Kappa Kappa Gamma
Sometimes it’s hard to say which is more compelling. Is it our 140 plus years of being a fraternity or the fact that we were ever founded in the first place? Our beginnings in 1870 coincide with the end of the Civil War and occurred fifty years before women would receive the right to vote and hold office in the United States.
So when six exceptional women at Monmouth College in Illinois decided to express their belief in women’s potential, they had already begun the first step on their journey to impact the world.
The origin of Gamma Gamma dates back to 1910, when a local sorority known as Beta Sigma was formed at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. According to the Whitman newspaper, known as The Pioneer, the Beta Sigma chapter was “one of the leading organizations [at] the college, and her members [had] been represented in almost every line of college activities.” In the spring of 1918 this group of 24 strong women petitioned to the national organization of Kappa Kappa Gamma to request an official charter. On Monday April 29, 1918 at the house of Ethel Cornwell, the formal installment of the chapter was issued in the presence of sponsors from the University of Idaho. Since then it would be forever known as the Gamma Gamma chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
Throughout the years, Gamma Gamma was host to Iota Province Conventions in 1929, 1951, and 1967. On April 27,1968 the Gamma Gamma chapter celebrated its 50th year with toastmistress Henrietta Kennedy who spoke on the topic: “And the Circle Comes Round Again.” In the mid 1980’s the chapter focused on improving public relations with the administration and the outside world, embracing the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership and pursuit of academic excellence. Gamma Gamma took on a stronger role in Panhellenic and was excited about the opportunity to improve the perception of the Greek System to the outside world.
The Gamma Gamma chapter historically has embraced their philanthropy and worked towards engaging with the community. The chapter has continually contributed to the national philanthropy of Kappa Kappa Gamma, “Reading is Fundamental”, striving for literacy and access to books for all children. Other philanthropic endeavors include when Gamma Gamma and Delta Tau Delta raised the largest donation in the history of the chapter to the Children’s Home Society in 1987. The following year in the fall, the chapter won the Sigma Chi Derby Days and all of the proceeds from their victory were given to the National Red Cross. Starting in 2005, the chapter hosted a special event called “The Breast Run Ever,” a successful fundraiser for breast cancer research. In 2016, the chapter, through their major philanthropic event Mr. Whitman, made history in raising over $50,000 to fund a mental health care professional at a local high school in the Walla Walla area. To this day, the chapter continues to celebrate its philanthropic values by actively working with members and groups within the Walla Walla community and organizing the annual “Dr. Seuss Day” for children in the area.
The chapter also prides itself in the scholarship achievements such as at the 2010 Convention, where the chapter received the Sally Moore Nitschke Lifelong Education Award and in 2013 the chapter received Whitman College Excellence Awards in Alumni Relations, Chapter Management, Community Service, College Relations, Educational Programming, Financial Responsibility, New Member Education, Panhellenic Participation and Social Responsibility. This continued in 2014 when the chapter received the highest-all sorority grade point average and the Whitman College Academic Excellence for a Sorority.
Throughout the history of this chapter, there have been so many remarkable women that have made up the Gamma Gamma chapter. Through the achievements and accomplishments of this chapter over the years, Gamma Gamma has become what it is today: an organization of bright and devoted women looking to make a difference in the world.