Delta Omicron Chapter was founded at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa on May 18, 1946.
1,906 initiates (as of June 2018)
Delta Omicron’s history seems to bring simultaneous memories of national officers, three Kappa graduate counselors, a small group of unchartered Ames alumnae, the effects of World War II, Iowa State College President Charles E. Friley, and the Panhellenic spirit on Iowa State’s campus.
The first recorded Kappa Kappa Gamma event was a tea held at the Pi Beta Phi house in honor of Graduate Counselor Wilma Winberg (Johnson), Massachusetts, on September 23, 1945. Wilma was sent to Iowa State by the Fraternity with the idea of starting a chapter there. Among the honored guests were the members of the Extension Committee; Fraternity President Ruth Kadel Seacrest, Nebraska; former field secretary and Extension Chairman Martha Galleher (Cox), Ohio Wesleyan; and Frances De Puydt, Iowa. Residence directors, presidents of all organized houses on campus, and faculty members also attended.
Obviously impressed with the situation at Iowa State, the extension committee unanimously recommended that active chapters vote for the colonization of a new Kappa chapter at Iowa State. The Grand Council endorsed the colonization and work was started in the fall of 1945. Two more graduate counselors had been sent to Iowa State by winter quarter, 1946. They were Patricia Pillar (Shelton), Kansas, and Arma Jo Smith (Northup), Kansas State. The first rush party was on January 3, 1946, at the home of Ruth Shaw Gilman, Drake. The Ames alumnae, girls from Beta Zeta at Iowa, and Gamma Theta at Drake assisted the graduate counselors.
Seventeen girls were rushed and pledged. The pledge pin was a gold “ΔΟ.” The new pledges continued to live in various dormitories on campus and they met at the Memorial Union. Delta Omicron was now a reality and finding housing was the next goal.
World War II was over, but the effects were still very evident. Most of the men between 20 and 44 had been eligible for military service. Lumber, scrap metal and all building materials had been rationed. Therefore, labor and materials for construction were non-existent, certain food items were limited, and the college enrollment was low. However, between 1944 and 1946 military men started to return to school and Iowa State’s enrollment tripled.
The start of winter quarter, 1946, was delayed a few days because more than 500 unexpected students overloaded the administrative machinery. Virtually overnight the college faced a critical shortage of classrooms and housing. It was at this time that the ΚΚΓ alumnae started to look for chapter housing.
Installation took place in 1946 with the Grand Council and members of Nebraska, Drake and Iowa University chapters attending. A banquet certainly was in order even though some food rationing was still in effect. A place to seat that many people also presented a problem. President Charles F. Friley, personally came to the rescue. He made sure that the Memorial Union was available for the banquet and adequate food was served.
The initiation for the 18 charter members (one girl pledged after the original 17) took place in the Memorial Union. Executive Secretary Clara O. Pierce, Ohio State, presided over the initiation and Gamma Theta was the installing chapter. It would be hard to say which event was the highlight of the installation weekend: the silver punch bowl presented to the chapter by the Iowa State Interfraternity Council, the silver dish presented by Panhellenic Council or the cake made with rationed butter and sugar. It was at the same time that Wilma Winberg presented a scholarship ring to the girl who showed the greatest scholarship improvement. The tradition still continued in 1975.
Installation was over and all efforts could be aimed at the housing problem. Again, President Friley came to the rescue and made available an old house that the college owned at 128 Lynn Avenue. Delta Omicron could rent the house for $200 month. The house had been used for graduate students, but now the Kappas could call it home for a few years. Beds and study desks were provided with the house, but all of the kitchen equipment had to be purchased. Dishes and glassware were easily acquired, but when a stove and refrigerator had to be obtained, the effects of World War II were again felt. The Kappas were able to purchase a used refrigerator from the ΣΑΕs for $300. Records show that the kitchen was equipped for less than $ 550. In the fall of 1946, rush was conducted in this temporary house. The physical aspects of the house were certainly no help in rushing. The carpeting in the house was so bad that one rushee caught her heel and fell.
The search for permanent housing continued and in the fall of 1947 the lot at Ask and Sunset was purchased for $13,500. The Fraternity architect drew plans for the new house and in the fall of 1948, these plans were presented to the active chapter. However, the lot, which was next door to the Tau Kappa Epsilon house, was later sold to the Tekes for their expansion program. Meanwhile, life continued at 128 Lynn and that year Kappa Alpha Theta came to the campus. The Kappas invited the Thetas to combine spring formals for a “Kite and Key’ dance.
In 1949 Iowa State’s Panhellenic Council invited officers of eleven national sororities to gather on campus. Delta Omicron’s President was elected president of the conference. After the plans for the chapter house at Sunset and Ash had been changed, the decision was made to purchase the Roger Williams Baptist Student Center at 120 Lynn Avenue in May, 1949. Remodeling was to begin as soon as school was out. Again the Kappa architect and interior decorator made all the plans for the remodeling and sizeable addition.
Remodeling began before the new Baptist Church was completed, so the minister and his family moved to 128 Lynn and the Kappas moved to Oak Hall for fall quarter of 1949. Rush was held at the Memorial Union and the church was completed by the end of fall quarter. The girls moved back to 128 Lynn until the remodeling was finished. Mother’s Day, 1949, was “Move Day” and this time the move was permanent.
Even though the decorating was done by an interior decorator, it was several years before she saw the end result. In the meantime, the ΚΚΓ house was frequently visited by Iowa State’s interior design classes as an example in the “utmost of poor taste.” Delta Omicron had been sent the wrong living room furniture.
It appeared that a temporary move might again have to be made in May, 1971. The city’s Building Inspector asked that five rooms in the northeast corner of the house not be used due to structural weakness in that corner of the building. The girls doubled up, but continued to live at 120 Lynn until major repair was done to the corner of the house.
Delta Omicron’s history includes a letter written in 1970 by Dr. E. W. Peterson, professor of political science, who had lived on Lynn Avenue and had watched the Kappas come and go since 1946. He had always been an “adopted Dad” and attended the Dads’ Weekends. The letter was full of his appreciation for the thoughtfulness of the Kappa chapter, of his high opinion of the girls’ abilities in class and on campus, and of the other neighbors’ enjoyment of Delta Omicron. The page was called, “A Brief History of the Kappas as Seen Through the Eyes of Appreciative Neighbors” and it ended, “. . . from the whole neighborhood I bring thanks . . .” Dr. Peterson pointed out that the chapter had always been active in campus affairs. In 1955 there were so many Delta Omicrons in key Veishea (an all-campus event) positions that the Veishea Central Committee installed a special Veishea phone at the Kappa house.
The alumna of the chapter also have been outstanding in activities. In 1970, Iowa State University awarded the Outstanding Young Alumnus award to one alumna and another was named to a special Iowa Governor’s Committee. In 1973 an alumna was the first woman to pass the Air Force Survival test.
At the 1972 Fraternity Convention Delta Omicron received the Edith Reece Crabtree Panhellenic Award and the Rheva Ott Shryock gavel was presented to the alumnae club for its work with the chapter. Without the Ames Alumnae Club and its loyal members, it is doubtful that either Delta Omicron or the written history of Delta Omicron would be a reality.
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.
Bell-bottom pants and and long hair were the trends that started off the 1970’s but by the latter part of the decade, the “preppy” look became popular. Turtle necks with corduroy pants was the in look and everything was monogrammed! Disco was the music of choice and Motown artists, such as Michael Jackson were becoming well known. In Iowa, the drinking age was eighteen, which made socials easy to coordinate as you didn’t have to worry about minors. The main issue in the chapter was excessive drinking and several members had to meet with the Standards Committee. Anorexia and Bulimia were just beginning to be a problem in the house. Microsoft was founded in 1975 and the only computers on campus were giant mainframes in campus buildings.
The 1980’s was a decade where the women of Delta Omicron continued their strong involvement in a myriad of activities and events. They were always up to the challenge and frequently placed in the top three of the various sorority and fraternity events. It didn’t matter if it required athleticism, creativity or talent, somehow Delta Omicron women always shined. Popular activities were: Homecoming, Veisha, Varieties, Greek Week, Derby Day’s and “Yell Like Hell”, just to name a few.
The chapter continued to experience years of strong recruitment and outstanding pledge classes. Kappa was a well respected chapter on campus and the members were very involved in Panhellenic and Greek life.
The fashion in this decade was bold. Women started donning leg warmers, side pony tails, acid washed jeans and Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses. Most jackets, blouses and dresses had shoulder pads in them and hair was often permed and big.
In 1986, a Delta Omicron member, Colleen Blough (Willoughby) was chosen to be a Fraternity Field Representative. This was an honor for both Colleen and the chapter.
The 80’s were also filled with challenges. The State of Iowa raised the legal drinking age from 18 to 21years of age. This meant that the majority of the house was no longer of legal drinking age. Much education and training was implemented to keep the women of the chapter on the right track. During this decade the chapter had several years when its chapter G.P.A. declined. A new emphasis on scholarship was implemented.
When Omicron Deuteron was re-colonized at Simpson College in 1989, the women of Delta Omicron answered the call to help with Simpson’s fall rush. The Delta Omicron members demonstrated the sisterhood of Kappa and shared songs and skits from their rush parties. It was incredibly helpful to the women of Omicron Deuteron.
Mom and Dad Miller became the house parents of the Delta Omicron house in 1984. In 1986 the chapter underwent a 3,000 square foot renovation which included additional space for the Millers. During the remodel, Dad Miller had to shower at a local fraternity three blocks away. The renovation added a formal living room, chapter/study room, eleven bedrooms, pajama lounge, four baths and a laundry room. The women were thrilled to move back in to their newly renovated house. In 1987, the Millers were chosen as House Parents of the Year during Greek Week.
The members of Delta Omicron always seemed up to the task of rolling up their sleeves and either staging its own fundraiser or participating in other philanthropic events. There is no doubt that their efforts made an impact on their community. They held exciting events like Car Smash where participants had the opportunity for a fee, to take a swing at a beat up car with a sledgehammer and their annual Hitting for the Homeless softball tournament. They participated in the Balloon Derby to help support the Ames Emergency Residence Project and graciously accepted the invitation to join the efforts of other Greek organizations. In the community they supported Meals on Wheels, local blood drives and other philanthropic efforts.
The women of Delta Omicron continued to be incredibly active in campus and Greek Life organizations. When one looks at the list of organizations the members were involved in, it’s impressive. They also continued the tradition of excelling in campus events such as Varieties and VEISHEA. Awards and recognitions were frequent. It was especially rewarding for them to win the 1991Veishea People’s Choice Award for their Our Backyard float that they built with the men of Delta Tau Delta.
During the early part of the 1990’s Delta Omicron maintained its focus on improving academic excellence. They kicked off the decade with the theme of S.O.S., Save Our Scholarship, and as the decade moved on, the scholarship improved and the goals shifted to improving participation levels at events.
In 1995, the chapter received the Golden Key Award for achieving the third level of Kappa’s Challenge to Excellence. It was an honor to receive the award during Kappa Kappa Gamma’s 125th Anniversary.
The chapter celebrated it’s 50th anniversary in 1996. They hosted an open house in October and had a wonderful turnout.
Delta Omicron continued to have strong membership drives during the 1990’s. Year after year, they welcomed in another class of outstanding young women who quickly excelled in a myriad of activities.
In 1996, the Theta Chi Fraternity’s chapter house burned to the ground. Fortunately, no members were injured, but it was a tragic loss for the men. The incident united the Greek community to rally around their fellow brothren, but it also sent a ripple of panic within the various house boards. The Kappa house started holding fire drills every semester and the House Board made sure all fire alarms and security systems were up to code and inspected regularly.
The Hitting for the Homeless softball tournament continued to be one of the chapter’s biggest philanthropic endeavors. They also dedicated many hours to Meals on Wheels and other local philanthropies. When it came to supporting their Greek partners, the women of Delta Omicron were glad to offer a helping hand, sing, dance, run, or do whatever needed to raise money and awareness for a cause.
Chapter Convention Awards:
06/30/96 Public Relations Award
Delta Omicron Kappas demonstrated their tradition of leadership by participating in a variety of different clubs, organizations, honor societies, employers, and athletic activities on campus and in the community. Some of these include, but are not limited to Greek Week, SALT Company, Homecoming, Dance Marathon, Freshman Council, Jr. Greek Council, Panhellenic, Cyclone Alley, ISU Pom Squad, Colleges Against Cancer, and Blood Drive. In 2007, at the end of Greek Week the women of Delta Omicron were honored with the President's Award at the Vespers greek award ceremony. This honor acknowledged the chapter for meeting a minimum of 90% of the Collegiate Panhellenic Council's criteria throughout the calendar year.
At the end of the decade the chapter discovered that some of their “fun” activities were considered hazing. It was a wake up call for them to understand that they were making several of their new members uncomfortable. The chapter implemented education and training to ensure the members understand all aspects of hazing to overcome this issue. They prided themselves on sisterhood and leadership, so were working together to make sure all of the members had a positive Kappa experience.
By 2010 there were 15 sororities and 27 fraternities on campus. Kappa was well-known and respected and had a strong name in the Greek and campus community.
Springtime was associated with the annual philanthropy - Kappa Kakes. The all you can eat pancake breakfast generally raised between $1,100 to $1,600 to benefit the Children's Miracle Network. In the fall the chapter hosted Kappa Fiestas which annually generated thousands of dollars to support Reading is Fundamental and the Rose McGill Fund.
General Convention Awards:
2006, Academic Excellence Honorable Mention; 2006 Panhellenic Honorable Mention; 2008, Most Improved Academic Excellence Honorable Mention;
Province Meeting Awards:
2007, Chapter/Advisory Board Relations Award
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.:
The 2012 calendar year was very eventful and exciting! We started out the new year with the transition of the new officers to the chapter council. At this time, most of the chapter was busy with Varieties (a short musical). We were paired with the men of Delta Tau Delta, the women of Alpha Delti Pi, and the men of Acacia. Many of the girls in our chapter also helped out with Dance Marathon which raises money for the Children's Miracle Network. After Varieties was over, Greek Week was quickly approaching. We were paired with the men of Lambda Chi and Phi Delta Theta. We did very well in Lip Sync and earned the People's Choice Award. We also participated in tournaments, olympics, Polar Bear Plunge, and banner. We ended this eventful week with our annual philanthropy Kappa Kakes. As always, it was a huge success and the proceeds went to the Children's Miracle Network. Shortly after our philanthropy, we had Mom's weekend. It took place at our chapter house where our moms and us participated in a fulfilled weekend that included different things such as brunch, a silent auctioning, and jewelry making. We ended our year by earning one of the highest honors, Presidents Award.
Our fall semester started off great with Formal Recruitment. We were honored to add an amazing new pledge class of 39 girls to the chapter. Homecoming started off quickly as we came to school. We were paired with the men of Pi Kappa Alpha and Beta Theta Pi. Our pairing participated in Yell like Hell and earned the People's Choice award. We also placed first in community service and first in tournaments. Shortly after homecoming, our annual fall philanthropy was held, Kappa Fiesta. This was very successful and the proceeds went to Reading is Fundamental. This year was also the third year for Kappa Carnival at Collins - Maxwell elementary school. During this, all of our chapter travels to their elementary school and participates in different kinds of games and activities with them. Kappa Karnival is a great way for our chapter to become involved in the community and put a smile on the little kid's faces. We also had Dad's weekend which was a success. We put on a tailgate for one of the Iowa State football games that all the dads were invited to as well as an auction we held at our chapter facility. The year ended with officer transitions and passing on the different rituals to the incoming leaders of Delta Omicron.
Iowa State University has a beautiful campus, thriving in a variety of activities, organizations, and clubs that are large led by the student body. Iowa State provides endless opportunities for students to get involved in leadership positions. Iowa State also has a very strong Greek community that offers 15 different sororities and 27 different fraternities for students to become a part of.
This previous year, Delta Omicron chapter received a cumulative 3.23 GPA, which increased from 3.12 the past semester. Along with this, we had 52 girls on Dean’s list as well as four girls with a 4.0 GPA. We participated in Yell Like Hell for Homecoming and received 2nd place overall, and won first place in community service. In the Spring, we also were involved in Lip Sync and Varieties and these were very fun for our chapter to be involved in. This year we held our annual philanthropies, which are Kappa Fiesta in the Fall and Kappa Kakes in the Spring. Both of these events were successful, and the money raised goes towards Reading is Fundamental as well as the Children’s Miracle Network. Challenges this year included re-vamping all of the chapter council positions and adding new and exciting programs that would get our chapter members involved and engaged.
There have been no drastic changes on our campus recently, besides our VEISHEA weeklong celebration of the various colleges of Iowa State University. This celebration will be re-vamped and changed in the future to promote Iowa State University tradition and community. As for the overall nature of our chapter, we are moving forward in leadership as well as friendship, and are trying to work towards overall respect of one another and more involvement in general from the chapter members.
Over the past year, Delta Omicron has accomplished very much. We have set many goals throughout the year, and one by one we are meeting and exceeding these goals. One of our goals was to raise our chapter average GPA. We increased our chapter GPA by .07 to reach a chapter average of 3.32. Another goal was to become more involved in the Greek and Iowa State community. Since this goal has been set, we have had many members of our chapter join Blood Drive Committee, STARS, dance marathon and many more. Four Delta Omicron members were even elected to be Rho Gammas in the upcoming formal recruitment, which is double the amount we had in the previous formal recruitment! We have participated in many Greek Events including LipSync for Greek Week and Yell Like Hell for homecoming. Our philanthropies are said to be the best on campus. At our fall all-you-can-eat nacho bar philanthropy, Kappa Fiesta, we raised over four thousand dollars to go towards the Reading is Fundamental organization and Kappa Foundation. We also raised a large amount of money for The Children's Miracle Network at our spring philanthropy, Kappa Kakes. Our chapter also attended an elementary school carnival and played games with young children who received tickets that they could redeem for children's books we donated to the carnival.
We hold our chapter meetings in our chapter room in our chapter owned facility. Delta Omicron is fortunate enough to have a very nice house with yearly renovations thanks to our awesome parent foundation's donations :)
Our chapter house has been around for many, many years. However, within the last decade, a new floor was added to the house allowing more women to live in. Every summer we get new renovations of our choice (within reason). For example, a third level was added, a new wing was added, a patio was added, and other minor changes as well. As of right now, around 65 women can live in our chapter owned home.
One of the biggest challenges that our chapter faced this year is our warning of probation that we were placed on last August. Since then, we have made tremendous growth as a chapter. We made a list of goals at the beginning of the year that we wanted to focus on as a chapter council. These goals consisted of making the chapter more aware of Kappa’s Bylaws and Standing Rules and values, creating more efficient use of committees, and to work on our sisterhood. Since then we have met these goals by having monthly sisterhoods, reading passages of the Bylaws and Standing Rules during chapter meetings, and using delegation in our committees.
Another one of our goals as a chapter was to be more involved in the Greek community and to make a name for Kappa on campus. We had four Rho Gammas from Kappa for formal recruitment, many members on ISU Blood Drive, and many members on the Iowa State Dance Marathon committee. One Kappa was also just elected to be the Vice President of Judicial Affairs on the Collegiate Panhellenic Council. We are continuing to become more involved in the Greek and non-Greek community within the next couple of years as well.
A recent change in our chapter is the retiring of our beloved Mom Miller. After 31 years serving as the Kappa house mom, she has retired. We will miss her dearly and hope to get a new house mom just as caring and loving as her! The nature of our chapter is positive, involved, and fun. We recruited over 50 new members between formal recruitment and informal recruitment, and many of them spend a lot of time at the house and enjoy being around such a great group of girls.
One recent change on campus that many girls in the house appreciate is the Starbucks that was just added across the street from Kappa. At any given time, there is a Kappa in Starbucks ordering a drink before class or even studying. Starbucks is a great study spot and being so close to the house, there are always girls studying there. Above that new Starbucks, new apartment buildings have been added. These nice, fully furnished apartments are a popular hangout spot that many Kappas enjoy. A lot of women choose to live in these apartments because they are so close to the house and it makes it very easy for them to stop by any time and just hang out.
Chapter Philanthropy: What organization(s) has your chapter historically/traditionally raised money for, or donated hours to, in your community?
Delta Omicron has been actively involved in donating money to Reading is Fundamental, Kappa Foundation, and Children’s Miracle Network. We continue to hold our fall philanthropy, Kappa Con Queso, which benefits Kappa Foundation and Reading is Fundamental. This year we raised a record breaking amount (over $7,600.00) to be donated equally to Kappa Foundation and Reading is Fundamental. Our spring philanthropy, Kappa Kakes, partners with Iowa State Dance Marathon to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network. At this event, we invite members of Dance Marathon to come and set up a table for the guests to donate. In addition to that, we also have a lot of women participate in Dance Marathon, raising even more money for the Children’s Miracle Network. We also participate in a smaller service event, Kappa Karnival, at a local elementary school where we play games with kids and they receive tickets that they can then cash in for books.
Why did your chapter choose this organization(s) to support?
We wanted to support Kappa Foundation because of what it does for Kappa Alumni and current Kappa Chapters. We believe that Reading is Fundamental is a very good organization that encourages literacy in children and adults and we think that this is a good cause to donate to because we also have a strong belief in literacy. Partnering with Dance Marathon and donating to Children’s Miracle Network is also something that we have a strong desire to do. Children’s Miracle Network is a great organization and helps a lot of children and their families, and we think it is great to be able to help with that.