Delta Alpha Chapter was founded at Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania on October 3, 1930
2,280 initiates (as of June 2018)
Chartered in 1855 to provide a scientific agricultural education, the so-called Farmers High School, a misleading title, became the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania in 1862. This experimental college was designated the commonwealth’s representative in the national system of state land-grant colleges in 1863. Benefits from this innovative federal-state contract to support higher education came slowly to Penn State, but in 1871 the first women were admitted, and in 1874 the name became Pennsylvania State College. In 1930 the college celebrated its 75th anniversary at “Old Main” on the site of the building which had been the entire campus when the first students arrived in 1859. Since 1953 it has been the Pennsylvania State University. The non-university locality is still State College, Pennsylvania, and the Kappa alumnae association is the State College Alumnae Association.
The first coeds, occupying part of an upper floor dormitory in “Old Main,” followed strictly enforced rules for “association with the opposite sex.” Separate housing began after the first state appropriation for buildings. Maintenance was granted in 1887, a milestone year, when intercollegiate and extracurricular activities were added, national affiliations for men’s clubs developed, and campus buildings were constructed. Faculty, enrollment, and curricula grew steadily, checked only by the two world wars and the Depression.
When Pennsylvania State trustees authorized the organization of women’s social groups in 1922, six girls met in a campus oak grove and founded Sychor. The plan was to petition Kappa Kappa Gamma as soon as national affiliations were permitted.
Sychor, Pennsylvania State’s second women’s local, became Delta Alpha Chapter of Kappa in 1930, the sixth women’s national sorority on campus. Sychor’s green and gold colors and its little gold acorn badge were replaced by Kappa’s light and dark blue and the key October 3, 1930, at the Wesley Foundation Hall of the State College Methodist Church.
Fraternity President Florence Tomlinson Myers (Wallace), Drake, conducted the service with Fraternity Director of Provinces Eleanor V.V. Bennett, UC Berkeley, and Kappa’s new Executive Secretary Clara O. Pierce, Ohio State, officiating for the first of many times. Province officers and University of Pittsburgh actives assisted.
The reception was given in Beta Theta Pi’s new chapter house. The next day the chapter’s first President Margaret Knoll (Oliver) conducted initiation for 28 Sychor alumnae including two founders, Elsie Kohler Moore and Ruthanna Sharpless Ely. Founders Day dinner was in the Centre Hills Country Club.
With dormitory space at a premium in the 1920s, women’s social organizations enjoyed the use of former faculty residences, but had all meals in the McAllister Hall dining commons. The three-story frame Willard Cottage became the Sychor and later the Kappa house, and was operated as dormitory. When it was moved slightly west in 1938 for the building of Pattee Library, Delta Alpha had the one and only private chapter room in the new basement. Moves to McElwain Hall in 1949 and to Cooper Hall in 1958 were to suites in the large residence hall complexes that Penn State had begun to build. Each group rents a living room, kitchenette, and storage closet unit; occupies adjacent dormitory rooms; and shares larger facilities for meetings and initiations. The old Kappa house, renamed Moffat Cottage, was torn down in 1964 to make way for the west addition of the library.
Sensing problems which might arise in an unhoused (by Kappa definition) chapter bound by the local Panhellenic policy of sophomore pledging, the Fraternity assigned a graduate co-organizer, Marion Cheyne (Felton), William and Mary, to live with the Delta Alphas during 1931-32. Marjorie Matson (Converse), Purdue, was Delta Alpha’s Graduate Counselor 1945-46.
Delta Alpha’s small group of State College alumnae served as advisers and formed an association in 1933, with Margaret Oliver again as first President. The chapter and association were hostesses for Beta Province Conventions in 1933, 1955 and 1967.
Anne Riley was Delta Alpha’s first Field Secretary, 1964-66. She was followed by Marjorie Gohn (Felsburg,) 1970-71. Ella Louise Williams (Bassett) was sent to Beta Phi, Montana, 1951-52; Silvia Brown (Swiss) was the Graduate Counselor for the Puget Sound, and Beth Sharp was Graduate Counselor at Arizona in 1973-74.
Helen Kinsloe, charter member and notable Kappa personality, has been honored by the chapter’s only memorial award for Fraternity loyalty and scholarship. It was established by Delta Alpha alumnae and State College Kappas in 1963 after her death, which deprived the Fraternity of a dynamic leader whose rapport with the chapter was enhanced by her faulty position as student adviser and teacher of bacteriology.
A Kappa memorial scholarship for graduate study abroad, in languages, was endowed in 1966 by the husband of Susanna Stover Root, a Sychor alumna. The chapter supports a university scholarship in memory of Alona Williams, who died of leukemia in 1969, her junior year.
Individual interests give a chapter its personality. Delta Alphas are recognized for scholarship, student leadership, and the arts, in publications and in athletics. Before beauty and talent queens were out of fashion, Kappas frequently wore their crowns, including that of Miss Penn State. Delta Alphas were among the charter members when Phi Beta Kappa, Mortar Board, Alpha Lambda Delta, Cwens and other honor societies were installed.
In 1972, Rhonda Egidio was one of the two first women elected to Lion’s Paw, a prestigious senior “men’s” honorary. A Sychor-Delta Alpha, Dr. Mary R. Freer Keeler, was an early recipient of the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award. She was Penn State’s “Women of the Year” in 1959 for academic achievement and as dean of faculty of Hood College. When the title of “Dean of Women” was abolished, Jane E. McCormick, Penn State, became head woman administrator in the university’s student affairs office. Donna Symonds Clemson, associate editor of the Penn State Alumni publications, now limits her Kappa activity to chapter advising. Another good friend to Delta Alpha was Doris M. Seward, Delta, Indiana, executive assistant to president of Pennsylvania State and professor of human development.
Consistently high rating among Penn State’s Panhellenic groups strengthened Delta Alpha for survival during the partial eclipse of the Greeks in the late 1960s, and membership quotas were maintained. By 1970 sorority chapters on the campus were in the low 20s with smaller memberships, after peaking at nearly 30 in the early 1960s.
Firmly established chapters are coping with changes in campus situations, and playing a vital role on campuses where liberalized housing creates problems. By exerting Panhellenic leadership in the 1970s, Delta Alpha hoped to become free of the unstructured disunity of the chaotic 1960s and to combine recognition of individuality with Kappa’s traditional values of honor through group organization and the loyalty of members.
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.
Delta Alpha, like many of our chapters, was affected by the events of the world. The campus became more involved in issues of our country and the ongoing war in Vietnam. Saigon fell, the Watergate scandal, President Nixon had left office and Gerald Ford became president, which all left their mark. Peace movements began and hippies were everywhere. The Delta Alphas answered by focusing on philanthropies hoping to attract more members. Disco fashion were sweeping the nation – bellbottoms, platform shoes, mini-skirts were in vogue and flower power influence permeated the campus
Rush (Recruitment) numbers were noticeably lower in the 1960s and continued into the 1970s. For those years the total membership was just in the 30s. It wasn’t until 1979 that it was back in fashion to be a Greek. Academic achievement was foremost on the members’ minds and the GPA average for the decade was 3.21.
Coach Joe Paterno had a decade of winning football seasons. Saturdays were always a highlight for the campus known as “Happy Valley.” The campus continued to grow not only in the number of students but in increasing the number of academic buildings.
Spring Week and Greek Week were major highlights for the Delta Alphas as well as for the campus. The Delta Alphas in conjunction with their partner fraternity always gleaned several awards each year.
January 15, 1979, the 1,000th member of Delta Alpha was initiated.
The Kappas were well-known on campus for their participation and involvement in philanthropies. They participated in the Delta Gamma Anchor Splash and THON, now one of the largest student run philanthropic events in the country as well as other Greek groups’ events. THON is short for a mara”thon” dance competition which takes place during a four-day period.
On campus the Paterno Library was dedicated and named in football Coach Joe Paterno’s honor not only for his major gift to the project but because of the importance he placed on academics with his teams. It almost doubled the size of the existing Patee Library.
“The Dairy” continued to be a favorite of undergraduates and returning graduates. Penn State began as the Farmer’s High School so it is only natural that the Agricultural degree were highly acclaimed. Various flavors of ice cream and cream cheese were the favorites.
Ice skating, square dances and popcorn parties were held monthy and were well attended. Tailgating occurred before each home football game and “mother/daughter” events were held often culminating in a Mother’s Day tea party.
The chapter continued to maintain a high GPA and the members participated in many campus events. Since the chapter was essentially unhoused it was difficult to plan sisterhood events on campus. The chapter strived to maintain the importance of sisterhood. Founders Day was celebrated every year with the State College alumnae and was one of the opportunities to bring together the whole chapter.
Many of the members were involved in intramural sports and student councils across the campus. March 31, 1980, Delta Alpha was recognized as the outstanding chapter on Penn State campus. This award is given by an administrative committee and was most prestigious.
For the third decade THON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, was not only the major focus of the entire campus but of Greeks in general. The money raised was for the Four Diamonds Fund of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center which primarily treated children with cancer. Kappas and their partners raised on average more than $40,000 a year.
Delta Alpha continued to be proud of its many philanthropic efforts.The members were proud to be carrying on the traditions of the past. For example, still participating in Derby Days and winning Spring Week with the Sigma Chis as well as the participation in THON. Kappas maintained a great relationship with other Greek organizations by continuously attending their events and getting to know other members involved in Greek life. This helped to boost Kappa’s reputation on campus and in the community.
During these years the Delta Alpha Chapter won the outstanding chapter at Penn State award multiple times. The award was based on activities in philanthropies and involvement in THON. Kappa was one of the top organizations that raised money for THON over the course of years. Delta Alpha was excited to host the Beta Province Meeting. The chapter prided itself on its GPA for the decade and continued to express the importance of academic studies.
Penn State is known for having excellent academic programs. In fall 2010 The Wall Street Journal named Penn State as the number one school where business recruiters seek to hire students. Also, the Women’s Volleyball Team won its fourth consecutive national championship. Here at Penn State the chapter is very well respected. It has a reputation on the campus and among fellow students of having outstanding members. The chapter continues to participate in Greek Week and Spring Week – a major event on the campus each year.
The chapter focused on promoting sisterhood with special events and retreats. Campus involvement by so many members left little time for sisterhood. Founders Day continued to be a favorite event among sisters and a time when they can all be together.
Scholarship was once again a prime focus with a decade average of 3.42. The chapter also hosted a LEAD seminar with the Dickinson and Bucknell chapters.
In 2004, Delta Alpha with its partner fraternity raised $81,875 to contribute to the fight against pediatric cancer – THON. The campus in total raised $3.5 million.In 2006, $91,1798 was raised; in 2009 Delta Alpha raised an unbelievable $136,443 for THON, placing third. Also, in 2004 the chapter began its decade association with Reading Is Fundamental. The first activity was a story time and help with an elementary school. Other RIF activities for the decade to raise money were an ice cream eating contest, “Kappa Klassic” tennis tournament; Kappa Winter Tales – children attended an event to listen to a profession story teller.
The Delta Alphas are proud of their long heritage of contributing to society and at the same time making academic success and philanthropy involvement its top priorities.
Chapter Convention Awards:
2000 – Scholarship Honorable Mention: Greatest Scholarship Improvement Honorable Mention 2002 – Efficiency Award, Ritual Honorable Mention, Scholarship Honorable Mention, Recruitment Honorable Mention, Advisory Board Honorable Mention, 2006 – Risk Management Honorable Mention 2008 – Panhellenic Award, Standards Honorable Mention
The Delta Alpha Chapter now consists of 91 active members, after this past fall when we received a new fairly large pledge class of 31 new sisters! We also just welcomed a spring pledge class of 9 new girls currently going through their pledging process. Seven of our active members are currently studying abroad in Florence, Barcelona and Paris. This year, 2012, we received a new THON family! We are very excited to welcome this young girl into our THON family. THON this year was a bit different than the past due to a tragic car accident of a girl in another sorority who was traveling to someone's home for a canning weekend. A “canning” weekend means going to a fellow sister’s house and being welcomed by her family for a weekend, The family provides shelter and home-cooked meals and during the day we go into the streets and raise money for the Hershey Medical Center’s Four Diamonds Fund.
After this incident the THON committee proceeded to put regulatilons on canning weekend and require students participating to go to a workshop that talked about how to ensure our safety. You would then receive a wristband that showed you completed this workshop and were allowed to go! Kappa is paired with Delta Chi Fraternity once again for THON 2012. We had a birthday party for Ashley, one of our THON family members at Delta Chi which was a lot of fun, and a good chance for the new girls to get to know the family better. We held a philanthropy event this year with obstacle courses and pie eating contests, that Kappa actually won! In addition we held a Founder's Day brunch this fall at the Nittany Lion Inn. All of our sisters and alumni came together to reminisced on Kappa traditions and passed events. Here at Pennsylvania State University the Delta Alpha Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma is very respected and we have a very classy reputation among the campus and fellow students.
Campus: This past fall a very sad scandal actually came out about. A former football staff members here at Penn State was charged with counts of child sex abuse which shocked the campus and the entire Penn State community. There was a definite gloom that hung over the campus for a week or two, but the entire school really came together to show that this one staff member's actions do not reflect the Penn State community and the students here on campus. The members of Kappa supported the victims that were apart of these awful events by attending a football game in all blue for child abuse, and attending a candle light vigil here on campus in support of the young boys affected. In response to this, former icon football coach, Joe Paterno was fired. This caused a great unroar and a lot of emotions on campus. Though, the students stuck together and supported this man who has done so much for our school. The following football game that would be the first that Joe Paterno was not present at, was sold out to capacity and the student section was louder and had more spirit than ever. As a result there has been more student leadership, and more alumni support and a call for more transparency and administration. In the end the campus has become more unified to maintain Penn State's future goals and reputation.
Chapter: Due to these events this year on campus, the Delta Alpha chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma we made an effort to represent Penn State as best as we could as a chapter to show the outside world that Penn State is not one person. We strived to raise even more money for THON, which is such an incredible cause here that our school does, and we did not want the previous events to lead us to any financial losses for this great cause that helps so many people in need. Here on campus Kappa has one of the highest held GPA's and we take great pride in our academic success. Many of our members also participate in club activities. We are a very well rounded group of young ladies.
A recent visit from a Leadership Consultant helped us identify things we can improve on in our chapter. This includes become more open and welcoming to the members of other sororities who participate in our philanthropies or come to our suite for activities. In terms of making relationships, we also need to try to reeach out to nationals to and create a better relationship with the people out there who want to help us most! We also need to do a better of job of getting in our paper work on time. We are very motivated to step up and improve these things that we need to work on. We are constantly trying to better ourselves.
The Delta Alpha Chapter had a great year. The Chapter consists of 117 active members and welcomed a new pledge class of 36 girls in the fall! Several girls are currently studying abroad in places such as Paris, Barcelona, Argentina, and even Africa! This year we went on many canning trips to support and raise money for THON. Our chapter is thrilled to be working with three amazing THON families and we are so proud to say we help them with all of our hearts. Through raising money for the Hershey Medical Center's Four Diamonds Fund we have gained a full understanding of how lucky we are and how our actions and hard work can help so many people that are in need of love and care. We hosted a birthday party for one of our THON children, Ashley, at our partner, Delta Chi Fraternity's house. We also raised a lot of money to donate to our philanthropy by holding different philanthropy events throughout the year. Our chapter had very successful recruitment periods and gained so many great friendships and bonds. Many pearls were given out to reward the sisters who received GPA's of 3.8 or higher. Although Penn State has been going through a tough time in the recent years, Kappa Kappa Gamma has kept a very leveled head and worked to improve the campus. As a whole chapter we supported the football team and many campus events to show our loyalty as a sisterhood and as a Penn Stater. All year we were proud to wear our KKG letters around and spread information about why we love being a sister of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
As a chapter we have changed over the years. Bonds have grown stronger and it is apparent that each individual is making a huge effort to give Kappa Kappa Gamma a great reputation. Recently there has been a strong effort to make the new pledge class feel at home and a desire to get them very involved. Our chapter continues to work with our philanthropy, Reading is Fundamental, as well as Penn State's dance marathon will all of our hearts. Kappa has one of the highest GPA's among other sororities and we have maintained that and are so proud.
Some chapter challenges included miscommunication between all members of the Delta Alpha Chapter. We have been aiming to meet and overcome these challenges by working with our advisers and talking things through in a mature and lady-like way. We have attended many meetings to help us open up and learn how to communicate properly and womenly. We are working hard to develop a strong communication with the sororities around us on campus and to nationals. One last thing we have struggled with in the past is turning in paper work on time and finishing important documents and webinars. The new CC is working so hard and coming up with many ideas to keep us on top of our tasks so we can improve!
Our campus has gone through many changes that have to do with the scandal involving the coaches on our beloved football team. Like the previous year all Penn State students kept a positive attitude and maintained their pride. Kappa made sure to attend the Blue-out game to support victims of child abuse. Other recent changes on campus have included new sorority housing being built in which the Delta Alpha chapter will be able to live in next year. Many sororities are moving into the new buildings along with us, which will help us get to know many other people. The amount of girls that decided to go through recruitment this year was very high, and the Delta Alpha chapter worked their hardest to have the most successful recruitment process as possible.
-The Delta Alpha Chapter had a very fulfilling year. The Chapter now consists of 149 active members and initiated a new pledge class of 54 girls in the fall, including three legacies! Our chapter had a very successful recruitment process and integrated our new members with the enthusiasm to uphold Kappa’s traditions. This year our chapter participated in many fundraising activities to raise money for both THON and our national charity. We went on many canning trips with our partners in the Delta Chi Fraternity, sent Thonvelopes, and created many fundraising events with the local restaurants such as Five Guys and Cold Stone. This year our chapter is working with two amazing THON families, who are loving and caring. It has brought our chapter so much pride to get to know these families and we are so excited to spend the weekend with them for THON weekend. Participating in such a meaningful organization has made every girl in our chapter proud to be supporting such a cause. In academics, our chapter gave out many pearls to the girls that earned a GPA of 3.8 or higher to recognize and reward their academic achievements.
As a whole chapter we work to improve our sorority, our school and our community. All year we work to spread awareness of the great benefits of sisterhood and the bonds formed in Kappa Kappa Gamma. However, like every other organization we have faced some challenges that we have worked to overcome together as a chapter united. Some chapter challenges that we have met in the past and continue to work on is being more organized with our documents and struggling to turn in important paperwork in on time.
Our members and the new CC has been working endlessly to overcome these challenges by working with our advisers and staying on top of our tasks. Every girl takes their individual responsibility seriously in order to achieve everything our chapter is capable of. The last challenge that we have met as a sorority is being able to handle a new pledge class of fifty- four girls, the biggest pledge class we have had yet. This was a challenge for not only our sorority, but all sororities on campus as the number of girls going through recruitment has increased yearly. Integrating such a big group of girls into our chapter brought about many organizational issues within the sorority. This is a challenge that we faced with grace and our now proud to say that by working together have successfully integrated the new pledge class.
Our Penn State campus has undergone many changes this year including new housing for all sororities to move into. Our chapter moved into a new building this spring semester. This move has given us the opportunity to meet the other sororities that also moved into the building, allowing all the sororities on campus to become closer to each other, and given all Pan-Hellenic women the opportunity to get to know each other and make us closer as a whole. There have also been some changes within Pan- Hellenic itself because new sororities have been invited to join the Greek community on campus. Some new sororities will be coming on to our campus for the upcoming year, and we have also said good -bye to other sororities that have left our campus. Pledge classes are now bigger than they have ever been on Penn State campus. This increased Greek life as a whole on campus.
As a chapter we continue to change and improve. Our members are still working tirelessly to represent Kappa Kappa Gamma accurately, giving our sorority the reputation that it deserves. As a chapter we stick together and support our sisters to the fullest. The biggest change within our chapter has been the increase in pledge class size and our sisters are also working very hard to include the new pledge class that has grown significantly this year and will probably continue to grow in the upcoming years.
The Delta Alpha Chapter had a very rewarding year. At the 2014 convention, the Delta Alpha chapter was awarded the Chapter/Advisory Board Relations Award, as well as Honorable Mention for Greatest Improvement! We were also fortunate enough to had been given two awards from the Greek Column Awards ceremony. There we were awarded Chapter of Excellence and Most Improved Chapter by the Penn State Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. In addition, out chapter has flourished and took in a large, quota pledge class of 66 amazing New Members, who have all been initiated and remain dedicated to the sisterhood! For 2014 one huge goal was to attain that Chapter of Excellence status, so we are very proud to say we have accomplished that. We will continue to strive for this in 2015 and in years to come. Some other goals we have been working on and will continue to work on this year include establishing a signature philanthropy event and furthering member commitment and involvement at chapter events. These are both areas of struggle for our chapter that we have been making great strides in through strong leadership and standards. As evident by the Honorable Mention from Kappa and the award from Panhellenic, we have made great strides in 2014, but there is always room to grow.
Our Penn State campus has undergone many changes in the past year. One addition is the new south dorm located right near the sorority suites. There has also been a recent addition to the HUB-Student Center which is a great place for sororities to meet up and hold events. There have also been some changes within Panhellenic itself. New sororites have joined our campus and we have also said goodbye to others. Pledge classes are now bigger and greek life as a whole has really grown on the Penn State campus.
The Delta Alpha Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma holds chapter meetings weekly in the chapter room which is located on the ground floor of Ewing Hall. This building is owned by the Pennsylvania State University and is considered on campus dorm.
Thirty three sisters of the Delta Alpha chapter get the opportunity to live on the sorority floor each semester. During the fall, six girls are placed in supplemental housing located in overflow housing. Then in the spring they get the chance to move onto the floor when other girls move out for study abroad. Our chapter was housed in Cooper Hall since 1958, and in January of 2014 we moved to the renovated Ewing Hall. In the renovated "Greek Village," suites are now located right on the chapters' floors, while they used to be all on the first floor. This gives the hall a more house-like feel. The suite was beautifully decorated and stocked with the help of our advisers and House Board.
The Delta Alpha chapter had an outstanding year. We had a very successful recruitment process and welcomed 59 New Members this fall! Our new sisters are so proud to be apart of our sisterhood, and are very enthusiastic to be a part of Kappa Kappa Gamma’s wonderful traditions.
We recently gained a new THON family and could not be more excited to be working with them! Our THON families have brought our chapter so much pride and excitement to have the opportunity to dance FTK and spend the most amazing weekend with all of them. One of the challenges that our chapter faced this year was the loss of two canning trips, where a majority of our fundraising for THON occurs. To overcome this challenge, we needed to be creative and think of alternative ways to support THON and raise funds For The Kids. Our chapter overcame this challenge together and brainstormed effective way to fundraise. Our sisters all sent out THONvelopes, donation boxes were set up around numerous hometowns, and we also are holding fundraisers at local restaurants, such as Cold Stone.
We have also been working hard towards promoting our philanthropy, Reading is Fundamental. We held a philanthropy event recently at a local church with 1-4 year olds to promote our philanthropy and it was a great success! Our sisters and the local children really enjoyed the time we spent together. One of our goals for this year that we will continue to strive for is to create a signature philanthropy event. We have been making remarkable achievements in 2015, but there is always room to improve and continue to grow! We are very excited for the year to come.
Our Penn State campus always seems to be improving in one way or another. Our impressive campus offers renovated housing for each sorority, and each sorority floor has a suite as well. The suites are perfect places for our sisters to meet up and study in, or just relax together after a busy day of classes. The Delta Alpha Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma has a sorority suite located in the renovated Ewing Hall in the South Residence area, which is also where we hold our weekly chapter meetings in the chapter room on the ground floor of Ewing.
Thirty three sisters of the Delta Alpha chapter are given a chance to live on the sorority floor each fall. In the spring, many of our juniors travel abroad, and this gives a numerous amount of other sisters the opportunity to move onto the floor for the spring semester. Living on the floor is a wonderful fortune that our sisters value.