Mary Louise “Lou” Bennett
KAPPA’S FIRST LISTED MEMBER, Alpha 1
Lou (Mary Louise) Bennett (Boyd) From the beginning, initiated members of the Fraternity have been listed by the chapter Greek name and the chronological order in which the member was initiated.
Family: Born May 25, 1852, in Pittsburgh, Pa. Guardian was her uncle, Dr. Alexander Young, professor of Greek & Hebrew at Monmouth College; her home is now the site of the Monmouth College Admissions/College Relations Building. (Lou’s guardian, Dr. Alexander Young, owned the property in 1870 that was later subdivided and sold to John Burroughs Brown, who built the Tudor-style house that stands there today.
Education & Career: Entered Monmouth College in 1868; was active in A.B.L. (Amateur des Belles Lettres) Literary Society as a debater; received her AB-AM from Monmouth College in1872. She became a teacher.
Kappa Record: One of the four original organizers who began as early as 1869 and signed the charter in the Spring 1870. She has always been listed as Alpha 1, the first name on the permanent Fraternity roll of membership. Co-founder with Minnie Stewart of the second chapter, Beta, St. Mary’s Seminary, Knoxville, Ill., 1871, which marks the beginning of the Fraternity extension program; first Kappa rush (recruitment) captain. She attended the Alpha reinstallation in 1934. Dedicated to her are The History of Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity 1870-1930 and the Boyd Hearthstone, 1938. She is credited with the phrase that “the Fraternity was the mighty oak that sprang from the little acorn of Alpha.”
Personal Data: Described as “helpful.” Married Rev. M. Joseph Newton Boyd in 1876, brother of Founder Jennie Boyd. Widowed in 1932. No children. She lived in Jacksonville, Fla. Assisted with efforts to reconstruct the Alpha history. She died January 17, 1947, at age 95. She was the longest surviving Founder. She is buried with her husband and Jennie Boyd, her sister-in-law, in Hickory Grove Cemetery, Green Cove Springs, Fla.
Additional biographical information about Lou Bennett in The Key