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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Monday, August 10, 2015 07:33 AM, by Carole Touma
Carole Touma
Epsilon Mu/Princeton
It always begins with a seemingly benign question.

"Carole, you speak French?"

I slowly nod my head, already dreading the next question.

"So...you're French?"

I was hoping you'd just stop there. I respond hesitantly, "No, not exactly."

"What are you, then?"

Here we go.

I am the proud daughter of a Haitian mother and a Lebanese father.

To provide a bit of background, both countries were colonized by France. Hence, both of my parents speak French. Hence, I speak French.

Alas, this ostensibly simple explanation is typically interrupted by more pressing matters...people stop listening after the very first sentence.
"Did you just say that you're half black?"

Why the surprise? Well, see for yourself.

Continue reading Carole's blog post on Medium. Kappa Alpha Theta values all her members and advocates dialogue to promote inclusion.

Carole Touma, Epsilon Mu/Princeton, will be a junior this fall.

Posted On: Sunday, June 16, 2013 01:51 PM, by Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel
Larry Dennis with his daughter Heather Dennis, Delta Psi/UC Riverside.
My Dad was the first man in my life to give me a diamond, and the one man I could always count on. Whatever I needed, be it help with my homework, help moving, or making a kite, my dad was there for me.

I remember how excited both he and my mom were when they took me to school early and got me settled in so I wouldn't have to worry about unpacking while going through recruitment. After they arrived home, my mom told me that my dad thought the girls by the dorms looked like they were a good group. I later found out that they wore "Think Theta" shirts! It was apparently destiny, and Dad knew it.

Fast-forward to me being initiated and buying everything Theta that I could get my hands on (doesn't seem like much has changed in those 20+ years). I, of course, had to buy the 'Kappa Alpha Theta Dad sweatshirt. Dad wore that sweatshirt all the time; I think he even wore it when it was 100 degrees outside! He loved when people asked about it. He would proudly say that his daughter was a Theta and explain what that meant.

I remember fondly that Dad even helped me make my own letters. Because of his handy work, I offered to make a kite for my chapter's Fall '94 recruitment. Our theme required a large color-blocked kite. Knowing that Dad was already skilled in making letters, of course he was going to help me with this kite. So, as summer was drawing to a close, I told my dad that I had volunteered and asked if he'd help. Of course, he said yes! There wasn't much he wouldn't do for me, and apparently that included making a kite on a hot Central California summer day! It was a huge success, and my chapter loved it.

Even though my Dad has passed away, I couldn't resist sharing my story of how proud he was of his Theta girl.

Heather Dennis is an alumna of Delta Psi/UC Riverside, Fraternity volunteer, charter Life Loyal member, and proud daughter of Larry Dennis.

Posted On: Friday, June 14, 2013 08:55 AM, by Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel
Doug Salzer, father of twin Delta Kappa/LSU collegians Claire and Kaitlyn Salzer
I have twin daughters, and I wanted them to join a sorority. At the time my daughters were invited to become members of Theta, I was mainly happy that my daughters experienced the recruitment process, which was a roller coaster of emotions, and they were both invited to a sorority. I really did not know much about Theta, so my overriding perception was simply that being part of Theta would give my daughters the opportunity to attend social functions, meet new people from different backgrounds, and gain new friends.

I have now learned that my original perception was much too narrow. Theta has given my daughters many more experiences and opportunities for personal growth and further development of skills that young women need for personal and professional success. I was particularly impressed with the encouragement my daughters received from their Theta sisters to become involved and take on positions of leadership and responsibility in the sorority. My daughters have grown from kids into confident young women.

Theta has become, and I think will now always be, a part of our family. For me, and I am sure for many other dads, it is a scary time when your daughter first leaves to go to college. Your hope is that your daughter will receive a good education and develop skills that will transition her to adulthood. The problem is your daughter is taking those steps in a sense alone and away from her family support group. My daughters' Theta sisters have become their extended family support group.

Recently, one of my daughters, who was going through particularly difficult semester of classes, said it best. She said, "Dad, I don't know how I would have made it through this last semester without my friends in Theta." They encouraged her when she was down, and they pushed her when she was tired and didn't feel like going anymore.

My daughters' experiences with Theta have given them greater confidence in themselves: confidence to step out of their comfort zone, confidence to take on new responsibilities, and confidence that they will succeed.

I am convinced they would not have grown so much as young women over the past three years without the Theta experience.

Doug Salzer is the father of twin Delta Kappa/LSU collegians Claire and Kaitlyn Salzer. He is a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, initiated at Louisiana State University.

Posted On: Thursday, June 13, 2013 12:41 PM, by Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel
Christina Morris visiting her mother's chapter, Gamma Delta/Georgia, as a child.
My wife, Ellen Gurley Morris, is a Theta initiated at the University of Georgia. We always hoped our daughter Christina would have the opportunity to be a part of Greek life. When she chose to attend Belmont, Theta was not on campus. It was somewhat of a "crushed" dream for my wife; sharing the joy of Theta sisterhood was instilled into Christina at a very young age when we returned to visit UGA and took her to the beautiful Theta house. We encouraged her to go through recruitment, and she signed up but was very busy with her music and did not participate.

The summer before her junior year, my wife found out that Theta was coming to campus while Christina was in Europe and was elated. Christina found out about it, and without even discussing it, called home and said, "I'm going to be a Theta!"

I knew it would be a unique opportunity for my daughter to be part of something that would be a legacy for years to come; becoming a charter member is quite a privilege to help establish the sorority into greatness.

Greek life can instill so many valuable experiences, the joy of sisterhood, being involved a college organization, community service, leadership opportunities and of course the fun social events! I knew that given the opportunity to be a Theta would enrich her college experience and also serve her well with her future endeavors.

Theta has been a huge part of Christina's life while at Belmont. Joining Theta provided her the opportunity to get involved, take on officer responsibilities and work with a diverse group of women for a common goal; to forge a great sisterhood, this is what Greek life is all about.

There have been so many great memories associated with Theta, but the one that stands out the most has to be the Charter Service, where all the sisters signed the charter. For Christina, becoming a charter member of Eta Phi Chapter was an event she will always cherish.

I'm so fortunate to have a strong relationship with our daughter. I am happiest when my family is happy, and Christina is extremely happy and proud to be a Theta. It gives my wife and daughter something they will both treasure and share in for years to come.

Barry Morris is the husband of Ellen Gurley Morris, Gamma Delta/Georgia, and the father of Christina Morris, Eta Phi/Belmont. He is a member of the Beta Lambda Chapter of Kappa Sigma Fraternity, initiating at the University of Georgia.

Posted On: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 10:01 AM, by Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel
The Rigby Family
Catherine and Elizabeth Rigby, both alumnae of Delta Kappa/LSU, wrote to us about their proud Theta dad, Owen, saying, "Not only has he spent the better part of the last six years moving his two Theta daughters in and out of the Theta house, he has also spent much of those years volunteering for the Thetas. He has helped cook catfish for the Theta catfish fry, cooking hamburgers for Homecoming festivities, and set up and decorating (with direction from his wife and daughters) for Bid Day when his daughter (Catherine) was VP Education (now CEdO). Owen transported the large yard letters across the state and attended every father-daughter function at LSU, including the LSU Kappa Alpha Theta father-daughter baseball game tailgate (even though he is NOT an LSU fan)! Owen's love and dedication to his daughters has carried over to their dedication as Theta women. His Theta daughters could not ask for a better role model or father and love him very much!"

So, we wanted to ask Owen why Theta means so much to him. This is how he responded:

I knew of Theta from my college days and knew it was a strong organization. Theta has given my daughters an opportunity to grow in so many ways: make great friends, participate in leadership, and give back through philanthropy.

I have many great Theta memories. One favorite has to be when our older daughter (Catherine) was VP Education. During recruitment at LSU, all of the potential new members run down sorority row behind the officers to their new sorority's house. Seeing the pure excitement in the faces of the current and new members was extremely special.

Another was when our younger daughter (Elizabeth) called to say she was going to join Theta. It was very exciting to have both of our girls together at the same university and members of the same great organization.

Theta has been a part of our lives for six years now, and I am sure that will continue. The organization has done so much for our daughters; I could not have asked for more for them. Many of our daughters' best college friends are Thetas. What a tremendous group of young women!

Owen Rigby is the father of Delta Kappa Chapter alumnae Catherine and Elizabeth Rigby.

Posted On: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 03:30 PM, by Laura Kassenbrock Stelsel
The Christensen Family
Our oldest daughter, Kerri, decided at the last minute to go through recruitment instead of moving into an apartment. Transferring to WSU as junior, I knew it might be a challenge for her to join a house. Fortunately, it worked out perfectly for her. She lived in the house for two and a half years before graduating and still has wonderful friends for life from the Theta house.

Being familiar with the strength of the Theta house at WSU from my days there, I was thrilled for Kerri and her experience as a Theta. Katie and Courtney were fortunate to follow in her footsteps and their bond grew stronger as a result. Everything about the Theta house was positive for our girls. Life-long friends, good study habits, good grades...I remain very thankful for their collective Theta experience.

My favorite memory was the eight consecutive years that I got to stay in the Theta house for Dad's Weekend. Meeting dads of their sisters in the house and seeing them annually was very special. We remain good friends with some of the parents.

I feel honored to have three beautiful, successful daughters that all had the pleasure of being a Theta at Washington State University. Thetas are highly regarded by our family. And now with four granddaughters, we are all praying they will have the same opportunity someday.

Larry Christensen is the father of three Theta daughters: Kerri Christensen Clary, Katie Christensen Kleven, and Courtney Christensen, all alumnae of Alpha Sigma/Washington State. He is a member of Lambda Chi Alpha and an alumni of WSU.