In 1837, the Methodist Church established Indiana Asbury (now DePauw University) in Greencastle Indiana.
Indiana Asbury officially opened its doors to women in 1867, but not without great uproar from the male students. The first woman students at Indiana Asbury were looking for ways to make friends and find support and encouragement for their academic pursuits. They were reviled by their teachers, taunted by their classmates, and ignored by their girlhood friends who did the "right" thing and attended conservatories for girls. It took these brave three years to found Kappa Alpha Theta, the first Greek-letter Fraternity for women.
To be sure, there were societies for women before 1867, and some of these had secret rituals with badges, passwords, mottoes, and other symbols. But in 1870, Theta became the first women's Greek-letter fraternity because its primary founder, Bettie Locke, wanted full membership in a male fraternity. When the men asked her to wear their fraternity badge as a "mascot," she responded, "If you won't initiate me into your fraternity, I'll start my own." Thus Kappa Alpha Theta was established on January 27, 1870. In 2005 Kappa Alpha Theta celebrated its 135th anniversary.
Bettie Locke Hamilton Alice Allen Brant Bettie Tipton Lindsey Hannah Fitch Shaw
Famous Alpha Thetas
Jenna Welch Bush
Alpha Theta First Daughter
Laura Welch Bush
Beta Simga (SMU) First Lady
Lynne Vincent Cheney
Beta Omega (Colorado College) Vice President Cheney's wife
Beta (Indiana) Actress
Joan Ganz Cooney Beta Delta (Arizona) Founder of Children's Television Workshop
Alpha Mu (Missouri) Musician
Tillie Kidd Fowler
Delta Zeta (Emory) US House of Representatives
Alpha Eta (Vanderbilt) Musician
Nancy Landon Kassebaum
Kappa (Kansas) Senator
Jean Martin Marzollo
Gamma Zeta (U Conn) Author of books (including I Spy)