Kappa Kappa Gamma
FoundedOctober 13, 1870; 153 years ago (1870-10-13)
Monmouth College, (Monmouth, Illinois, U.S.) 40°06′09.8″N 83°06′35.7″W / 40.102722°N 83.109917°W / 40.102722; -83.109917
MottoDream Boldly. Live Fully.
Colors  Dark Blue   Light Blue
SymbolKey, Fleur-de-Lis, Owl
PublicationThe Key
PhilanthropyMental Health Awareness, The Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation
Members260,000[1] lifetime
Headquarters6640 Riverside Drive
Suite 200

Dublin, OH 43017

Kappa Kappa Gamma (ΚΚΓ), also known simply as Kappa or KKG, is a collegiate sorority founded at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, United States.

It has a membership of more than 260,000 women, with 140 collegiate chapters in the United States and Canada and 307 alumni associations worldwide.[2][3]

It is sometimes referred to by its original designation, a women's fraternity, as it was founded before the term "sorority" was coined.[4] It is a founding member of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), an umbrella organization that includes 26 American sororities.[5]


The Minnie Stewart House in Monmouth, Illinois, where the sorority was founded
Kappa Kappa Gamma's headquarters from 1952 to 2018 at 530 E. Town Street in Columbus, Ohio

In 1869, two students at Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, Mary Louise Bennett and Hannah Jeannette Boyd, 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 decided to create a women's fraternity and sought members "not only for literary work, but also for social development", beginning with their friend Mary Moore Stewart.[6] Stewart, Boyd, and Bennett met in the Amateurs des Belles Lettres Hall, a literary society of which the women were active members, to plan their new society.[7] They recruited three additional women, Anna Elizabeth Willits, Martha Louisa Stevenson, and Susan Burley Walker, to join in founding the fraternity.[2]

The six founders met at Willit's home to begin work on establishing the Alpha chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma. They chose a golden key as their badge and had badges crafted by Bennett's family jeweler for their official debut. A formal charter for the fraternity was drawn up by Stewart's father, who was an attorney in the state of Illinois. On October 13, 1870, the founders publicized their intention to organize as a women's fraternity by entering the Monmouth Chapel, a public campus venue, wearing their golden key badges in their hair. Although the groundwork of the organization began as early as 1869, the 1876 Convention voted to recognize October 13, 1870 as the official Founders Day since no earlier charter date could be determined.

In 1871, the fraternity chartered its Beta chapter at nearby St. Mary's School in Knoxville.[8] The next year, the fraternity opened its 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 temporarily closed in 1874 but later re-established) and contributed a great deal to the organization of the fraternity in its early years.[2]

In 1882, Kappa Kappa Gamma was the first women's fraternity to publish The Key, a quarterly journal. Today, it is published triennially through Watkins Printing Company.[9]

In 1890, the Beta Alpha chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma became the first sorority at the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League university in Philadelphia, led by president Martha Bunting[10][2]

Moves Toward Panhellenic

In 1891, Kappa Kappa Gamma invited the other women's fraternities to Boston for a discussion on the challenges they collectively faced, which was the precursor to the National Panhellenic Conference.[11] However, no major movements occurred from this meeting, and none would occur for another decade when Alpha Phi invited Pi Beta Phi, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Delta Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, Delta Delta Delta, Alpha Chi Omega, and Chi Omega to a conference in Chicago on May 24, 1902, to set standards for collegiate sororities. This meeting resulted in the organization of the first inter-fraternity association and the first intergroup organization on college campuses.

In the 1960s, G. William Domhoff, writing in Who Rules America?, listed Kappa Kappa Gamma as one of "the four or five sororities with nationwide prestige."[12]

From 1929 to 1952, the organization was headquartered in the Law and Finance Building in Downtown Columbus, Ohio. In 1952, Kappa Kappa Gamma purchased its first headquarters at 530 East Town Street, now part of the East Town Street Historic District. On January 2, 2018, Kappa Kappa Gamma moved from the building to 6640 Riverside Drive in Dublin, Ohio.[13]


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Kappa Kappa Gamma's official colors are light blue and dark blue, with the owl as its official mascot. 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 symbol, 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 of the fraternity's symbols: the key, the Greek letters, the new-member pin, the fleur-de-lis, the owl, and the head of Minerva.

Kappa Kappa Gamma used "Tradition of Leadership" as a tagline in many previous fraternity publications, but, as of June 2012, the new fraternity tagline was changed to "Aspire to Be".

In June 2018, an announcement was made that a new brand would be rolled out during the 2018–2019 academic year with the tag line "Dream Boldly, Live Fully".


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 by initiated members. The fraternity encourages badges to be returned to the headquarters upon a member's death.

New, uninitiated members of Kappa Kappa Gamma wear a different badge, which is 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 initiating chapter.


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Kappa Kappa Gamma supports a three-part Philanthropy program, often referred to as "Philanthropy 1-2-3".

Local KKG chapters may support other foundations or philanthropies individually.


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 Leadership Consultants, and Fraternity Council officers.

The national Fraternity Council consists of six elected alumnae (the President, four Vice Presidents, and Treasurer) and two non-voting members (the National Panhellenic Conference Delegate, and the Fraternity Executive Director). Their work is supported by 11 Content Directors, 14 District Directors, dozens of Content Specialists, various committees, and Kappa Kappa Gamma Headquarters staff. As of January 2018, the Fraternity moved their headquarters from Columbus, Ohio to a new facility in Dublin, Ohio.

In 2004, 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 Fraternity Headquarters.

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 name 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.



Further information: Racism in United States college fraternities and sororities

In 2018, the Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque was under fire for making racist comments during a Greek Life welcome event. The Vice President of Black Brothers Cultivating Knowledge alleged that the sorority girls behind him said "'Black people, get away from me" and "Black people stop wearing grills" while a black woman was speaking.[14]

In 2020, the Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter at the Indiana University Bloomington in Bloomington, Indiana was suspended partially due to the blatant mistreatment of the only black member in the house.[15]

University of Wyoming transgender lawsuit

See also: Westenbroek v. Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity

In 2023, seven members at the University of Wyoming sued the sorority headquarters to remove a transgender woman, Artemis Langford, who they felt pressured to induct into the sorority. They say the induction violates the sorority bylaws which state it is a "single-gender" organization. In the lawsuit, it states sorority members allegedly noticed her become notably sexually aroused as other sorority members were changing shirts and staring inappropriately at members. She denied this and text messages from sorority members submitted to the court supported her denial.[16] The sorority headquarters states it “values diversity” and does not discriminate based on gender identity.[17]

The Federal lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice on 25 August 2023, citing that "The University of Wyoming chapter voted to admit - and, more broadly, a sorority of hundreds of thousands approved - [the admission of transgender individual, Artemis] Langford. With its inquiry beginning and ending there, the Court will not define ‘woman’ today. The delegate [~chapter] of a private, voluntary organization interpreted ‘woman’, otherwise undefined in the nonprofit's bylaws; [hence,] this Judge may not invade Kappa Kappa Gamma's freedom of expressive association." This ruling effectively places any resolution back with the national and local organization to resolve internally.[18] In his decision, which used female pronouns, some of the sorority's arguments were called "plainly inaccurate" stating that any appeal should not be a "copy and paste" as its arguments were weak.[16] The national sorority later expelled two long-serving alumnae volunteers who had used the sorority's member database to solicit donations to help pay for the Wyoming lawsuit.[19]


Further information: List of hazing deaths in the United States

In 1997, the television show 20/20 featured an exposé on hazing in the sorority system[20] that included a hazing by three members of Kappa Kappa Gamma at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and a local sorority Lambda Delta Sigma at Concordia College in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The three members of Kappa Kappa Gamma, on November 6, 1997, were accused of branding three pledges[21] 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.[22] The result was severe enough to send one of the pledges to the hospital with minor burn injuries.[23] The disclosure 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.[22] 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.[22] 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.[22]

In 2014, the Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, 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".[24][25]

In 2015, the Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio was suspended for initiation rituals that involved heavy consumptions of alcohol.[26]

In 2020, the Kappa Kappa Gamma chapter at Indiana University Bloomington in Bloomington, Indiana, was suspended for hazing and misconduct. One pledge reported to authorities she and about 50 other pledges were escorted to a basement, where senior members of the sorority were clad in lingerie intimidating them and pranked them thinking they had to perform oral sex on fraternity members or do a line of cocaine. One senior member of the sorority allegedly stated, "they (pledges) were lucky they didn't have to do anything worse as pledges for a top-tier sorority."[27]

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 allegations that he was the "sole perpetrator of the 2001 anthrax attacks",[28] reportedly had a "long and strange obsession" with Kappa Kappa Gamma,[29] as well as with other sororities such as Chi Omega.[30][31] 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.[32] 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,[33] and only 60 feet from the KKG office.[34] 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.[35][full citation needed]


The Kappa Kappa Gamma house at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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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 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 four 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.

Collegiate chapters

Main article: List of Kappa Kappa Gamma chapters

Notable alumni

Main article: List of Kappa Kappa Gamma sisters


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  15. ^ "A former IU Kappa Kappa Gamma member alleges her pledge class was hazed in 2020".
  16. ^ a b Wan, William (14 October 2023). "A trans woman joined a sorority. Then her new sisters turned on her". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 October 2023.
  17. ^ "7 sorority sisters at University of Wyoming sue Kappa Kappa Gamma to challenge induction of transgender member". NBC News. 31 March 2023.
  18. ^ Kornick, Lindsay (29 August 2023). "Federal judge dismisses University of Wyoming students' lawsuit against trans sorority member". Fox News. Retrieved 29 August 2023.
  19. ^ Downey, Caroline (9 November 2023). "Sorority Alumni Stripped of Membership after Defending Sisters Fighting Admission of Male Student". nationalreview.com. National Review. Retrieved 9 November 2023. KKG accused the women of violating a host of policies by using the organization's contact list to fundraise for the female students' legal defense and by disparaging the sorority's decision to admit a male student in various media interviews.
  20. ^ "20/20 Transcript". May 3, 1999.
  21. ^ "DePauw sorority faces hazing allegations". The Michigan Daily. November 12, 1997. Archived from the original on 2006-07-14. Retrieved 2006-11-03.
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  27. ^ "A former IU Kappa Kappa Gamma member alleges her pledge class was hazed in 2020".
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  33. ^ Westmoreland, Matt (August 6, 2008). "Anthrax suspect's lawyer: Kappa obsession is not proof". The Daily Princetonian. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
  34. ^ Orr, J. Scott (August 6, 2008). "FBI concludes Ivins carried out anthrax attacks alone". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
  35. ^ Willman, Daid. "Report Faults Army in Anthrax Attacks". Los Angeles Times.