Gamma Iota

Gamma Iota Chapter was founded at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri on September 10, 1921

Founding Date: Sep 10th, 1921

Status: Active



District: Zeta

The Early Years (From The History of Kappa Gamma 1870-1976)

When, in the spring of 1903, six Kappas representing five chapters, organized the St. Louis Alumnae Association, it was with the idea that organization at that time might be the means of bringing about pleasant meetings between resident and visiting Kappas during the months of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. The Kappa corner in the “Anchorage” on the exposition grounds proved a convenient meeting place. The 1904 Convention, entertained by Theta Chapter from the University of Missouri, brought Kappa enthusiasm to a white heat.

It was impossible to see the beautiful—but obtrusively new-looking—Administration Building of Washington University built on the edge of the city, without feeling a desire to mother a Kappa chapter there. But those were conservative days. No fraternity for women had yet entered the University and Kappa seemed to have lost her pioneering spirit. So the St. Louis Kappas merely wished and hoped. Then in 1906, Kappa Alpha Theta entered, and a year later Pi Beta Phi, and it seemed too late. But there were girls at the University who wanted Kappa. The 1906–08 Grand President’s Report, records that on October 10, 1907, a formal petition was received, signed by five girls. This was refused by a unanimous negative vote of the Grand Council, because of its proximity to Theta Chapter at the University of Missouri, and the lack of material to support another chapter at the University. It is interesting to note that while this petition was in the hands of the Grand Council, an informal petition had been received on February 11, 1908, from an entirely different group.

Apparently the attitude of succeeding administrations was not favorable to Washington University as a field for extension. The year 1914 saw Delta Gamma enter and two years later came Gamma Phi Beta. The St. Louis Alumnae Association began to bestir itself. There must be materials for a chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma there. What followed has erroneously been called “colonization.” It was not that, but rather “selection,” an interesting and novel piece of work undertaken by an alumnae association for the good of the Fraternity.

Highlights of the 1920s

In the spring of 1920, the St. Louis Alumnae Association decided to take steps to establish a chapter at Washington University. Eight girls were selected and pledged. In July of the same year, at the Convention on Mackinac Island, an alumna representing the St. Louis Alumnae Association told what had been done and pleaded for interest in the University and the group. In the fall, the Alumnae Association, with the aid of the group of eight girls, rushed and pledged seven more girls. The group was inspected on February 11, 1921, by the Grand Secretary, Della Lawrence (Burt), Beta Xi, Texas, after which petition booklets were sent out. On May 27, 1921, a charter was granted by the unanimous consent of the active chapters and one dissenting vote of the alumnae associations. Each member of the group was formally pledged to Kappa Kappa Gamma on June 6, 1921.

On September 10, 1921, Gamma Iota was installed by Grand President Sarah B. Harris (Rowe), Upsilon, Northwestern, and Theta, Missouri. At a banquet the same evening, the Alumnae Association presented the chapter with a beautiful silver service and Theta Chapter gave a Book of Ritual. On November 19, Gamma Iota was introduced to the faculty and friends of Washington University at a reception given by the Alumnae Association.

During this first year the honor of having the only Phi Beta Kappa member among fraternity girls belonged to Kappa. As yet there were no fraternity houses and the girls lived chiefly in their own homes, though a few resided at McMillan Hall, the women’s dormitory.

However, Washington University was indeed expanding and broadening. In 1923-24 a campaign was started for a Woman’s Building. Fraternity women were especially interested in this project because the building was to include attractive living rooms and comfortably large sorority rooms. In the following fall the campaign was begun with renewed vigor under Kappa leadership. The future for such a building seemed bright for the women on the campus pledged more than $25,000 after which the campaign was taken off the campus.

Perhaps Gamma Iota’s greatest honor came in the fall of 1924 when it won Washington University’s Panhellenic Scholarship Cup for the previous year. This was the first time Kappa had held the cup and the St. Louis Alumnae Association was so delighted that it presented the chapter with two silver sandwich trays. Besides this great honor, a member was president of the Athletic Association (WSGA), and elected to Mortar Board the same year. In every university organization Kappa were well represented.

During 1926–1927, Gamma Iota excelled in campus activities, scholarship, leadership and athletics, going so far as to win the silver loving cup for its prowess in baseball. One member who excelled in athletics was elected president of the Athletic Association (WSGA), selected for Mortar Board, and held offices in several other campus organizations in two succeeding years. The Kappa Kappa Gamma Mothers Club was formed that same year, and through the years helped in every conceivable way, including the establishment of a loan fund for members of Gamma Iota in financial need.

An unusual event in 1927 was a 50th anniversary Founders Day program presented by Gamma Iota over radio station KMOX, which drew telegrams and messages from Kappas in various parts of the country. The program featured musical numbers by university singing groups, and a short address by Fraternity President Georgia Hayden Lloyd-Jones, Eta, Wisconsin. Also appearing on the program were two University of Missouri Kappas who were popular singers on the Keith and Orpheum circuits. They wrote Kappa Blues which was sung in almost every Kappa house in the country. In the fall of 1928, the Women’s Building was completed. Gamma Iota was quite prepared to move from its cramped quarters in McMillan Hall. The chapter was the first in the building, and had the most desirable room. Soon the suite was well and handsomely furnished, thanks to the Mothers Club, which had a large and successful bridge benefit to raise money for furnishings. The Zeta Province Meeting was held in St. Louis in the spring of 1929, and most of the meetings were conducted in the Kappa section of the Women’s Building.

As Washington University has grown and prospered, so Gamma Iota Chapter has developed, and in so doing hopes to maintain her standard in Kappa Kappa Gamma Highlights of the 1940s

Gamma Iota celebrated its 25th anniversary the year of Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Diamond Jubilee in 1946. By happy chance, the Initiation banquet that year coincided with a visit from Nora Waln, Beta Iota, Swarthmore, on a lecture tour. She appeared as guest speaker as more than 160 Kappas assembled in the main dining room of the University Club to celebrate Gamma Iota’s 25th and Kappa’s 75th birthdays. Miss Waln talked about her experiences in Europe during World War II—experiences that led to the establishment of the Nora Waln Fund for Refugee Children. At the conclusion of the banquet, the actives sang a song which had been written for Gamma Iota at the time of its Installation.


Washington University sororities did not have houses. Instead, each chapter had a living-room- style suite in the Ann Olin Women's Building. These non-residential suites provided a place on the main campus for members to hang out, conduct study groups, and hold chapter business meetings. Most fraternities resided in University-owned houses.

Highlights of the 1950s

The Vietnam War fought from November 1, 1955 to April 30, 1975, had a great influence on campus life as students discussed the pros and cons, and young men went off to war.


Washington University sororities did not have houses. Instead, each chapter had a living-room- style suite in the Ann Olin Women's Building. These non-residential suites provided a place on the main campus for members to hang out, conduct study groups, and hold chapter business meetings. Most of the fraternities resided in University-owned houses.

Highlights of the 1960s

Gamma Iota’s contributions and interests extended beyond sorority and university activities. During the Vietnam War, the chapter subscribed to a newsletter distributed periodically by the Friends of the Children of Vietnam, an organization which provided food and clothing for needy Vietnamese children. The chapter sent donations to the Providence Orphanage in Sa Deo.

During the initiation luncheon in 1962, another tradition was started. The recipient of the outstanding pledge award presented the chapter with a special ruby key which became known as the Friendship Key. That year an active voted by the chapter as the friendliest on campus became the first to wear it.

Gamma Iota was 42 years old when Washington University celebrated its 100th birthday in 1963. On the occasion of the Centennial Celebration, Thomas H. Eliot, Chancellor, said, “The sorority or fraternity that enthusiastically encourages the spirit of learning is playing a valuable part on the college campus. I am glad that the Gamma Iota Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma appears, from the record, to be taking this seriously and thus contributing to the life of the university.”

On Halloween, the pledge class often “trick-or-treated” for UNICEF. The chapter participated in a phone-a-thon sponsored by the Student Alumni Relations Committee to raise money for the university, and helped with Christmas parties for children from the Evangelical Children’s Home in St. Louis.


Washington University sororities did not have houses. Instead, each chapter had a living-room- style suite in the Ann Olin Women's Building. These non-residential suites provided a place on the main campus for members to hang out, conduct study groups, and hold chapter business meetings. Most of the fraternities resided in University-owned houses.

Highlights of the 1970s

The Vietnam War finally came to a close. National attention focused on alcohol policies. The Legal Drinking Age (LDA) for beer was lowered from 21 to 18. LDA for wine and liquor remained at 21 years old. This had an effect upon the social lives of Greek members. Throughout the latter part of this decade, the percentage of students involved in Greek Life increased from 10% to 25%.


Washington University sororities did not have houses. Instead, each chapter had a living-room- style suite in the Ann Olin Women's Building. These non-residential suites provided a place on the main campus for members to hang out, conduct study groups, and hold chapter business meetings. During this time, the House Board was formed and more long-term planning was instituted for the Kappa room.

Most fraternities resided in University-owned houses. The fraternity houses entered into an arrangement with the University that allowed their houses to be renovated in exchange for closer ties with WU.

Chapter Convention Awards:

1974 Best Chapter Advisory Board Relations; 1974 The Efficiency Award for Unhoused Chapters; There have been many awards and accomplishments for Gamma Iota Chapter through the years and for the hard-working St. Louis Alumnae Association. During the General Convention of 1974, the active and alumna delegates of Gamma Iota were very pleasantly surprised. The association was recognized for its fine programs and fundraising events

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.

Highlights of the 1980s

Impacting the college social life were changes in the Legal Drinking Age. In 1981 the LDA for beer remained at 18 for on-premises consumption but was raised to 19 for off-premises consumption. In 1983 LDA was raised to 19 years old for all sales of beer. In 1985 those born on or after July 1, 1966 were able to purchase beer, wine and liquor on and after their 21st birthday. Persons born before July 1, 1966 retained the privilege of purchasing, possessing and consuming beer.

In 1986 the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded killing seven crew members and sobering a nation. Greek life was active on the Washington University campus during this period. Gamma Iota’s biggest rival for members was Pi Beta Phi. Membership numbers of most Greek chapters rose. Chapters commonly held events together and used Greek life as an escape from the tough college academic pressures.

Attendance and the payment of dues were challenges faced by the chapter and led to the inactivation of several members. Encouragement and promotion of events helped to lessen these problems.

Awards received by the chapter included the Friendship Key, the Spirit Key, and the highest GPA award.


Washington University sororities did not have houses. Instead, each chapter had a living-room- style suite in the Ann Olin Women's Building. These non-residential suites provided a place on the main campus for members to hang out, conduct study groups, and hold chapter business meetings. Most of the fraternities resided in University-owned houses.


Kappa was well represented at all Greek philanthropy events winning Beta 4-Square, Sigma Chi Derby Days and the Chi Omega Volleyball Classic. Gamma Iota participated in the Thurtene Carnival as well as other events with Sigma Alpha Mu, Theta Xi, and Sigma Nu.

Chapter Convention Awards:

Highlights of the 1990s

Greek life has played an important role for undergraduate students for more than 100 years at Washington University. Approximately 2,000 students were members of Greek organizations equaling 25 to 30% of the undergraduate population. The Greek community at Washington University was comprised of seven international sororities, 12 international fraternities, and nine city-wide National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) Greek organizations.

In addition to developing peer relationships, students who choose to commit to the Greek community had the opportunity to serve in leadership positions, participate in service programs, attend social events, and compete in team intramurals while maintaining the high academic standards demanded by each fraternity and sorority.


Washington University sororities did not have houses. Instead, each chapter had a living room- style-suite in the Ann Olin Women's Building. These non-residential suites provided a place on the main campus for members to hang out, conduct study groups, and hold chapter business meetings. Most of the fraternities resided in University-owned houses.

Highlights of 2000-2010

On September 11, 2001, there was a series of suicide attacks on the United States which killed nearly 3,000 people. Terrorists from the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda hijacked four passenger jets, crashed two planes into the World Trade Center in New York City, and one into the Pentagon. The fourth crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

At Washington University, in the middle of the country, Greek life was enjoying steady growth, with new ideas, solutions to problems, and enthusiasm about the Greek community. The University worked to promote a more positive view of the Greek community and to highlight the philanthropic and scholastic achievements of all chapters on campus. Commuter students were increasing making night meetings inconvenient for many sorority members.

Gamma Iota’s diverse membership brought many opportunities and personalities to the table, providing a place for every person within the chapter to build strong bonds and lasting memories. Gamma Iota was respected and well-received across campus, and consistently had strong retention rates during recruitment. It was the largest sorority on campus and an active participant in Greek life. Sisters were involved across many disciplines and student groups including student theater, residential advising, religious groups, student government, and multiple school and intramural sports. The Kappa volleyball team won the 2010 championship. One of the chapter’s proudest achievements this decade was winning the D.E.F.I.N.E. Award given to the student organization with the most outstanding leadership.

Gamma Iota also had many fun and learning experiences. Each year it had a retreat over Labor Day weekend to promote sisterhood - Kappa Kampout. One year it was a day spent in the beautiful park in front of the school. Members went paddle boating, had a picnic, played icebreaker games and got to know one another while relaxing in the sun. Other times members spent the day grilling and relaxing in Shaw Park and Forest Park. Throughout the year there were many memorable events - formals, theme parties, float trips, etc.


Washington University sororities did not have houses. Instead, each chapter had a living-room- style suite in the Ann Olin Women's Building. These non-residential suites provided a place on the main campus for members to hang out, conduct study groups, and hold chapter business meetings. Most of the fraternities resided in University-owned houses.


Gamma Iota Chapter distinguished itself for many years with its academic and campus prowess. However, during this period of time it also excelled in its involvement in philanthropic events. The St. Louis, Washington University, and Kappa communities all benefited.

Kappa Karaoke was the chapter’s primary focus. It was the most widely attended philanthropy event on the Washington University’s campus. Each year more than 500 people crowded the Athletic Complex for this phenomenal week-long karaoke competition. It culminated in an evening of Karaoke performances by more than 15 student groups. Members of every Greek fraternity and sorority on campus competed throughout the week to accumulate the most points.

There were three primary goals for this event: To raise funds for Lydia’s House, a transitional housing program for battered women and their children; To collect children’s books for the library of the after-school program at Lydia’s House; To promote positive relations among the Greek chapters on campus.

Chapters participated in “Penny Wars” throughout the week, continually contributing silver coins to a jar for their respective team and pennies to the jars of other teams. In working to promote positive interactions, points were given on “Kiss Me I’m A Kappa“ Day. Participants had to approach a Kappa (clearly identified) and ask for a Hershey’s chocolate kiss to receive a spirit point. One year Kappa Karaoke donated more than $1,200 and collected some 300 children’s books for Lydia’s House. Kappas also volunteered weekly with its after-school and child care programs.

“To the Arch” was another favorite event. At the start of the fall term, members walked eight miles to the St. Louis Arch to benefit the Rose McGill Fund. More than $500 was donated each year.

Thurtene, a Greek-wide annual spring carnival, paired fraternity and sororities to build a facade, produce and act in a play, and fund raise for the community. Gamma Iota was very proud of winning the award twice for best construction of its facade, and the first prize Burmeister trophy. Themes included Venice, the Cresent Key Record Store, and New Orleans. Gamma Iota's participation in the Thurtene Carnival was always one of its proudest accomplishments. All proceeds from ticket sales and contributions were donated to a St. Louis charity.

Greek Week provided another opportunity to be involved in charitable causes. During the Week, members volunteered their time at St. Patrick’s, a homeless shelter for men and women trying to reintegrate themselves into the workforce. In 2005, Greek Week changed its name to Greeks in Motion, and beneficiary to University City East, which ran a summer program for underprivileged children. The Week celebrated Greek life on campus and culminated with a parade, Loop in Motion, with Greek floats and local high school marching bands. In addition sorority and fraternities ran food and games booths. Kappa was Greek Week champion three consecutive years, and Kappas were crowned Greek Week Queen two years.

Some of the other philanthropies that Kappas participated in included the SAM-E-PHI trotters basketball tournament, Chi Omega’s Bowl for Wishes, Delta Gamma's Anchor Splash; Alpha Phi’s Phi Ball Kickball Tournament; Pi Beta Phi’s Down and Dirty Flag Football Tournament; Beta 4-Square; Sigma Chi Derby Days; and Chi Omega's Volleyball Classic.

Kappa won the award for “Most Spirited Greek Team”of Dance Marathon, a benefit for local children's hospitals. Participation in the twelve-hour dance-a-thon was a tradition of which chapter members were very proud.

Kappas participated in Give Thanks Give Back, a campus wide initiative to adopt families for the holidays through the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s 100 Neediest Cases. They raised $1,400 in one week and purchased a refrigerator, washer, dryer, clothing, and presents for a family of five. On Valentine's Day the Kappas spent the afternoon at a nursing home constructing Valentine's Day cards and decorating the home along with the residents.

Another year Gamma Iota Chapter collected more blood than any other student group for the Campus Blood Drive. There also were other charities that Kappas assisted during this decade.

Chapter Convention Awards:

2004 Most Improved GPA award 2004 Honorable Mention in Finance 2004 Honorable Mention Risk Management.

Highlights of 2011

The Gamma Iota chapter continues to be involved across the Washington University campus through athletics, philanthropy, greek life, and many other campus organizations, We were honored to receive the Scholarship Award from the Zeta Provence in recognition of our academic achievements. In the spring our philanthropy event, Kappa Karaoke, had a remarkable turnout when students filled the athletic center to watch and participate in the event. The proceeding week's fundraising and book drives provided donations to Lydia's House, a St Louis area program that provides transitional housing for battered women and their children. Books donated to the children at Lydia's House help promote literacy awareness as per the Reading is Fundamental campaign.

We continue to be involved in other philanthropy events and intramural sports across campus. Our chapter participates in Thurtene Carnival, the oldest and largest student-run carnival in the United States. Pairing up with Kappa Sigma fraternity, we once more orchestrated a successful facade and 45 minute performance. The months we spent preparing paid off when we won Best Production. Additionally, our chapter continues to run successful sisterhood events. Kappa Kookout and the Thanksgiving potluck were two popular opportunities we took to bond over a delicious meal. "Walk to the Arch" continues to be a popular event in our chapter, for which we walk 8 miles downtown to the St Louis Arch decked out in Kappa gear. The proceeds from the merchandise we sell for this fundraising event are donated to the Kappa Foundation and the Rose McGill Fund.

Greek Life continues to have a strong presence on our campus as its dynamic and enthusiastic members explore their interests and contribute their talents throughout the Washington University community. As more young women turn to Sororities as a way to branch out socially and formulate life-long friendships, the influx of girls entering Recruitment each year has steadily grown in size. This past fall the Panhellenic Association opted to invite another sorority to our Greek community, settling upon Kappa Delta after an extensive selection process. Kappa Delta's first Recruitment will occur Spring Semester in 2013. Washington University's Greek Life continues to hold the community to a high standard, honoring the Arete mission statement adopted nearly five years ago. Members of Greek Life uphold values of integrity, individuality, nobility in character, intellectual success, and social responsibility. The women's Panhellenic Association and the men's Interfraternity Council continue to coordinate initiatives to improve the new member period and affirm a comfortable transition as initiated chapter members. Additionally, Greek women continue to have a strong presence pursuing academics and social progress. Many are involved in writing for feminist college publications, and our teacher appreciation event is always a big hit.

Our chapter continues to have a strong presence on campus and even stronger bonds as sisters. After a large portion of our junior members studied abroad in Spring 2011, we recognized a need to reacquaint members of our chapter. Bonding events in Fall 2011 to get to know the diverse body of smart, accomplished women in our chapter strengthened our sisterhood, preparing us for an incredibly successful Spring Recruitment in 2012. Our sisters are heavily involved throughout campus, dedicating their time to theater groups, student government, Dance marathon, Relay for Life, athletics, honors societies, student publications, Indian dance teams, and a variety of community service groups. We are very proud of the women of our chapter for the respect they garner within the Washington University community.

We continue to struggle to define the best way to design our committee system. It is sometimes difficult to make sure everyone can be as involved as they want to be in such a large chapter. After reorganizing our chapter into three broad committees, we realized that this increased member confusion as to where their responsibilities were aligned. This Fall we voted to change back to subcomittees specific to the responsibilities of each chapter council position.

Highlights of 2012

Kappa Kappa Gamma's Gamma Iota chapter at Washington University is enthusiastically involved in all aspects of campus life: extracurricular clubs and organizations, athletics, and academics. Our annual philanthropic event, Kappa Karaoke was exceptionally successful and attracted a remarkable number of spectators and participants who helped us reach our our philanthropic goals.

After a week of fundraising and our culminating karaoke event, out efforts produced hundreds of books that we donated to local organizations in need. This furthered out commitment to our chapters charitable campaign Reading is Fundamental. the Gamma Iota chapter continues to support the philanthropic efforts of other chapters on WashUs campus and came in first place in AOPis Strikout Arthritis event in the spring. We also participated again in the annual Thurtene Carnival, the first and largest student run carnival in the United States, with Kappa Sigma as our fraternity partner. Our facade this year was a refrigerator which housed our 45 minute long skit that was performed many times throughout the carnival weekend to entertain the children of St. Louis.

The carnival's profits go to charities that serve the St. Louis community. In the past year our chapter has also had many sisterhood events that were of a philanthropic nature. Our annual Walk to the Arch event was a success yet again as we marched the 8 miles to the St. Louis arch together in the fall sporting all of our Kappa gear to promote literacy awareness. Kappa's also went together to a local safehouse for women to watch the children so their mothers could enjoy their holiday party and feel supported. In addition our chapter had sisterhood events to promote our unity such as the Kappa Kookout and our chapters potluck Thanksgiving dinner.


Greek Life at WashU continues to be a supportive and dynamic community that expands each year. The number women going through Recruitment is continuously growing and the chapters continue to thrive. The new addition to our Greek Community, Kappa Delta, will be joining us next year. The Arete mission, adopted by Washington University's Greek Life nearly 6 years ago, continues to be a standard that every member of the community is expected to uphold. Every member of Greek Life is expected to honor their commitment to academic excellence and integrity, individuality, and social responsibility. Greek women on our chapter continue to have a large presence in our campuses women's health organizations and feminist publications.


Our chapter continues to take pride in our commitment to sisterhood. Our sisters are dedicated to one and other and are also passionate about their other commitments on campus. Throughout all that we do with each other and otherwise we are cognoscente of proudly representing our chapter and and exercising the values of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sisterhood. We have sisters involved in campus wide events such as Relay for Life, dance marathon, Washington University Athletics, and various honors societies and clubs. We had sisters who were very involved in the Presidential Election in November and who enthusiastically educated our chapter and our campus on the issues and ensured that we all took part and voted. The Gamma Iota chapter values every sister's individuality and forms a salient support system for each member throughout any of their endeavors. Our chapter is well respected across campus and continues to have strong retention rates throughout recruitment.

Chapter Challenges

Our chapter continues to struggle with making use of the committees we create to aid our chapter council with its organization and events. Our new chapter council looks forward to organizing a system involving various forms of reminders and rewards to ensure that each committee member is aware of its responsibility. The new system that we look forward to enforcing will also hopefully encourage our attendance at even more of the other fraternities and sororities events on campus.