Sorority Spotlight: Kappa Delta Sorority Builds Women of Action

In support of Gretchen Swasey, Secretary of CAPA and member of Kappa Delta Sorority, this month’s newsletter feature represents the sorority’s friendship, fame and philanthropy. Gretchen has also served as Scholarship Chair, Ways and Means Chair and Treasurer for CAPA. She graduated in 1994 from Indiana University.

Kappa Delta was founded on October 23, 1897 at the State Female Normal School (now Longwood University) in Farmville, Virginia. Its founders are Lenora Ashmore Blackiston, Sara Turner White, Mary Sommerville Sparks Hendrick, and Julia Gardiner Tyler Wilson, the granddaughter of U.S. President John Tyler.

In 1902, Kappa Delta’s second chapter was established at the Chatham Episcopal Institute in Virginia. It was a short-lived chapter and was forced off campus in 1904 by the school’s administration. Among the women initiated into the chapter during those two years was Georgia O’Keeffe. She enrolled at Chatham in 1903 and graduated in 1905. It was the Institute’s principal and art instructor, Elizabeth May Wilson, who encouraged O’Keeffe’s interest in art. O’Keeffe, a prolific artist, lived nearly a century and she was awarded a Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

O’Keeffe’s legacy is preserved at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 1998, the O’Keeffe Art and Leadership Program for Girls was established there, and it provides opportunities for young women ages 11-13. Each summer, the Kappa Delta Foundation funds two paid internship opportunities working with the leadership program.

Fast Facts:

  • Kappa Delta Sorority has more than 250,000 members, 166 active collegiate chapters, and 200 alumnae chapters worldwide. With headquarters in Memphis, TN, its stated vision is: Kappa Delta Sorority is committed to providing opportunities and experiences that build confidence and inspire women to action.
  • KD’s national philanthropies are Girl Scouts of the USA and Prevent Child Abuse America; its colors are olive green and pearl white; jewels are diamond, emerald and pearl; and symbols are white rose, nautilus shell, dagger; and mascots, the teddy bear and katydid.

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