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Kappa Alpha Theta
Founded January 27, 1870 (1870-01-27) (140 years ago)
DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana
Type Social
Scope International
Colors      Black


Symbol Kite and Twin Stars
Flower Black and Gold Pansy
Publication The Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine
Philanthropy Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
Chapters 125+
Members 210,000 collegiate
Headquarters 8740 Founders Road
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Kappa Alpha Theta (ΚΑΘ), also known as Theta, is an international fraternity for women founded on January 27, 1870 at DePauw University, formerly Indiana Asbury. Kappa Alpha Theta was the first Greek-letter women's college fraternity.[1] The organization currently has over 125 chapters at colleges and universities across the United States and Canada with a total initiated membership of nearly 210,000.



Kappa Alpha Theta was founded in 1870 to give women a support group in the then mostly male college world at Indiana Asbury, now DePauw University. It is the first Greek-letter fraternity for women, and the fourth secret society for women, following Alpha Delta Pi (which originated as the Adelphean Society book club), Phi Mu (originated as the Philomathean Society) and Pi Beta Phi (which originated as I.C. Sorosis).

Indiana Asbury, as the university was known then, officially opened its doors to women in 1867, thirty years after the college was first established. Four women, Elizabeth McReynolds Locke Hamilton (Bettie Locke), Alice Olive Allen Brant (Alice Allen), Elizabeth Tipton Lindsey (Bettie Tipton), and Hannah Virginia Fitch Shaw (Hannah Fitch), sought to create an organization for women that would provide the encouragement and support that would draw women to coeducational colleges and help them attain a degree.

Bettie Locke Hamilton, founder of the sorority
Alice Allen Brant, founder of the sorority


Kappa Alpha Theta was based in part on two fraternities with which Bettie Locke had contact: Beta Theta Pi, her father's fraternity, and Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI), her brother's fraternity. Bettie had many friends in FIJI, and when members asked her to wear their badge as a "mascot," Bettie declined. She said she could not wear it as she did not know the secrets and purposes represented by the letters. She followed her father's suggestion to begin her own fraternity for women, and so Kappa Alpha Theta was conceived. Bettie and her friend Alice Allen together wrote a constitution, planned ceremonies, designed a badge, and sought other women on campus worthy of membership

These four founders proudly wore their black and gold badges for the first time to Asbury's chapel service on March 14, 1870.


The intellectual ambition of the Fraternity shall be the attainment of highest scholarship. The social aim of the Fraternity shall be to exercise the widest influence for good. The moral aim of the Fraternity shall be the standard of love.[2]

Mission Statement

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, Kappa Alpha Theta exists to nurture each member throughout her college and alumnae experience and to offer a lifelong opportunity for social, intellectual, and moral growth as she meets the higher and broader demands of mature life.[2]


Kappa Alpha Theta has more than 125 college chapters and more than 180 alumnae chapters across the United States and Canada. Alumnae chapters are alumnae groups that have been granted charters from Grand Council.


The Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation, founded in 1960, is the philanthropic arm of the organization. The Foundation works to award annual undergraduate and graduate scholarships to its members, awarding more than $500,000 per year. In addition to scholarships the Foundation also supports the Fraternity's educational programs as well as the Fraternity's international philanthropy, Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), adopted as the international philanthropy in 1989, are community volunteers who serve as the voice for abused and neglected children in court, their purpose is to ensure all legal actions made are in the child's best interest.

The Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine

Theta's Grand Convention voted to establish a magazine in 1885 and place its editorship with the 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), a change of publication schedule (from monthly to quarterly), and several changes of editors (20 Thetas have served as editor, one of them twice).

Today, The Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine is published in April, June, September, and December of each year. It is intended to update, educate, and entertain readers about the Fraternity and its college and alumnae chapters and to serve as a link between the international Fraternity and its members.[3]

Notable alumnae


  1. ^ Nuwer, Hank (1999). Wrongs of Passage: Fraternities, Sororities, Hazing, and Binge Drinking. Indiana University Press. p. 149. ISBN 0-253-21498-X. 
  2. ^ a b "Theta Facts". Kappa Alpha Theta. Retrieved 2009-06-08. 
  3. ^ "The Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine". Kappa Alpha Theta. Retrieved 2009-05-08. 

External links



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