|Founded||November 25, 1873|
|College||Illinois Wesleyan University|
|Media related to Epsilon Chapter|
Illinois Wesleyan University, established in 1850, Bloomington, Illinois
Founded on November 25, 1873, by Kate Ross, the first woman admitted to Illinois Wesleyan University, Millie R. Clarke, Kate B. Ross
1,931 initiates (as of June 2018)
Charter Members: Millie R. Clarke, Kate Rosetta Graves, Kate B. Ross
Fraternity Council Members:
Lida Kline (Tuthill), Grand Marshal 1881 - 1882; Helen Pollock (Reed), Grand Marshal 1888 - 1890;Virginia Sinclair, Grand Treasurer 1902 – 1904, First Officer for Alumnae 1904; Beth Uphoff Black, Vice President 2010 – 2012, Director of Chapters 2008 – 2010, Director of Alumnae 2006 - 2008; Sandra Laich Fetcho, Bylaws Chairman 2010-2012, Director of Standards 2006 – 2010; Cathy Thompson Carswell, Fraternity President 1996 – 2000, Vice President 1994 -1996, Foundation Board of Trustees 1994 – 2000, Director of Chapters 1992 - 1994; Director of Personnel 1990 – 1992; Kristen Hranicka, Leadership Consultant, 2010 - 2011, Chapter Consultant, 2011 - 2012;
Fraternity Loyalty Award Recipients:
Fraternity Alumnae Achievement Award Recipients:
Additional Outstanding Epsilon Alumnae
Julia A. Ames, initiated 1879, international journalist and founding member of the Illinois Woman"s Press Association; Judy Berry Duffek, Epsilon Province Directors of Alumnae 1983 – 1985, 1985 – 1987 Catherine Bernotas Gelhaar, Epsilon Province Director of Chapters 1981 – 1983, 1983 - 1985; Epsilon Province Director of Alumnae 1977- 1979, 1979 – 1981, 1981 – 1983; Jean Holdridge (Reeves), Graduate Counselor 1942-1943; Joan Copenhaver (Cox) Graduate Counselor 1955-1956; Carol Krueger (Culver), Graduate Counselor 1958-1959; Rebecca McLaughlin (Neigher), Graduate Counselor 1967-1968; Pamela Martin (Thiel), Graduate Counselor 1971-1973; Carlisle Judd (Hamilton), Graduate Counselor 1972-1972; Kristen Hranicka, Leadership Consultant 2011 - 2012
Notable Honored Epsilon Alumnae:
1974: Mary Carol Eeten Frieburg – Historical Society of Arlington Heights, Illinois, President 1998: Cathy Thompson Carswell – Illinois Wesleyan University, Trustee 2008: Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas – Illinois Woman’s Press Association “Communicator of Achievement” 2009: Lana Weiss Brown – Illinois Woman’s Press Association “Communicator of Achievement”
- 1 The Early Years (From The History of Kappa Kappa Gamma 1870–1976)
- 2 The Mid-1900s
- 3 Introduction to and Highlights of the 1970s:
- 4 Highlights of the 1980s:
- 5 Highlights of the 1990s:
- 6 Highlights of 2000-2010:
- 7 Highlights of 2011-2019:
- 8 Highlights of 2011
- 9 Highlights of 2012
- 10 Highlights of 2013
- 11 Highlights of 2014
- 12 Highlights of 2015
- 13 Highlights of 2016
- 14 Highlights of 2017
- 15 Highlights of 2018
- 16 Highlights of 2019
- 17 Highlights of 2020
- 18 Highlights of 2021
The Early Years (From The History of Kappa Kappa Gamma 1870–1976)
Epsilon Chapter at Illinois Wesleyan University holds the oldest written charter (dated 1873) continuously in existence. Although Delta Chapter was established before Epsilon, the charter was not received by Delta until February of 1875.
Illinois Wesleyan University, in the center of wealthy agricultural McLean County, was established in 1850 and admitted women in 1870. In 1873, there were 925 male students and 36 female students, and a faculty of nine. In 1970, there were 925 men, 884 women and a faculty of 170. Franklin Avenue, a mile long, connects Illinois Wesleyan with Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois. This is a unique fact and has probably had great significance in the histories of the two universities.
The first female student at Illinois Wesleyan was Kate Ross. Admitted to the university as a sophomore, she was one of the three charter members of Epsilon Chapter, and served as its first Treasurer. Kate earned the honor of presenting the class oration at IWU’s 1874 commencement. “Neither today, nor ever, can we forget to be grateful that four years ago the Wesleyan University invited to equal privileges sons and daughters. The darkness of the past has rolled away,” she declared. “Liberty is dawning.”
Epsilon came about because in the summer of 1873, Millie Clark became interested in Kappa through a cousin at Monmouth College. Alpha then pledged Millie, but instead of going to Monmouth in the fall, she went to Wesleyan, and once there, she, Kate Ross, and Kate Graves (Walter) petitioned Kappa. The petition was granted November 25, a meeting was held, and Millie was elected chapter President. Kate Graves was elected Secretary and Kate Ross was elected treasurer.
At the second meeting, three new members were initiated: Mary Helen Kuhl, Aggie Morrison, and Nettie Learned. A committee was appointed to draw up bylaws, arrange for framing the charter, and buy a secretary’s book. There was some discussion about the badge as Epsilon wanted a half-size key, but the chapter soon learned that the badge must be official and ordered from an official firm.
The new keys were worn first at a “social” in the spring of 1875, a party given by Professor Crow, whose wife, Lizzie Kanaga Crow, became an honorary member. The new badges created quite a stir at the party and some amusing young men came wearing huge imitation door keys sewn to their lapels.
Chapter meetings were literary, and debates were so popular that they were included in the chapter programs until the 1920s. The debates, orations, and declamations of those early meetings were taken seriously, and had little of the humorous nature which crept in with the passage of years. Early Epsilon members won state and interstate honors. During the first two years of the chapter's life, no mention is made of social events, but in 1875, Epsilon decided to give a public literary entertainment. This "exhibition", as it was called, was given with the help of Phi Gamma Delta, and consisted of a literary program including Greek and German recitations, essays, and an oration.
Chapter minutes, kept carefully from November 25, 1873, broke off February 10, 1881, and did not reappear until December 2, a mystery that has never been explained. It was a time of reconstruction and at the December 2 meeting, a copy of the new constitution was requested by mail. Until its arrival, the chapter adopted the colors pink and heliotrope!
In 1876, the chapter taxed each member one dollar and sent Belle Sterling (Scott) to the Fraternity Convention. That same year, Kappa Alpha Theta had been established at Wesleyan and a Panhellenic banquet was held. In 1878, after having been the hostess chapter for the Kappa General Convention, Epsilon was designated Grand Chapter and found itself filled with the spirit of expansion. In 1899, the whole chapter went to install Beta Lambda at the University of Illinois. Thirty-six years later, the thrill was repeated when Alpha was reinstated at Monmouth, and Epsilon, installing chapter, moved in en masse for this inspiring occasion.
Julia A. Ames was initiated at Epsilon on November 19, 1879. After leaving the Wesleyan campus she would go on to attend the Chicago School of Oratory. Soon after, she became a world traveling journalist active in the temperance and equal suffrage causes. Ames would also become a founding member of the Illinois Woman's Press Association, the oldest organization of professional women writers, in May, 1885.
When Epsilon entertained the Fraternity Convention again in 1890, there were signs of increasing chapter sophistication: a reception area, a tea, a formal dance, a dinner. The formerly simple Initiations, too, had changed. One member hand-printed and decorated a parchment book, which was used yearly and cherished by alumnae. The holding of mock initiations was abandoned in 1912 and Courtesy Week substituted.
Chapter meeting places were a problem for many years. Early meetings were held in Henrietta Hall, an old dormitory, followed by a small room in Old Main, classrooms, and members’ homes. In 1889, the college granted use of a room near the Chapel entrance, on the third floor of the main building. The room was higher than it was long, crowded, not beautiful, but it was Epsilon’s home for 36 years. Everyone stopped by, going to or coming from chapel.
By 1927, the ban on houses for women’s fraternities had been lifted and the home of former Congressman Frank H. Funk was rented. The next year, the Funks returned from Washington and the chapter was on the move. The House Board was considering building when an elegant house came up for sale. A corporation was formed, the house was purchased, and many dollars were spent in redecorating. And 1401 North Main Street was ready in the fall of 1935 to be the chapter home for 35 years. Many loyal alumnae devoted themselves to the new house.
Due to a fire in 1943, Epsilon offered the use of its recreation room and for several months classes were held there. The girls helped replace university alumni records lost in the fire, and helped the Home Economics Department move into new quarters.
During the 1950s, it was obvious that more room was needed. A new house was decided on, a lot was purchased, and persona letters were sent to all alumnae. The university agreed to help with the financing, and Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity Headquarters came forward with great help, and the work began. Ground was broken in the fall of 1964, and impressive ceremonies were held. In September of 1965, the chapter moved into its new home at 105 East Graham Street, a block from the campus a Georgian style house of brick with iron grille work in a fleur-de-lis motif. The chapter proudly entertained the Province Convention there in 1967. The library is a memorial to Esther Hart Hawks, initiated in 1892, who had made the other house possible through her work and financial help. The library is also a trophy room. A committee contributed albums containing photos of nearly all alumnae from 1873 to the 1970s and beyond. The house accommodated 45 members. The active Epsilon members of the 1970s ranked high in scholarship and leadership. A singing group “The Blues” was becoming well known in the area.
Celebration of the chapter centennial was held at the Illinois Wesleyan Memorial Student Center on October 20, 1973. Charlotte Fitz Henry Robling, first woman to receive a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard, was master of ceremonies. Fraternity Vice President Marjorie Matson Converse, GD-Purdue, was the speaker. At the close of her talk, she presented the university with a $1,000 scholarship in honor of Epsilon Chapter.
A history would not be complete without remembering Nettie Greenlee Benjamin, initiated in 1884, the Annual Community Award recipient in 1934, instrumental in starting the Home Bureau known to women everywhere. She is best remembered by Epsilon members for the “Benjamin Picnic,” held for almost all of 32 years at her country home at Commencement time. It was the longest-lived, the oldest and dearest of Epsilon traditions.
The previous information was excerpted from The History of Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, 1870-1976. The information that follows has been gleaned from available resources including Chapter History Reports, chapter meeting minutes, letters and comments from chapter members and alumnae, the Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity Archives, and The Key. Each chapter is expected to update its history record annually. Contact Fraternity Headquarters at email@example.com with questions.
Introduction to and Highlights of the 1970s:
College can be many things, an intellectual arena, a place where enduring friendships occur, and an experience of life lessons learned. On the Illinois Wesleyan campus, coeds had strict hours and were required to wear skirts to class and at extracurricular events until the end of the 60s decade. Members of the 1969 class were the last required to wear "Freshman Beanies" until the homecoming game. If the football team won, the beanies came off; if the team lost, the beanies were worn until Thanksgiving recess. Kappas, along with the other sorority women on campus would attach Greek letters to their hats as a way of identifying the house they were from. It would be liberating for those women who by 1970 would feel the popularity of a movement swaying across the campus quad as well as the nation for the recognition of the dignity of women.
Ti-Grace Atkinson spoke to 500 people in the Main Lounge on the campus of IWU on a September evening in 1970. The former head of the National Organization for Women dealt with the issue of sexism in American society; in its law enforcement, religious institutions, educational establishments, and in the mind-sets of the vast majority of its citizens. Actress, Helen Hayes was IWU's most famous guest critic and lecturer that same year during the Fine Arts Festival, describing the campus production of "The Tempest" as "enchanting" and "delightful."
On a Saturday night in the Bloomington campus fieldhouse, literally layers of audience including Epsilon Kappas were awed by the harmony and instrumentality of a rock group as they played. From Chicago radio, WLS's "lovable Super Jock" Larry Lujack initiated a "pick up the survey on the floor with Chris Stevens' pic and you win yourself a Bobby Sherman Christmas Album contest." Campus Carol drew representative squads of singers including the Kappas who had perfected their routines and observers from each housing unit to a stage set up in the Main Lounge of Memorial Hall.
Basketball reigned supreme as the Titans took the NAIA District 20 title that year. According to the hotel-motel bureau in Kansas City, 800 people from Bloomington, Illinois registered rooms for the NAIA National Tournament. The Titans had been favored to win this contest, but in the end, the title would not be theirs to bring home. Adlai E. Stevenson III, Democrat, and junior Senator from Illinois, addressed the audience at senior commencement.
In 1970 Epsilon members were popular and polished leaders on campus. Their individual leadership roles included: Chairwoman of the Religious Lectureship Series, Junior Class Vice President, Senior Class Secretary, Homecoming Court, Student Senator, IWU Cheerleading Squad, Sophomore Vice President, and Phi Kappa Phi.
Lana Weiss Brown, a talented member of the chapter was a professional ventriloquist. Word was out around campus about her talent and professional magician James Whitehurst, who chaired the Religious Department at the time and was her professor in Oriental and Occidental Religions asked her if she’d cover for him on shows in Bloomington he couldn’t make due to scheduling conflicts. Lana agreed and from then on the two appeared at the State Farm Insurance Christmas Party for employees, at the Bloomington Country Club and the Beich Candy Company. Back at the chapter house, the Kappas insisted that Lana perform at Rush, for alumnae dinners and Panhellenic performances. She used her puppet at philanthropic parties sponsored by the actives for local children.
Rush was held the week before school started in the fall. The third floor of the chapter house was unfinished (except for two rooms) and that is where initiation and rush voting was traditionally held. During the 1970s the university sororities had a cap of fifty on the number of members per house. Epsilon chapter was at capacity.
Each new member was assigned an upperclassman to be her Pledge Mom. The identity of a new member’s pledge mother remained secret until the revealing ceremony shortly before initiation. Once revealed this woman acted as a mentor and guide for the new member in the chapter. During the 1970 Homecoming Week Epsilon Kappas were paired with the Alpha Iota Chapter of Sigma Chi fraternity. Their combined efforts earned their float first place in the campus parade. Etiquette and presentation were important factors in the daily life of a Kappa. They were expected to be present for all meals served in the dining room. They ate at tables set with tablecloths and Kappa Kappa Gamma encrusted dinnerware, and were served five afternoons a week by houseboys, usually hired from fraternities on campus who needed a campus job. The notion that this male kitchen crew would be completely invisible to the women in the house and only there to serve them was not true. Though there wasn’t a written rule about the houseboys dating residents in the house, it was usually not done. Houseboys became good friends to the women in the chapter house often acting as coaches for fraternity inspired games such as Sigma Chi Derby Week and Phi Gamma Delta’s FIJI Island Week.
Smoking was allowed but there were rules as to the proper way to hold, light and smoke a cigarette. The chapter pledges were assigned phone duty during specific times in the afternoon and evening. During those assignments, the pledges on duty were responsible for taking messages and notifying members in the house if they received a phone call or had a visitor on the main floor of the house. Security was also an issue. Fraternities would often come to the chapter house to serenade the actives.
During the decade, it was common practice for new pledges to organize and take a pledge class "walk-out." Walk-outs were a time when as a group the new members creatively “decorated” the front lawn and porch before leaving to visit another chapter house of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Love was always in the air at the chapter house. Candle light rituals were a tradition held in the front foyer on the first floor of the house as an opportunity to announce the news whenever a woman would accept a young man’s lavaliere or pin, became engaged, or was married. Members gathered in a circle and sang the pinning song as a lit candle would be passed from woman to woman once for accepting a lavaliere, twice around the circle for being pinned, a third time for becoming engaged and a fourth time for getting married until it reached the lucky lady and she would blow it out.
Alums were always present at the chapter house, more as mentors and guides. With the growth of chapter membership, one attempt to solve the housing challenge resulted in “townies” being allowed to live at home. This arrangement accommodated more members while staying within the house quota and capacity set by fire code. In 1971, seven Kappas started a singing/instrumental group called Blue. The group, dressed in blue and blue pantsuits with matching scarves was formed to compete in the Greek Week talent show which the group won. Two of the women played guitar and worked up enough songs for the group to perform at programs on campus. The Alumni office got the group additional gigs at alumni gatherings in the community including a political convention, IWU's Mother’s Day program and business groups Christmas parties.
Presser Hall reopened with renovations to Westbrook Auditorium after a fire in May ruined the interior. An active member’s monthly house expenses (membership, room and board) totaled $135.75 during the 1972 school year. Sororities on campus traditionally led the school in scholastic achievement. The Panhellenic GPA for the first semester of the 1971-72 school year was 3.064. The all-women’s average was 3.052 and the all-school average was 2.912. IWU sorority and fraternity parties were as much a part of the social fabric of Wesleyan’s campus in the 1970s as were classes, studying, and attending sporting events. On October 12, the pledge informal, There’s Nobody Else Like You was held.
The campus of IWU grew with the completion of the Alice Millar Center for the Fine Art and the addition of the Media Center in the fall of 1973.
Epsilon chapter's centennial celebrated in the fall of 1973 included an open house at the chapter house. Three actives wore period dresses lent by a Kappa alum including a beautiful historical wedding gown from the 1800's thought to have been worn about the time Epsilon chapter was founded.
The Dug Out and the Grill in the Memorial Student Center were a center for social exchange. The Sweetheart and Sweethunk contests were held there in February, 1973. The one penny/one vote contest brought in over $90 for the orphans of Bloomington-Normal. It was the venue for Student Senate debates—though usually poorly attended even with free Pepsi for those who appeared. The following March, more than 100 students would crowd into the Dugout on a Monday night to demonstrate their disapproval with the faculty vote to reduce the drop period for a class from ten to two weeks. It would become the students place to hang out, drink coffee from ceramic cups on saucers and watch, discuss, vote, and flirt through four years of campus life.
Epsilon was an outstanding chapter with each member contributing leadership and excellence in a wide variety of activities and honors some of which included serving as President of the Junior Class; President of Junior Panhellenic Council; Homecoming Court, Alpha Lambda Delta; Alpha Mu Gamma; Alpha Tau Delta; Beta Beta Beta; Delta Omicron; a senior chapter member was honored for scholarship and participation in campus activities with the 1973 Outstanding Senior Award at the IWU Senior Dinner.
Debra Fansher was selected as the National Guernsey Princess at the American Guernsey Cattle Club’s annual convention in Orlando, Florida. As the Illinois Guernsey Queen, she represented Illinois along with other State Queens from across the country during the National Pageant held in conjunction with the convention. A National Queen and two Princesses were crowned during the festivities.
As part of the IFC-Panhellenic Council Greek Week activities in the spring of 1973, a member of Epsilon was elected Ideal Greek Woman. The election was announced at an All-Greek banquet following day-long voting by members of the campus fraternities. During the annual spring Sigma Chi Derby Week the Sigs chose a member of Epsilon as their Derby Darling. All Illinois Wesleyan University social fraternities and sororities supported the Franklin Square Association for the purpose of “conserving our unique neighborhood” by selling tickets to a Saga catered bar-b-que chicken picnic held in Franklin Park. The group raised more than $460 for the association.
In April of 1973, the campus Senate would demand the university abolish all women’s hours by the fall of 1974. The motion noted that Student personnel Council and All-University Judiciary Committee had recommended an across-the-board discontinuation of women’s hours the previous May. Good relations existed between Kappas and all of the campus fraternities. Kappas wore many fraternity crowns and were selected the Sweetheart of Sigma Chi at the Alpha Iota chapter’s Sweetheart Formal on April 7, 1973 and another was selected Dream Girl of the Beta Rho chapter of Theta Chi at their Dream Girl Formal on May 4, 1973.
Miss Gwendolyn Brooks, poet laureate of Illinois and the 1950 Pulitzer Prize winner delivered the address at Illinois Wesleyan University’s 114th Commencement on May 20. During the weekend of July 20 - 22, 1973, 15 to 20 actives gathered at the chapter house to paint their bedrooms for the upcoming school semester. Local alums purchased the supplies. The girls had a great time working together, tackling the job and sprucing up the house in time for fall rush.
Change was in the air not only across the country but on the campus of IWU as the 1974-75 school year began with the appointment of a new Director of the Career Planning Office, three department chairmen and 14 new faculty members. The last steps in the Quad’s re-landscaping were put into place through a $100,000 campus project crystallized through the planning of alumnus Nelva Weber Sammataro, a well-known landscape architect and columnist with the New York Times. She graciously came to help with the planning for many summers. She and her husband would stay at the president's home while visiting campus, taking notes and sending her plans back each year. The university followed her suggestions and the campus reaped the benefits.
An article in the September 29, 1974 issue of campus newspaper, The Argus warned college students that graduates were discovering it no longer paid for them to go to college. Most of them “aren’t likely to get into graduate schools or find jobs” as reported by Esquire Magazine. The American Bar Association reported there were only “16,000 jobs for the 29,000 lawyers admitted to the bar last year.” Teachers were worse off, reported the article sighting “117,000 positions available to the 231,000 certified elementary and secondary-school teachers looking for work.”
Illinois Wesleyan’s five social sororities pledged 55 new members following formal fall rush activities with 15 selecting the Epsilon chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Actor and former student of IWU, McLean Stevenson made a surprise visit to campus during break from filming episodes of M*A*S*H. Students were invited to come and speak with Mrs. Nancy Stevenson, wife of U.S. Senator Adlai Stevenson at a luncheon on campus.
Women’s flag football returned to IWU and the fierce Epsilon team won the campus title. The chapter paired with Sigma Chi took home second place honors during the Campus Carols Competition.
The Women’s Consciousness Group adopted by the co-operative effort of the Panhellenic Council and women’s dorms presented “Me, Myself, and I: Women in the Wesleyan World.” The event was billed as “a program for everyone about today’s women.” The program dealt with the issues of being a housewife and being feminine without sacrificing outside interests. It also featured a presentation of careers open to female graduates regardless of their major fields. The chapter celebrated its Fleur-de-Lis Formal on February 16, 1974.
In the spring of 1974, sixty-degree weather and a national outbreak of “streaking” provoked an outburst of clothes-shedding at full speed through the public areas of campus. The incidents attracted the largest nighttime crowd since the Westbrook Auditorium burned in 1970. In 1974, chapter member activities and honors included Beta Beta Beta; Alpha Mu Gamma (foreign language honorary); Homecoming Committee; Homecoming Court; Green Medallion; Panhellenic Council and Student Senate.
Student Senator and member of the chapter house attended a leadership conference at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. The conference covered a variety of leadership skill exercises, workshops and presentations with topics covering campus communications, and concerns of women and minorities.
During fall rush in 1975, the chapter renewed its tradition to “maintain excellence and total awareness in today’s changing world.” The rush brochure included this chapter favorite, “You’ll find as a Kappa you’ll always recall the laughter, the friendships, the memories and all, the blues that we cherish, the owl so wise – these are the symbols that we will hold dear all our lives.”The chapter house held the fall pledge informal Harvest on November 1, 1975.
In February, 1975 Illinois Wesleyan University celebrated its 125th anniversary. At the Founders Day celebration, guest speaker Dr. F. Thomas Trotter of Nashville, Tennessee, General Secretary of the Board of Higher Education and Minister of the United Methodist Church received an honorary doctorate of humane letters during the ceremonies. His lecture was entitled: “The Church College: Community, Culture, Competence.” After the Convocation everyone was invited to the cornerstone ceremonies for the new art and music buildings.
Basketball was king on the campus of IWU in the mid-70s. No Wesleyan University basketball team received as much pre-season attention as that of the 1975-76 squad. The Titans would go on to capture the CCIW title with a record of 15 wins and one loss. They ended the season with Jack Sikma leading the team on a trip to Kansas City where they closed the year with 23 wins and 7 losses. Sikma would go to be named to the all-tournament second team for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics basketball tournament.
In 1975, Epsilon member Debra Fansher was crowned Miss Hoffman Estates in what was the official preliminary for the Miss America title. The Theta Chi’s initiated twenty-two young women as Little Sisters of the Crossed Swords of Beta Rho Chapter on December 3. Included in the little sisters were two members from the Epsilon chapter.
The first sweetheart of Epsilon Gamma of the Sigma Pi fraternity was a member of the Kappa house. She was also given a solemn promise her name would be kept alive since she saved their chapter house and its members from a fire by warning them of the disaster. The Acacia fraternity selected an active from the chapter to be their 1975 Sweetheart. Exchanges between campus fraternities and sororities were major social activities in 1975. Epsilon members pulled on their rain gear to participate in the campus' Greek Week Philanthropy Car Wash.
Individual member continued to excellence on campus. Their honors and activities included Alpha Lambda Delta, Alpha Tau Delta; Wesleyana yearbook; Panhellenic Co-Chairwoman; Homecoming Court, Homecoming Committee and the featured twirler with the IWU Marching Titan Band.
In the spring the chapter celebrated the playful Shooie Baby Informal on May 3, 1975. On February 28, 1976 Epsilon Chapter was proud to honor 13 alumnae with golden fleur-de-lis 50 year pins on the occasion of the Initiation Brunch for eight new actives.
Actives were represented on campus committees including Homecoming and Mother’s Day, Intramural Flag Football; Campus Carol; Homecoming Court; an Epsilon active held the position of Panhellenic Co-Rush Chairman and another served as Junior Panhellenic President. The chapter participated in the popular Sigma Chi Derby Days and won first place in the week’s activities to take home the Derby Jug Trophy.
In the spring of 1976, a member of the chapter was selected the Ideal Greek Woman of IWU by the campus fraternities during the annual Greek Week Activities. Jean Cooper was the recipient of the 1976 undergraduate award in Analytical Chemistry, sponsored by the Division of Analytical Chemistry of the American Chemical Society.
The Bloomington-Normal Alumnae Panhellenic scholarship was awarded to an active to further her studies in religion and philosophy. Chapter members were honored in Alpha Lambda Delta; Alpha Mu Gamma (foreign language honorary). Greek life was not just about pledges and parties in the mid-70s. Philanthropy played an important role on the campus of IWU. Blood drives, car washes, marathons and fund-raising efforts were part of each semester with Kappas lending their leadership to organize, recruit and participate.
In April, 1976 the Acacia Fraternity and the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority organized the first annual 24-hour “Dance for Those Who Can’t” Muscular Dystrophy Dance-A-thon held in the Dug Out of the Memorial Center. Through the cooperation and support of all Greek houses and dorms on campus the marathon chaired by a member of Acacia and Kappa Kappa Gamma, raised more than $6,450 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Dr. Robert Eckley, President of Illinois Wesleyan University, and Mayor Bittner of Bloomington, both issued proclamations naming the week as Acacia-Kappa Kappa Gamma Dance for Dystrophy Week. Get Down Tonight was a popular disco song by K.C. and the Sunshine Band and the theme of the spring pledge informal held on May 7, 1976.
Seventeen women became tremendous pledges in the fall of 1977. Two members of the 1977 pledge class went on to serve together on Fraternity Council. Sandra (Sam) Laich Fetcho and Beth Uphoff Black became the only pledge sisters to be elected to Fraternity Council at the same time. Epsilon was well represented in honoraries and campus activities in 1977. Members belonged to Alpha Tau Delta (national nursing fraternity), Dean’s List, Phi Kappa Phi, Alpha Lambda Delta, Alpha Mu Gamma (foreign language), Tri-Beta (biology) and the Mother’s Day committee. During Greek Week, a member was elected the 1977 Ideal Greek Woman of IWU.
The 24th Biennial Epsilon Province meeting of Kappa Kappa Gamma was held, the theme was The Significance of You; thirteen alumnae were honored with golden fleur-de-lis 50 year pins on the occasion of the Initiation Brunch.
The chapter was awarded the Illinois Wesleyan University All-Greek Philanthropic Award based on their sponsorship of the Muscular Dystrophy Dance Marathon raising $10,000 for the cause. Major trends from the past continued into the new year. In 1978, the chapter experienced issues with members keeping up with their assigned house duties and keeping the kitchen clean. The house mom at the time even threatened to close the kitchen at night. The chapter planned many social events such as formals, cook-outs with fraternities, sorority dinners, dance marathons, and volleyball games. Philanthropy events continued with the women participating in skate-a-thons, volunteering at PATH Crisis Center, lending their hands at events for the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation, and babysitting for faculty. The chapter worked to engage its new pledges and had overnights at the house, planned skits, and pledge-mom/daughter dinners. Study hours were enforced to increase the house GPA and study areas were created in the house to accomodate the renewed push to better study habits. Etiquette and manners remained a priority with the chapter inviting guest speakers to the house for advice on how to be properly managed. Individual member honors included Kappa Delta Pi (education honorary); Pi Kappa Lambda (music honorary); Alpha Tau Delta (nursing honorary); and Alpha Lambda Delta.
In 1979, the chapter decided on a new philanthropy cause and select National Hunger Crisis Day. Fifteen new active members were initiated into the chapter. The theme of the Preferential Dinner was A Hawaiian Luau; the fall pledge informal dance theme was Kappa Kapers. Members participated in IWU Homecoming festivities and were paired with the Acacia Fraternity earning first place for the campus skit competition and second place for the float competition.
Highlights of the 1980s:
Kappa Kollegiate was the theme of the 1980 fall pledge informal. Paired with Sigma Pi fraternity for the IWU Homecoming festivities, the chapter took first place in the float competition, the pledges won the 3-legged race, took third place in the campus skit competition, the chariot team placed second resulting in an overall win for the 1980 IWU Homecoming trophy. Pledge numbers continue to increase on the Wesleyan campus. Local Epsilon alumnae took on the challenge of a major housing renovation project adding four new bedrooms and a bathroom on the unfinished portion of the third floor of the chapter house. The annual chapter philanthropy event was a canned food drive for Sunnyside Community Center.
Following implementation of an alcohol policy that made IWU a "dry campus," 51 students are brought before the Dean of Students, charged with alcohol violations. Thirteen were found not guilty, and two of the remaining 38 were repeat offenders and sent home for a week to "talk with their parents."
Chapter activities included the 1981 fall pledge informal Kappa Kareers; the spring informal theme was Trap-A-Kappa. During Homecoming festivities, members were paired with the Sigma Chi fraternity and won the overall Homecoming trophy for the second year in a row. New carpeting was installed in the basement; the chapter welcomed a new House Mother, Betty Rippy.
The motto, Kappability to Responsibility was adopted for the school year with the intent to remind members to respect the chapter, their sisters, and themselves. In 1982, eleven actives were initiated; spring informal rush brought the chapter the addition of five remarkable new pledges; the spring informal dance theme was Let's Get Physical; and the chapter members bonded during Kappa Kampout weekend.
During the annual Kappa Kappa Gamma Convention in 1982, Epsilon earned the Gracious Living (Housed) Award.The 1983 fall informal dance theme was Ski Kappa; the chapter welcomed sixteen new active members and eight spring pledges. The Evelyn Chapel was constructed in 1984 and is the center of campus religious activity and the location of offices of the University Chaplain. The chapter's goal was Ritual Appreciation. The chapter was excited to welcome twenty one new active members. An Epsilon active was crowed Illinois Wesleyan University Homecoming Queen. Two philanthropy projects were held by the members. Kappas sold male co-ed calendars and raised $195 for Sunnyside Nursing Home and collected tabs off of pop cans for money donated to needy kidney patients.
The Evelyn Chapel won the 1985 Interior Architecture Award from the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The chapter held a senior night filled with laughter, bonding and simply enjoying being girls at a spirited pizza party held at Chuck-E-Cheese’s pizzeria. Two Epsilon members were co-winners of the "Most Outstanding Senior Woman Athlete" at Illinois Wesleyan University. The chapter is notably proud of their accomplishment.
The chapter was proud to have held the Epsilon Province meeting in April 1987. Members were excited to share the chapter’s rich heritage with other chapters within the province. The population growth of the university, as well as the chapter membership expanded at a rapid pace. During the summer a major remodeling project took place at the chapter house with the addition of bedrooms to the unfinished side of the third floor to accommodate the growth in membership. A new phone system was also installed.
When the private home directly south of the chapter house went on the market, the local alum board purchased the property, cleared the lot and expanded the existing parking area for the Kappas.
The house social calendar was very busy with the spring formal and informal. Fall rush was exciting with the addition of 21 diverse pledges who made the chapter shine even brighter. The semester was full with fraternity exchanges and the annual pledge informal titled Kappa Khoas with couples dressed in the clothing styles of different eras. The chapter pulled together participating in annual Greek Week events such as volleyball and tug-a-war. The Homecoming theme Graffiti sparked the women to work on their 50s inspired float. The chapter participated in fall intramurals and won first place in the softball tournament. Men’s basketball ruled campus as the Illinois Wesleyan basketball team ranked in the top 5 in Division III of the NCAA this season. The women were proud to achieve their chapter challenge raising the house GPA and achieving second rank scholastically among the campus sororities. 13 women made the Dean’s List. A new chapter goal called for more understanding and respect for fraternity rituals.
A new philanthropy tradition was instituted with great success. A volleyball tournament involving all campus fraternities and sororities from IWU and neighboring Illinois State participated raising $300.
Individual honors and activities included the lead in the theatrical performance “Wings;” Egas honorary; study aboard in London, England; Panhellenic President; co-Homecoming Chair; 3 women were initiated into Phi Gamma Nu, business honorary; girls volleyball team; performance in “Peer Gynt;” Green Medallion; Tri Beta biology honorary; Alpha Lambda Delta, freshman honorary; Alpha Tau Delta, nursing honorary and two actives served as Co-Chairwomen of the campus Mom’s Day activities.
Illinois Wesleyan University was ranked number one among small comprehensive colleges in the Midwest Region by U.S. News and World Report in 1989. Dr. Minor Meyers, Jr. was inaugurated as the new president of the university.
Epsilon Kappas returned to campus during July for a rush workshop. The hard work of the house co-rush chairs motivated the entire membership with great results as fall rush brought the chapter 20 energetic new pledges, two of which were Epsilon Kappa legacies. Founders Day was celebrated with a beautiful service held in the Evelyn Chapel.
Homecoming 1989 was themed Wild, Wild Wesleyan and the chapter paired with the Beta Rho chapter of Theta Chi took first place honors in the float and talent competitions. Traditions included the fall Pledge informal Around the World, the spring Kappa Kountry Klub informal, annual Fleur-de-Lis formal, and annual Life’s a Beach informal. The chapter won both Phi Kappa Psi’s Phi Psi 500 and Sigma Chi’s Derby Days. Exchanges continued to be a major activity for the chapter with campus fraternities, including the Rags to Riches event with the Alpha Chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon.
An annual Halloween Party was coordinated by the chapter PR chairman. Many children of Kappa alumni and university faculty stopped by for trick-or-treating. Chapter individual honors included Delta Omicron, the music fraternity at Illinois Wesleyan, semester study programs abroad in Sheffield, England and Japan, election to the Office of Student President at Illinois Wesleyan and the appointment to the position of Student Union Commissioner of the Illinois Wesleyan Student Senate.
The chapter worked to increase the overall house grade point average, achieving a number two ranking among the sororities on campus With the motto for the year, “3.0, Go Kappas, Go!” the scholarship committee coordinated specialized programs such as “Smart Cookies” providing a Kappa with cookies for A’s on an assignment, test, or paper.
During the summer the house underwent dramatic improvements with the redecorating of the living room, guest room, and basement T.V. room. The annual Spina Bifida Volleyball Tournament was a major success, organized with participants from both Illinois State University students and Illinois Wesleyan University.
Highlights of the 1990s:
For the second year Illinois Wesleyan University was ranked number one among small comprehensive colleges in the Midwest Region in 1990 by U.S. News and World Report. This ranking boosted the university applications and enrollments. The chapter started the decade on a positive note holding annual gatherings beginning with the March informal Kamp Kappa, the Fleur-de-Lis formal in April, and the Life’s a Beach informal in May. A very special themed senior dinner was held as a murder mystery on April 22. Annual Mother’s Day, Dad’s Day and the annual Halloween Party events were held with much success at the chapter house. The pledge informal was a 50’s inspired Leave it to Kappa party.
The new pledge class began a new tradition of “Active of the Week” voted on by the pledge class each week. The chapter philanthropy motto, “Giving money and time, Kappas will shine” aspired members to volunteer for five hundred hours and raise five hundred dollars.
Twenty members of the chapter made the Dean’s List in the fall semester of 1990. Other outstanding individual honors and activities included: three actives on the Illinois Wesleyan University Jazz Choir and Limited Edition; campus musical, “Anything Goes;” eight members participated in Green Medallion (tutoring society); three members were inducted into Beta Beta Beta, (science fraternity); Alpha Lambda Delta (women’s honorary); American Marketing Association; three women were inducted into the Accounting Society; Alpha Tau Delta, (nursing fraternity); Alpha Mu Gamma, (language fraternity); Pi Sigma Alpha for Poly-science; Alpha Mu Alpha, (business marketing); Ambassador Club; Student Senate; Peer Advisers; softball and tennis teams; and five members of the chapter were on the IWU cheerleading squad.
Local alums made housing improvements by redecorating the formal living room; purchasing a new television, video recorder, sofa and new laundry room equipment for the chapter. The chapter participated in the annual Volleyball Tournament and Easter philanthropy projects.
Students were excited to learn for the third year Illinois Wesleyan University was ranked number one among small comprehensive colleges in the Midwest Region by U.S. News and World Report. 1991 was full of Epsilon traditions including the informal “Shot in the Dark,” the “Fleur-de-Lis” formal, the annual summer weekend of workshops during “Kamp Kappa.” The new rush theme “Yankee Doodle Kappa” brought 22 new pledges to the chapter. “Kappas under Lock and Key,” was the themed pledge informal.
During Homecoming 1991, the chapter was paired with the Sigma Chi’s taking first place in the talent show and the Titan Games. Epsilon hosted its first Registrar’s Tea/Leadership Luncheon attended by women from all of the campus sororities. December brought the annual Christmas Dinner.
“Kappas on Campus – Perfect 10” emphasized organizing campus events focused on activities for Founder’s Day, scholarly speakers and the campus film festival.
Epsilon Kappas recognized the challenge of educating pledges about the fraternity without doing anything that might be considered hazing. The chapter worked to initiate better Officer Training workshops emphasizing leadership within the Fraternity. Six chapter officers were sent to the Regional Leadership Conference “Own the Edge.”
Chapter members were accomplished campus leaders active as Greek Peer Counselors; Vice President of Professional Education; Accounting Society; Varsity Softball Team; Varsity Basketball; Volleyball Team; Dance Show; Career Peer Advisors; Student Education Association; IWU Ambassador Club; IWU Cheerleading squad; IWU Mother’s Day Committee; Student Orientation Leaders; Homecoming Committee; Alpha Lambda Delta (women’s honorary fraternity) Alpha Lambda Delta Historian; Editor of the Yearbook; Delta Omicron (music honorary fraternity); Students Senators; Orchestra, Drama Club; Jazz Band; Students in Design; Student Advisors to Faculty Department; Tri-Beta (biology honorary society); Phi Gamma Nu (business fraternity), Rush Counselors; Green Medallion Society (student tutors); Alpha Tau Delta (nursing honorary fraternity); Psi Chi (political science honorary); leader of campus-wide Date Rape Program; Volunteer Income tax Assistant.
Epsilon alums redecorated the chapter Dining Room. Epsilon’s social and house chairpersons contributed to the purchase of new Christmas lights to decorate the chapter house. Email arrived on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University in 1994. Each faculty member and student is given his or her own account.
Epsilon chapter began February of 1994 with the initiation of 13 ambitious pledges. The chapter focused on reaching a 75% improvement in student grade points unless a member had already achieved the Dean’s List. With great success, 24 members made the Dean’s List. Other honors and activities included: Dance team; Swim team; Softball team; Sigma Alpha Iota; Pi Sigma Alpha; Beta, Beta, Beta; Psi Chi; U Choir; Vocalist Jazz Ensemble; Workshop Director; Limited Edition; Theater Productions “Most Happy Fella,” “Front,” and “Dancing at Lughnasas;” Student Senate Parliamentarian; Delta-Omicron; Illinois College Republicans; Accounting Society; State Choir; Collegiate Choir; Football and Basketball Cheerleading squads; Egas; Purdue Research Conference Paper; Senior Class President.
In the fall of 1994, housemom, Betty Rippey was welcomed back along with the addition of new cook Sue Byler. 5 pledges were initiated as the house began preparing for Rush. A fun informal called Kappas, Krooks, and Gangsters was organized by the pledges. The chapter won the Homecoming Titan games. Epsilon Kappas teamed with the Acacias for a 1994 Dance Marathon as a service project for the Jennifer Lockmiller Memorial.
The Key of Kindness and the sponsoring of a Caring and Sharing person continued this year. The pledge project of redecorating the phone tags was accomplished. The volleyball tournament and intramurals were activities that brought the house together to improve sisterhood.
In 1995, U.S. News and World Report ranked Illinois Wesleyan a top liberal arts school in the country. Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams made it to their NCAA tournament, with the men making it to the eighth round. The campus played host to Magician Tom Boz, Tony-award winner John Randolph, the Indigo Girls, and commencement speaker Metropolitan Opera soprano, Dawn Upshaw, an Illinois Wesleyan University alumnus. Gracious Living was the goal of the chapter this year.
The chapter began 1995 with the initiation of 15 dedicated pledges. Philanthropic causes continued to play a major role in chapter life as the women co-hosted the annual Dance Marathon with the Acacia fraternity and continued the long tradition of the Volleyball Tournament for the Spina Bifida Association with great success. Kappa participation was high in several all-Greek philanthropic events including the Alpha chapter of Tau Kappa Epsilon’s Haunted House and the Sigma Chi football tournament.
The chapter won an award from the Salvation Army of McLean County for its participation in the Red Kettle bell-ringer campaign. In May the chapter said “Goodbye” to 18 endearing seniors.
The chapter house received a major makeover during the summer with the installation of a new telephone system with voice mail for each women, Michelle Duffy came on board as the new cook, game table and chairs, carpeting, furniture and a fresh coat of paint. Fall rush saw the production of a new rush skit, East Graham Story, which helped the chapter achieve its quota for new pledges.
The chapter teamed with the women of Sigma Kappa for an all-female exchange. The women of Epsilon continued their reign of continuous wins in the Homecoming Titan games for the sack race. Kappas Just Wanna Have Fun was the 80s themed pledge informal held at the McLean Count Fairgrounds.
19 women made the Dean’s List and the variety of individual honors and activities included: Student Alumni Council; Student Senate; Alpha Lambda Delta; Alpha Tau Delta; Kappa Delta Pi; Phi Gamma Nu; Omicron Delta Epsilon; Sigma Theta Tau; Accounting Society; 5 women were members of the IWU cheerleading squad; Faculty Choreographed Dance Concert; IWU Ambassadors Club; IWU Dance Team; IWU School of Music Opera, 3 members were cast in the campus theatrical productions; Student Life Editor of the Wesleyana yearbook; a finalist at the National Association of Teachers of Singing regional competition; University Choir; Collegiate Choir; and members of Limited Edition, the vocal jazz ensemble; Soccer team; and the Cross Country and Track teams. Kappas spent semesters that year studying in England, Chicago, Vienna, Washington DC and New York.
In 1996, Illinois Wesleyan retained its ranking as one of the top liberal arts schools in the country by U.S. News and World Report. The university continued to be a leader in the areas of nursing, business and the fine arts. Epsilon was represented well with 30 members studying in these majors. The men’s basketball team placed third in Division III. Campus hosted film Director Spike Lee, Olympic skater Bonnie Blair, Japanese inventor Yoshiro Nakamats, Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley, Congressman Tom Ewing, the Bo Deans, the Drovers and acclaimed American poet and autobiographer, Maya Angelou.
After installing a $1.5-million fiber optics system to enable faculty, staff, and students to communicate with each other by computer, Illinois Wesleyan University launched its own Web site. That same year, interest in computers took a scholarly edge when the Illinois Wesleyan Information Network on Knowledge (IWINK) formed to develop teaching and research opportunities in artificial intelligence.
The chapter began 1996 with the initiation of 17 pledges and the election of the new 1996-97 Chapter Council. Kappa Crush was the informal in March and the Sapphire Ball was held at Jumer’s Chateau with major success. The chapter hosted a Panhellenic Officer Tea in the spring to get acquainted with new officers from all of the other sororities on campus. May brought the departure of 14 seniors.
With fall rush, a new skit, Kappas Chorus Line, was produced with much success. Eighteen new energetic pledges joined the chapter.Homecoming saw the members participate in the Titan Games, wining the Flipper Fin race.
In November the pledges hosted Wild, Wild Kappas, a Cowboys and Indians themed informal. 1996 brought back several traditional events as well as new activities. In philanthropy, Epsilon continued to co-host the Dance Marathon with the Acacia fraternity; the long tradition of the Volleyball Tournament for the Spina Bifida Association continued; a new philanthropy Baby Fold was held with great success at a children’s home and the women helped to decorate Christmas Trees during the holidays. In preparation for Province in the coming year new landscaping and house improvements were made. A new cook was hired by the house.
Epsilon alum Cathy Thompson Carswell is elected and installed as the 38th President of Kappa Kappa Gamma. During her administration she would stress “standards and values that make our Fraternity a timeless organization.”
In 1997, the Chapter challenges focused on scholarship. A study buddy system was implemented with positive results improving the chapter GPA. Among the individual honors and campus activities received by members of the chapter were: Dean’s List, Accounting Society, Ambassador Club, Basketball, Softball and Tennis teams, Titan Band, Spanish Club, Sigma Alpha Iota, College Republicans, Habitat for Humanity, Psi Chi, Dance Team, Eco Club, Tri-Beta, Student Alumni Council, Alpha Lambda Delta, Big Sibs, 2nd Vice President College Republicans, Argus newspaper, U Choir, and the Wesleyana yearbook.
In March, the men’s basketball team won the NCAA Division III national championship in Salem, Va., defeating Nebraska Wesleyan, 89-86, while All-American forward Bryan Crabtree ’97 earned NCAA Division III “Player of the Year” honors. The Titans, led by Dennie Bridges ’61, finished their season with a 29-2 record, which was a school record for wins in a season. Improvements were made to the chapter house with the addition of a top of the line fire alarm system and new carpeting was installed in the lower level television room.
The chapter held a volleyball tournament for Spina Bifida with great success including participants from Illinois State, Bradley University and Illinois Wesleyan University. In October 1997, the Greek Affairs Task Force - consisting of faculty, staff, students, and alumni - explored the substantial role that Greek organizations served on campus and recommended how that role might be more positively enhanced. It was one of several institutional reviews of programs affecting IWU’s quality of life.
The School of Art was named in honor of Epsilon alum, Joyce "Jay" Eichhorn Ames '49, when her husband decided to surprise her on Valentine's Day 1998 with an endowment gift to the University.
Illinois Wesleyan launched its annual Fall Festival, designed to ease new students’ transition into college life and familiarize them with the campus community and its values.
The chapter goal in 1998 was to strive for excellence in all quantifiable areas. Fourteen of the chapter’s members made the Dean’s List. Chapter members were on the Wesleyana yearbook staff; Student Senate; Greek Judicial Board; the Ambassador Club; were Math TA’s; selected for Psi Chi; Alpha Lambda Delta; Kappa Pi; Omicron Delta Epsilon; Pi Sigma Alpha; Alpha Kappa Delta; Phi Kappa Phi; Student Alumni Club; College Representatives; English Honors; Gamma peer counselor; Student Education Association; Economics Society; Egas; Park Place Economist; Girls Varsity Soccer and Girls Varsity Basketball teams; campus theater productions; Habitat for Humanity; Spanish Club; Teens Encounter Christ; Student CDC and the American Marketing Association.
More than 250 students, including members of Epsilon chapter, participated in National Volunteer Weekend by pitching in at various local organizations. In the 1990s, Habitat for Humanity had become an especially popular public-service project for students.
As the millennium approached, fraternities and sororities returned to the values and ideals of their founders. Greek terms long-used by the Greek system were changed: “Rush” became “Recruitment,” “Pledges” are “New Members,” and “Rushees” became “Potential New Members.” Epsilon Chapter began 1999 with a Dance Through the Decades in February. The annual Sapphire Ball was held in April at the Mark Twain Hotel in Peoria. Seven graduates said “Goodbye” in May.
In the spring, Epsilon was awarded the Jo Eberspacher Award for the Overall Improved Chapter. Summer went by quickly and with the start of the school year Membership Recruitment began the week on August 23. There were a total of five parties held, with Epsilon’s Kappa Kappachino theme recurring for the third year. It would also be the first year a philanthropy party replaced Entertainment Night of rush week. The theme, Kappas Karing for Kids, was chosen and the women decorated paper bags filling them with stickers, pencils, erasers, crayons, rulers, and other school supplies for underprivileged children in the Peoria area. Preference Party was held on Saturday night with the theme of Precious Moments. To close the week, the girls continued their excitement at the beautiful lakefront home of an Epsilon alum for a picnic and pictures. New members met their Kore groups and began with the New Member Program. Membership recruitment, true to Kappa’s history, was an incredible success. The additions made to the house were diverse and amazing.
The chapter’s 21 New Members were initiated in November. Two major social events, the School Days informal and Kappa Millennium closed out the successful year. Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine ranked Illinois Wesleyan University the 12th best private school value in America. With the title, the university played host to Gloria Steinman, Dr. Drew and the Cherry Poppin Daddies Band.
Epsilon Kappas were very active in philanthropic events in 1999. In the spring, Kappas stuffed plastic Easter eggs with candy for Baby Fold as a sisterhood activity and set up luminaries for the Red Cross Light the Night event. They also helped put together a new project along with other sororities at Illinois Wesleyan called Camp Diversity – a day camp for local Girl Scouts, sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation, to promote awareness of disabilities. They participated in Make-A-Difference-Day, promoting the Jingle Bell Run for the Arthritis Foundation. The women also donated to various philanthropies such as Multiple Sclerosis and the Rose Magill Foundation.
In December, the chapter helped to set up the Festival of Trees for the City of Bloomington.
Illinois Wesleyan University's first Winter Carnival on the quad was held on Saturday, January 16. Carnival attractions included music, snow sculptures and snow painting, snow volleyball and snow Frisbee and pinatas. Complimentary hot chocolate, s'mores, hot dogs and hamburgers were served.
Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek helped Illinois Wesleyan University mark the beginning of the 1999-2000 school year at the President's Convocation on Monday, September, 27 in Westbrook Auditorium. Drnovsek discussed "The Future of the Balkans," which had been the site of several 20th century wars, the most recent one being the war over ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.
The original Steak N' Shake, the popular late-night student and Kappa hangout formerly located on Main Street, was closed while a new location was opened simultaneously further from campus on Raab Road July 26, 1999.
The chapter was continuously striving to meet and exceed all expectations. The weekly Smart Cookie tradition still continued. Members who receive an A on a project, exam, paper, or other large assignments were allowed to pick their favorite candy and were recognized before the entire house at Monday night Spread.
Twenty-eight members of the chapter made the Dean’s List in 1999. Other campus activities and honors the women participated with included Habitat for Humanity; Human Bio TA; Greek Week Coordinators; IWU Dance Team; Student Choreographed Dance Concert; Chemistry Club; Panhellenic Council; Human Nutrition TA; College Republicans; Chapel Choir; Faculty Dance Concert; American Marketing Association; Pi Sigma Alpha; Chamber Singers; Accounting Society, Intramural Sports; Urban Studies Program; Big Sibs and Vice President of the Freshman Class.
Highlights of 2000-2010:
A special Homecoming kicked off a celebration of Illinois Wesleyan’s Sesquicentennial in 2000. Grand parties and campus visits from esteemed guests were part of the yearlong festivities. Due to the generosity of Epsilon alum Joyce Eichhorn Ames, ’49 and her husband B. Charles Ames, after a two-year construction period, the Ames Library opened in January 2002. The $25.7 million facility was seen as a significant symbol of Illinois Wesleyan's achievements and aspirations. With five levels and 103,000-square feet of space, the building is grand and imposing on the outside but warm, spacious and inviting within. The library was designed by Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott of Boston.
That same year, the Hansen Student Center opened, originally built in 1922 as the Memorial Gymnasium, it was renovated into a center for student life. Richard Wilson became the 18th president of Illinois Wesleyan University in 2004. During his first year his leadership style built a collaborative agenda by listening to what people were saying. His work with the other senior staff, faculty, and students began developing a strategic plan for Illinois Wesleyan, strengthening the University’s financial position, and conducting the largest fund-raising campaign in the school’s history. Through his efforts there is increased attention to assessments of student learning in academic programs, expansion of efforts related to community engagement and globalization, growth in domestic and international student diversity, and increased commitment to sustainability, including construction of the first LEED certified building on the Wesleyan campus.
During the previous calendar year the chapter had a great new addition with a new house director. She did an exceptional job taking the position and the house transitioned well to the change. Together the chapter turned their focus on the involvement of all members in decisions concerning Epsilon Chapter and concentrated on the decisions concerning individual committees reflecting the collaboration of all the committee members opinions.
The chapter house experienced a flood in the basement level ruining the television room and carpet. With the help of house maintenance, the women were able to keep the results of the accident from interfering with their daily routines and activities and soon the room was restored.
The members of Epsilon chapter were very active throughout the year adding a significant source of pride to their philanthropy work. Four members completed a three day walk for breast cancer cure. With the help of these members, the chapter was able to raise a substantial amount of money toward the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The chapter held its 2nd annual Mr. Titan competition in the fall of 2004 to raise money toward philanthropy. Each member of the house volunteered at least 6 hours helping others. In an effort to strengthen faculty relations, the chapter members continued to host babysitting nights for the children of faculty members.
Panhellenic Council invited a speaker to evaluate Greek life on campus. All sororities and fraternities were able to comment on how each house was perceived by others. Suggestions directed at the chapter were taken, and in light of those comments members worked to make improvements.
The university built an addition to the student Coffee Shop, offering healthy options. The Titan Basketball team was once again the talk of campus, with an outstanding reputation and pre-season ranking.
One major challenge the Kappa house faced was the re-implementing of the period of concern. It had not been used for a few years and it was re-introduced to the chapter in the spring of 2004. The period of concern was fully implemented and worked very effectively. Standards committee also was renovated and made effective once again. It was a difficult process. The members were proud of the large strives made in overcoming the challenge. In addition, the chapter accomplished one of its goals from the previous year to change the by-laws to accommodate its growing size.
In remembrance of 9/11 the university held campus-wide quad informational activities with places to volunteer and donate money. Members of the chapter were recognized for scholastic honors in the Epsilon Province for Kappas with 4.0 GPA.
Chapter member Stephanie Reynolds was elected President Mid-American Greek Council Association. The purpose of the MGCA is to stimulate the growth and development of Greek Councils by promoting leadership and educational experiences for student leaders at college and universities within a 19-state region.
The chapter used the 2005 fall Recruitment period as an opportunity to set up a Kappa Kappa Gamma display with many photographs, some from the early 1900s, which gave the house a sense of the history behind the organization. The display also featured awards received in the past along with old and beautiful pins and lavalieres from deceased members.
In April, 2005 “The Taste” fundraiser was held as a philanthropy. This wonderful event consisted of months of hard work soliciting local vendors to donate food to the cause. The members received great support from the community and Illinois Wesleyan University. Everyone in the chapter participated producing a great group effort. The weather cooperated, drawing large groups of students and faculty to purchase a variety of snacks. The chapter raised over $1000. Homecoming has always been very competitive throughout the Greek system and a large amount of respect comes with winning activities during the week of festivities. During Homecoming 2005, Kappa Kappa Gamma took home the title for “Lip Sync” champions. The contest was a great public relations activity for the chapter with positive house participation.
The Kappas hosted a Holiday Hunt (scavenger hunt) in December to gather canned goods and clothes to donate to those in need during the holiday season. Members from the chapter also went to local nursing homes to sing. During their performances, the carolers of Epsilon saw and felt the response of those living in the homes and were reminded of the true meaning behind the holidays making these activities the most endearing of the year. In 2005, Illinois Wesleyan hired a new greek adviser, Danielle Kuglin to oversee the Greek community on campus.
Following the death of the co-captain of the football team beginning of 2005 school year, President Wilson proposed a new alcohol task force focused on student athletes health. Mary, the chapter cook resigned in January leaving us to search for a new cook. Luckily, a search produced "Mama Cheryl" to replace Mary. As "Mama Cheryl" learned her way around the kitchen, the members also learned to adjust to her. In the end, everyone was happy with the new changes.
Megan Ripple was the new adviser for recrutiment chairs and the president. The chapter was excited to invite the University President, the Dean of Students, and the new Greek Adviser to dinner. The chapter was the first sorority on campus to expend an invitation to the Greek Adviser to their house. The house basement was redecorated, due to the previous year’s flood. A new television was purchased for the basement recreation room. In addition, one of the chapter bathrooms was repainted.
The main chapter challenge was to get off of a focus letter. Work had been made to reach this goal by enforcing all of the chapter rules in all areas, especially at formal and informal dances. Alumnus involvement proved to be a challenge.
In addition to alumnae involvement, there was difficulty with chapter involvement for house sponsored activities. Chapter council worked to ensure each member had specific committee work and that each member had more input on ownership of Kappa Kappa Gamma activities. In February, the chapter planned a sisterhood activity to a local Baskin Robbins. The majority of members expressed their excitement about the event.
The chapter used the 2006 fall Recruitment period as an opportunity to set up a historical display of Epsilon to be viewed by current members of the house as well as potential new members. There were many photographs, some from a century ago, which instilled members with a sense of history and commitment to Kappa Kappa Gamma. The exhibition included many past chapter awards, as well as Kappa Kappa Gamma jewelry, including pins and lavalieres.
During the previous calendar year the chapter had many great achievements. Philanthropy is one area in which the chapter takes great pride. In April 2006, "The Taste" was hosted and raised over $400 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. A mini 'Taste of Chicago', community vendors gave food donations to help the cause. Many members of the faculty and student body came to support the philanthropy and have a great time.
The first annual Pink Party for the members of the chapter and their mothers was held. A silent auction along with donations totaled $2,400. This was an amazing accomplishment and all of the proceeds went to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Fall Recruitment included initiating 25 outstanding new members. The chapter was very excited to get to know these young women and teach them the traditions of Kappa.
During the spring semester of 2006, Kappa Kappa Gamma had the highest GPA of all the sorority houses on campus. This was a great honor for the chapter striving to do its best academically. Members of the chapter were recognized for scholastic honors in the Epsilon Province for Kappas with 4.0 GPA.
The most exciting event of the year had been an addition of a new chapter to Kappa Kappa Gamma at Knox College. The girls at Knox College chose Kappa Kappa Gamma and Epsilon chapter in particular to assist them in the pledging and initiating process. Members were very excited and proud to be chosen out of all the other Kappa chapters in the area. Epsilon members are 'key sisters' with the women at Knox and attended their formal pledging ceremony in the fall of 2006. Epsilon continues to advise and communicate with these new sisters. In 2006, Illinois Wesleyan’s web site begins webcasting events reaching out to a larger campus audience. The IWU basketball team came through with an amazing victory taking third place in the 2006 Division III Championships.
In the fall of 2006, a new house director, Karen Hamilton was hired. The chapter was very excited to meet her and spend time getting to know her. Karen became an amazing asset to the chapter house. In the summer of 2006, new white windows were installed on the chapter house making a spectacular improvement. The members also installed new light fixtures in their personal rooms.
One major accomplished challenge was getting off the focus letter. This was achieved during the fall semester of 2006. The entire membership focused, making it a major commitment to improve the chapter to the best that it could be. Major advances were directed at chapter dances and the members were very proud to have overcome this challenge. Another challenge the chapter faced concerned the responsibilities of committees and delegating tasks to members. The chapter conducted leadership programs to help committee heads feel more comfortable asking for help when needed.
In 2007, the Ames Library at Illinois Wesleyan University was awarded $5,000 in a grant from the Consortium of Academic & Research Libraries (CARLI) that enabled the purchase of resources for the study of agricultural sustainability.
Three women of Epsilon were members of the 2007 IWU water polo team. Practicing and traveling together allowed them to become closer friends.
Five members of the chapter were honored as Kappas with 4.0 GPA.
With the rules of Recruitment being transformed in 2008, members were unable to display archives during this time. However, the members proudly displayed objects from the archives year round in various locations of the chapter house. In the television room a display of editions of The Key magazine had been arranged along with various Greek awards the chapter had won over the years at Illinois Wesleyan. A display of historic photographs of girls from more than a century ago along with well-worn lavalieres and precious pins was placed on exhibit to represent the importance of the history behind the jewelry of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
A boost in morale and significant chapter pride was achieved as each girl in the house studied and worked hard to attain an increased GPA for the entire house. Members of the chapter were recognized for scholastic honors in the Epsilon Province for Kappas with 4.0 GPA. The chapter took pride in receiving the Philanthropy Award during Greek Week 2008 for outstanding efforts to raise awareness and funds to better the world and the environment. Another award received was the Scholarship Award for our outstanding scholastic grades and achievements.
The girls were so excited to learn one of their own won the “Greek Woman of the Year” award. And were proud to learn another sister had been selected for the “Greek Rising Star,” an award that goes out to one new member out of the entire Greek Community who demonstrates great leadership skills. The chapter continued the new program, "So You're Greek, Now What?” The program proved beneficial for the new members of the Greek system to help them transition between high school to college and sorority life. The program also helped build strong relationships between girls from all sororities on campus.
In August, an IWU Panhellenic Tea was held at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. The Epsilon Chapter had the largest representation of sisters than all other sororities from the IWU campus for both alumnae and active attendees. This was a great opportunity to reconnect with sisters, catch up, share stories, meet active members, and find out about upcoming alumnae activities with Epsilon Chapter. Members of Epsilon chapter were initiated into the Order of Omega, the Greek Leadership and Academic Honor Society, including a sister who was elected to the position of Vice President.
The girls were also very proud of another sister who was chosen out of hundreds of applicants to be a part of the prestigious Excavations at Amheida program which combined classroom seminars, field trips and work on a functioning archaeological dig site. Nestled in the Dakhleh Oasis in western Egypt, the site draws professionals from around the world. While many students bundled up to ring in the New Year, this Epsilon junior was on a plane headed to touch down in Egypt, taking her to excavations of the ancient world where she would study abroad for the spring semester.
While in Egypt, the Kappa would learn about, visit, and excavate some of the most prestigious and well-known ancient sites in Egypt, including tombs, pyramids, the Valley of the Kings, and more. She was the only student of the program of 10 to not be from an Ivy League or an East Coast University. The chapter was extremely excited for this sister and anxious to hear more feedback as her trip progressed.
During homecoming week, the house won many awards to be proud of. The chapter took home the "Homecoming Decorating Award" for the second year in a row with outstanding foyer decorations with the theme of "Go Green." Kappas won first place in the Lip Sync contest during homecoming week, a competition among all Greek fraternities and sororities on campus that portrayed and demonstrated the importance and awareness of saving the environment. The girls rocked the stage, dancing and singing the need to go green with a lip sync and hip hop dance performance, which was held in the Student Hansen Center in front of many supporting peers.
Seven Epsilon alums organized a dessert reception and antique badge presentation at the chapter house on October 4 in recognition of the chapter’s 135th year of sisterhood. More than 50 alumnae joined the actives for the afternoon filled with songs and stories of the chapter’s history.
A lost key belonging to an Epsilon Kappa of the class of 1943 had been rescued with the help of the Golden Key Association, also known as “Keepers of the Key” and presented during the festivities to the chapter president for safeguarding. Many of the sisters volunteered at the Lobster Boil fundraiser which was an enjoyable experience. The chapter once again participated in the Relay for Life in the spring in support of cancer victims and survivors.
The IWU Women’s Soccer team earned Conference Champions and went to the NCAA tournament; The IWU Baseball team achieved Conference Champions; the IWU Women's Indoor and Outdoor Track earned Conference Champions and the 2008 Division III National Championship; the IWU Women's Basketball team ranked first in the nation and went to the NCAA tournament.
New improvements were made to keep the house in excellent condition. Beautiful new furniture had been purchased by an alumnus during the past year and additional furniture was added during this school year as well. Brand new, elegant carpeting was installed this year, continuing to maintain the chapter house in the best condition possible.
The greatest chapter challenge of the year grew from modifications of the Recruitment process for the second year in a row. Going from two weekends of Recruitment to one, the girls were focused making many adjustments in the way Recruitment was handled. Instead of a week to get to know those going through the process, the members were limited to three days. They also had to follow the new "No Frills" rule which inhibited them from using any decorations, themes, or displays to influence the decision factor of the potential new members. The chapter successfully overcame this challenge and maintained an amazing and successful Recruitment process.
Theft was the second major challenge within the chapter house. In order to prevent additional incidents, a 24 hour lock was placed on the house and lock boxes were put in the house mom's apartment for girls to keep important items.
Alcohol and visitation policies were also major challenges for the chapter. The house board was involved with the decision to allow consumption of alcohol in the house during certain hours. Visitation allowing men to the second floor living area was also voted on. Housing was also an issue during this time period. There was not enough room in the house for all the girls and an expansion of the third floor was completed providing additional bedrooms.
Joyce "Jay" Eichhorn Ames '49, Epsilon chapter alum and her husband, B. Charles "Chuck" Ames '50 (Theta Chi) made history in 2009 with a $25 million gift for the Wesleyan Fund and faculty endowments. The gift is the largest in the history of the University. The couple became honorary co-chairs of the $125-million Transforming Lives: The Campaign for Illinois Wesleyan University.
The 20th anniversary of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Gospel Festival was held on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University on January 18. Founded by the late Corine Sims and her husband, the Rev. James E. Sims, the festival found a home at Illinois Wesleyan, and attracted gospel choirs from all over the state. The University was seen as a fitting place for the festival, as it was the place that Dr. King graced twice.
In 2009, the members of Epsilon worked very hard to strengthen the chapter working to become a more cohesive unit. The girls started by working towards an increased house GPA. The Scholarship Chair decided to set up study hours for girls who did not make the Dean’s List the previous semester. This proved to be a strong motivator with 37 girls achieving the Dean's List. The overall GPA for the fall semester was 3.27, an improvement from spring 2009. The chapter also took a significant amount of pride for the awards won in the past year.
During the annual Greek Week awards ceremony the chapter received awards for its Risk Management program, Public Relations, and Best Overall Chapter. The members considered this a huge recognition and were incredibly proud of the house for receiving such high honors. At the Province Meeting, Epsilon won an award for its Standards program. This was another major accomplishment for the chapter as the women felt this award expressed how much they had achieved by following rules and learning from mistakes.
Another area of focus this year was Philanthropy. The girls wanted more involvement within the community to raise awareness and funds to better the world and the environment in which they live. Together, the girls volunteered at over forty different organizations and events. A main volunteer opportunity for the women was the Lobster Boil fundraising dinner with proceeds going to the Illinois Heart and Lung Foundation. Twenty girls participated in this event and helped raise money for a great cause. Pie a Kappa was a new philanthropy event started on the campus quad during finals week. A table was set up, and for a price students could pie the girls in the face. They raised $250 from the event and felt it was a great way to get involved on campus and offer students a fun way to relieve some stress from finals. Many girls also participated in Relay for Life to help support cancer victims and survivors.
The chapter was proud to have a sister elected the President of the Greek honor society Order of Omega. Another sister was a freshman soccer player on the Illinois Wesleyan Soccer team and was one of four soccer players chosen to be on the all-Central Region team picked by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. A major accomplishment for a freshman, the chapter was extremely proud of her. Four other girls from the house were also on the soccer team and helped the team make it to the second round of the 2009 NCAA Division III Tournament. Another sister, a member of the women's basketball team helped the team finish 17- 0 for the season.
The IWU Women's Track and Field took First Place in the CCIW Outdoor Track Title. The IWU Women's Golf won First Place earning the CCIW Golf Title. The IWU Girls Soccer were conference Champions and went to the NCAA tournament. Illinois Wesleyan University was ranked the fourth top school for softball.
New improvements had been made to help keep the house in the best possible condition. Plumbing and pipe issues were improved and new carpet was installed on the third floor. The foyer was redecorated with fleur-de-lis and golden key decorations. A new cook joined the house staff and worked with the girls to help make their meals healthier.
The main challenge of the year was working to get off a Focus Letter and improve Risk Management program. Issues arose at one of the chapter dances and the girls had worked extremely hard to better handle risky situations. A mandatory risk management seminar was held in the fall for all the girls. They brainstormed ways to stay safe and avoid situations that could cause potential harm. Those ideas were implemented and great progress had been achieved to get off the Focus Letter. Every member of Chapter Council recognized this as a major goal of membership and all worked towards realizing new ways to better the chapter. Significant changes were made to the organization that proved to be difficult for everyone, but the girls realized the liabilities at stake and what had to be done in order to improve.
Illinois Wesleyan University remained among the nation's best values in private higher education, ranked No. 32 among Kiplinger's Personal Finance 100 Best Values in Private Colleges for 2010-11.
The chapter had many outstanding achievements in 2010. Members welcomed a new house mother, Alison West, at the beginning of the year. She did a tremendous job overtaking this position and members transitioned well to the change. A new cook, Chef Corry from College Chefs was also added to the house. The chapter had an excellent recruitment in the fall. The initiation of 25 new members took place on October 29th. The chapter experienced a successful Kappa Trainer visit and Leadership Consultant visit, and also had success in officer transitions.
In the fall of 2010, Epsilon hosted Taste of Kappa and Pi-a-Kappa. Pi-a-Kappa was cohosted with a fraternity on campus and the proceeds were split. An active member of the chapter organized the Illinois Heart and Lung Foundation's annual Lobster Boil, and had sisters volunteer at the event.
Chapter dances consisted of the Senior Informal at Reality Bites with the theme Reality TV Stars, the Senior Formal at Eastland Suites with the theme Sapphire Ball, the New Member Informal at The Loft at Central Station with the theme Miss AmeriKappa, and the Fall Formal at The Chateau (no theme). All of the planning went smoothly and the dances were a great opportunity for sisterly bonding.
Campus changes and achievements included IWU with four Top 10 NCAA Finishes: Men's Basketball (Elite 8), Women's Indoor Track (4th), Baseball (1st), Women's Outdoor Track (1st) and eight Conference Champions: Football, Women's Golf, Women's Indoor Track, Women's Basketball, Softball, Baseball, Men's Golf, Women's Outdoor Track. The chapter worked very hard to get off of a focus letter. Members worked to improve chapter morale and their personal concern about the chapter.
The Epsilon chapter welcomed a new House Director. Renovations were made to the second floor including improvements to the main bathroom and the addition of a much needed kitchenette. The guest room bathroom was also given a makeover. Along with the addition of a new chef, for the first time in the history of Epsilon, House Girls took the place of House Boys for kitchen duties and meals.
In the spring, the chapter held a Girl Scout event with a sorority on campus and helped local Girl Scout troops earn two badges, with the chapter purchasing the badges for the girls. Epsilon participated in Illinois State University's Alpha Tau Omega Sweetheart challenge and won 2nd place. They also hosted a Teeter-Totter Marathon.
The chapter hosted both Mom's Day and Dad's Day. This year they invited their dads to watch a Titan baseball game with them followed by a plate of hot wings at Mugsy's after the game. For Mom's Day, the girls encouraged each mother to bring a favorite appetizer, dip, or dessert for everyone to sample and to provide the recipe for that dish. All the recipes were compiled to create a Kappa Cookbook.
In 2010, the chapter won the IWU Fraternity and Sorority Life Award for “Calling Home for Haiti” event. The chapter was proud of the high level of diversity within the house. The girls participated in a wide variety of campus activities which included: Accounting Society; Advocate BroMenn Medical Center Volunteer; Alpha Kappa Psi; Alpha Lambda Delta; Alpha Phi Omega; Alternative Spring Break; Ambassador Club; Amnesty International; Beta Beta Beta; Best Buddies ;Boys and Girls Club; Chemistry Club; Cohesion Dance Company; Delta Phi Alpha; DRL; Engaging Diversity; Environmentally Friendly Green Research Team; Fraternity and Sorority Programming Board; Gamma Sigma Alpha; German Club; Global Medical Brigades; Grade School Academic Program; Habitat for Humanity; Hillel Jewish Student Association; Homes for Hope; Humane Society; Intramural Basketball; Intramural Volleyball; IWU Alcohol Task Force; IWU Autism Social Group; IWU Cheerleading; IWU Dance Team; IWU Equestrian Team; IWU Law Society; Mortar Board; National Society of Leadership and Success; Nursing Student Affairs Committee; Order of Omega; Phi Beta Alpha; Pi Sigma Alpha; Psi Chi; Sociology Club; Springfield Road Runners Club; Student Choreographed Dance Concert; Student Education Association; Student Nurse Association; Student Senate; Student Sierra Coalition; Titan Orientation Leader; Women's Golf; Women's Soccer; Women's Swimming and Diving; Women's Tennis Team; Women's Track and Field and Vegetarian, Vegan, Victorious.
Highlights of 2011-2019:
Highlights of 2011
Illinois Wesleyan University was named the 57th best value among private liberal arts colleges in a Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Best Values in its Private Colleges listing in 2011. Kiplinger’s names the top-100 private liberal arts colleges based on a combination of factors intended to measure academic quality and affordability. In addition to being ranked No. 57 nationally, Illinois Wesleyan is considered the No. 2 best value among the five Illinois liberal arts colleges that were part of the top-100 national list.
Construction began in May on a more than 2,400-square-foot glass rotunda and lobby for the entrance of the Joyce Eichhorn Ames School of Art Building, designed by CSO Architects and consultant R. Paul Bradley. The new construction was made possible by a gift from B. Charles "Chuck" Ames '50 and Joyce "Jay" Eichhorn Ames '49. "There is so much creativity and beauty in the work of those in the School of Art, and we wanted the exterior of the building to reflect that," said Jay, who was an art major and a member of the Epsilon chapter at Illinois Wesleyan. The building, which is part of the Alice Millar Center for the Arts, houses classrooms and studios for painting, printmaking, photography, ceramics, graphics and other art activities. Renovations to the School of Art through the Ames' gift also include much of the first floor outside the Merwin and Wakeley art galleries.
Epsilon Chapter partnered with members of Kappa Delta to sponsor a 2011 Girl Scout event. Chapter members helped more than 120 girls Girl Scouts from the Bloomington-Normal community earn their friendship and healthy relationship badges. The event included different stations where the Girl Scouts played games, wrote friendship letters and created “compliment” bracelets.
The chapter had many great achievements. They welcomed a new house mother, Vicki Shultz, at the beginning of the year. Ms. Shultz did an excellent job taking over this position and the women transitioned well to the change. A new cook, Scott, was also introduced to the house, which came to the chapter from college chefs. Renovations were made to the first floor TV room as well as the dining area.
The chapter experienced a good recruitment in the fall and a successful annual philanthropy event: Taste of Kappa. The women also organized Pi a Kappa in the fall which was equally as successful.
In the fall semester, the chapter held the highest GPA of the sororities at Illinois Wesleyan University.
The initiation of 26 new members took place.
The chapter took the title of intramural flag football champions.
The women experienced a successful Kappa Trainer visit and Leadership Consultant visit, and had success in officer transitions.
The chapter dances consisted of: Spring informal: at Firehouse - "Kappa Kocktails"- Senior informal; Spring formal- at Eastland Suites "Sapphire Ball" - Senior formal; Fall informal- at Bloomington Country Club - "Acuna-ma-Kappa" - New member informal; Fall semi-formal- at The Chateau.
In 2011, Epsilon Chapter won the Most Improved and Sisterhood/Standards at Province meeting.
Highlights of 2012
Epsilon kept the standards high. For the spring semester of 2012, our chapter had the highest GPA of any fraternity at Illinois Wesleyan. The women continued to balance their academics with social events. Both the Informal “You Komplete Me” and the formal Sapphire Ball were successes. Over the summer, Epsilon received honorable mentions for both recruitment and chapter and advisory board relations at the Kappa Kappa Gamma Convention. Also during the 2012 summer, one of the living rooms, The Blue Room, was beautifully renovated with new carpeting and lovely furniture for a more modern appeal. With the start of the fall semester, Epsilon had a busy and successful recruitment, welcoming home 22 New Members. Kappa also held its messy annual Pi-A-Kappa philanthropy event. During the Fall Semester, the chapter also had fun at the New Member Informal “Kappas in Pajamas” and at their Semi-formal as well.
2012 contributed outstanding athletic performances on campus. A highlight of the year included the Women's Basketball team being crowned national champions, while the Men's Basketball team made it to the Final Four of the NCAA national tournament. Women's and Men's Golf, softball, baseball, Women's Indoor Track and Field and Outdoor Track and Field, and Women's Swimming and Diving also made NCAA Tournament appearances during 2012.
The construction of the new classroom building, which began in 2012, is making great progress with hopes of being complete by the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.
In 2013, Epsilon Chapter won the Chapter Advisory Board Relations and Chapter History and Ritual awards at Province Meeting.
Highlights of 2013
This previous year of 2013, Epsilon Chapter had many achievements. In the spring of 2013, Epsilon Chapter received the Chapter Advisory Board/Chapter Relations and the Chapter History and Ritual awards at province. There was an informal dance with the theme “True Life: I’m a Kappa” and the Sapphire Ball at the end of the spring semester. We had a philanthropy event that was a manners and etiquette class at the Kappa house with a group of Girl Scouts.There was a ceremony for the Glenn and Rozanne Parker Kemp Commencement Plaza which will serve as a backdrop for commencement ceremonies. Mrs. Kemp was a former Kappa who made donations for the building of the commencement plaza.
Homecoming Weekend, October 11-13, 2013 held special meaning for Epsilon as actives and alumna as they came together in celebration of the chapter's 140th anniversary. Two special events included honors to Epsilon women.
On Friday evening a ribbon cutting and dedication took place for two new apartment buildings housing 96 students in a campus community called the Gates at Wesleyan. The west building, Fricke Hall was named in honor of alumni Robert R. Fricke '60 and his wife, Sharon E. Fricke '60, an Epsilon sister whose generous support ensured the project.
Alice Fairchild Heath '52 was honored with the university's Loyalty Award on Saturday afternoon during the Alumni Awards Luncheon. Alice has a long family history in the Bloomington Community including 13 female relatives who were members of Epsilon Chapter. A resident of Rockford, IL, Alice has also served as president of the Rockford KKG Alumni Chapter.
During the fall of 2013 there was an informal dance themed “Kappartittaville” and there was also a semi-formal dance. We had Kappa Klassic, which was a new philanthropy event, and we continued to have Pie-a-Kappa. In both the spring semester and fall semester, we continued to write letters with our pen pals. There was a Paint the Campus Pink night that we had in order to raise breast cancer awareness. We also celebrated the 140th year anniversary of our Chapter. The Epsilon chapter welcomed 14 new members and initiation took place on November 2nd.
State Farm Hall was opened in the fall of 2013, being the home for the departments of Business Administration and Economics. Illinois Wesleyan celebrated their homecoming on October 11 through October 13 with the theme “A Class Act”. Illinois Wesleyan also renovated the Dugout, which is where students can go eat or grab a snack. The newly renovated Dugout which opened in the fall of 2013, provided students with healthier options to eat. There were other improvements such as Wi-Fi added all over campus, a bike rental program, and a single stream recycling.
Highlights of 2014
During 2014, Epsilon chapter had many achievements. Once again, our chapter received the honor of having the highest GPA within all of Greek life and of all student organizations on campus. At convention, we received the national risk management award. We had a spring informal dance in February with the theme "Kappa Kappa G things" and a formal dance, Sapphire Ball, in March. In the fall, we had another informal dance, with the theme "Come on Barbie let's go party." We also had our annual semiformal dance in early October. Further, a few philanthropy events took place throughout the semester. The first event was Reading is Key in February. In March, we hosted a "Kappa Kappucino" night at our chapter house during finals. Our annual "Pie-A-Kappa" event took place in early September. "Kappa Klassic" was also held later in September. Finally, throughout the year, girls in our chapter wrote pen pal letters back and forth with children at a local elementary school. In the fall, we welcomed 26 new members into our chapter after formal recruitment.
Over the summer of 2014, a few renovations were made to our chapter house. The third floor bathroom was updated, along with new paint and wallpaper in our foyer and the first floor bathroom. Also, three rooms on the third floor received new, white furniture. Also during the summer months, a travelling statue exhibit was installed on the quad and around campus. In December, our university president announced his retirement for the spring of 2015. In the fall, renovations for our athletic building, the Shirk Center, began. Construction will conclude in the fall of 2015. Homecoming week took place during mid-October, with the theme "Off the Charts."
We hold informal chapter meetings at our privately owned house in the living room which we call the "blue room." Formal chapter meetings are held in our chapter room. Our current chapter house was built in the 1960s. The house holds 46 girls. There are three floors in the house, and girls can live in single, double, or triple rooms. Before the current chapter house was built, our members lived in another house on campus, called Adams Hall, which still stands today.
Highlights of 2015
During 2015, Epsilon chapter had many achievements and made a great deal of memories. Once again, our chapter received the honor of having the highest GPA within all of Greek Life and of all student organizations on campus. In March, we held our annual Mom’s Day event, which included brunch at our chapter house. Our annual Dad’s Day was held in October, which included a tailgate event at the Illinois Wesleyan football stadium.
Further, we had three dances this year. In the spring, we had an award show themed informal. Each pledge class dressed up as nominations from a different award show category, such as the Grammy’s, Academy Awards, etc. Our annual formal dance, called Sapphire Ball, was held in March. This fall we had another informal dance with the theme “Kappa Kappa Gatsby.”
Additionally, we hosted a few philanthropy events this year. In April, we held our annual “Reading is Key” event at a local daycare. Our annual “Pie A Kappa” event was held in September, followed by “Kappa Klassic” in October. In November, we partnered with a fraternity on campus to host a “Turkey Trot.” Also, throughout the year, girls in our chapter exchanged pen pal letters with children at a local elementary school. We held two PR events on campus this year: A lemonade stand in April and a hot apple cider stand in October. Finally, in early November, we initiated 22 new members into our chapter following formal recruitment.
In late 2015, Illinois Wesleyan University elected and installed a new president. Further, a fountain called “Aspiration” was introduced to campus. The fountain resides on the new “mini quad” which has been upgraded with landscaping and sidewalks to suit its name. In addition, renovations to our athletic building, the Shirk Center, continued throughout the year. There were a few changes made within our chapter house as well. We received a new television, along with a new chef.
What organization(s) has your chapter historically/traditionally raised money for, or donated hours to, in your community?
Susan G. Komen
Why did your chapter choose this organization(s) to support?
Our chapter chose Susan G. Komen as our local philanthropy because it is an organization to which all women can relate. Breast cancer is a disease that primarily affects women, and many girls in our chapter know women who have been personally affected by it, making it a very meaningful and inspirational experience to support this organization.
Highlights of 2016
During 2016, Epsilon Chapter has made great strives to become outstanding leaders, better our values, and better our public relations. It started at the beginning of the year when our Public Relations Chairman brought "Why Kappa Wednesday" to our chapter. This is where our members post on social media on Wednesdays and explain why we choose Kappa. In January, we also had a Kappa Trainer come and speak to our Chapter Council and our whole chapter on values. We held a gala and hosted Kappa Karaoke in our house. Throughout February, we made strives to strengthen our sisterhood by participating in a sisterhood self defense class and Greek week. This enabled us to work together.
We had three dances this year: Kappa Kappa Throwback (February 12th), Sapphire Ball (April 23rd), and Kappa Kappa Space Jam (November 4th). Two of our biggest accomplishments philanthropically and public relation wise was our Golden Key Gala held on April 9th. This Gala was used to raise money and awareness about Reading is Fundamental and to reach out to our Alumnae and other chapters on campus. Other philanthropy events this year included "Reading is Key" event where we spent a day at a local day care, annual "pie a Kappa" held on the quad, and "Kick it with Kappa" to raise money for the Susan G. Komen foundation. Some of our public relations events this year included: Breaking Barriers and events on the quad where we give away cookies or candy to our colleagues. In November, we initiated 23 girls into our chapter after formal recruitment.
In 2016, Illinois Wesleyan University finished the renovations on the Shirk Center, our athletic building. They also changed the way we dispose of waste in our dining halls. We have three bins: one for waste, one for recyclables, and one for composting. As for our chapter, our kitchenette and our chapter room were completely redone. In the kitchenette we now have shelving and cabinets where we can store plates, bowls, and utensils. Our chapter room has new hard wood flooring.
Our Chapter has continued to raise money and support research through the Susan G. Komen foundation, because it is a philanthropy that all women can appreciate considering that the disease primarily affects women. Bloomington is one of the locations where there is a "Race for the Cure", and there are many women in our house that have been personally affected by breast cancer making this philanthropy one that is meaningful and dear to many.
Our chapter meets in our chapter room. Our chapter room has just received new flooring.
Highlights of 2017
During 2017, the ladies of Epsilon have made it our mission to improve our chapter’s campus involvement, academics, and sisterhood. We kicked off our spring semester with multiple sisterhood events that allowed us to bond and work together as a team. These continued throughout the year with activities like competitions between pledge classes and movie nights in the TV room for the whole chapter. We added two new members to the pledge class of 2020 in the spring as well. Our Vice President of Academic Excellence, Allie Paradis, promoted our excellence in the classroom by having weekly competitions for study hours and studying with a sister. These motivated us to always get our work done! We had three dances this year and they were so fun! Our spring informal dance was themed Denim on Denim. We had our annual Sapphire Ball in April where we said goodbye to all of our graduating seniors. This fall, we had another informal themed Sweet Home Kappa Gam. Our new members got to pick this year’s informal theme and we loved it! Our two biggest philanthropic events were our annual “Pie a Kappa” event on the quad and “Kick it with Kappa”, both benefiting our local philanthropy, Susan G. Komen. We also hosted a “Girls who go Greek” event outside our home for all the Greek women on campus to come and hangout with us. Our beautiful home just got a new addition this fall: a brand new back patio! It is perfect and just what we imagined, and we can’t wait to finally be able to use it in the spring! We also redid our study room, the Wise Owl. We have continued to support our local philanthropy, Susan G. Komen, because it is a cause that many women feel emotionally connected. Overall, it has been a great year for us here at Epsilon and we feel as though we have accomplished many of our goals. We can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store! We were also lucky to have another visit from Fraternity President Beth Black who is an Epsilon Kappa!
Highlights of 2018
We participated in reading buddies in the spring for RIF as well as Hoops for Hope for Susan G. Komen. We also raised money for RIF through Pie-a-Kappa in early fall 2018 as well as a Reading is Key event for RIF in November and a tabling event for Susan G. Komen for breast cancer awareness. Our biggest philanthropy event of the year was the Golden Key Gala in the spring benefiting RIF. We won Chapter of the Year in Spring 2018 at the FSL awards and our advisor Erin won Adviser of the Year. We also received a Civic Engagement Award. We were paired with Sigma Chi for Homecoming Week and we took first place. Something our chapter worked on this year was improving our chapter GPA by awarding people for various academic things such as studying with a sister, not skipping any classes, and getting an A on an exam.
The class of 2022 at IWU is the largest incoming class in five years with over 500 students and one of the most diverse in the university's history. Illinois Wesleyan added an e-sports program and facility in Hansen Student Center in fall 2018 where students can professionally compete in online gaming. IWU also changed the design of its athletic logo and wordmark logo.
Susan G. Komen is a philanthropy that all people and all women especially can relate to as we all know someone who has been affected by breast cancer. Our chapter feels emotionally connected to this organization and therefore feel it is important to raise money and awareness towards finding a cure for breast cancer.
Highlights of 2019
January 18, 2019- Epsilon Chapter held an ice skating sisterhood at Pepsi Ice Center. It was a good jump into the new semester!
February 15-17, 2019- Select members on the executive board went to the Kappa Leadership Conference in Texas for the weekend. Here they met with other Kappas and learned the foundations of sisterhood and values shared in our fraternity.
February 22, 2019- Epsilon Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma help their spring informal.
February 27, 2019- Epsilon Chapter held a Yoga Class Sisterhood at Shirk Gymnasium to support body positivity week directed by the Panhellenic Council.
March 3-8, 2019- Epsilon Chapter had an LC visit for the week. Many of the members had the chance to meet with her and bond over ritual, their positions within the chapter, and ways to improve their role in the chapter. The LC presented a powerpoint in chapter on the values of being a Kappa.
March 23, 2019- Epsilon Chapter held their annual Golden Key Gala and raised $5,353 for our national philanthropy, Reading Is Fundamental.
March 24, 2019- Epsilon Chapter had an EME training from 10-12pm. We discussed ways to improve our sisterhood within our house, as well as in the community.
March 25-30, 2019- Epsilon Chapter had their spring Inspiration Period. Initiation was held on March 29 and 30.
April 2, 2019- Epsilon Chapter was granted awards for Sorority New Member of the Year and Outstanding Chapter Program/Event Award for the Fraternity and Sorority Life Awards.
April 7, 2019- Epsilon Chapter had Moms' Day. The day consisted of spending time with our moms at the house with games, food, and a silent auction!
April 24, 2019- Epsilon Chapter had their last sisterhood of the Spring 2019 semester. Due to stress from finals, we had a Spa sisterhood to de-stress and relax from our academic responsibilities.
April 26, 2019- Epsilon Chapter had their annual Sapphire Ball. We said goodbye to our loving Seniors, spending time together with good music and food.
September 11-15, 2019- Epsilon Chapter had their fall recruitment with a Heaven on Earth theme for Bid Day!
September 25, 2019- Epsilon Chapter had their first fall sisterhood. The sisterhood was themed Kappa Kampfire with s’mores and fun!
October 23, 2019- Epsilon Chapter had a Halloween themed Sisterhood. We each carved pumpkins and had a good time!
November 4-9, 2019- Epsilon Chapter had their fall Inspiration Period. Initiation was held on November 8 and 9. We had a flower sisterhood to bond with our sisters on November 6 and a new member retreat on Thursday November 7th.
The incoming class of 2023 was welcomed from 22 states, 10 countries, and 27% of the class self-identifies as a student of color. This year Illinois Wesleyan University welcomed a new Interim President, S. Georgia Nugent for the 2019-2020 academic year, while they search for its next president. " We believe in giving back to our community and youth, especially, which is supported through Reading Is Fundamental which helps provide books and a better eduation to the underserved children in our community. Stay Alive brings awareness to mental health which we believe is an important topic that should be talked about especially in university. Breast Cancer Awareness is a sentimental topic and we chose to support this organization and cause because of how close it is to many of the members' hearts.
Highlights of 2020
Chapter Summary We started this year with an ice skating sisterhood at the Bloomington ice center on January 24th, 2020. This was a fun way to get together after a long winter break. Our next event was another sisterhood. At this sisterhood, we frosted cookies for Valentine’s Day on February 12th, 2020. We delivered the cookies to all of the other sororities and fraternities on campus. We had our spring informal on February 21st, 2020. The theme “Kappa never goes out of style” was chosen by the senior class. Due to COVID-19, we were sent home for the rest of the semester. We had one member initiated virtually. This was on May 2nd. We had a virtual work week to prepare for recruitment the week of August 9th, 2020. We then had a completely virtual recruitment from September 10th to the 12th. We had a socially distanced Bid Day on September 13th. We had a virtual sisterhood on September 16th, 2020. We played a Kahoot based off of fun facts about each sister in the chapter. Homecoming week was from October 5th to the 10th. All of the events were virtual. We had 5 new members participate in a dance competition, where our other members were able to watch a live streaming of it. Our next sisterhood was Flowerside. This was on October 21st and was a great way to begin inspiration period. This event was virtual as well. The new member retreat was held on October 22nd. This event was held in person in an on campus space with social distancing. Initiation took place on October 24th and was virtual. We won three awards this year. We won the Panhellenic award, the Recruitment award, and the Most Improved Academics award. We also had honorable mention for Philanthropy award. Chapter operations were altered significantly because of COVID-19. All of our executive board meetings and chapters were held virtually, as well as many other events as I described.
We chose Reading is Fundamental for our philanthropy, because there is a literacy problem in America. This organization tries to provide resources to children in need by donating books and raising money. Stay Alive was chosen because it breaks the stigma surrounding mental health issues and helps support those who are struggling. The Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation helps sisters in many ways, with the most common being scholarships.
We added a DEI director position. This position is under VP Member Development. We had elections and have filled this position for the next term. Due to COVID-19, we could not have our normal Founders Day ceremony. Our chapter had small groups watch the Facebook live program. Our Bloomington-Normal Alumnae Association brought festive cookies to the house to celebrate too.