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From the smiling face of New Orleans restaurateur Ti Martin on our cover to updates on our newest college chapters to news of our 2016 outstanding professors, the current issue of the Theta magazine celebrates vision and dedication.
It also announces 2017 as the Year of Celebrating Scholarship. In addition to pushing boundaries when they created Kappa Alpha Theta, our founders pushed boundaries in their personal and professional lives. As we near our sesquicentennial in 2020, we are dedicating a year to each founder and commemorating a Theta core value that she represents.
Alice Allen Brant, for example, became a high school principal and espoused an innovative educational philosophy. It is in her honor that 2017 will celebrate Theta's commitment to academic excellence as well as all our sisters who exemplify learning, growing, and being a part of something larger than themselves.
We hope you are enjoying all the stories in the Winter 2017 issue. If you don't receive all four quarterly issues or if print simply isn't your thing, you can access the past 10 years of the Theta magazine online.
High scholarship has been a core value of Kappa Alpha Theta since our founding. As some of the first women admitted to Indiana Asbury (now DePauw University), Bettie Locke, Alice Allen, Hannah Fitch, and Bettie Tipton had to prove their right to higher education. They had to excel academically, not just "get by." And—in Bettie Locke's words—they realized that they "... weren't going to college just for ourselves, but for all the girls who would follow us."
Alice Allen Brant, in particular, pushed some academic and professional boundaries. Those who knew Alice described her as determined and intellectually curious. In an era when opportunities for women were often curtailed, she became not only a teacher, but also a high school principal. In a Theta history published in 1930, Alice's brother-in-law described her educational philosophy as "innovative."
As we approach Theta's sesquicentennial in 2020, we are celebrating each of our founders and the core values she inspired. This year, we recognize Alice Allen Brant and Theta's commitment to intellectual ambition in the Year of Scholarship.
It is especially fitting that February is also the Month of the Scholar, established by the National Panhellenic Conference to promote academic achievement and reward academic excellence among all NPC member groups.
Beginning in February and continuing throughout the year, the Fraternity, Theta Foundation, and the Fraternity Housing Corporation will celebrate scholarship through our website blogs and social media. We hope you will join us as we celebrate Alice Allen Brant and all Thetas who are dedicated to learning, growing, and being a part of something larger than ourselves.
Visit our heritage website, a treasure trove of knowledge about our sesquicentennial, our founders, and our history.
Each year on January 27, Thetas everywhere pause in our busy lives to observe Founders Day. We pause to celebrate the birth of the first Greek-letter fraternity known among women; to celebrate everything that Theta has given, and continues to give, us; to celebrate four young women who walked into the chapel at Asbury College, wearing their Theta badges.
As we near our sesquicentennial in 2020, each Founders Day seems to gain additional significance. In fact, Founders Day 2016 marked the official beginning of our sesquicentennial celebration. On that day, we dedicated each of the next four years to one of our founders, because—while they founded Theta together—each was an individual, with her own character, abilities, and interests.
This year, we honor Alice Allen Brant, whose life helped shape Theta's past and was the inspiration for one of the aims that continue to shape our future: highest scholarship. She also embodied one of the traits—perseverance—that forms Kappa Alpha Theta's motto. Alice herself liked to tell a story that illustrates both her dedication to her studies and her determination. Living about five miles from Greencastle, Alice rode her horse to school every day her freshman year. But she didn't always have a ride home. On occasion, the horse, named Kate, would break her halter and head back to the farm before Alice was ready, leaving her to walk the five miles home.
Despite the obstacles—both amusing and more serious—she faced, Alice graduated from Asbury and became a teacher (earning the highest level of teaching certificate) and a high school principal.
Today, Alice's legacy is reflected in our ideal of supporting each member as she seeks to fully develop her intellectual, cultural, and social potential. Not only is our Fraternity devoted to this commitment. So, too, is our Fraternity Housing Corporation, as it prioritizes dedicated learning environments in the facilities it manages. So, too, is Theta Foundation, leading the Greek community in awarding more than $500,000 each year in undergraduate and graduate scholarships. And this commitment by all three Theta entities resonates strongly nearly 150 years after our founding—as demonstrated by the colleges and universities that are eager to welcome a Theta chapter to their campuses. In fact, between autumn of 2016 and autumn of 2017, we will reestablish three former college chapters and establish four new ones, setting a record for the most chapters chartered during one academic term!
Imagine how pleased Alice—who co-founded Theta to provide support to women in their fight to earn an education equal to those offered to men—would be to know of this expansion. Imagine how pleased she would be by these increased opportunities to provide opportunities for learning and growth. This Founders Day, we celebrate Alice Allen Brant and her commitment to taking risks, to personal growth, and to leading others by example.
On Founders Day, we have the opportunity to tangibly demonstrate Theta's ideals by donating to the Friendship Fund. The Fund provides gifts to Thetas experiencing extreme financial hardship due to serious or terminal illness, job loss, natural disaster, and other devastating occurrences. Gifts to the Friendship Fund—traditionally $1 per year of Theta membership—may be effected by checks made payable to Kappa Alpha Theta, with "Friendship Fund" written on the memo line, and mailed to Kappa Alpha Theta, 8740 Founders Rd., Indianapolis, IN 46268, attn.: Friendship Fund.
Because no known location outside of the cemetery was known for Alice, I did an Internet search before leaving to get the cemetery address. I'm not sure what exactly happened—user error on my part most likely—but the initial address I got online—3547 U.S. 231 for Brick Chapel Methodist Church—is not correct. First, my husband Paul and I kept going back and forth wondering why there was no church. Finally I was able to convince Paul to pull over so I could find maybe another address. This same address came up, so I clicked on "directions." This had us seemingly going, so we thought, a back way in to the address above. However, we quickly found out it took us in to a circle, and we were back on the road where we started.
Finally, we found an address that we felt was the one that would work. Only, the church was not in Greencastle as previously believed. It was past Greencastle in Brick Chapel, Ind.! Once passing the Brick Chapel sign and seeing a sign for Brick Chapel Methodist Church was up ahead, I knew we were on the right path! Finally, 45-50 minutes after leaving Bettie Locke Hamilton's gravesite, we found the church with the cemetery where Alice Allen Brant was buried. Once again, Paul and I braved the rising August humidity and heat and spread out to look for Alice.
I became quite nervous when nearly all of the older gravestones I was seeing were faded and barely legible, in addition to a big tree limb that was down over some of the graves. After about an hour of searching and coming up hot, aggravated, and empty-handed, Paul decides to look to the front, and I decided to look again at the section Paul had just finished looking over. Approximately 15 minutes later, I came upon a pretty large gravestone that said "Allen." This had me pondering, "What if Alice is buried with her parents, rather than her husband, like Bettie Tipton Lindsay?" I looked around and sure enough, children were buried on both sides of the larger headstone. One of those said, "Alice." A closer look revealed something that looked kind of like a plaque. Could it be THE plaque? The founders plaque from the Fraternity? It was! I brushed off some grass that had started to take it over. I happened to look up and saw on the side of the larger headstone was her full name, husband's name, and dates. I was so excited I started yelling at Paul that I found her. He did not hear me. I waved my arms around to signal to him, but he did not see me. Finally I did what my step-kids would do, I texted him, "I found her." My journey to find the graves of all four founders was finally complete!