In 1912, Kappa Delta Sorority was the only Sorority to become a member of the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) immediately upon petition. However, this did not come without sacrifice. NPC required all chapters to be four year institutions, and two of our chapters were not. The sisters of these two chapters selflessly relinquished their charters for the sake of the future of Kappa Delta. Joyfully, Alpha chapter was re-colonized in 1949 when (now) Longwood University became a four-year baccalaureate institution.
As of January 2005, Kappa Delta has 206 chartered chapters. In addition, Kappa Delta has 487 chartered alumnae associations, the most of any NPC group. With active chapter sizes ranging from 40 to 200, membership has grown to approximately 10,000 collegiate members and over 180,000 alumnae.
About the Founders:
Kappa Delta's founders were four very different women. They ranged in age from 15 to 23, yet brought a singular sense of purpose to this particular endeavor. Their dream was to create something more lasting than a club. It was to be an entity that would grow beyond their own chapter at State Female Normal School. But they never dared to dream that it would grow into an organization of more than 175,000 women, over 200 chartered chapters, with nearly 500 charted alumnae associations nationwide.
Our founders were like many other young college women of 1897. They were privileged to be attending college at all, were concerned about their studies, had to obey rules, and worried about boys and dates. Three of them were roommates in a dormitory, and the fourth was a friend to all.
Lenora Ashmore (Blackiston): Lenora was unconvential. She was a dreamer and an idealist filled with enthusiasm for new ideas. Nicknamed "Nora," she was a writer and a poet, able to put her thoughts into action. She was the one who first suggested the idea of forming a sorority, but was unable to put her lasting personal mark on Kappa Delta's beginnings becasue, after the Christmas holiday, she transferred to Randolph-Macon Woman's College.
Mary Sommerville Sparks (Hendrick): Mary was much loved and respected by all students at State Female Normal School. She was known for her fine character and gentle understanding. Mary had concern for others, perhaps because, at 23, she was more mature than the others. She was a Bible class leader. Mary stayed on and helped the fledgling sorority throughout its early years.
Sara Turner (White): Daughter of a Virginia senator, Sara was gracious and friendly, but known as being a bit more straightlaced than most students. She enjoyed her friends and social activities more than she did her studies. Sara did not return to college the next year, but remained steadfastly involved with Kappa Delta throughout her long life.
Julia Gardiner Tyler (Wilson): Charming and extremely intelligent, Julia came from a distinguished and respected family; her grandfather was John Tyler, former U.S. president, and her father was the president of the College of William & Mary. She was characterized as capable, dependable, and possessing considerable artistic talent. She illustrated most of the school's first yearbook and designed the Kappa Delta badge. Julia spent another year at State Female Normal before transferring to Dana Hall, a preparatory school for Wellesley College where she earned her AB degree in 1904. She joined her founding sister Sara at Kappa Delta's 50th anniversary celebration at the 1947 convention.
Pearl Sydenstricker Buck (Theta--Randolph-Macon) Novelist; Pulitzer Prize winner (1932); first American woman to win Nobel Prize for Literature (1938); life member, American Academy of Arts and Letters (elected 1951)
Georgia O'Keeffe (Beta--Chatham Episcopal) Painter; Medal of Freedom recipient (1977)
Ali Landry (Gamma Kappa--University of Louisiana-Lafayette) Miss USA 1996; television personality; one of People magazine's 1998 "50 Most Beautiful People"; host of Spy TV
Ellen Albertini Dow (Omega Chi--Cornell) stage, television and movie actress, best known as the "Rappin' Granny" in The Wedding Singer
Dr. Bonnie J. Dunbar (Sigma Iota--Washington) Astronaut; space shuttle mission specialist (1985, 1990, 1992, 1995, 1998)
Nancy Ties Marshall (Sigma Omicron--Illinois) Vice-Chair for Women, USA Gymnastics; network television broadcaster; Olympic gymnast (1972)
Dr. Cynthia Clark Wedel (Lambda--Northwestern) First female president, National Council of Churches (elected 1969); one of the first women elected to the Presidential appointee to Commission on the Status of Women (1961); social psychologist; author
Kathleen Babineau Blanco (Gamma Kappa--University of Louisiana-Lafayette) Lieutenant Governor, State of Louisiana (present)
Christine O'Grady Gregoire (Sigma Iota--Washington) Attorney Genearl, State of Washington (present)
Trischa Zorn (Pi--Nebraska) Champion swimmer; winner of 40 Paralympic gold medals, more than any other athlete in history (1988,1992,1996)
Donna Stone (Lambda--Northwestern) Founder and President, National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse (1972-1978) (Now Prevent Child Abuse America)
Patricia Polito Miller (Sigma Upsilon--Indiana) Co-owner/President, Vera Bradley Designs (present); recipient, Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year award
Linda Warren (Kappa Alpha--Florida State) Senior Vice President of Marketing for Product and Brand Management, Walt Disney World (1995); first female General Manager of EPCOT, Disney theme park (1994), and cited as such in Working Woman magazine's 20th-anniversary issue
Suzy Spafford (Beta Rho--San Diego State) Artist; creator of "Suzy's Zoo" greeting cards
Janet Marie Smith (Delta Omega--Mississippi State) Architect/urban planner; designer of two Major League baseball parks, Camden Yards (Baltimore) and Olympic Stadium (Atlanta)
Debra Sue Maffett (Gamma Rho--Sam Houston State) Miss America 1983
Joan Lowery Nixon (Theta Sigma--Southern California) National President of Mystery Writers of America; author of more than 100 books; record-holding four-time winner of Edgar Allen Poe Award, given by Mystery Writers of America, for Best Juvenile Mystery
Ruth Johnson Colvin (Lambda--Northwestern) founder and President of Literacy Volunteers of America
Sara James(Beta Alpha--Virginia) Dateline NBC Correspondent; Today Show Correspondent
Claudia Kennedy (Alpha Delta--Rhodes) United States Army's first female three-star general and highest ranking female officer in Army history (now retired)
Jean Carpenter Carnahan (Epsilon Alpha--Missouri/Rolla) United States Senator (present)
Patricia Wood Barnes aka "Sister Schubert" (Delta Delta--Troy State) Founder of "Sister Schubert's Homemade Rolls" baking company now selling bread and rolls in over half the states in the US
--adopted from kappadelta.org