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Psi Deuteron Chapter, Cornell University
1,912 initiates (as of June 2018)
Jessie Jane Cassidy, Annie Neale Curtis, Linnie Gambee, Helen Kittredge, Charlotte Smith.
Jennie Angell Menge, Grand Treasurer 1892 to 1894; Catherine Alt Schultz, Director of Membership, 1956 to 1960; Keo Frazier, Traveling Consultant, 2000-2001
Fraternity Loyalty Award Recipients:
Margaret Cuthbert, 1946, NPC executive; Mary Crawford Schuster, 1949, Physician who served during WWI; later became head of the Health Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York; Emily Dunning Barringer, 1952, Pioneer doctor; wrote of her life in Bowery to Bellevue, which was made into a movie; Ruth Shellhorn Kueser, 1960, Landscape architect known for Disneyland designs, received award again in 2006, Architect, urban planning expert; Emily Gorman, 1962, Director of Women’s Army Corps; lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army; Adelaide Romaine Kinkele, 1962, Physician and medical director specializing in industrial medicine; Marjorie McKee Blanchard, 2000, Chairman and co-founder of a management consulting firm; author; lecturer; Marilyn Gross Coors, 2006, Ethics and genetics professor, researcher
Additional Outstanding Psi Deuteron Alumnae:
Susan Wolcott (Stuart), Graduate Counselor 1978-1980; Sarah Hanlon (Cigliano), Chapter Consultant 1984-1986
The Early Years
Cornell University was chartered by the State of New York in 1865 and was opened to students on October 7, 1868. Its founder, Ezra Cornell, had said, “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study,” and although no housing arrangements had been made for women, and no women applied during the first few years, Trustee Henry W. Sage became so interested in women’s admission to the university that he donated money for Sage College, dormitory and social center, and female students were admitted in 1871.
The university was highly endowed, its faculty was distinguished, admission standards were high, but breeziness prevailed. Attitudes were fresh, and the first women had scholarship, courage and character. In the fall of 1883, five women applied to Kappa Kappa Gamma for a charter (the year before, Kappa Alpha Theta had entered Cornell, and Theta Anna Botsford Comstock, later to become a professor of botany, endorsed the application). Within three weeks the official papers had arrived and with them two members of Tau (later Beta Tau) at Syracuse to initiate Psi’s charter members on November 27.
In 1885, Psi ardently discussed the question of an open rather than a secret constitution. The next year, the chapter agitated for a new badge design. When this move was defeated at the Akron General Convention, Psi tried, and failed, to develop a new initiation ceremony. When the chapter had to give up its room at Sage its sense of failure and discouragement became acute and a vote was taken (1888) to return the charter. Charlotte Barrell (Ware), Boston, then Grand President, came to Ithaca and persuaded the group to carry on. At the General Convention the following summer, the Psi delegate, Mila Tupper (Maynard) later to become a Unitarian minister, was officially appointed with her chapter to revise and add to the initiation ceremony. Psi’s rebels now had a legitimate outlet for vision and revision.
Cornell was non-sectarian and might not have been expected to oppose secret societies as so many church-based colleges did, but early in the 1890s there was strong and organized anti-fraternity feeling, by no means limited to Cornell: “A growing opposition to fraternities is noticed in many of our colleges … (it) demands the attention of the fraternity world.” (The Key, December 1891) Forty years later, Psi’s historian, the famous Dr. Mary M. Crawford, wrote in the 1930 History of Kappa Kappa Gamma, “The Greek-letter fraternity system is deeply imbedded in Cornell, both for men and women. It is an integral part of student life, and with all its obvious faults it adds much to the lives of its proponents. The privilege carries with it a high obligation to give back generously of the results of this privilege and it is the aim of all Psi Kappas to serve their University to the extent of their abilities. If Cornell spirit and class spirit dwindle because of Kappa spirit, then the real object of the Fraternity has failed … .”
Cornell’s attitude toward women had always been adult. There were a few rules of safety and decorum but never any attempt to stand in loco parentis. Career-oriented young women thrived in this atmosphere, there were no dropouts or “bustouts” (failures), and women of Psi have always been vigorous in their pursuit of professional careers.
No other chapter has received more Kappa Alumnae Achievement Awards. Margaret Cuthbert was the first, in 1946. At that time, she was director of the women’s division of NBC and was one of three Kappas included in the Women’s National Press Club of Washington, D.C., list of Ten Women of the Year. In 1949, Dr. Mary “Molly” Crawford (Schuster) was honored by Kappa as a Cornell trustee, as head of the Health Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and as a pioneer ambulance surgeon. Dr. Emily Dunning Barringer, the first female ambulance surgeon in New York, was honored in 1952. In 1962, two Psi members received the award: Lieutenant Colonel Emily Gorman, director of the Women’s Army Corps, Washington, D.C., and Dr. Adelaide Romaine (Kinkele), specialized in industrial medicine. In 2006,Marilyn Gross Coors was recognized for her work as an ethics and genetics professor and researcher. This record of achievement is no accident. Cornell has always demanded that its students be aggressive, questioning, independent, factors that make for outstanding alumnae performance.
It is a privilege to read the names of Psi members, once names known country-wide, and names that gave prestige and strength to Psi and to the Fraternity. The Balch Halls at Cornell were the gift of Janet Jacks Balch and her husband, and Balch Hall at Scripps College also carries her name; Grace Van Sweringen Baer was professor of Germanic Languages at the University of Colorado; Nora Blatch Barney was well known as a civil engineer, architect, contractor and women’s suffrage leader; Bernice Andrews Fernow, Amy Otis, and Adna Huestis Simpson were artists; Elizabeth Rhodes Jackson, Martha Didson, and Lucy Mary Park (Clarke), writers and editor; Harriet Anthony was a pioneer female photography who went to Boston, hobnobbed with Phi members, and her own studio. Another outstanding member was Dorothy Masterman McNeill who retired in 1973 as a Philadelphia newspaper executive. Province and Fraternity officers include the names of Jennie Angell (Mengel), Grand Treasurer, 1892–94; Graduate Counselor Doris Heath (Webster), 1938–39; Sally Schwartz Muzii, Director of Pledge Training, 1972–75, and Mu Province Director of Chapters; two editors of The Key, Mary Josephine Hull, 1894–95, and Elizabeth Rhodes Jackson, 1910–14, the founder of Beta Alpha Chapter in 1890, Lois Otis; and Catherine Alt Schultz, Director of Membership, 1956–60, and 1955–56 Chairman of Rehabilitation Services.
The chapter has always been proud of its outstanding members, but the chapter of 1902 and the readers of The Key took to their hearts the story of a member who had been basketball captain, treasurer of Sports and Pastimes, member of honoraries and a professor’s daughter. On January 3, 1902, she died suddenly, and was eulogized in the April issue of The Key. “The promise of a noble womanhood was disappointed in her death,” and in memory of this beloved young person who had “rowed in the Sage boat,” her parents gave a rowboat, “safe and well-made” for the use of the women at Cornell.
During the 1890s, the meeting place for the chapter had shifted from Sage College to rooms in different parts of Ithaca. In the fall of 1917, a first house was rented and by 1921 sufficient funds had been raised to buy. Janet Balch gave $5,000 “with her usual Kappa-Cornell generosity,” and other alumnae contributed. The house, 508 Thurston Avenue, had been the home of Beverly Baines, romantic partner of early film idol Francis X. Bushman at a time when Ithaca had been the center of the motion picture industry (1912–1920). This house was razed in 1936 and a modern brick house was built on the site. It was opened in the fall of 1937 for the Alpha Province Convention, and was famed as the first Kappa house for which steel construction had been used. At this time, Mary Geisler Phillips, Pennsylvania, (See Beta Alpha history) was corporation president. Her usefulness to Psi might have been said to have balanced Beta Alpha’s indebtedness to Psi, since Lois Otis had resigned from her own beloved chapter in order to found Beta Alpha while she did graduate work in Philadelphia.
In 1957, at Province Meeting in Ithaca, plans were made to build a larger house for Psi and the ideal location of the existing building caused a decision to enlarge rather than rebuild. Many changes were made, including facilities for visitors and a new wing with a suite for the house director. Two-thirds of the chapter could be housed and the chapter grew more unified and aware of its responsibilities and the pleasures of group living. In 1961, the dean of students said of Psi, “The women of Psi chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma have made the Panhellenic Creed a living reality on our campus and the student community has profited from their positive leadership. As a group, they have shown thoughtful concern for others while preserving the uniqueness of the individual. Their sense of community responsibility and their positions of leadership in campus organizations have earned for them a place of respect on the Cornell campus.”
The further report in The Key (winter 1961) included an account of a series of programs given by Psi featuring a travelogue, a concert, lectures on 20th-century Russia, and a plan of meal exchanges and a Christmas party with foreign students. The year was marked by the positive presence of a Graduate Counselor Martha Simmons (Murray), Akron and an outstanding record in campus activities. The chapter President was elected to Mortar Board and Phi Beta Kappa and was accepted by the Yale Law School. A successful attempt had been made to approach a balance between social and cultural goals of the Fraternity, with an active responsibility in campus life and personal education and betterment. It was the stated opinion of the incoming chapter President that “a fraternity must be more than a mere living unit or a group organized primarily for social activities.” It was a statement she felt that had to be true in practice “if the fraternity system is to meet and overcome the increasing number of attacks being made on it.” Long-range planning, she knew, was necessary and the chapter was working together … it was her hope that Psi would continue to follow the example of its early members.
Changes and Challenges
The 1960s were troublesome years on the campuses of the country. Student revolt was common, although Cornell, always liberal, had less “trouble” than many schools. To ensure that there were no areas of discrimination or unfair practices on the campus, the trustees prepared a “report on residential environment” making strict demands in all university-approved housing, including fraternities. The demands included abolition of mandatory recommendations systems and of the unanimous vote for membership, and the surrender of rituals if charges were made that discrimination was suspected in these documents. The Council of Kappa Kappa Gamma decided that such local autonomy was contrary to Kappa constitutional procedure and could not be countenanced. Certain irregularities had placed Psi on probation warning in 1967, and probation was voted by Council in January, 1968.
That June, Council voted to continue probation, a condition to be terminated in January 1969, either by a removal of probation or by dismissal proceedings. In January, the Council voted unanimously to start dismissal proceedings and the chapter was so notified by Louise Little Barbeck, SNU, then Fraternity President. Kappa Psi, a local group, was immediately formed to preserve the existing chapter. A rushing (recruitment) program, which had been planned before the dismissal, was carried out, and the chapter life continued with Psi and Kappa Psi existing in one body until October 1969, when the end of the 86-year-old chapter was marked. The last days were attended by cloudy rhetoric, personal grievances, misunderstandings, lack of communication and unfortunate timing. Psi had been an unusual chapter, with an interesting history.
It had been of value to the Fraternity, and it has been difficult for some members to be objective in considering it. It is interesting to note that even after the dismissal, the Fraternity President wrote to the chapter President expressing deep interest in the outcome of the rushing period.
A distinguished alumna wrote in the summer 1903 issue of The Key, “We have found that we can keep our high fraternity ideal and loyalty while losing not a jot of our class spirit and our college loyalty. The two aid each other instead of the one interest pulling away from the other We need the college interests, they need us; we stand or fall together.”
An initiate of Psi during the 1960s recalled in 1975 a relaxation of the bond between chapter and the Fraternity, a detachment that she felt could have been caused by an increased individual self-absorption, fewer members to perform the necessary jobs, changing mores among college students with greater stress of action independent of parental and school guidance. “I am and I was proud to be a Kappa,” she said, “and I was very grieved when Psi Chapter was dropped. It was a loss for both Kappa and Cornell and most especially for the girls attending Cornell.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Psi Deuteron Chapter Installed
During the weekend of April 22–24, 1977, Psi Chapter was reinstated as Psi Deuteron Chapter. This momentous occasion marked the first chapter to be reinstalled since Alpha Chapter in 1934. It was with great pleasure that the Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity Council accepted the petition of Kappa Psi local to become a chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma and initiate all members of the local desiring to affiliate with Kappa. In 1969 when the Psi charter was relinquished to the Fraternity, Kappa Psi was formed with the remaining members and continued to grow and prosper as a local sorority for seven years until the chapter voted to unite with the Fraternity. Kappa Kappa Gamma proudly welcomed Psi Deuteron Chapter into the fold of our sisterhood. There were 46 Kappa Psi actives, 11 Kappa Psi alumnae and 29 Kappa Psi new members initiated during this momentous weekend. At this time, there were 49 men’s fraternities and eight women’s fraternities on campus.
The alumnae in Ithaca were of great assistance in preparing Kappa Psi members for the Installation weekend. Marjorie Matson Converse, Purdue, served as Installation Chairman, and the installing officers were Jean Hess Wells, Georgia, Fraternity President, and Sally Moore Nitschke, Ohio State, Director of Membership. Jean Ebright Elin and Diane Miller Selby, both Ohio State, traveled from Fraternity Headquarters to assist Field Secretary Janice Harenberg, New Mexico, who arrived to help the Alpha Province Directors with Installation of the new chapter and Initiation of its charter members.
The Friday evening fireside was held at the Kappa house with a reception following. The Saturday services were most impressive with six alumnae from Rochester, New York, joining the Ithaca alumnae and the many returning Psi alumnae from across the continent. Several legacies were initiated and many tears swelled as one 1917 initiate had the honor of initiating her granddaughter.
The initiation banquet was held at Ithaca College, a small liberal arts school, on the other side of Ithaca. A magnificent building housed the Terrace Dining Room—complete with ponds and fountains all inside the dining hall. Some highlights of the evening were the presentation of an original Ritual Book belonging to Psi, which pre-dated 1900. Done on parchment, it was illuminated and handwritten with watercolor pages. The Psi Deuteron President presented it to the Fraternity and she was in turn given a president’s key badge of rubies from the Rochester Alumnae Association.
Beverly Knapp Pullis, St. Lawrence, gave the Fraternity a copy of an old songbook, which she discovered in the archives of the Rochester Alumnae Association as she prepared to be song leader for Installation. Three 50-year pins were presented as well. Perhaps the most surprising of all was the announcement that Psi alumnae from all over the continent had given more than $1,100 to be used for redecorating the Kappa house.
Marj Converse served as toastmistress, and Sally Nitschke gave the banquet address. A toast was made by a member of Beta Beta Deuteron and a former Kappa Psi President gave the response. A hit of the evening was a 64-year Kappa who told about what life was like on campus in 1909. She remembered that the dean of women told the girls not to wear taffeta petticoats because they were too suggestive! The lovely Passing of the Light ceremony closed the evening.
Amid rain and fog on Sunday, a model chapter meeting was held at the Kappa House and then a lovely campus reception followed in the Johnson Art Gallery overlooking Lake Cayuga.
During the years when Kappa Psi local chapter existed, five Kappa Kappa Gamma alumnae served the chapter as a house board to maintain the home at 508 Thurston Avenue. Built in 1937, the house was enlarged in 1957 to house 36 members.
Highlights of the 1980s:
In 1987, a new stereo system was installed; a gift to the pledge class, and the living room was recarpeted.
In 1987, the chapter participated in the Festival of Nations, a significant campus fundraiser. Chapter Convention Awards:
Celebration of Psi Chapter’s Centennial Anniversary
Psi Deuteron Chapter celebrated the centennial anniversary of Psi Chapter’s founding at Cornell during the 1983 homecoming weekend. Although the Psi Chapter had been inactive from 1969 until 1977, the Kappa tradition was maintained by the local group, Kappa Psi. This was a special celebration of the 100 years since the 1883 founding of Psi Chapter.
The weekend kicked off with a Friday evening banquet at Cornell’s historical Moakley House with alumna Dale Arrison Grossman as keynote speaker. She was a Cornell professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences as well as Psi Chapter’s Finance Adviser. Pamela Hanna was toastmistress.
Awards and gifts made at the banquet included a women’s crew shell by Germanine Miller Gallagher to the women of the crew team, as a tribute to the ongoing sisterhood and success of Psi Chapter. This was accepted by Psi Deuteron actives and crew members Rhonda Alexis and Susan Reusswig. The presentation of a commemorative scholarship to Cornell University was made by Eloise Moore Netherton, Texas, Director of Philanthropy, and was accepted by Janice Oblack, Assistant Dean of Fraternities and Sororities. The evening ended with special recognition given to Kappas in attendance, such as Jewel Shaw, who was the eldest Psi alumna to travel to Ithaca for the celebration.
The reminder of the weekend was spent in a whirl of homecoming and Centennial activities including Saturday’s continental breakfast, tailgate party prior to the homecoming football game against Yale, and Sunday morning’s farewell brunch held at the Kappa House where alumnae were able to enjoy historical memorabilia, tour the house and reminisce with old friends.
During the 1987-1988 year, the chapter organized the first sorority sponsored blood drive. In addition, chapter members went to Colgate to help with the installation of that new chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma. New house parents, Dave and Mims Zimmermann arrived.
In 1988–89 a new house family arrived, Dave, Anna and (three year old) Whitney Brown. The chapter served as the Big Sister sorority for Alpha Omicron Pi, a new sorority on campus. Each of the six schools at Cornell was represented by members of Kappa Kappa Gamma this year. The chapter participated in the Greek-wide clean-up and planted crocus bulbs in front of the women’s dormitory.
Highlights of the 1990s
In 1990, a window with the Kappa Kappa Gamma crest was installed in the foyer, designed and constructed by alumna Debra Yelverton. In addition, the living and dining rooms were redecorated with wall paper and curtains and the basement was repainted.
In 1994, the chapter along with other sororities on campus participated in a very successful food drive for the Salvation Army. In 1995, the chapter took part in numerous campus-wide and community-wide philanthropic events, including the Salvation Army canned food drive and clothing drive for the needy.
In 1997, the chapter participated in chaperoning middle school dances, working with the Ithaca Rape Crisis Center, and competing in the famous Greek-wide Fun-in-the-Sun event. Chapter Convention Awards: At 1994 convention, Psi Deuteron won two Fraternity awards – Honorable Mention for Outstanding Achievement and Outstanding Achievement for Risk Management. 1990–91: In recognition of 120 years of Kappa Kappa Gamma, a traveling consultant spoke to the chapter. The chapter pledged four girls from Hawaii. Members of the chapter were involved in singing organizations, political forums, publications, public relations, varsity athletics, theater and dancing groups. The chapter president was also the captain of the Cornell women’s soccer team. The chapter worked hard to uphold Kappa standards with increased enthusiasm, participation, knowledge and support of the sisterhood. Events included a holiday party for sisters and guests, Parent’s Week-end, tailgating at Cornell football games, a faculty BBQ with Sigma Chi a haunted house philanthropy with Phi Delta Theta and a wearing disorders workshop for in-house sisters.
In 1994, Psi Deuteron chapter was named “All Sports Champions” for intramural sports. House parents Tom and Amy Fisher welcomed son Thomas into their family and the chapter welcomed him home from the hospital in February. The chapter goal for the year was “Participation + Sister Involvement = PSI established to improve the productivity of the chapter through committees and sister cooperation. The chapter also accepted the Challenge to Excellence for the fourth year in a row and fulfilled 94% of the fraternity requirements.
The 125th Anniversary Celebration was held in October 1995. The chapter helped Thomas celebrate his first birthday as the Psi chapter’s ‘house baby’ complete with cake and ice cream. And, Thomas walked and talked for the chapter at the party! The chapter had women participating in soccer, crew, ski, hockey, polo, squash, and water polo during the year.
The chapter participated in fall rush for the first time, recruiting five new members to compliment the 26 women pledged in the spring. New house parents, David and Debbie Passey announced the expectation of a new baby, due in April of 1998.
A New Millennium - Highlights of 2000-2010
From chapter’s History Report: Scholarship, group honors/awards, traditions, special events, changes on campus or within chapter, overall nature of the chapter, chapter goals, challenges and how they were overcome, etc.:
The chapter is faced with an older, aging facility. In 2005, the house was rewired to provide a better internet system and the availability of wireless hook ups. The ‘quarter-needing’ washings and dryers were removed and replaced with new state of the art machines. Plans were underway to do some basement leak repairs and renovate the hardwood floors.
The chapter organized philanthropic events benefiting local causes including Kappa Dogs where members sold hot dogs to raise money for the Family Reading Partnership (a local literary program) and the Chili Cook-off where members collected canned food and raised money for the United Way of Tompkins County.
In 2008, the chapter participated in many different philanthropy events on campus and in the Ithaca community including Relay for Life and Daffodil Days to raise awareness and money for cancer, Into the Streets to serve the local community with service projects, the United Way of Tompkins County to support and annual campaign, and the Elf Program which provides backpacks filled with school supplies for underserved children.
In 2009, the chapter was very busy philanthropically. The chapter held it’s third annual Kappa Dogs event to raise money for the Family Reading Partnership, had Trick or Treat at Kappa, helped with reading and working on crafts including face painting kids at the Greater Ithaca Activities center and the public library, decorating cookies for IthaKids, selling tanagram kits for spring break to fundraise for the Gaza crisis, and starting a penpal program and donating children’s books to Even Start. In addition, the chapter donated $25,000 to Tompkins-Seneca-Tioga Even Start, a program aimed at creating family literacy through adult education, early childhood education, childcare, and parent-child workshops.
Chapter Convention Awards: At the 2004 Kappa Convention, the chapter received an honorable mention for Outstanding Recruitment and Risk Management. And, the chapter received an award for Most Improved Chapter as well.
During 2004-2005, when the chapter was cleaning the archive closet, pledge books and old Kappa letters dating from the 1800’s were discovered. Archives and pledge books were displayed every Sunday for members to peruse. The Psi Deuteron chapter was recognized by Cornell University for being the Most Improved Chapter and Chapter with the most Outstanding Service to the Community. In 2006, Psi Deuteron Chapter was awarded the Most Spirited Chapter during Greek Week on campus, a week of competitions in which all Panhellenic groups participate. The chapter has continued to participate in Creating Chapters of Excellence, which brings many of the sorority and fraternity groups on the Cornell chapters together through events and discussions.
In 2007, Psi Deuteron chapter received the Outstanding New Member Education Program award from Cornell University during the year.
The chapter took up the challenge to strengthen its 2009 New Member program during the year. In addition, the chapter implemented some new senior programming activities and placed more emphasis on committees to allow members to participate in improving the chapter presently and into the future.
During 2009–10, the chapter put in a lot of effort to unify the chapter and promote a positive image of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Sister-sister bonding events included rotational dinners, a senior-sophomore dinner, cultural foods night, an alumni event called Baila Con Kappa Salsa Night, Trillium Tuesday lunches and a Homecoming/Founders Day Brunch with alumnae.
Highlights of 2011-2019
Scholarship, group honors/awards, traditions, special events, changes on campus or within chapter, overall nature of the chapter, chapter goals, challenges and how they were overcome, etc.:
Highlights of 2011
During our Spring semester to Fall semester 2011, we had several events, highlights, sources of pride, and an overall enjoyable year for the members and officers of Psi Deuteron as we continued and enhanced the high quality of Cornell's Kappa Kappa Gamma. It all began after Spring semester rush 2011, where we had several sisterhood bonding activities for the new members to get to know each other and the already active members to get to know them. Later, a conference, "Emerging Leadership Experience," was held by the Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Program specifically for two representatives of each Greek organization where we learned how to be a better leader for our organization.
This year the philanthropy chairs organized several events: the 4th annual Kappa Dogs to raise money for the Family Reading Partnership (a local literacy organization); Trick or Treat at Kappa; and reading with kids at the Tompkins County public library. The chapter also participated in philanthropic events held by the community, campus, and other Greek houses to raise money for various charities. These events included Relay for Life, a charity dinner at Alpha Gamma Rho, a charity dinner at Alpha Delta Phi, and Jog for Jill 5K to raise money and awareness for Ingred Nunez against lung cancer. Members participated in the College Town Clean-up and participated in "Into The Streets" where volunteers completed valuable and beneficial community work throughout Tompkins counties. Kappa Kappa Gamma was actively involved in campus Greek life at Cornell University.
Additionally, Kappa Kappa Gamma participated in other Greek houses' events: Sigma Chi's Derby Days and Delta Gamma's Anchor Slam. Furthermore, Kappa participated in Greek Week, which is an event designed to raise awareness of the Greek community to freshman as well as to promote a positive image of the Greek community. Also, this year Psi Deuteron put in a lot of effort to unify the chapter and promote a positive image of Kappa Kappa Gamma. Sisterhood bonding events included a coffee tab at libraries, rotational dinners, a senior-sophomore dinner, an alumni event, and Founders Day where local alumni were invited to the house. Also at every chapter, Kappa Kudos were given out to recognize women for various achievements. Women were also recognized for good grades and received "Smart Cookies" for obtaining a 4.0. The girls of Psi Deuteron promoted KKG by wearing Kappa-related clothing for "T-Shirt Tuesdays". Lastly, Kappa Kappa Gamma members had the opportunity to participate in a program, "Reflections," to raise awareness about the dangers of fat talk and the impact it has on women's self-esteem and confidence.
Campus: Cornell University, one of seven Ivy League institutions, was founded in 1865. Cornell is composed of seven individual colleges, with more than 13,000 undergraduates attending the university. Academic rigor is the hallmark of the University as its commitment to diversity with "Any Person, Any Study" being its creed. Thirty percent of the student population is involved in the Greek community, consisting of 12 Panhellenic organizations, 42 fraternities, and 16 Multicultural Greek Letter Council chapters. Due to these numbers, Cornell University is currently the second largest Greek system in the country.
Chapter: Kappa Kappa Gamma continues to be a strong house within Cornell's Greek community. The Psi chapter was founded at Cornell University on November 24, 1883, and today consists of 111 active members.
Despite the high standing position Kappa Kappa Gamma is, there still are a few chapter challenges that can be improved. During our last council meeting of the semester, we talked amongst our group to figure out a few main goals for the following year. First, we stressed the importance of improving our communication skills by having a group email for our council to achieve convenience for our officers, form clarification for clearer transmission to each member, and a cohesive council voice to all the members during chapter. Next, we would like to concentrate on programming in general such as adding interesting and fun events to get more senior attendance, a better new member period program to allow the new member group to quickly become as comfortable as possible.
Chapter Convention Awards:
During 2011-2012, Psi Deuteron members had the opportunity during the year to participate in a program called ‘Reflections’ which raised awareness about the dangers of fat talk and the impact it has on women’s self-esteem and confidence. In the academic year from 2012 to 2013, Katie Solomon-the chapter's past president-received the John S. Dyson Citizenship Award. The award is given annually as a part of the A.D. White Leadership Conference to a student within the Cornell University fraternity and sorority community who has exemplified exceptional leadership within the Greek community, and who has demonstrated a strong commitment to community service, philanthropy, scholarship, and citizenship. In addition, Psi Deuteron chapter also received Most Spirit During Recruitment Award.
Highlights of 2013
This year, Psi Deuteron made great strides. We had several members of our chapter apply for Kappa scholarships and six of them were awarded aid. In addition, we were awarded the Alpha Province award for Most Spirited Recruitment for our work during recruitment week in January of 2013. We had two of our sisters elected to the Cornell Panhellenic Judicial Board, and three new members served on Cornell Junior Panhellenic Board. Our current president, Corey Matthews, participated in the Kappa Kappa Gamma Leadership Academy in October of 2013, honing her leadership and interpersonal skills in preparation for her term.
Psi Deuteron took on several new philanthropic projects in support of Reading is Fundamental. These included Cornell’s first ever annual Kappa Kickball in which the chapter invited all members of the Cornell community to participate in a kickball tournament for a fee which benefited RIF; a visit from The Nomad Truck, a boutique on wheels which generously donated 10% of the proceeds from a day of shopping. We have continued to work closely with a local Ithaca elementary school, Caroline Elementary to provide day care services, to read with children and to participate in mentor and peer-to-peer programs. One of our sisters, Erica Baevsky brought her charity work for GoPink, an organization benefiting breast cancer, to Cornell and to Kappa, putting together a gala and awareness seminar, both of which were sponsored by and participated in by Psi Deuteron’s members.
We have been challenged by new changes to the Cornell guidelines for new member education and are working hard to make sure that our chapter abides by both the standards of the University and of the Fraternity. We are also working hard to improve our leadership, working closely with Leadership Consultants and Kappa Trainers in addition to instituting extensive committees. In addition to providing services to the chapter, these committees have also served to educate and train members to take on new positions. As a chapter we have also been working to improve our recognition of exemplary members who contribute to our Cornell, Panhellenic and Kappa communities, instituting several award and incentive programs including the “President’s Key,” in which we recognize members of our chapter council who have gone above and beyond their duties to improve out chapter.
Recently, Cornell has been working very hard to make greek life as safe and positive as possible for all students. This has included a re-working of new member guidelines to include a shorter new member period as well as a dry period that closely resembles the Kappa program, in which new members are asked not to be in the presence of alcohol. This has been an excellent contribution to greek life, making the new member education period a safer and more comfortable experience for all greek chapters at Cornell. We were also very pleased by Cornell’s recent dedication to eliminate hazing on campus. Psi Deuteron has been working very closely with greek advisers to make sure that our commitment to anti-hazing is upheld and that it inspires other chapters to be vigilant about reporting and eliminating hazing. Our chapter is happy to be more integrated with the rest of the greek community, instituting women’s social and educational events, and co-sponsoring philanthropic events.
Psi Deuteron’s greatest strength, however, has always been our genuine relationships with one another and our overwhelmingly strong sisterhood. We firmly believe that, despite whatever challenges we face as a group, our dedication to one another will make us successful. Most members of Psi Deuteron would agree that our Sisterhood Dinners are the best events of our semester, where we invite all members to come out to dinner together at a local restaurant. Having all of our members in one place at one time in an informal setting is a wonderful experience and reflects our deep bond.
Highlights of 2014
2014 was a great year for Psi Deuteron Chapter. This year we sought to improve our academic records and keep promoting sisterhood.
After hard work from the Academic Excellence Committee and chapter members, our chapter improved the overall GPA and became ranked third among our Panhellenic sister in grades. This achievement helped us to gain an honorable mention for improvement in grades at convention this summer. We were pleased to have our president, Corey Matthews, attend and represent our chapter's interests at the convention.
We have promoted sisterhood through more informal sisterhood events. Pizza and movie nights at the house and study days have helped the sisters of Psi Deuteron to be closer than ever.
We have also seen a great increase in leadership for the women of Psi Deuteron. We had two sisters participate in a class that had a curriculum focused on increasing Greek involvement in service and leadership on campus. This class is open to all members of the Greek community and helped Psi Deuteron to learn about new ways to integrate the curriculum into our chapter goals. We also were thrilled to have two members of Kappa Kappa Gamma elected to Panhellenic Council in November. They will serve on council for the 2015 calendar year.
Psi Deuteron has also kept busy through our philanthropy work. We have continued our partnership with Caroline Elementary. This program gives sisters the opportunity to give back to the Ithaca community by tutoring and mentoring children. Psi Deuteron also raised the most money for the Cornell Relay for Life. We received the "Jade Award" for our commitment to the event through fundraising. We are excited to continue our community involvement and plan new ways in which we can serve our community.
Psi Deuteron has had many successes this year, and we are eager to see the changes that 2015 brings to our chapter.
Cornell has had a few notable changes in regards to Greek life this year. The first is the takeoff of Tumblr! This social media platform became very popular among our panhellenic sisters and we enjoy posting pictures that showcase our spirit of sisterhood and adventure. Our PR Chair is responsible for the project, and we are so grateful for her commitment. (The tumblr can be seen at kkgcornell.tumblr.com)
The second great change to our Greek system was expanded with the addition of Phi Mu to Cornell University! We looked to welcome the new chapter by recommending women for their fall recruitment and attending their benefit concert later in October. We are thrilled to see more women choosing to go Greek at Cornell and commend the achievement of Phi Mu at Cornell thus far.
In January, our chapter grew by 58 women after an extremely successful formal recruitment. The New Member program helped to integrate these women into our chapter in the 4 week long new member period. Cornell shortened the allowed new member period once again to accommodate the needs of Cornell's students. These changes have helped our chapter to become more active in the panhellenic community. We have enjoyed getting to know the other chapters on our campus and look forward to continuing to increase involvement during 2015.
We hold our chapter meetings in our lovely house on 508 Thurston Ave. here in Ithaca, New York. The meetings are held in the living room of our house, as the chapter has seemingly outgrown our chapter room downstairs. Chapter meetings are held on Sunday mornings with a chapter brunch that follows.
During the 1890s, the meeting place for the chapter had shifted from Sage College to rooms in different parts of Ithaca. In the fall of 1917, a first house was rented and by 1921 sufficient funds had been raised to buy. Janet Balch gave $5,000 “with her usual Kappa-Cornell generosity,” and other alumnae contributed. The house, 508 Thurston Avenue, had been the home of Beverly Baines, romantic partner of early film idol Francis X. Bushman at a time when Ithaca had been the center of the motion picture industry (1912–1920). This house was razed in 1936 and a modern brick house was built on the site. It was opened in the fall of 1937 for the Alpha Province Convention, and was famed as the first Kappa house for which steel construction had been used. We are still located in the historic 508 Thurston Ave. house and enjoy owning the house as a chapter. The house is such an integral part of our sisterhood as it is where we hold many events. We feel very lucky to have so much history contribute to our chapter life daily.
Highlights of 2015
2015 was a great year for Psi Deuteron Chapter. This year we worked hard to transition our communication to the GIN system while continuing our strong focus on sisterhood.
After hard work from the technology and standards chair, all chapter communication is now posted on the GIN system and nearly all sisters have downloaded the GIN app onto their phones. This has increased our attendance to weekly chapter meetings and sisterhood support events (fives) within the chapter. We hope to continue finding new ways to use this system to benefit our chapter in the future.
We have promoted sisterhood through more informal sisterhood events. The younger member classes enjoy bonding at our house, while the senior member class has had an increase in programming that has been beneficial to them. The seniors have gone on trips to the orchards near Ithaca and to local art classes to make sure their last year in kappa is one full of memories.
We have also seen a great increase in leadership for the women of Psi Deuteron. We had two sisters participate in a class that had a curriculum focused on increasing Greek involvement in service and leadership on campus. This class is open to all members of the Greek community and helped Psi Deuteron to learn about new ways to integrate the curriculum into our chapter goals. We also were thrilled to have two members of Kappa Kappa Gamma elected to Panhellenic Council in November of 2014. Having two member of Panhellenic Council in our house increased our responsibility to the Greek community and in turn helped us to increase turn out to Greek service events in the community like "Collegetown Clean Up" and "Day of Demeter." Psi Deuteron has also kept busy through our philanthropy work. We have continued our partnership with Caroline Elementary. This program gives sisters the opportunity to give back to the Ithaca community by tutoring and mentoring children. Psi Deuteron also continues to help sponsor Relay for Life and GoPink! at Cornell. These event increase awareness and support for cancer on campus.
Psi Deuteron has had many successes this year, and we are eager to see the changes that 2016 brings to our chapter.
Highlights of 2017
2017 was a great year for the Psi Deuteron Chapter. This year we focused on making improvements in several areas including sisterhood and academics. We also continued to thrive in our annual philanthropy events.
This year to further promote sisterhood we held severl informal events throughout the year. We had movie nights, dinners together and had our new members spend more time at the house. We also had several opportunities for our sisters to study together. We had times for academic bigs and littles to study together and coffee and bagel tabs at libraries.
Highlights of 2019
This past calendar year our chapter made a commitment to further understand the rituals and history of Kappa Kappa Gamma. We have increased the amount of activities that support this commitment, such as song practices, while also upholding the traditions of the sorority. We have also continued traditions important within our chapter specifically, such as philanthropic involvements.
We were not only engaged within our chapter, but also among the greater Cornell community. Our chapter also enjoys being involved in the local Ithaca community as well.
While our campus culture is always changing, our chapter always strives to maintain the same values of Kappa Kappa Gamma. No matter what is happening on campus, our chapter is reliable in its kindness, maturity, and strength. While we all have diverse interests and backgrounds, at our core, our chapter all holds similar values and morals.
The two main philanthropic organizations that our chapter supports is the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation and Reading is Fundamental. Our chapter chose these organizations because, like other Kappa chapters, we are encouraged to donate to them. Since the values of these organizations strongly align with the values of our chapter, we have continued to be inspired to volunteer with other organizations, including but not limited to the Caroline Elementary school in our local community.
During our last Founder’s Day, our school was on break. While we could not all be together, we emphasized the importance of Kappa’s history and the day through messages to the chapter, and in person once we were all together.
Highlights of 2020s:
From chapter’s History Report: Scholarship, group honors/awards, traditions, special events, changes on campus or within chapter, overall nature of the chapter, chapter goals, challenges and how they were overcome, etc.:
Chapter Convention Awards:
Note to Chapter Registrar: Please refer to your chapter archives including chapter meeting minutes and back issues of The Key to fill in any gaps in the above historical highlights. If your chapter archives are not complete, please research your university library, campus newspaper and yearbook archives for newsworthy information about your chapter. Please double check your work for accuracy. Contact chapter Advisory or House Board members, local Alumnae Association members, or your Province Director of Chapters for assistance.Your efforts will ensure a complete and accurate history of your chapter for future generations to enjoy!