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Chapter HistoryThe Columbus Alumnae Chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta was established in 1897, the fifth in Theta history. At that time, the chapters were named in Greek, as college chapters still are today, and we were Epsilon. We followed Greencastle (Alpha-1893), Twin Cities (Beta-1894) for Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York City (Gamma-1894) and Chicago (Delta-1896). This practice ended after the 1913 Convention.
We Who Wear Kites
The Ohio State University collegiate chapter, Alpha Gamma, was founded in May of 1892 and the alumnae chapter has been supporting its efforts ever since.
Thetas have always been involved in civic affairs in the Columbus area and many members were featured in a news article (1954) in the local paper Citizen Journal. The group was active in fund raising for Children’s Hospital, Childhood League Center and local schools.
The 1960s saw Thetas sponsoring a Designer House Tour for three years and a Botanical Bazaar as well.
1970s fundraisers included an art auction, spring flowers
The 1980s found us selling mulch, poinsettias (which we still do), Discovery Toys and hosting a garage sale. Giant coloring books were popular too. We ended the decade by helping with Leadership Conference in June 1989, held at The Ohio State University. The local committee worked very hard to provide a nice experience for the collegians and Official Family in attendance. The Official Family enjoyed a tour of the “Son of Heaven” exhibit and received a copy of the local Junior League Cookbook, thanks to a local donor. The final banquet was held downtown at the Hyatt Regency where David Warren, president of Ohio Wesleyan University spoke. A collegian also spoke who had recently returned from China and shared her observations regarding the uprising at Tiananmen Square.
The 1990s continued with our poinsettia sale support and an occasional spring flower (pansies, natch) sale too. We also tried a “how to decorate with candles” party at the Alpha Gamma house.
Activities with the collegians at Alpha Gamma have ranged from cookies and carols-replete with an alumna’s husband as Santa, traditional homecoming brunches before the big game to a more recent success—Trick or Treat at the Alpha Gamma house. For the last few years, the collegians have provided a safe place to collect goodies. They dress up, decorate the second floor and have an activity in the dining room before the young ones trek door to door.
Founders Day is always our best attended event. The Alpha Gamma chapter requires it-and it is a budgeted item. For many years, we have included the officers of Beta Tau-Denison and Gamma Deuteron-Ohio Wesleyan. Each of the Presidents speak and provide updates. We have been able to have it in the traditional month of January, but in the early 1980s when it was snowed out, we gave up and tried April!
In 1999, our speaker was local newspaper columnist, Kirsten Lokvam Chapman (Tau-Northwestern) who had just published a compilation of her weekly columns, “The Way Home.”
We sponsor the “Senior Send Off” or Senior Link Service for all of the chapters in the area. We have provided the attending seniors with business card holders. All alumnae who attend are encouraged to bring their cards too. The first lady of Ohio, Hope Rothert Taft (Beta Sigma-SMU) graciously hosted us in 1999 and 2000 at The Governor’s Residence.
2001-2002 found us trying a new fundraiser-a silent auction at Founders Day and a 50/50 cash raffle. We sold ads for our directory to local Thetas. Our monthly events included meeting at a new hair salon and three women received free “dos,” in addition to our traditional meetings.
2002-2003 began with our traditional potluck and many new faces due to internet contacts over the summer. We were lucky to have one 75 year, one 74 year and two 70 year Thetas in attendance at Founders Day. We tried zip code parties in February with some success. They were held at different times of the day in Theta homes, restaurants and historical places.
Since 2003, the KAO Columbus Alumnae Chapter has published two newsletters a year (a fall and winter newsletter), donated significant dollars to CASA and the Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation, and held periodic social and philanthropic events in the Columbus area.