Grand Council: A Look Back

Back in 1870, when our founders created Theta, they expected it to grow but probably could not imagine what it has become. Throughout the years, Fraternity leadership and delegates to Grand Convention sought the best ways to govern a dynamic organization. Beginning in 1879, the Fraternity designated a “Grand Chapter” to run the fraternity and serve as the legislative body, meeting at Grand Convention with its own president and other officers. Alpha/DePauw remained the National Chapter, the administrative arm of the Fraternity.

The growth of the Fraternity and increased efforts to establish a consistent structure for the organization as a whole led to changes in 1891. Grand Council was established to lead Theta between Conventions; it included the president, secretary, treasurer, and editor. Beginning in 1893, a shared position of vice president was added and filled by each of the district presidents, which then numbered three. The delegates to Grand Convention elected members of Grand Council, a practice that continues today. In 1909, district presidents were removed from Grand Council and a national vice president was added. Grand Council grew in 1930 with the addition of a second vice president and an alumnae secretary. A third vice president was added in 1954.

The Fraternity took a bold step in 1938 and again in 1957, hiring an outside consultant to review and make recommendations regarding governance. The 1957 study, in particular, led to the most significant changes to Grand Council. Along with the president, there were four vice presidents, one each for college, alumnae, finance, and service programming areas. Ten “members-at-large” (MAL) also served on Grand Council. This structure stayed in place with only minor changes in the number of MALs until 1984, when it was discontinued and the grand vice president positions were realigned to college, alumnae, development, education, finance, and membership. In 2012—with the goal of empowering Grand Council to focus on strategy and governance—the responsibility for chairing standing Fraternity committees was transferred from the vice presidents, and the names of specific program areas were removed from their titles.

The Fraternity is grateful to all the leading women who have served on Grand Council. Thanks to their devoted service, Kappa Alpha Theta continues to thrive.

Grand Council: A Look Back

  1. 1901

    Pictured: Edith D. Cockins, editor of the Journal; L. Pearle Green, grand secretary and president of Gamma District; Alta Dorothy Miller, president of Beta District; center, Ednah Harmon Wickson, grand president; bottom row, Mary E. S. Scott, grand treasurer; Adelaide C. Hoffman, president of Alpha District.

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  2. 1902

    Grand Council in executive session at Berkeley, Calif., 1902. Left to right: Ednah H. Wickson Kelly, Omega/UC Berkeley, Fraternity president; L. Pearle Green, Phi deuteron/Stanford, Grand Council secretary; Grace Eagleson, Epsilon/Wooster, Fraternity vice president; Adelaide Hoffman Marvin, Alpha Zeta/Barnard, Fraternity vice president; Edith D. Cockins, Alpha Gamma/Ohio State, Fraternity treasurer.

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  3. 1939

    Grand Council, circa 1939. Front row: Adelaide Macdonald Sinclair, Sigma/Toronto, Fraternity president; Pauline Brannock Moore, Alpha Mu/Missouri, Fraternity treasurer; back row: Elizabeth Sellers Moore, Alpha Phi/Tulane, Alumnae secretary; Martha Cline Huffman, Rho/Nebraska, Grand Convention manager.

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  4. 1952

    Left to right: Mary Forrest Brandriff, alumnae secretary, Beta Tau/Denison; Louise Holmberg Crawford, first vice president; Ellen Bowers Hofstead, Alpha Eta/Vanderbilt, Fraternity president; Betty Lockridge Hogate, Alpha/DePauw, second vice president, and Alletta Henderson Munz, Chi/Syracuse, Fraternity treasurer.

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  5. 1957

    Seated, left to right: Elizabeth “Fliver” Whalton Little, Beta Nu/Florida State, Fraternity treasurer; Evelyn Widman Tunnicliffe, Eta/Michigan, second vice president; Alletta Henderson Muntz, Chi/Syracuse, Fraternity president; Hazel Baird Beil Lease, Alpha Nu/Montana, first vice president; Mary Forrest Brandriff, Beta Tau/Denison, third vice president; Alice Lease Gosner, Alpha Nu/Montana, alumnae secretary. Standing, left to right: Mary Ellen Myers Parr, Beta/Indiana, editor; Ellen Bowers Hofstead, Alpha Eta/Vanderbilt, NPC delegate; Helen E. Sackett, Psi/Wisconsin, executive secretary; Martha Smith White, Beta Beta/Randolph-Macon Women's College.

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  6. 1976

    Front row, left to right: Joyce Ault Cordon, Beta Psi/McGill; Jean Melnick Buckmaster, Gamma Upsilon/Miami, vice president finance; Sharon Cirese Gassett, Gamma Xi/San Jose State; Joyce Drew Toombs, Delta/Illinois; back row, left to right: Marie Anderson Fitz, Rho/Nebraska, Fraternity president; Ann Schull Lauterbach, Alpha Eta/Vanderbilt; Lissa Lutton Bradford, Alpha Eta/Vanderbilt, vice-president college; Kahla Roberts Latta, Gamma Pi/iowa State, vice president alumnae; Marjorie Crane Schnacke, Kappa/Kansas, vice president service; Carole Hartmann Brehman, Beta Eta/Pennsylvania; Hilary Stout Salatich, Gamma/Butler; Omah Albaugh Klopfenstein, Alpha Lambda/Washington. (Those without titles listed are Grand Council members-at-large.)

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  7. 1984

    Left to right: Carryl Wischmeyer Krohne, Nu/Hanover, vice president membership; Judy Kubly Alexander, Gamma Lambda/Beloit, vice president education; Jane Kent Hedges, Beta Sigma/SMU, vice president membership; Sue Farrell Supple, Alpha/DePauw, Fraternity president; Carole Hartmann Brehman, Beta Eta/Pennsylvania, vice president college; Marian Andrews Paoletti, Delta Lambda/Utah, vice president development; Janet Paine Peters, Beta Omega/Colorado College, vice president alumnae.

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  8. 2008

    Grand Council, 2008-2010. Front row, left to right: Mary Ellen Kutsenda Fitzsimonds, Beta Kappa/Drake, Fraternity vice president alumnae; Katie Busby, PhD, Epsilon Zeta/Mississippi, Fraternity president; Wendy Sears Goshert, Gamma/Butler, Foundation president; Debbie Bornmann Allen, Delta Theta/Florida, Fraternity vice president education. Back row: Kimberly Morris Martin, Alpha Omicron/Oklahoma, Fraternity vice president public relations; Julie Ruffolo Gilpin, Alpha/DePauw, Fraternity vice president membership; Suzanne Graf McLemore, Delta Pi/Tennessee, Fraternity vice president finance and facilities; Amy Hayner Kates, Alpha Phi/Tulane, Fraternity vice president college.

    2008 Grand Council
  9. 2018

    Grand Council, 2018-2020. Front row, left to right: Jane Shepherd Dick, Epsilon Mu/Princeton, Fraternity vice president; Mandy Burgett Wushinske, Zeta Sigma/Ohio Northern, Fraternity president; Vicki Laughlin McCluggage, Omicron/USC, Theta Foundation president; Cynthea Strube Yestal, Beta Chi/Alberta, Fraternity vice president. Back row: Michelle Mouton Geiger, Delta Kappa/LSU, Fraternity vice president; Erica D'Angelo Ochs, Eta Nu/Lake Forest, Fraternity vice president; Heather Breuninger Granato, Epsilon Psi/Richmond, Fraternity vice president; Cate Lock Bibb, Gamma Phi/Texas Tech, Fraternity vice president.

    2018 Gc

Kappa Alpha Theta Leadership

Kappa Alpha Theta has three governing boards: Grand Council, Foundation Board of Trustees, and Fraternity Housing Corporation (FHC) Board of Directors. The members of these boards establish the strategic vision and supervise the business and affairs of the Fraternity, Foundation, and FHC Board respectively.