Kappa Alpha Theta

Kappa Alpha Theta (ΚΑΘ), also known simply as Theta, is an international Greek-letter fraternity for women founded on January 27, 1870, at DePauw University, formerly Indiana Asbury.

Kappa Alpha Theta
FoundedJanuary 27, 1870 (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, Indiana
United States

Kappa Alpha Theta was the first Greek-letter fraternity for women and was founded by four female students (Bettie Locke Hamilton, Alice Allen Brant, Bettie Tipton Lindsey, and Hannah Fitch Shaw).[1] The organization currently has 147 chapters at colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.[2] Theta's total living initiated membership, as of January 23, 2017, was more than 270,000. There are more than 200 alumnae chapters and circles worldwide.[2] Theta's colors are black and gold and the symbol is the kite. The official flower is the gold and black pansy.

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.



Kappa Alpha Theta was founded in 1870 at Indiana Asbury, now DePauw University, three years after the university began to admit women. The fraternity's founding members were Elizabeth McReynolds Locke Hamilton (Bettie Locke), Alice Olive Allen Brant (Alice Allen), Elizabeth Tipton Lindsey (Bettie Tipton), and Hannah Virginia Fitch Shaw (Hannah Fitch).

Kappa Alpha Theta's ritual, organizational structure, badge, and coat of arms were drawn in part upon two fraternities with which Bettie Locke had close connections: Beta Theta Pi, her father's fraternity, and Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI), her brother's fraternity.

Locke had many friends in FIJI, and when the members asked her to wear their badge she asked if it meant she was a member of their fraternity. They informed her, "no" it would be simply as a "mascot" or token of her friendship. Locke declined. She said she could not wear it as she did not know the secrets and purposes the badge represented. The brothers of FIJI took a vote to determine whether to admit and initiate Locke as a full member of FIJI. They decided they wished to remain an all-male fraternity, and gave Locke a silver fruit basket instead as a symbol of their special relationship with her.

At the suggestion of her father, a professor at Indiana Asbury, Locke investigated whether any fraternities for women existed with whom she could establish a chapter at Indiana Asbury. Discovering that only literary societies for women existed at the time, Locke established Kappa Alpha Theta as the first Greek-letter women's fraternity.

Locke and her friend Alice Allen together wrote a constitution, planned ceremonies, designed a badge, and sought out women on campus to become members. Along with Hannah Fitch and Bettie Tipton, they were initiated in secret on Jan. 27, 1870, creating the Alpha Chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta.


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.[3]

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.[4]


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.


The Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine

Theta's Grand Convention voted to establish a magazine in 1885 and 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.[5]


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:[6]

Collegiate Chapter University State/Province Charter
Alpha DePauw University Indiana 1870
Beta Indiana University Indiana 1870
Millersburg College Millersburg College Kentucky 1871-1872
Indiana Gamma Moores Hill Indiana 1871-1874
Gamma Butler University Indiana 1874-1886, reorganized 1906
Delta University of Illinois Illinois 1895
Delta 1 Illinois Wesleyan University Illinois 1875-1895
Epsilon College of Wooster Ohio 1875-1913
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
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 1870-1895, reorganized 1917
Pi Albion College Michigan 1887-1908, reorganized 1955[7]
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
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-Macon College 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
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-?
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
Cincinnati Wesleyan Ohio Wesleyan Female College Ohio 1870-1871
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
Phi deuteron Stanford University California 1892-1944, reorganized 1978
Epsilon Zeta University of Mississippi Mississippi 1979
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
Epsilon Lambda Dickinson College Pennsylvania 1982
Epsilon Mu Princeton University New Jersey 1983
Epsilon Nu Virginia Tech Virginia 1983-2003, reorganization 2017 [6]
Epsilon Xi Villanova University Pennsylvania 1983-1994
Epsilon Omicron Randolph-Macon College 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 Guelph University Ontario 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 [6]
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
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 Louisville, KY 2014
Theta Lambda University of Rochester Rochester, NY 2015
Theta Mu Colorado School of Mines Golden, CO 2016
Theta Nu Georgia Institute of Technology Atlanta, GA 2016
Theta Xi University of California, Santa Cruz Santa Cruz, CA 2017

| Theta Omicron |University of North Carolina at Charlotte | North Carolina | 2017

Notable alumnae

Some notable alumni of Kappa Alpha Theta include Laura Bush, Barbara Bush, Jenna Bush, Tory Burch, Amy Holmes and Sheryl Crow. 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, business woman, 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.[8][6]

Members of Stanford University 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. In order to be able to directly volunteer at CASA you must be 21 years of age or older.


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.[9]

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.[10]

In 2008, the chapter at Colgate University was suspended for four years after an alcohol-hazing related incident.[11]

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.[12]

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.[13][14]

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 unpopular, and not for risk management or academic issues.


  1. Nuwer, Hank (1999). Wrongs of Passage: Fraternities, Sororities, Hazing, and Binge Drinking. Indiana University Press. p. 149. ISBN 0-253-21498-X.
  2. "Theta Facts | Kappa Alpha Theta". Kappa Alpha Theta. Kappa Alpha Theta. 2018-08-21. Retrieved 2018-08-21.CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. "The Breakdown: the origins of Greek life on campus". The Varsity. 2017-09-25. Retrieved 2018-08-21.
  4. Domhoff, G. William (2015). Who Rules America? (Seventh ed.). McGraw Hill College. p. 57. OCLC 912380768.
  5. "The Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine". Kappa Alpha Theta. Retrieved 2009-05-08.
  6. "Chapter Listing". Kappa Alpha Theta. Retrieved 2014-08-20.
  7. "Pi/Albion". Kappa Alpha Theta.
  8. Stony, Fatima. "Designer Spotlight: Tory Burch". collegefashion. Retrieved 8 February 2018.
  9. Jeff Carlton (2000-02-20). "UC sorority suspended over hazing complaints". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved 2015-11-07.
  10. Scott Powers (2000-04-12). "Sorority Chapter Is Shut Down At Rollins". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  11. "Kappa Alpha Theta Receives 4-Year Suspension". The Colgate-Maroon News. Retrieved 2015-11-07.
  12. Tyler Kingkade (2014-02-24). "Columbia Sorority Criticized For Offensive Olympics Party". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-11-08.
  13. Moran, Darcie (2016-02-24). "Disbanded U-M sorority chapter faced discipline problems for years, national president says". Booth Newspapers.
  14. Jesse, David (2016-02-23). "University of Michigan's oldest sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, disbanded". Detroit Free Press.
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