washington Washington 1908
Alpha Mu University of Missouri Missouri 1909
Alpha Nu University of Montana Montana 1909
Alpha Xi University of Oregon Oregon 1909–1997, reorganized 2011
Alpha Omicron University of Oklahoma Oklahoma 1909
Alpha Pi University of North Dakota North Dakota 1911
Alpha Rho University of South Dakota South Dakota 1912
Alpha Sigma Washington State University Washington 1913
Alpha Tau University of Cincinnati Ohio 1913
Alpha Upsilon Washburn University Kansas 1914
Alpha Phi Tulane University Louisiana 1914
Alpha Chi Purdue University Indiana 1915
Alpha Psi Lawrence University Wisconsin 1915
Alpha Omega University of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania 1915–1999
Beta Beta Randolph College (formerly Randolph-Macon Woman's College)[15] Lynchburg, Virginia 1916–1960
Beta Gamma Colorado State University Colorado 1917–2006, reorganized 2014
Beta Delta University of Arizona Arizona 1917
Beta Epsilon Oregon State University Oregon 1917
Beta Zeta Oklahoma State University Oklahoma 1919
Beta Eta University of Pennsylvania Pennsylvania 1919–1979, reorganized 1988
Beta Theta University of Idaho Idaho 1920–1986, reorganized 2001
Beta Iota University of Colorado Colorado 1921
Beta Kappa Drake University Iowa 1921
Beta Lambda The College of William & Mary Virginia 1922
Beta Mu University of Nevada, Reno Nevada 1922
Beta Nu Florida State University Florida 1924
Beta Xi University of California, Los Angeles California 1925
Beta Omicron University of Iowa Iowa 1925
Beta Pi Michigan State University Michigan 1926
Beta Rho Duke University North Carolina 1928
Beta Sigma Southern Methodist University Texas 1929-2022
Beta Tau Denison University Ohio 1929
Beta Upsilon University of British Columbia British Columbia 1930–1980, reorganized 2003
Beta Phi Pennsylvania State University Pennsylvania 1931
Beta Chi University of Alberta Alberta 1931
Beta Psi McGill University Quebec 1932
Beta Omega Colorado College Colorado 1932
Gamma Gamma Rollins College Florida 1933–2000
Gamma Delta University of Georgia Georgia 1937
Gamma Epsilon University of Western Ontario Ontario 1937
Gamma Zeta University of Connecticut Connecticut 1942–1971, reorganized 1979
Gamma Eta University of Massachusetts Massachusetts 1943–1979
Gamma Theta Carnegie Mellon University Pennsylvania 1944
Gamma Iota University of Kentucky Kentucky 1945
Gamma Kappa George Washington University Washington, D.C. 1946–1975, reorganized 2017
Gamma Lambda Beloit College Wisconsin 1947–1970
Gamma Mu University of Maryland Maryland 1947
Gamma Nu North Dakota State University North Dakota 1947
Gamma Xi San Jose State University California 1948–1975
Gamma Omicron University of New Mexico New Mexico 1948–1978
Gamma Pi Iowa State University Iowa 1948
Gamma Rho University of California, Santa Barbara California 1950
Gamma Sigma San Diego State University California 1951–2011, reorganized 2016
Gamma Tau University of Tulsa Oklahoma 1951
Gamma Upsilon Miami University Ohio 1951
Gamma Phi Texas Tech University Texas 1953
Gamma Chi Fresno State University California 1953
Gamma Psi Texas Christian University Texas 1955
Gamma Omega Auburn University Alabama 1957–2000, reorganized 2009
Delta Delta Whitman College Washington 1957
Delta Epsilon Arizona State University Arizona 1959
Delta Zeta Emory University Georgia 1959
Delta Eta Kansas State University Kansas 1961
Delta Theta University of Florida Florida 1962
Delta Iota University of Puget Sound Washington 1963
Delta Kappa Louisiana State University Louisiana 1963
Delta Lambda University of Utah Utah 1965–1988
Delta Mu University of Rhode Island Rhode Island 1965–1973
Delta Nu University of Arkansas Arkansas 1966–1989
Delta Xi University of North Carolina North Carolina 1966–1991
Delta Omicron University of Alabama Alabama 1967
Delta Pi University of Tennessee Tennessee 1969–1985
Delta Rho University of South Florida Florida 1969–1980
Delta Sigma Ball State University Indiana 1970–2008
Delta Tau Montana State University Montana 1971–1983
Delta Upsilon Eastern Kentucky University Kentucky 1972
Delta Phi Clemson University South Carolina 1972
Delta Chi University of Virginia Virginia 1976
Delta Psi University of California, Riverside California 1976–1998
Delta Omega Texas A&M University Texas 1976
Epsilon Epsilon Baylor University Texas 1976
Epsilon Zeta University of Mississippi Mississippi 1979–2018
Epsilon Eta Centre College Kentucky 1980
Epsilon Theta Stetson University Florida 1981–1993, reorganized 2016
Epsilon Iota Westminster College Missouri 1982
Epsilon Kappa Dartmouth College New Hampshire 1982–1992[16]
Epsilon Lambda Dickinson College Pennsylvania 1982
Epsilon Mu Princeton University New Jersey 1983
Epsilon Nu Virginia Tech Virginia 1983–2003, reorganization 2017[9]
Epsilon Xi Villanova University Pennsylvania 1983–1994
Epsilon Omicron Randolph-Macon College[17] Ashland, Virginia 1984
Epsilon Pi Bucknell University Pennsylvania 1984
Epsilon Rho Lehigh University Pennsylvania 1984
Epsilon Sigma University of California, Irvine California 1985
Epsilon Tau Yale University Connecticut 1986
Epsilon Upsilon Columbia University New York 1986
Epsilon Phi University of Chicago Illinois 1986
Epsilon Chi University of Guelph Ontario, Canada 1987–1998
Epsilon Psi University of Richmond Virginia 1987
Epsilon Omega Washington & Jefferson College Pennsylvania 1988
Zeta Zeta Colgate University New York 1988–2008
Zeta Eta Wofford College South Carolina 1989
Zeta Theta California Polytechnic State University California 1989
Zeta Iota Washington & Lee University Virginia 1989
Zeta Kappa University of South Carolina South Carolina 1990–2001
Zeta Lambda College of Charleston South Carolina 1990
Zeta Mu Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts 1991
Zeta Nu University of California, Davis California 1992
Zeta Xi Harvard University Massachusetts 1993
Zeta Omicron Wake Forest University North Carolina 1993–2002, reorganized 2013
Zeta Pi Furman University South Carolina 1994–1996
Zeta Rho University of California, San Diego California 1994
Zeta Sigma Ohio Northern University Ohio 1994
Zeta Tau University of Delaware Delaware 1995
Zeta Upsilon University of Texas at Dallas Texas 1996
Zeta Phi Pepperdine University California 1997
Zeta Chi Johns Hopkins University Maryland 1997–2009, reorganized 2013[9]
Zeta Psi University of Southern Mississippi Mississippi 1998–2008
Zeta Omega Loyola Marymount University California 2000
Eta Eta College of Idaho Idaho 2000
Eta Theta University of Central Florida Florida 2000
Eta Iota University of San Diego California 2001
Eta Kappa John Carroll University Ohio 2001
Eta Lambda Santa Clara University California 2003
Eta Mu Occidental College California 2004
Eta Nu Lake Forest College Illinois 2004
Eta Xi Quinnipiac University Connecticut 2006
Eta Omicron University of North Florida Florida 2007-2022
Eta Pi Case Western Reserve University Ohio 2007
Eta Rho James Madison University Virginia 2007
Eta Sigma Chapman University California 2008
Eta Tau University of Tampa Florida 2010
Eta Upsilon University of San Francisco California 2011
Eta Phi Belmont University Tennessee 2011
Eta Chi Boston University Massachusetts 2012
Eta Psi Tufts University Massachusetts 2013
Eta Omega Saint Louis University Missouri 2013
Theta Theta North Carolina State University North Carolina 2013
Theta Iota Georgetown University Washington, D.C. 2014
Theta Kappa University of Louisville Kentucky 2014
Theta Lambda University of Rochester New York 2015
Theta Mu Colorado School of Mines Colorado 2016
Theta Nu Georgia Institute of Technology Georgia 2016
Theta Xi University of California, Santa Cruz California 2017
Theta Omicron University of North Carolina at Charlotte North Carolina 2017
Theta Pi Sacred Heart University Connecticut 2017

Notable alumnae

Main article: List of Kappa Alpha Theta sisters

Some notable alumni of Kappa Alpha Theta include Laura Bush, Barbara Bush, Jenna Bush, Tory Burch, Melinda French Gates[18] , Amy Holmes, Sheryl Crow, Gretchen Whitmer, Kerri Strug, Rue McClanahan, Amy Grant, and Jennifer Cook O'Toole. Laura Bush was a member of the Beta Sigma chapter at Southern Methodist University. Her daughters Barbara and Jenna Bush were members at Yale University and University at Texas at Austin, respectively. Tory Burch, an American fashion designer, businesswoman, and philanthropist was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta at the University of Pennsylvania. Amy Holmes, an American journalist and political commentator was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta at Princeton University. Sheryl Crow was a member at the University of Missouri. Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Michigan, was a Theta at Michigan State University.[19] Amy Grant, a famous American singer, was a member of the Alpha Eta chapter at Vanderbilt University.[20][9]

The first women admitted to Phi Beta Kappa honor society were Thetas.[citation needed]

Members of Stanford University's Phi chapter circa 1897. From top left to right: 1) Hume, M., 2) Green, P., 3) Hill, Edith, 4) Webb, Winnifred, 5) Demming, Daisy, 6) Avery, C., 7) Fry, W., 8) Green, Ruby, 9) Haven, Martha, 10) Edwards, Ada, 11) Jordan, Edith, 12) Markham, M., 13) Pitcher, L., 14) Hogue, Elizabeth, 15) Patterson, Letitia, 16) Moody, Ora, 17) Fielder, Ortha Belle, 18) Patterson, Frances, 19) Carey, A.


The Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation was founded in 1960 and is the philanthropic arm of the organization. The Theta Foundation awards annual undergraduate and graduate scholarships to its members, awarding more than $1.1 million per year. In addition to scholarships, the Theta Foundation also supports the sorority's educational programs as well as its international philanthropy, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA's) are community volunteers who serve as the voice for abused and neglected foster care children who are going through the court system. CASA's are appointed by a judge and their purpose is to ensure all legal actions made are in the child's best interest.[citation needed] In order to directly volunteer at CASA you must be 21 years of age or older.

Local chapter misconduct

In 2000, the chapter at the University of Cincinnati was temporarily suspended for hazing. The pledges were forced to endure several demeaning tasks, one of which included crawling up the steps of the sorority house for the amusement of their big sisters.[21]

In 2000, the chapter at Rollins College was shut down after a drinking party sent newly pledged members to the hospital. One member passed out and was placed on a respirator that night.[22]

In 2008, the chapter at Colgate University was suspended for four years after an alcohol-hazing related incident.[23]

In 2014, the chapter at Columbia University was under national scrutiny after hosting a racially and ethnically insensitive event that went viral. Some of the costumes worn by sorority members were based on stereotypes meant to represent Mexico, Japan, the Netherlands, Ireland, Jamaica and other countries. The sorority publicly apologized for the event.[24]

In 2016, the 137-year old chapter at the University of Michigan was suspended by the university for underage drinking and hazing. The chapter was disbanded by the national organization a few weeks later for violating the suspension.[25][26]

In 2018, the University of Mississippi and Clemson's chapters were closed for failure to meet quota. There was a great deal of opposition, since members felt they were being unfairly punished, simply for being less popular than other National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) sororities on campus, and not for risk management or academic issues.[27][28]

In 2019, the Randolph-Macon chapter's new president was found to have hazed members of the organization living within the chapter facility.[citation needed]

In February 2022, the members of the Eta Mu chapter at Occidental College in Los Angeles voted to disband the chapter following a controversy with a member. This said member sent anti-Asian and anti-Black messages in a private group chat among friends in December 2020 but it did not surface until 2 years later. [1]


  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. IV-43–46. ISBN 978-0963715906.
  2. ^ a b c d William Raimond Baird; Carroll Lurding (eds.). "Almanac of Fraternities and Sororities (Baird's Manual Online Archive), section showing Kappa Alpha Theta chapters". Student Life and Culture Archives. University of Illinois: University of Illinois Archives. Retrieved 30 December 2021. The main archive URL is The Baird's Manual Online Archive homepage.
  3. ^ Nuwer, Hank (1999). Wrongs of Passage: Fraternities, Sororities, Hazing, and Binge Drinking. Indiana University Press. p. 149. ISBN 0-253-21498-X.
  4. ^ a b c "Theta Facts | Kappa Alpha Theta". Kappa Alpha Theta. Kappa Alpha Theta. 2018-08-21. Retrieved 2018-08-21.((cite web)): CS1 maint: others (link)
  5. ^ "The Breakdown: the origins of Greek life on campus". The Varsity. 2017-09-25. Retrieved 2018-08-21.
  6. ^ Domhoff, G. William (2015). Who Rules America? (Seventh ed.). McGraw Hill College. p. 57. OCLC 912380768.
  7. ^ "Our Badge". Kappa Alpha Theta. Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  8. ^ "The Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine". Kappa Alpha Theta. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
  9. ^ a b c d "Chapter Listing". Kappa Alpha Theta. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  10. ^ Not to be confused with Delta chapter formed in 1895 at Illinois. As was the practice at that time, this name was reused.
  11. ^ Wooster's national Greeks were banned in 1913, but Theta's Epsilon chapter continued to thrive as a local organization first called the Imps, then as local sorority Zeta Phi Gamma, which still exists today. For many years, Kappa Alpha Theta HQ maintained friendly correspondence with its former Epsilon chapter. The matter is explained more fully here: List of fraternities and sororities at the College of Wooster.
  12. ^ The Ohio Wesleyan chapter was first organized in 1878 as the Alpha chapter (founder) of Delta Chi Alpha, an early, non-NPC regional sorority. But within five years that sorority disbanded; the founding group sought out and joined Kappa Alpha Theta in 1881.
  13. ^ Reestablished by adoption of local sorority Alpha Rho, which had existed on the USC campus since 1895, as explained by historian Fran Becque in a Notable Sorority Women post from 16 Mar 2021, accessed 16 Mar 2021. Alpha Rho had formed the same year that Omicron chapter failed, but this appears coincidental with no direct linkage between the two groups: In 1895 Omicron chapter had returned its charter "when enrollment decreased". In 1917, Alpha Rho accepted the invitation to revive Omicron chapter and become a unit of Kappa Alpha Theta. Previously, this article had indicated an 1870 installation year for the chapter, but this must have been an error as the school itself was founded in 1880.
  14. ^ "Pi/Albion". Kappa Alpha Theta.
  15. ^ Not to be confused with Randolph–Macon College, the site of ΚΑΘ's Epsilon Omicron chapter.
  16. ^ Many of Dartmouth's Greek chapters have reverted to local status, as was the case with Theta's Epsilon Kappa chapter. See Dartmouth College Greek organizations#Epsilon Kappa Theta (ΕΚΘ) for additional information. The existing local has no legal connection with the national sorority.
  17. ^ Not to be confused with Randolph College, the location of ΚΑΘ's former Beta Beta chapter.
  18. ^ "The incredible life of Melinda Gates — one of the world's richest and most powerful women". November 1, 2017. Archived from the original on March 25, 2018. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  19. ^ Alberta, Tim. "The Woman in Michigan' Goes National". Politico. Politico LLC. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  20. ^ Stony, Fatima (12 October 2016). "Designer Spotlight: Tory Burch". collegefashion. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  21. ^ Jeff Carlton (2000-02-20). "UC sorority suspended over hazing complaints". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2015-11-07.
  22. ^ Scott Powers (2000-04-12). "Sorority Chapter Is Shut Down At Rollins". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  23. ^ "Kappa Alpha Theta Receives 4-Year Suspension". The Colgate-Maroon News. Retrieved 2015-11-07.
  24. ^ Tyler Kingkade (2014-02-24). "Columbia Sorority Criticized For Offensive Olympics Party". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  25. ^ Moran, Darcie (2016-02-24). "Disbanded U-M sorority chapter faced discipline problems for years, national president says". Booth Newspapers.
  26. ^ Jesse, David (2016-02-23). "University of Michigan's oldest sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, disbanded". Detroit Free Press.
  27. ^ "Kappa Alpha Theta to close Ole Miss chapter at semester's end". 5 November 2018.
  28. ^ "Clemson sorority Kappa Alpha Theta told to shut down".