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The Symbols of Kappa Alpha Theta

Category: Heritage

Noraleen Young

Alpha Chi, Purdue

Did you know that the first Theta coat of arms was created in 1870? That our flower, the pansy, was made official in 1889? And that, at one time, we had more than 14 official jewelers?

As Theta has grown over the last 153 years, our badge, the coat of arms, the pansy, and even the use of black and gold became recognizable symbols of our Fraternity.

Visitors to the Heritage area of the Theta website can access not only the history of our symbols but can also view examples of how they have changed over time and been used in both official and unofficial ways.

The Our Badge page provides an overview of the history of the badge from when it was designed and first worn by our founders on March 14, 1870, to information about our current jeweler, J. Lewis Small. You can also find a form for those who want to help family members plan on what to do with their badge when they pass away.

The Our Symbols page features a slide deck on the history of the our coat of arms, the history of adopting the pansy as our official flower, and more, including a fun comment from the 1930 history Sixty Years in Kappa Theta Fraternity that, “[E]very decoration committee wishes for some usable flower.”

The Heritage area of the Theta website also contains history pages for all Theta’s chapters, notable members, a gallery of virtual exhibits, a complete collection of the Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine, 1885-to present.

Take some time to explore Theta’s history!

Join us on ThetaConnect by sharing your favorite Theta item in the Theta History group that reflects one of our symbols!