Gamma Omega Chapter was founded at Denison University in Granville, Ohio on December 6, 1929.
2,406 initiates (as of June 2018)
In June of 1928, the trustees of Denison University at Granville, Ohio gave permission to the local sororities to petition the nationals. Kappa Phi, the oldest local on campus was allowed first selection of a national sorority and chose Kappa Kappa Gamma. The petition was granted in November, 1929, with installation planned for December 6.
Kappa Phi, at the time of petitioning, was 31 years old and, according to Baird's Manual, the second oldest local sorority in the United States. Kappa Phi was founded in 1898 by six girls of Shepardson College (the women's college, distinct from Denison at that time) who wished to form a "closer bond for friendship and mutual benefit." For a year the local sorority existed sub-rose, meeting outdoors and keeping minutes in cipher. Kappa Phi flourished from its beginning, designing a badge, writing songs, and composing brief but dignified rituals for initiation and chapter meetings.
In 1901 the Denison trustees gave Kappa Phi and Chi Psi Delta (which later became Kappa Alpha Theta) official recognition as campus organizations. The Kappa Phis immediately presented an informal petition for membership to Kappa, their first and only choice among women's national fraternities. Shortly thereafter, learning that national affiliations were being contemplated, and believing it better to maintain the status quo, the university trustees forbade such affiliations. This ban was renewed several times until it was finally lifted in June, 1928.
Denied the opportunity to become a part of Kappa, the Kappa Phis contented themselves with establishing a place of leadership on the Denison campus. Feeling the need for a house of their own to take the place of rooms which they were renting in town, the 40 active and alumnae members of Kappa Phi raised the money necessary to purchase a lot on Cherry Street. For the purpose of owning property, Kappa Phi Sorority was incorporated under the laws of the State of Ohio in 1905. Fortunately at that time Mr. John S. Jones, uncle of two of the Kappa Phis and interested in seeing the girls prove themselves as good business women, loaned them the money necessary to build a lodge on the lot they had purchased. The loan was to be paid in regular yearly payments over a ten-year period. At the end of the eighth year Mr. Jones was so impressed with the way the girls had met their obligation that he generously canceled the notes for the remaining two years.
The new house was completed in the fall of 1906, the first sorority house at Denison. The attractive white frame lodge served as the center of chapter activity and site of social affairs for the members, who all lived in college dormitories. It was known as the "wee white house."
The local group maintained a strong alumnae association, published a biennial bulletin which went to all alumnae, and held annual June reunions. From time to time the Kappa Phis reopened the question of national affiliation with the college trustees and maintained their deep interest in Kappa Kappa Gamma. During this period the first Panhellenic Association was formed among the three locals and rules were established for rushing and bidding.
Finally, when the ban against national sororities was removed, Gamma Omega Chapter was installed by Florence Tomlinson (Myers, Wallace), Gamma Theta- Drake, Fraternity registrar; and Clara O. Pierce, Beta Nu- Ohio State, executive secretary; assisted by members of Beta Nu, Ohio State, and Rho Deuteron, Ohio Wesleyan. One notable aspect of the installation was the initiation of nearly half of the 300 alumnae members of Kappa Phi. Altogether some 200 of these alumnae have become members of Kappa, through additional initiation ceremonies. Marian Handy (Anderson), Gamma Kappa- William and Mary, served as co-organizer (equivalent of graduate counselor) to assist the new chapter.
The transition from Kappa Phi to Kappa Kappa Gamma was easier because of the many common goals and ideals the members of each shared. Perhaps the most serious problem was indicated by one of the newly installed Gamma Omegas who was heard to muse wistfully, "How do you ever suppose I'll get the pin holes in my dress to go across instead of up and down!"
By 1930, there were four other NPC fraternities: Chi Omega, Kappa Alpha Theta, Delta Delta Delta, and Alpha Phi. Later Dela Gamma, Alpha Omicron Pi, Pi Beta Phi, and Alpha Chi Omega were granted charters at Denison as the number of women students increased.
The advent of national sororities on the Denison campus brought changes to sorority life. Pledging, which had not taken place until the beginning of the student's sophomore year, was moved back to the freshman year as the groups experimented with different rushing systems. The number of chapter members more than doubled over the years from under thirty at the time of installation.
By 1931, the little Kappa lodge had become too small for the growing chapter, and a major remodeling project greatly increased the floor space. Well aware that even this enlargement would not serve indefinitely, the trustees of the alumnae association, aided by the generosity of Jean Moore Montgomery, eventually acquired a choice lot on Broadway at the entrance to Sorority Circle. Construction of the present Kappa house was begun in 1950, with the aid of a loan from the Fraternity, and in the spring of 1952 Gamma Omega moved into its new home, built of Williamsburg rose brick with white trim. Even this house proved inadequate to accommodate the growing membership. In 1964 a large chapter and recreation room, kitchen, powder room and porch were added. The house serves the important function of unifying a chapter whose members are scattered throughout six separate college dormitories.
Many Gamma Omega traditions have their roots in the local sorority, but some have been established since the installation of the chapter. Incorporated into formal pledging and into the ceremony of the initiation banquet are some of Kappa Phi's traditions; many of the old songs are still sung in the chapter, with only slight alterations. Active-alumnae relations are kept warm and friendly by several annual events: the buffet supper at which the pledges are entertained by Newark-Granville alumnae and, in turn, present entertainment for their hostesses; the senior breakfast with the seniors as guest of the alumnae, an occasion for their induction into the ranks of Kappa alumnae; the initiation breakfast, when local alumnae entertain initiates immediately after the ceremony; the Christmas party at which the actives are hostesses to the Newark-Granville alumnae and both present gifts to the Kappa house.
Yearly chapter events include the Dad's Day luncheon, with a luncheon taking place simultaneously for Kappa mothers who accompany Kappa dads to the campus, and the May Day-Mothers' Weekend with its luncheon honoring mothers. Kappa enjoys social events with other sororities in a variety of ways. For example, for many years the Kappa-Delta Gamma touch football game has brought enthusiastic rooters to the field on a fall Saturday morning and exhausted players and supporters back to the Kappa house afterwards for food and fun. The Kappas and Pi Phis join for the Monmouth Duo each spring, and usually at least one other major party a year is held jointly with another group.
A long list of Gamma Omega May Queens, Homecoming Queens, Adytum (Denison's yearbook) Queens, and Military Ball Queens gives evidence of the fact that Denison Kappas combine beauty with brains. In fact, even the Kappas themselves were impressed when Kappa queens reigned supreme from Homecoming to Junior Prom to May Day in 1954-55.
Denison Kappas have had as their particular social service project the entertainment of children from the Newark Children's Home. Kappas regularly go to the home for games and story-telling or bring some of the children to Granville to attend football and basketball games or to be entertained at the Kappa house. Kappas also aid in other service projects sponsored by the Denison Christian Association.
Scholastically, Denison Kappas have usually rated near the top, although it is difficult to try to maintain or to top the record established by the chapter in 1959 when six Kappas were elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Gamma Omega has been hostess for the Gamma Province Convention several times since it first entertained other chapters in the provinces with fear and trembling in 1932, just three years after its installation. In June of 1948 the Kappa Jubilee, a reunion to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of Kappa Phi, was a rousing success, bringing about 75 Kappas back for a three-day stay on campus.
Many Kappas have served and continue to serve Denison from positions of leadership in campus organizations such as Denison Campus Government, Denison Christian Association, WRA, Mortar Board, Crossed Keys (junior honorary), publication staffs, Denison Theatre, and deparmental clubs and honoraries. Each year Kappas are among those chosen as junior advisers in freshman dormitories.
Members of Gamma Omega who have won Graduate Counselor Scholarships are: Rebecca Galloway (Clark), 1940-41; Margery Lawrence (Hetherington) 1948-49; Martha Jones (Phillips), 1949-50; Jessie Pflager, 1974-75. Martha Jones became a field secretary the year after she had gone to Delta Beta, as a graduate counselor.
In 1971 faced with the problem of not being able to find a new house director, Gamma Omega asked for and received permission to allow two senior girls to occupy the housemother's apartment and fulfill her duties. The chapter was the first to try this practice and found it to work well with the assistance of local alumnae. Gamma Omega was also first to submit a plan to the Fraternity Council for liquor privileges in the house after passage of the new policy at the 1974 Convention. The chapter was always been eager to accept new responsibility.
In an academic atmosphere where there is keen competition and a living situation that sometimes makes it easier to know one's suitemates better than one's sorority sisters, Kappa Kappa Gamma fills the need for lasting friendships, provides a place for development of the individual's talents and distinctiveness, and serves as a home where its members find stimulation, loyalty, and understanding during their college days.
The Gamma Omega chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma was founded on December 6, 1929. Before the chapter became a part of Kappa Kappa Gamma, however, it was a local women's fraternity known as Kappa Phi. Kappa Phi, being the oldest sorority at Denison, had first choice to pick a national affiliation, and gladly asked Kappa Kappa Gamma if they could start a chapter at Denison. On December 6, 1929, Kappa Phi officially became the Gamma Omega chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma and 222 women were initiated.
The women of Gamma Omega today constantly strive to uphold Kappa Kappa Gamma’s legacy of leadership, and participate in numerous leadership events throughout the Denison community. They also hold many leadership positions on campus, including positons on the Panhellenic Executive Board, Denison Campus Governance Association, Denison Community Association and more.
Kappa Kappa Gamma has contributed to leadership at Denison through the creation of D.U. Lead, a one-day leadership institute for underclassmen that occurs each September. Leadership is an important attribute to the women of Kappa Kappa Gamma, and D.U. Lead allows Gamma Omega to share this quality with the rest of Denison. D.U. Lead was created by a planning team comprised of members of Kappa Kappa Gamma, Beta Theta Pi, the Campus Leadership and Involvement Center, and Career Exploration and Development. Through this program, the participants gain general leadership skills as well as specific skills to help them and their various organizations at Denison. D.U. Lead is now one of Denison's premier leadership programs. To find more information about D.U. Lead, click here
Kappas participate in numerous philanthropy opportunities on campus, including both Greek and non-Greek events. In the past year alone Kappa's have put in over 1,334 hours towards community service groups such as the Denison Community Association (DCA), Humane Society, Habitat for Humanity, Big Brothers Big Sisters and more! Gamma Omega collaborated in 2010 and 2011 with the DCA to host Make a Difference Day in conjunction with our Kappa Karnival event and continue to work hand in hand with service groups on and off campus.
Kappa Karnival is our annual philanthropy event, raising money for our national philanthropy Reading is Fundamental and for the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation. For the past two years, we have collaborated with the Denison Community Association (DCA) to combine the national service day Make a Difference Day with our event. The event this past Fall 2011 drew over 160 kids, including Boy and Girl Scout troops, and over 240 Denison student volunteers. Service booths at the event included making holiday cards for local nursing homes, assembling and decorating bags with toothpaste and toothbrushes for Headstart, and making PB&J sandwiches for Salvation Army, Look Up Center and Water’s Edge Community center.
In the 1980s, Gamma Omega had its ups and downs. The chapter was suspended for a period of time, offered and accepted Fraternity guidance and assistance. They never left campus and did adhere to guidelines set forth from the Fraternity Council. The leaders of Gamma Omega, faced challenges with grace and kept recruiting new members and setting chapter goals. One of the main goals in the 1980s was to improve the chapter GPA to a 2.7. The chapter focused on study habits, master lists of majors, recognizing scholastic achievement and planned a Favorite Professor Tea.
In addition to improving the GPA, Gamma Omega also worked on an effective bill paying system as well as incentives to improve attendance at chapter functions. The second vice presidents also worked hard to make sure the programming was targeting specific areas and following Kappa guidelines of the number of events per week.
In 1986, the Fraternity selected Gamma Omega to be one of five chapters to pilot a computerized bill paying and budget system program. Kappa Kappa Gamma wanted to expand this program the across the country after testing it out in various regions.
During the 1980s, many philanthropic events such as Ballon Derby and a Haunted House were held that benefited groups such as the Children of Granville and Denison County, St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital and the National Kidney Foundation.
The late 80s also brought a newly designed pledge program that Gamma Omega implemented with their pledges after a success rush. The chapter officers, including Fraternity Education, tried each week to fulfill their duties as well as provide Kappa fun facts.
Traveling Consultant, Sherri Gosliner, visited in 1989 and provided leadership and guidance to assure chapter members that Gamma Omega continued on the right path in the new decade. The chapter continued to work on goals such as improving the GPA, bringing about chapter unity, increasing communication with Nationals, and using our own chapter member committees.
Gamma Omega and Kappa Alpha Theta continue to plan an annual Kite and Key social event as well as events such as non-alcoholic Barn Party and Easter Egg Hunt with a local school.
Gamma Omega members were involved on campus on as Panhellenic officers, varsity swimming, varsity lacrosse and varsity volleyball and Peer Advisory Network. Many members were also on the Dean’s List.
Marnie O’Brien received a Kappa Kappa Gamma scholarship as a Field Representative to work as a Chapter Consultant.
In the fall of 1990, Gamma Omega was taken off Fraternity Council Action. The chapter women took pride in their house, improved their GPA and were recognized for campus involvement and improved scholarship. Campus involvement included members on varsity swimming, varsity lacrosse, varsity soccer, Peer Advisory Network, Hungry and Homeless Community Service, Dean’s list, DCGA, Student Ambassadors, Judicial Council, House Council, President’s Round Table, Teacher Assistants and Club Sport participants.
Philanthropic events included supporting Hungry and Homeless, the Children of Granville, Big Sister/Big Brother Organization and the Make a Wish Foundation.
Social events include Kite and Key, My Tie, Haunted House, date parties, and many others.
By the late 1990s, the chapter had slipped in some areas including risk management, over programming, following tradition verses ritual and Kappa Kappa Gamma policies. This led to to being placed on a Letter of Concern and suspended from campus. This essentially meant extra guidance and support from the Fraternity which chapter members accepted and started to rebuild for the 2000s. The chapter members attended workshops on the benefits of Greek Life and worked with local alumnae to review ritual during fireside and Initiation preparation. The chapter was ready to take on the new decade with Kappa knowledge in hand.
In the 2000s, campus involvement included members on Student Activities Committee, Concert Committee, 91.1 WDUB-The Doobie Denison Radio Station, Granville Fire Department Volunteers, Phi Society, Skiing Club, Study Abroad programs, Denison Singers, Denison Dance Department, Homecoming Committee, Sailing Club, Tutor, AIDS Task Force, Community Garden Committee, Sociology/Anthropology Fellow, Spanish Club, Intramural Floor Hockey, Campus Tour Guide, rugby, varsity softball, varsity swimming, varsity lacrosse and varsity soccer.
By the mid-2000s, Gamma Omega was strong enough to help neighboring chapters with Initiation. They received an award for New Member Programming at the Denison Greek Awards Ceremony and won the Greatest Scholarship Improvement Award at Kappa Kappa Gamma’s National Convention. Gamma Omega won Greek Week as well as participating in Delta Gamma’s Anchor Splash and Sigma Chi’s Derby Days.
The chapter continued to recruit new members and in 2007 they were the largest chapter on campus all while racing their GPA to the second highest among sororities on campus. The following year, they had the highest GPA among sororities.
Gamma Omega continued to win awards such as Chapter Operation for Leadership, Lifetime Membership and Self-Governance, Outstanding New Member, Outstanding Alumna, Outstanding Greek Leader and Woman of the Year. They focused on sisterhood and planning activities to get to know one another and Kappa’s ritual. Sisterhood events included glow in the dark putt putt golf, apple picking, powder puff intramural football, picnicking in a local park, ice skating and dodgeball. Kappa Kornhole Tournament continued to draw support on campus and Kappa held their first Kappa Karnival in 2009. Proceeds were donated to Kappa Kappa Gamma’s national recipient, Reading Is Fundamental.
Gamma Omega women were proud to be the largest sorority on campus, proud to wear letters and continued to work on relationships among sisters, Advisory Board and House Board.
In 2011 the Gamma Omega chapter partnered with the Beta Nu (OSU) and Rho Deuteron (OWU) chapters at the Reading Is Key event for the Reading Is Fundamental Philanthropy in Columbus. Local families were invited to bring their children for a snack and story book, as well as fun Valentines' themed crafts for the kids.
We initiated 1 new woman on March 24th, 2012, 28 women on March 31, 2012, and 3 new women during Continuous Open Recruitment on December 1, 2012.In the Fall of 2012, Gamma Omega had the number one Greek GPA on campus, for all Panhellenic Council organizations and Interfraternity Council organizations. As of Spring 2012, 28 women in the chapter were members of academic honoraries, 31 women in the chapter had received academic scholarships and academic awards, 9 women had participated in summer research, and 25 women held executive positions in service organizations.
Our chapter was involved with the Presidential Campaign by raising awareness around campus of the importance of voting and being informed. At the Greek Awards on April 23,2012, our chapter received recognition for Most Improved Chapter GPA, and the prestigious Commitment to Fraternal Purpose. We were awarded Outstanding New Member, Outstanding Greek Leaders awards, Outstanding Greek Advisor Award, and Greek Woman of the Year.This year we participated in numerous philanthropic events around campus such as Delta Gamma's Anchor Splash, Sigma Chi's Derby Days, Pi Beta Phi's Pi Phi Palooza, Kappa Alpha Theta's Kats with Bats, Delta Delta Delta's Pancake Breakfast, Kappa Sigma's Squash Tournament, and Beta Theta Pi's King of the Wings Competition. Gamma Omega held our annual Kappa Karnival in conjunction with the Denison Community Association as part of Make a Difference Day, and brought in over 50 children from Newark and surrounding areas. The event was held in October 2012 in the Mitchell Athletic Center due to rain and had numerous fraternities, sororities, and campus organizations represented in the event. The Hilltoppers, DUwop, and Burpee's Seedy Theatrical Co. each performed during the Karnival. This year, we began volunteering at our new local philanthropy The Works, in Newark. For the 2012 school year, the chapter has participated in over 1,300 hours of community service through campus service organizations.
On campus this year there was a proposal for postponed recruitment that was brought up to the first year retention committee, but it hasn't developed any further. Also, party registration was implemented to help foster a safe community on campus. Within our chapter, we have 134 total members, including 53 new members.
This past spring, on March 29, 2014, we initiated 36 new members. One member was initiated at Allegheny College. For Fall 2014, Gamma Omega had the highest Greek GPA on campus. This past year, we participated in numerous philanthropic events on campus. These included Delta Gamma's Anchor Splash, Pi Beta Phi's Pi Phi Palooza, Kappa Alpha Theta's Kats with Bats, Delta Delta Delta's Pancake Breakfast, Beta Theta Pi's King of the Wings Competition, Delta Chi's talent contest, Lambda Chi Alpha's Fall Bash, and Kappa Sigma's dodgeball tournament. In the fall of 2014, instead of doing our annual Kappa Karnival, we decided to hold a Kappa Kornhole event. It was held on one of our residential quads and multiple sororities and fraternities participated, along with people who are not involved in Greek Life. This past year, we also continued our work at our local philanthropy, The Works, and our chapter logged over 700 hours of community service through campus service organizations.
There have been no new renovations on our campus since the dining hall was renovated in the spring of 2013. Our chapter of Gamma Omega has a total of 103 initiated members and we just welcomed 28 new members into our house. Our chapter holds our weekly meetings in our house, located on South Quad.
Our chapter owns our house. Members of Gamma Omega do not live in the house. It is a place dedicated to our weekly chapter meetings, and just a nice place to go and hang out or study. We recently got a house mom, Judy Neff, that moved in over the summer of 2014.
This past spring, on March 28, 2015, we initiated 26 new members. One member was initiated at the University of Akron. This past year, we participated in numerous philanthropic events on campus. These included Delta Gamma's Anchor Splash, Pi Beta Phi's Pi Phi Palooza, Kappa Alpha Theta's Kats with Bats, Beta Theta Pi's King of the Wings Competition, Lambda Chi Alpha's Fall Bash, and Sigma Lambda Gamma's basketball tournament. In the fall of 2015, we held a Kappa Kornhole event. It was held on one of our residential quads and multiple sororities and fraternities participated, along with people who are not involved in Greek Life. We raised about $1,500 from this event. In September, we started working with the Look Up Center, located in Newark, Ohio. Once a week, members from the chapter would go to the Center and help children with their homework for a few hours.
This past summer, our library and one of our residential halls was renovated. Our chapter of Gamma Omega has a total of 86 initiated members.
What organization(s) has your chapter historically/traditionally raised money for, or donated hours to, in your community?
Our national philanthropy is Reading is Fundamental. In past years, our chapter has worked with The Works, but this fall, we decided to start working with The Look Up Center located in Newark, Ohio. Once a week, members of the chapter would go and help younger children with their homework for a few hours. Why did your chapter choose this organization(s) to support?
Our philanthropy chair chose this organization in the hopes that it would promote more chapter interest than The Works did in the past.