Prior to 1870, Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, had been home to one of America’s first secret societies for women: Pi Beta Phi. In 1870, however, six young women at the college set out to create a women’s fraternity that challenged them to strive to be the best women and students possible.
History of Kappa Kappa Gamma
On October, 13, 1870, six young women came together with the purpose of creating a women’s fraternity that was new and different. It was from this ambition that Mary Moore Stewart, Anna Elizabeth Willits, Susan Burley Walker, Hannah Jeanette Boyd, Mary Lousie Bennet, and Martha Louisa Stevenson created Kappa Kappa Gamma, what would become the second national sorority founded at Monmouth College.
Throughout its history, Kappa Kappa Gamma produced a lot of firsts in the world of women’s fraternities and sororities. In 1882, just twelve years after its founding, Kappa Kappa Gamma published the first magazine for a women’s fraternity. Titled The Key, it is still in print today and is available to members of the organization.
In 1891, Kappa Kappa Gamma extended invitations to eight other sororities and women’s fraternities for the Panhellenic Convention. The convention, named “panhellenic” to promote an all-Greek atmosphere, was meant to address issues that organizations were having and to possibly learn from members of other sororities and women’s fraternities to improve the state of these organizations. Two organizations were unable to send representatives to the convention.
The National Panhellenic Conference was then founded from this convention in 1902, comprising of Kappa Kappa Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta, Alpha Phi, Pi Beta Phi, Delta Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, and Delta Delta Delta. Today, the National Panhellenic Conference comprises of twenty-six member organizations, including the original seven.
Kappa Kappa Gamma was also the first sorority to move to a grand council form of government, to establish a consultant program for recent graduates, and to establish a permenant national headquarters location.
Kappa Kappa Gamma Today
Today, Kappa Kappa Gamma boasts 136 active collegiate chapters across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. From these chapters, over 230,000 women have been initiated into the organization since its founding in 1870.
Kappa Kappa Gamma’s philanthropic focus is Reading Is Fundamental (RIF,) an organization that promotes literacy and reading as a primary part of education. Members, as part of the organization’s philanthropic program, are also encouraged to participate in local service projects in addition to helping RIF.
Kappa Kappa Gamma, like many other fraternal organizations, can be identified by specific insignia unique to the organization.
- Colors: dark blue and light blue
- Mascot: owl
- Symbol: golden key
- Flower: fleur de lis
- Philanthropy: Reading is Fundamental
Kappa Kappa Gamma, established by six young women in 1870, boasts many firsts in the world of sororities and women’s fraternities. As these organizations continue to grow and evolve, Kappa Kappa Gamma can continue to challenge its members to continue the legacy created by the organization’s founders.