Kappa Alpha Theta, founded in 1870, is the oldest Greek sorority. Its founders paved the way for future sororities and women seeking a higher education. DePauw University (formerly Indiana Asbury College) opened its doors to women in 1867, right after the Civil War.
A Sorority in a Man’s World
In the beginning, women had a difficult time acclimating to the predominately male environment. When one of the first women to enroll at the school, Bettie Locke, found out she could wear a Greek letter badge in support of a male fraternity, but not join, she rejected the opportunity in favor of her own society. With her father’s support, she recruited other female students and worked on a constitution and bylaws for the first sorority.
Today, the organization’s headquarters are still in Indiana, and Kappa Alpha Theta has more than 250,000 initiated members who work in various fields. Designer Tori Burch, former first lady Laura Bush, and singer Sheryl Crow are all Thetas.
Theta Mission and Symbols
The international sorority is dedicated to teaching leadership skills and building a network of lifelong friendships while promoting scholarship and philanthropy. The motto “true promise” reflects Theta’s mission to facilitate growth among members during college and create a long-term opportunity for well-rounded intellectual, social, and moral growth.
You may recognize a Theta from black and gold colored Greek letters or the badge that includes a kite and twin stars. Thetas also popularized “kiting”—forming the kite symbol with one’s arms.
The Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation
Since 1960, the Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation has supported Thetas on their journeys. The foundation’s purpose is separate but complementary to the sorority’s. Through it, members fundraise, manage scholarships and grant programs, and support Thetas who strive to make a difference in the world. Many individuals who couldn’t otherwise afford to join a sorority have the opportunity to reach their goals through the foundation’s efforts.
Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine
Since 1885, the society has published a quarterly magazine highlighting certain activities and stories within the organization. It serves as an ongoing link between current students and alumni around the world, featuring educational contributions, current information and events, and entertainment pieces. Today, members can access the magazine online, and they’re always encouraged to submit individual and group accomplishment pieces for publication.
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