History of Delta Kappa Fraternity

Delta Kappa COADelta Kappa was a big part of our Fraternity and how it came to be. Delta Kappa is a big part of our Fraternity on a local level. The following history is taken and adapted from the Fall 1961 issue of The Deltan, the official Delta Kappa National Newsletter. -Special thanks to Brother Red Moeller for sharing these materials with us all.

The First Incorporation

Delta Kappa National Fraternity was originally founded under the name of Kappa Kappa Kappa at State Teachers College, Buffalo, New York, in 1920 by five men who constituted almost the entire male registration at that time. The purpose of the Fraternity was to foster the development of fellowship, scholarship, and leadership through the socializing influence of fraternal life.

The success of the venture was so pronounced that other schools soon became aware of the benfits to be derived and petitioned for installation of chapters.

Delta Kappa InsigniaExpansion took place rather rapidly and by 1930 there were four active chapters and one passive (Alumni) chapter located in the normal schools and colleges of New York state. During that year, the Fraternity was nationalized under the corporate law of the State of New York. As a result of this action, the Fraternity became recognized as a national fraternity for the teaching profession.

The growth of (then) Kappa Kappa Kappa Fraternity was stifled by the depression. Only three new chapters were installed from the time of incorporation until 1935. At the National Convention in 1936, the national roll included the following chapters:
Alpha: Buffalo State Teachers College, NY-1920
Beta: Cortland State Teachers College, NY-1925
Gamma: Oswego State Teachers College, NY-1926
Delta: Plattsburg State Teachers College, NY-1927
Pi Alpha (ALUMNI CHAPTER): New York area-1928
Epsilon: Ithaca College, NY-1931
Zeta: New Paltz State Teachers College, NY-1935
Pi Beta (ALUMNI CHAPTER): New York Area-1935

The Second Incorporation

The delegates of the 1936 convention elected to reincorporate Kappa Kappa Kappa, also referred to as Tri-Kappa, under a new name because of a possible mistaken identification with the unpopular Ku Klux Klan. The incorporation was completed in 1937, and the organization became known as Delta Kappa. The original Tri-Kappa symbolism was maintained by the employment of the Greek letter “Delta,” which signifies three.

Progress in terms of growth was very insiginificant in the years following the reincorporation of “DK”; however, in 1942, Eta Chapter, Oneonta State Teachers College, was added to the national fold. The importance of the installation was short-lived. World War II had caused a marked decrease in college male enrollment, and the entire Fraternity was removed to an inactive status.

Delta Kappa BadgeThe interest and enthusiasm of the pre-war members lasted the duration of the national crisis, and in 1946 the returning veterans set about to reactivate Delta Kappa Fraternity. The success of the Venture was aided by the timely addition of Theta chapter, Potsdam, New York, because of the necessary incentive that it created in all hesitant inactive chapters. The program of reactivation concluded successfully, and the Fraternity was re-established.

The objectives and ideals of Delta Kappa were examined by the post war brothers of the Fraternity; and the results of the evaluation led to the realization that the Fraternity was national in nature, and yet, the organization only included chapters located in New York state. Expansion, therefore, was directed toward areas foreign to the boundaries of New York.

The new policy of growth matured. Local fraternities outside of New York were contacted and allowed to petition for charter in Delta Kappa. The results were no very gratifying. Many petitioning fraternal groups were denied chapter membership in the Fraternity because they were unable to meet the professional requirements. The members found it necessary, therefore, to alter the limiting qualifications of the Fraternity. Grand Chapter decided that Delta Kappa could not expand extensively unless the goals and purposes met the needs of a growing world. Heavy enrollments in institutions of higher learning had caused revisions in the basic curricula of the schools; thus, colleges which were originally founded for the advancement of one particular vocation initiated measures to include a more varied program. The consequence of this action produced local chapters whose membership comprised nearly all of the fields of academic preparation. For this reason, and for this reason only, the basic objective of Delta Kappa was redefined. Chapter membership was broadened to permit installation of any local fraternal group provided that at least a majority of the members were working toward a teaching profession. Success of this historic venture was measured in terms of the subsequent growth of the Fraternity. By 1953, eleven new active and one passive chapter had been installed.

Iota: Genescer, NY-1948
Delta Chi: Capt Girardeau, MO-1949
Kappa: Terre Haute, IN-1950
Delta Rho: Harrisonburg, VA-1951
Phi: Clarion, PA-1951
Sigma Phi: Frostburg, MD-1951
Sigma: Menominee, WI-1951
Chi Delta: Whitewater, WI-1952
Eta Phi: Eau Claire, WI-1952
Omnicron: Milwaukee, WI-1953
Chi Gamma: Milton, WI-1953
Pi Kappa (ALUMNI CHAPTER): Evansville, IN-1953

The remarkable midwestern growth movement of Delta Kappa Fraternity had been quite substantial. The Fraternity had expanded at an extremely rapid rate. Everything appeared to be running smoothly. The Brotherhood anticipated an enduring fraternal prosperity; but unfortunately, the pleasant growth sensation was overtaken and depressed by a catastrophe which strained every link of the national organization.

In 1953 and edict issued by the Board of Regents of the State of New York forced the abandonment and inactivation of all chapters affiliated with national societies in the state-supported colleges of New York. The action caused the loss of twelve veteran chapters and all of the alumni chapters.

The remaining chapters, handicapped by their limited national experience were faced with the grave probem of maintaining a unifying grip on the remnants of Delta Kappa Fraternity. The courage for group preservation stemmed from the gratifying unity expressed by the Wisconsin chapters. A provincial meeting of the closely knit midwestern chapters was called in the Fall of 1954. The delegated decided to preserve the National Fraternity, no matter what the cost or effort involved.


Delta Kappa Fraternity ceased to exist when it merged into Sigma Pi in 1964. (with the exception of two chapters which elected to become chapters of Delta Sigma Phi).

One Response to “History of Delta Kappa Fraternity”

  1. Lambda Chi Alpha : University of Wisconsin-Whitewater » Blog Archive » Delta Kappa Badge & Recognition Pin Says:

    […] Alpha Chapter of Delta Kappa was installed at Buffalo State Teachers College, NY in 1920. The Initials inscribed upon the back […]

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