History

"Faith, hope, love -

these three, but the greatest of these is love."

In 1837, Indiana Asbury College (currently DePauw University) was established by the Methodist Church in Greencastle, Indiana. Bettie Locke, the daughter of a professor, was among the first women to enroll at Indiana Asbury in 1867. During her sophomore year, a member of one of the Greek-letter fraternities asked Bettie to wear their badge. However, when she came to a realization that she would not become a member, but simply a welcomed supporter of the group, she declined the opportunity. Desiring full membership in an organization offering friendship and support, Bettie hoped a Greek-letter fraternity for women might form a chapter at Asbury. Her wishes came to a halt when she realized that she couldn’t identify such an organization existing on any other campus. With her father’s encouragement, Bettie decided to create one herself. From the beginning, she had a strong desire for her organization to flourish, supporting coeds on multiple campuses into the future. She asked a fellow student Alice Allen to work with her in order to make her dream come true. Their tasks included designing a badge, developing a constitution and bylaws, and identifying potential members—women of outstanding character determined to excel academically. The following autumn, Hannah Fitch and Bettie Tipton were invited to join them. Now, four members strong, the women carefully completed their plans. On January 27, 1870, the first official meeting of Kappa Alpha Theta was held. And so, the first Greek-letter fraternity for women was formally established. Obviously meeting a need, the Fraternity grew exponentially—spreading East and West, from North to South, and becoming the first fraternity for women to establish a chapter in Canada. Today, Theta has 123 college chapters and two colonies at chapters and universities across the U.S. and Canada, with more than 250,000 total initiated members.

FUN FACTS

  • Colors: Black and Gold

  • Symbol: Kite and Twin Stars

  • Flower: Black and Gold Pansy

  • Kappa Alpha Theta was the first Greek-letter women's college fraternity

  • The first women's fraternity to establish a chapter in Canada was Kappa Alpha Theta.

  • Theta was the first women's Greek organization established at four Ivy League universities (Cornell, Princeton, Yale, and Harvard), as well as at Michigan, Vanderbilt, Baylor, Stanford, and many other schools.