Gamma Alpha Chapter was founded at Kansas State University (formerly Kansas State Agricultural College) in Manhattan, Kansas on September 23, 1916.
3,090 initiates (as of June 2018)
Kansas State Agricultural College was established in 1863 in Manhattan under authorization of an Act of Congress.
A group of coeds which had begun as The Witches had organized itself into a local fraternity, Lambda Lambda Theta, by 1906. Lambda members stressed scholarship and participation in college activities. They were campus leaders. In 1909 the local moved into its first house, and later into a larger home known as the “Lambda Farm,” where a cinder path led to the campus. This posed a problem because of the high heeled shoes, which were a must with the currently popular hobble skirts, cart wheel hats, and high coiffures. In 1913 the college paved the way for national organizations, and three local clubs became Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pi Beta Phi, and Delta Delta Delta.
Lambda’s first attempt at affiliation with Kappa was discouraged because the Fraternity frowned on agricultural colleges. In 1915 the Kappa policy was changes and a second petition brought a charter in the spring of 1916.
Grand President Lydia Voris Kolbe, Akron, conducted the installation September 23, 1916. She was assisted by 14 members of Omega, the sponsoring chapter at the University of Kansas in Lawrence; two members from Sigma at the University of Nebraska; and two Kappas who lived in Manhattan.
This was the height of rushing season and the Omegas helped rush at a dance given the night before installation. After the ceremony and a short business meeting, there was another initiation for the nine girls who had joined the group since the 21 charter members who had signed the petition.
There was a reception given for the townspeople and faculty members, followed by a banquet for the Kappas. A golden key, gleaming with electric lights, adorned one wall of the banquet hall. Gamma Alpha’s first year was crowned with success. The chapter led in scholarship, and placed first at Aggie Pop Night, an annual stunt competition sponsored by the YWCA. Gamma Alpha also won a silver coffee urn presented by Panhellenic for being first in scholarship three consecutive years.
Gamma Alpha’s first permanent home was purchased in July, 1918, from a former president of the college. That 1917-1918 college year was a trying one due to the influenza epidemic and World War I. The Kappas were active in Red Cross work and at Camp Funston.
As is customary with the establishment of new chapters buying houses and furniture, Gamma Alpha had accumulated debts. In 1920 all debts were paid and in 1930 the chapter was able to finance a new chapter house without placing heavy financial burdens on the chapter or the alumnae. An imposing new house was completed at 517 North Delaware Avenue in time for fall rushing in 1930.
During the first 14 years of Gamma Alpha’s history, the chapter was represented regularly in Purple Masque, glee clubs and orchestras, class offices, YWCA presidencies, and Mortar Board. Kappas were elected to home economic, music, science, forensic and journalism honorary societies as well as Phi Beta Kappa. Members were chosen Homecoming Queens, Royal Purple Queens, and Regimental Commanders.
In 1939, 17 pledges began a revolt against hazing after a particularly bad night. They believed that “Kappa was above all that” and expressed disappointment to the active chapter. From then on, there never again was embarrassing or unconventional hazing, just fun things like lock-outs and sneaks. The same pledge class was creative and economical too. They decorated for the “Winter Wonderland” formal with fir branches, stars, blue streamers and a replica of the Kappa house with lighted windows, with an expenditure of only $5.
Of course things were cheaper then. When the Henry Busse Band played in Junction City, tickets were 98 cents plus tax, and “slack suits” cost from $1.50 to $7.95.
Shirley Karns (Johnson) was won everything in 1940: Military Cadet Colonel, Barnwarmer Princess, and Miss St. Patricia. Jeanne Jaccard (Parker) was a beauty queen, and Paula Kelly had the honor of singing with the Glenn Miller orchestra.
During the 1950s, Gamma Alphas traditionally entertained alumnae at special weekends; gave a tea for faculty at Christmas; had big little sister parties; sang carols for the hospitalized at Fort Riley; and collected toys for needy children at Christmas.
Gamma Alpha Chapter was named runner-up for the Efficiency Cup at the 1952 Fraternity Convention. In the fall of 1961, chapter members moved to the Gillette Hotel in downtown Manhattan with great expectations of adventure, while the chapter house was completely remodeled. But the next fall the house was still not ready for occupancy. The Kappas met this crisis with humor and aplomb, and moved into the empty St. Mary Hospital.
More than 200 Kappa alumnae returned for the 50-year celebration of Gamma Alpha. A buffet dinner at the house was followed by rushing skits and an evening of melody and reminiscing as actives and alumnae traded songs from their chapter days. The banquet the next night was at Kansas State Union. Early days were recalled, charter members honored, and 50-year pins presented.
In 1916 when Gamma Alpha was chartered, there were 3,340 students, 350 faculty members, and 17 buildings on Kansas State’s campus. In 1973 there were approximately 15,000 students, 3,000 faculty, and 70 buildings.
The previous information was excerpted from The History of Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, 1870-1976. The information that follows has been gleaned from available resources including Chapter History Reports, chapter meeting minutes, letters and comments from chapter members and alumnae, the Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity Archives, and The Key. Each chapter is expected to update its history record annually. Contact Fraternity Headquarters at [email protected] with questions.
During the1970s, Gamma Alpha excelled in scholarship and intramurals, and enjoyed domination in University Sing competitions. Recruitment at the university had increased participation resulting in the chapter purchasing the property next door to serve as an annex. Many campus organizations welcomed women for the first time, and Kappas took advantage of this opportunity. Members were involved in the Student Governing Association and Blue Key.
Gamma Alpha maintained high standards in scholarship, placing second on campus during mid-decade. They also were the largest sorority on campus with 116 members. The chapter received the Martha Gallagher Cox award at Zeta Province Meeting. The first woman ever elected president of the student body was a Kappa, Angela Scanlan. The 65th anniversary of the chapter found more than 500 attending the celebration.
The 1990s started off on a high note as the chapter’s scholarship ranked first on campus for several semesters. When the chapter’s ranking dropped for a few semesters and didn’t meet its standards the chapter foccused on changing the trend. The efforts were rewarded when it once again attained the number one ranking to close out the decade, and held that ranking for ten semesters.
Gamma Alpha hosted Zeta Province Meeting in 1991. Throughout the decade, the chapter was honored at the Province Meetings, receiving the Marilyn Nichols Bullock Gracious Living award, Excellence in Communication, and the Carolyn Steele Stauffer Scholarship Honorable Mention. Fraternity Convention awards included the Heritage Award and honorable mentions in Chapter Finance and Efficiency. They also were one of the few chapters to successfully achieve 100% in the Challenge to Excellence.
A major event for Gamma Alpha occurred at the end of the decade as major renovations, including additions to the dining room, formal and informal living rooms and handicap accessability were underway. Chapter members faced many challenges throughout the construction, including eating formal dinners on paper plates while sitting on the floor, finding alternate locations to hold chapter meetings, and fewer members able to live-in. The biggest challenge was the need to hold recruitment in a different location. The Kappa Deltas offered their house, and recruitment went as usual with stellar results.
Gamma Alpha’s 75th and 80th anniversaries were celebrated.
Kappa was the only Greek house on campus invited to participate in the 1994 McCain Holiday Homes Tour. Pilanthropy participation remained high. A new philanthropy event, Earthball, enjoyed many years of success. The competition included recycling efforts as well as a soccer/football competition using a five-foot diameter ball. Proceeds benefitted local charities.
This decade found Gamma Alpha’s membership reaching as many as 182 members. The campus also grew with the construction of the Recreation Complex and Leadership Studies building.
Philanthropy efforts continued to thrive. Chapter members gave their time visiting the Boys and Girls Club to read books and donated for Reading is Key. The campus-wide Earthball competition resulted in donations to the Manhatten Headstart program and the Manhattan Library. The chapter celebrated campus successes with a first place in two Homecoming competitions and first place in campus intramurals.
Awards at Zeta Province Meetings were given to Gamma Alpha for Communication, Advisory Board and Educational Programming. At the 2004 Fraternity Convention the chapter received the Most Outstanding Chapter award. Gamma Alpha member Marilyn Nichols Bullock received the Fraternity’s highest aware, the Loyalty Award, at the 2004 Fraternity Convention held in Kansas City.
From chapter’s History Report: Scholarship, group honors/awards, traditions, special events, changes on campus or within chapter, overall nature of the chapter, chapter goals, challenges and how they were overcome, etc.:
Gamma Alpha is an incredible chapter full of amazing women! 2012 has been a year full of challenges and success, perseverance and reward.
2012 Goals: 1. Effective communication. While we are still working to achieve this goal, we have made great strides in keeping the chapter well informed of events at Gamma Alpha. During chapter, officers announce upcoming events several weeks in advance, we hang up monthly calendars, and send out email reminders to keep members accountable and informed. 2. Foster stronger relationships between active members and alumni. During 2012, we had an incredible alumni turnout for initiation. Our alumni have done an outstanding job of staying in touch with the the chapter. We even had a Kappa sing along event with an alum! 3. Encourage greater participation from members. This was accomplished through a number of fun activities and philanthropic events which boosted moral and provided opportunities for all Gamma Alpha members to be involved.
Challenges: 2012 has been an eventful year for Gamma Alpha. We have had a lot of ups and downs throughout the past year, but despite the hardships, we have grown increasingly stronger and have been able to persevere. The biggest hardship we have experienced was receiving the news that one of our active members, Emily Mayfield, was diagnosed with Leukemia. In response to this news, Gamma Alpha held a bone marrow drive on campus which had an incredible and supportive response! We have stayed in close contact with Emily by sending her letters of encouragement every week, surprise gifts, and we even skyped her during chapter. It is has been incredible to see the support of the Gamma Alpha members as well as other Kappa chapters in the area! Emily is currently recovering from a successful bone marrow transplant and will return to Gamma Alpha next semester! Leadership:
Leadership is another area in which Gamma Alpha has struggled during 2012. Unfortunately, two of our officers resigned due to reasons outside of Kappa last semester, but replacements were made and we were able to readjust to the new leadership quite smoothly.
Scholarship: Scholarship has been an area of focus for the Gamma Alpha Chapter. We placed 6th out of 14 in grades in the 2012 spring semester. Although we were above the all sorority and campus average, 6th place was concerning, so we doubled our efforts and received 4th place in grades for the 2012 fall semester! We have recently started “Kappa Studyhall” which is a designated time to study after chapter. It is optional, but there are prizes to attract members! This has greatly helped boost our academics.
Philanthropy: The Gamma Alpha chapter has always struggled with effective philanthropy, and 2012 was no exception. We took a new approach to philanthropy this year by implementing new ideas and reaching out to a different demographic. Our biggest philanthropy event was “K-State Gladiators” which took place at our local park. We rented several bounce houses, and blow-up slides to attract families with small children as well as college students. Although we had a fair turnout of people, the rent for the activities was expensive and we did not fare as well as we had hoped. We have learned from our mistakes and now have a clearer picture of what will and won’t work for our philanthropies, so hopefully 2013 will be a huge success!
Campus: Kansas State University continues to provide an extremely healthy and happy environment in which students consistently thrive. It has been an exciting year in sports as K-State was #1 in the nation in football at one point during the season. Our football team also made it to the Fiesta Bowl which created a huge moral boost on campus! The Bill Synder football stadium is now undergoing construction and completion is expected by next football season. Apart from sports, Kansas State University is approaching its 150th anniversary and has made several changes on campus to celebrate, ranging from building upgrades to hiring artists to paint pictures of our beautiful campus. There are also over 400 campus organizations and clubs available to students which provide extracurricular activities and experiences that can only be gained outside the classroom. Overall, Kansas State University is thriving, consistently growing, and persistently striving to accomplish huge goals.
Chapter: The Gamma Alpha chapter is a strong chapter consisting of about 170 members. Each member is unique and individual and this creates an atmosphere of acceptance and camaraderie. The diversity displayed throughout the chapter instills a deep appreciation of Kappa in each and every woman. We are extremely proud of how our members are involved on campus and how we show incredible initiative outside of Kappa’s walls. Our members are involved in the K-State Student Government Association, Student Foundation, Student Alumni Board, the Executive Honors Board, Order of Omega, Silver Key - Sophomore Honorary, Freshman Honorary, and countless other organizations. Gamma Alpha members truly understand the importance of involvement! Overall, the Gamma Alpha chapter provides a safe, healthy, positive, and supportive environment for all members.
2013 was a year of great success and accomplishments for the women of Gamma Alpha. In 2012 one of our sisters, Emily Mayfield, was diagnosed with Leukemia. We are happy to report that Emily is now in remission and she was able to return for the 2013 fall term.
Officer transitions took place in 2013. Women who possess great leadership skills filled the leadership roles and have made a great impact on the chapter. Our 18 officers went above and beyond their duties to help make the Gamma Alpha chapter stronger than ever.
Scholarship: The Gamma Alpha chapter did exceedingly well in grades during the 2013 school year. We placed fourth in grades out of fourteen sororities in the spring semester. While this was a lower ranking than hoped for, the women of the chapter worked together to continue striving academically. “Kappa Studyhall” is still in place and has been going very well. For the fall semester of 2013 Gamma Alpha placed second in grades overall, with the pledge class of 2013 placing first. We were very excited and proud of our accomplishments.
Philanthropy: Gamma Alpha had two new philanthropy events that were very effective and successful during the 2013 school year. During the spring semester we organized an event along with Gamma Phi Beta called “Sundae Funday,” which was hosted at Gamma Alpha. We sold ice cream with various toppings. Our chapter members enjoyed mingling with the Kansas State community and promoting our chapter. We divided the proceeds evenly with Gamma Phi Beta. Sundae Funday was effectively promoted using social media and campus resources. There was a wonderful turnout. Gamma Alpha’s half of the profits were given to “Reading is Fundamental”, “KKG Foundation” and “Manhattan Public Library Summer Reading Program.”
For the fall philanthropy, we organized an event called “Kappaccino.” We rented a booth space in the student union where we sold French Vanilla Cappuccinos as well as packaged bags of Kappaccino mix and t-shirts. Proceeds from Kappaccino were given to our local philanthropy, The KU Cancer Center. Both of these events were well suited for the weather at the time—ice cream during the spring and cappuccinos in the winter. We really enjoyed them both.
During the 2013 calendar year chapter members recorded community service hours weekly. For the spring semester our chapter had a total of 894 hours of community service. In the fall semester we gathered 3, 740 hours. We are excited to expand our community service both individually and as a group for the upcoming year.
Province Awards: Province 2013 was an exciting weekend spent in Lawrence, Kansas. The Gamma Alpha chapter was awarded the Outstanding Recruitment Award, the Outstanding Financial Chapter Management Award and an honorable mention for the House Board Award. The Manhattan Alumnae Association was also awarded the Gavel Award.
Special Events: During the Fall 2013 semester we had the great privilege to help start a Kappa chapter at Wichita State University. Our chapter members traveled to Wichita three times to assist with the recruitment and formal pledging process. Then, 50 active members traveled back in November for the Installation and Initiation of the Wichita State University Eta Upsilon Chapter. This was such an amazing experience, and we made memories that will last a lifetime. We are excited about this newfound sisterhood and being able to share such sacred memories with each other.
Campus: Kansas State University is achieving great things and 2013 was a testament to that. In August the Princeton Review’s article; “The Best 378 Colleges,” acknowledged K-State for ranking 2nd for great campus and community relations, 5th for student satisfaction, 6th for happiest students, and 7th for best quality of life.
Spring 2013 was an especially exciting time for sports. Both the men’s basketball and men’s baseball teams were Big 12 Conference Champions, and the Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium construction was completed before the first home football game of the 2013 football season.
K-State recently launched a strategic plan to become one of the top 50 research universities in the country by the year 2025. This plan includes many updates to the campus, programs and majors, athletics, and student life. We are all excited about the continued expansion and improvements to the university.
Chapter: In August of 2013 the Gamma Alpha chapter welcomed a new house mom; Mom Julia. She has been a great addition to the house and the chapter members appreciate all the hard work she does. There are over 170 active Gamma Alpha members. Each one of us brings such unique qualities to this chapter and mesh together very well. The women of this chapter balance schoolwork, part-time jobs and extra-curricular activities in addition to Chapter events and activities. We have really taken advantage of social media to promote our house in a positive way. With having a Twitter account, @ksukappa, everyone is able to tweet about how special Kappa is to them. During the past year our chapter worked on maintaining a positive reputation at Kansas State University. We can’t wait to see how much more we can achieve in the next calendar year.
2014 Summary: Twenty-fourteen was a great year for the women of Gamma Alpha chapter at Kansas State University. Not only did Kappa win first place at the 2014 homecoming competition, our all house GPA was ranked in the top three for Greek houses at Kansas State. We hosted two fantastic philanthropies, Sundae Funday and Kappaccino. This year’s recruitment was one for the books as we welcomed 59 new members into our house. The new members fit in perfectly and we are proud to call them our sisters. Twenty-fourteen was Gamma Alpha’s 98th anniversity and we welcomed many Gamma Alpha Alumni to have lunch with us, tour the house before the renovations and meet our new members. Complete renovation of the second and third floors began in December and is scheduled to be completed by end of summer 2015. The current in-house members are temporarily living in the Jardine Apartment Complex during the spring semester of 2015.
Philanthropy: Gamma Alpha participated in two very strong philanthropies. Our first one was in the spring and we called it Sundae Funday. For this philanthropy we partnered with Gamma Phi Beta and we hosted an ice cream bar, which allowed students at Kansas State to create their favorite treat while raising money for a great cause. We raised over $1700 to go to our philanthropy. We also partnered with Farmhouse for their philanthropy called Philanthocakes. We made thousands of pancakes and served the students at Kansas State University. The turnout was so great we had a line out the door and down the block. Our second philanthropy, which we held in November, was called Kappaccino. We rented a booth at the student union and sold Kappaccino’s to students, which was perfect considering the temperature was close to freezing that week. Our total amount raised came to about $700 dollars.
Campus: Our campus is continuing to grow in size and with that we are excited to announce that Kansas State University will be adding a women’s soccer team to our athletic programs. Plus, the Bill Snyder Football Stadium is currently being expanded to seat even more fans to cheer on our amazing football team!! Our university is continually improving and changing to fit the needs of our student body. Kansas State also launched a plan to become one of the top 50 research universities in the country by 2025.
Chapter: The Gamma Alpha chapter is growing robustly in size. We went from having 170 active members in 2013 to having 190 active members in 2014 and with that we are becoming very close with each other during chapter meetings. This is our house moms second year being Gamma Alpha’s chapter house mom and she has been wonderful. She loves knowing how our days have been and she is always a great listener. The women of our chapter are very busy balancing schoolwork, jobs and extra curricular activities in addition to being a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma(the best sorority on campus). We have a twitter and Facebook page where members can post just how special Kappa really is. We are also working on setting up an Instagram account to help promote our chapter and the philanthropies even more. At Kappa’s National Convention over the summer we also received the award of excellence in chapter management.
Twenty-fifteen was a bit different then most years. The first half of the semester we lived in Jardine apartment complex while our house was getting the renovations completed. We had chapter dinners at the dorm cafeteria. In the fall when our house got reopened we held a philanthropy called Cupcakes for Kappa’s. We gave people house tours of our house and after the tour we gave them cupcakes and refreshments. This year was Gamma Alphas 99th anniversary and is very crazy because we are preparing in all ways for the 100th next year. This summer our main floor and basement are going to be redone in preparations for the 100th.
Our campus is continuing to grow in size and with that we are adding a soccer team to Kansas State University next year. Also the Bill Snyder Family Stadium is getting is third phase done to complete the three-year renovation project. This phase will complete the bowl of the stadium and will house our marching band. By 2025 Kansas State hopes to be one of the top 50 research universities in the country.
This year we hosted three philanthropies. The first one was Sundae Funday, the second was Cupcakes with Kappas, and the third was Kappacino. Sundae Funday is an ice cream social in which we partner with Gamma Phi Beta and have students from the university pay a entrance fee but then they can have as much ice cream as they want. We raised around $1500. Cupcakes with Kappa was very successful, because people wanted to see the renovations to our house. We raised a few thousand off of that philanthropy alone. Finally Kappacino was another hit this year because college kids love coffee. We sold out all three days. We raised $400 dollars Kappacino.