Pi

Pi Chapter was founded at the University of California, Berkeley in Berkeley, California on May 22, 1880. The Chapter was founded in an unorthodox fashion; after skimming through Baird's Manual, Anna Long (Brehm) and Ella Bailey (Bruns) applied to Kappa Alpha Theta for a charter, but the Thetas refused to grant a charter to a group with fewer than six members. The two girls acquired another foursome and then, after talking things over with some fraternity men, decided to apply for a charter from Kappa instead. The Chapter closed in the Spring of 1885 due to administrative opposition, lack of chapter harmony, recruitment difficulties, and the Chapter's complete isolation from other members and chapters of the Fraternity.

Founding Date: May 22nd, 1880

Closed Date: Jan 1st, 1885

Status: Reopened

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District: Pi

The Early Years

The parent university of the California complex was chartered by the state March 23, 1868. In 1880, at the time of Pi’s founding, there were 213 men and 55 women student, and 36 on the faculty. The 1930 History of Kappa Kappa Gamma records that Pi was established by Grand Charter from Epsilon, May 22, 1880, and in the spring of 1885 it came to an end. Its five years of life were marked by faculty and administration opposition; some lack of chapter harmony; difficulty in finding members among the few women enrolled; and complete isolation from other members and chapters of the Fraternity, as well as Fraternity officers. Before the charter was given up, and “reluctantly accepted” by the Council, 24 members had been initiated. The chapter had been founded in an unorthodox fashion. Anna Long (Brehm) and Ella Bailey (Bruns), after a skim through of Baird’s Manual, applied to Kappa Alpha Theta for a charter which the Thetas refused to grant to a group with fewer than six members. The two girls acquired another foursome and then, after talking things over with some fraternity men, decided that a Kappa charter was what they wanted. The Theta charter was left in the express officer for two weeks before it was returned. Then they applied for a Kappa Charter. As if to contradict the impression that fraternity men had anything to do with their decision, Pi’s January, 1882, letter to The Key insisted, “We were aided by no counsels and urged forward by no promptings.” The letter reported proudly that on June 2, 1880, the key was worn for the first time in California; that two seniors had been graduated; and that the four remaining members found themselves facing “strong, steady, quiet opposition.” The Golden Key of January, 1884, carried the only other Pi letter. The chapter sent greetings to all other chapters and expressed “wishes she could know them better.” Better? Pi knew only Pi! The annual banquet had been held; Flora Beal had been chosen class essayist; and the first Pi wedding had been celebrated between Sarah Ellery and Fred Ostrander. Although the ingredients were always available, it was more than twelve years later that a second Pi was put on the Berkeley campus.