Kappa Alpha Theta
Theta is an international organization with college and alumnae chapters throughout the United States and Canada. Our headquarters, located in Indianapolis, Indiana, serves the more than 250,000 women that have been initiated since its founding. The strong friendships within chapters and across the continent are what hold the fraternity together.
In 1837, Indiana Asbury College (now DePauw University) was established and like most universities at the time, the student body was all male. Thirty years later - following the United States' Civil War – Indiana Asbury opened their doors to women and the first class was admitted in 1867. Bettie Locke Hamilton, a daughter of a professor at the college, was among the first women to enroll.
Bettie struggled during her first years at Indiana Asbury as many of the students feared acceptance of females would diminish the college's reputation and taunted the female students. The women persevered. They proved to hold their own academically, and gradually gained greater respect.
During Bettie’s sophomore year, a member of one of the Greek-letter fraternities asked Bettie to wear their badge. When she learned, however, she would not become a member - 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. However, she couldn't identify such an organization existing on any other campus. With her father's encouragement, Bettie decided to create one. Bettie sought women of outstanding character that were determined to excel academically to help her achieve this task. They aimed to create an organization that would empower future generations and create leading women.
After months of work, on January 27, 1870 the first official meeting of Kappa Alpha Theta was held between Bettie Locke, Alice Allen, Hannah Fitch, and Bettie Tipton. And so, the first Greek-letter fraternity for women was formally established.