Ruth Kadel Seacrest
Ruth Kadel Seacrest, Sigma Chapter, University of Nebraska (1898-1978)
Ruth Kadel Seacrest was named 25th President of Kappa Kappa Gamma on June 25, 1944, during a meeting among Fraternity Council, the Associate Council and Standing Committee Chairmen. She was the only Fraternity President to be appointed in this way; Conventions had been banned because of World War II.
During Ruth’s tenure (1944-1948), travel was reduced to a minimum, making effective communication with the chapters difficult. There was an alarming increase in probations and discipline cases. Residence changes resulted in the resignations of many Fraternity officers and chairmen. It was difficult to conduct Fraternity business without the General Convention.
Ruth had been President of her chapter, Sigma, during her junior year in 1922. As an alumna she served as chapter adviser and President of the Lincoln (Neb.) Alumnae Association. She was the first Kappa president of the Lincoln City Panhellenic and President of Zeta Province. In 1938, she was named Fraternity Scholarship Chairman and moved from that post to Director of Chapter Programs, which she held until her appointment as Fraternity President in 1944.
With the war over in1945, however, a Convention was held in 1946 and Ruth was elected to a second term. Six new chapters were installed during her presidency, Delta Omicron – Iota State, Delta Pi – Tulsa, Delta Rho – Mississippi, Delta Sigma – Oklahoma State, Delta Tau – Southern California, Delta Upsilon – Georgia. The first Foreign Fellowship Program was developed, and Foreign Student-Foreign Study Fellowships were named in honor of Virginia Gildersleeve, Beta Epsilon, Barnard, a Kappa alumna and retiring dean of women at Barnard College. A $1,500 scholarship was presented, to be used at her discretion in the interests of international education.
Alumnae Achievement Awards were initiated, with the first presented at the Convention of 1946. Fraternity finances were studied and changes were made in the management of Fraternity funds.
A civic leader (she was listed in the first edition of Who’s Who Among American Women) and mother of two sons, Ruth looked back on her term with pride for “the success with which the Fraternity has gone forward; our own programs, in keeping out noble objectives of long standing, have progressed and kept abreast of changing times and needs.”