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Throughout 2017, Kappa Alpha Theta is celebrating the Year of Scholarship.
We're recognizing the commitment to academic excellence that began with our founders and continues today, as well as honoring Thetas who are dedicated to learning, growing, and being a part of something larger than themselves.
The Fraternity Housing Corporation (FHC) strives to enhance opportunities for intellectual growth by providing our college members with study environments that foster creativity and critical thinking. We understand the importance of comfortable—yet stylish—study spaces!
- Comfortable study space that includes plush chairs and plenty of lighting.
- Connected with up-to-date technology. Our lighting includes fixtures that turn on just by tapping the exterior portion of the light along with two plugs to provide convenient electricity.
- Furniture that invites collaboration. Tables are easily adjustable to set at different heights and chairs move throughout the room easily.
Students in today's world are constantly connected and collaborating because both individual and group study is crucial to scholastic success. From convenient ways to charge laptops, phones, and tablets to plenty of lighting for studying late into the night, the FHC is prepared to meet our college students' needs.
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.
Scholarship has always been a central tenant for the members of Kappa Alpha Theta, and indeed is one of our core values. Our founders came together, in part, as a mutual support system in an incredibly arduous environment. They encouraged one another in academic pursuits and challenged one another and all future members to achieve their personal best in the classroom.
Even more than a half-century after our founding, Bettie Locke Hamilton was still stressing the importance of scholarship. In a letter sent to the Alpha Psi Chapter at Lawrence in 1926, Bettie shared a message that has been a "North Star" for Thetas over many generations "...and try above all things to keep up a high standard of Scholarship - nothing will elevate K.A.O. like wonderful Scholarship!"
How true her words were then, and they remain so today! Kappa Alpha Theta chapters enjoy remarkable success with more than one-quarter of our college chapters achieving the number-one ranking on their campus in terms of grades and more than three-quarters of our college chapters being above the all-sorority average (ASA) on their campuses. Of course, there are also many members who have been recognized for their remarkable individual achievement over the last 147 years.
Against the backdrop of our founding, many other Greek-letter organizations for women were also starting and spreading across the nation. In 1902, seven groups organized to form the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC). From 1903-1951, even more Greek-letter organizations for women joined NPC, eventually totaling 26.
The Panhellenic Creed, which each member group supports, states: "We the undergraduate members of women's fraternities, stand for good scholarship, for guarding of good health, for maintenance of fine standards, and for serving, to the best of our ability, our college community."
A commitment to academic excellence for members of Kappa Alpha Theta and the other NPC groups results in success for individual members and their chapters. This, in turn, encourages all women to reach their potential both inside and outside the classroom. Intellectual development includes all cultural, practical, recreational, political and social aspects of life and is echoed in Theta's mission of offering lifelong opportunities for intellectual growth.
Please join me in celebrating the Year of Scholarship. I'm proud that Thetas are leading women in this area and have been since 1870.
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.
Did you know that since 2011, the National Panhellenic Conference has designated February as the Month of the Scholar in order to increase the commitment of women's fraternities to academic achievement and excellence? Here are some non-traditional ways you can help celebrate the Month of the Scholar within your chapter:
1. Highlight a scholar of the week: The women recognized could be high scholastic achievers, but don't forget those who should be recognized too for scholastic improvement. Is there a sister who has made significant strides to improve her study habits? Is there a sister who has made a conscious effort to establish rapport with her professors or schedule time to attend study skills workshops tailored to her needs at the academic success center on campus? Did a sister meet her GPA goal she set for the fall 2015 term? Depending upon how they like to receive feedback, you could recognize these women in a chapter meeting or by a simple note or small treat in their mailbox. (Keep in mind that not everyone likes to be recognized publicly.)
2. Think about scholarship as it relates to a broader context: Intellectual curiosity involves more than just doing well in school. It is about broadening your understanding and appreciation for the world around you. Plan a trip with your chapter to a cultural attraction or event on your campus or in your city. This could include a local museum or historical society; an outing to a theater production, musical, ballet, concert, or orchestra performance (bonus points if a sister is performing!); hosting faculty to the chapter facility for informal conversations on their research focus areas; or going to see a hosted speaker or lecture on campus. These opportunities are plentiful and can enrich your appreciation for things outside of the norm.
3. Host a relaxation event: Let's face it. College can be stressful. It's important that as we encourage high scholastic achievement, we also encourage self-care. Whether it's hosting a sundae or cookie night during midterms, a spa day in the middle of the month, or a yoga class on a Saturday morning, encouraging sisters to take time for themselves is just as important as encouraging them to study.
4. Invite your favorite faculty member to coffee or tea: Remember that celebrating scholarship and academic achievement doesn't have to be labor-intensive. Building relationships with faculty is something at which Theta excels, and it doesn't take much to begin to form partnerships. You never know when you're going to need a professor's recommendation, and coffee is a good place to start!
5. Celebrate internships and other learning opportunities: Are there members in the chapter who have an internship, are student-teaching, studying abroad, or doing undergraduate research? Consider giving them a platform (if they're comfortable, of course) during a chapter meeting to briefly discuss their experience so far (you can Skype in the abroad members if it's feasible). Because these women have a number of commitments outside of the chapter, giving them an opportunity to talk about their outside-the-classroom experiences not only makes them feel valued, but also allows other women to learn from them.
What are you doing to celebrate Month of the Scholar? Be sure to add a comment below or use the hashtag #NPCscholar to let us know what you're doing to promote the highest scholarship and intellectual curiosity!
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