Kappa Alpha Order
|Kappa Alpha Order|
|Founded||December 21, 1865
Washington College, Lexington, Virginia
Dieu et les Dames
(Brothers faithful unto death)
|Colors||Crimson and old Gold|
|Flower||Crimson Rose and Magnolia Blossom|
|Publication||The Kappa Alpha Journal|
|Philanthropy||Muscular Dystrophy Association|
|Members||approx. 6,000 collegiate
approx. 150,000 lifetime
Lexington, Virginia, United States
Kappa Alpha Order (commonly known as Kappa Alpha, KA, or "the Order") is a social fraternity and a fraternal order founded in 1865 at Washington College in Lexington, Virginia. As of 2014, the Kappa Alpha Order lists 122 active chapters, 7 provisional chapters, and 33 suspended chapters. Along with Alpha Tau Omega and Sigma Nu, the order represents a third of the Lexington Triad. Since its establishment in 1865, the order has initiated more than 150,000 members.
Kappa Alpha Order was originally founded as Phi Kappa Chi on December 21, 1865, at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. James Ward Wood, William Archibald Walsh, and brothers William Nelson Scott and Stanhope McClelland Scott are the founders of the fraternity. Soon after the founding, the local Virginia Beta chapter of Phi Kappa Psi protested the name "Phi Kappa Chi", due to the similarity of the names, leading Wood to change the name of the fraternity to K.A. by April 1866. The popular Kuklos Adelphon society had gone defunct during the Civil War, and it is suspected that Wood selected the letters K.A. to attract those who were familiar with the old society. Within one year, the order's ritual would be expanded upon by Samuel Zenas Ammen, who was dubbed the "practical founder". In the years that followed, the fraternity spread throughout the Southern United States, as well as other states such as California, Arizona and New Mexico.
KA is one-third of the Lexington Triad, along with Alpha Tau Omega and Sigma Nu. The founders listed Robert E. Lee's chivalry and gentlemanly conduct as an inspiration, and he was designated the "Spiritual Founder" of the Order by John Temple Graves at the 1923 Convention.
The Kappa Alpha Order administrative office is located at Mulberry Hill, in Lexington, Virginia. It is documented that Mulberry Hill is where Robert E. Lee spent his first night in Lexington, after arriving to take over as president of Washington College. Mulberry Hill is a Virginia Historic Landmark, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The offices for the Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation are also housed there.
Number I's Leadership Institute
The Number I's Leadership Institute (Number 1 is the title of the chapter president) is an intensive informational and educational retreat for chapter presidents. The retreat is held at Christian conference center.
Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation (KAOEF)
Established in 1982, the Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation (KAOEF) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The Foundation provides grants for educational programs of the fraternity, such as the National Leadership Institute and Province Councils, and provides scholarships to graduate and undergraduate students. KAOEF funds these programs with donations contributed by KA alumni.
The Kappa Alpha Journal (or KA Journal) is the fraternity's magazine. It has been published since 1879. Members of the Kappa Alpha Order are entitled to a free subscription to The KA Journal if initiated within the last ten years, or are a member of The Loyal Order. Members initiated between 1936 and 1951 are given a lifetime subscription to the publication.
The Loyal Order is an alumni program for the Kappa Alpha Order. The national office uses the money from Loyal Order memberships to help defray the cost of distributing the KA Journal, as well as other alumni resources.
The colors of The Order are traditionally Crimson and Old Gold. The colors represent the blood sacrificed (crimson red) and the money spent (old gold) in defense of the country. The flowers of the Order are the crimson rose and the magnolia blossom. The crimson rose represents masculine might and the white magnolia blossom represents purity.
The flowers of the order, and a ribbon featuring the order's motto adorn the bottom of the crest. The crest itself is representative of several things; the hand holding the axe represents the continuing power of the Knight Commander and of the order. The Helmet was, at one time, a symbol used by the Knight Commander of the Order. The badge is featured at the center of the crest, and the lions on either side represent different things each. The lion on the left, looking away, symbolizes "rampant", meaning magnanimous. The lion on the right, looking towards you, symbolizes "regardent", which means cautious or circumspect.
Accusations of racial insensitivity
The fraternity has been criticized for racial insensitivity, identification with the Confederacy and racism. In November 2002, the Zeta Psi and Kappa Alpha Order chapters at the University of Virginia were suspended and subsequently cleared after the fraternities held a Halloween party where a few guests were photographed wearing blackface and dressed up as Uncle Sam and Venus and Serena Williams.
In 2009, Kappa Alpha Order at the University of Alabama was criticized for wearing Confederate uniforms for an "Old South" parade that passed by an African-American sorority house celebrating its 35th anniversary. The organization apologized for any offense that might have been caused. Kappa Alpha Order on other campuses, including Auburn, Centenary College, Mississippi State University and the University of Georgia had already ceased to wear Confederate uniforms in public following complaints from black students. The national organization has since banned the wearing of Confederate uniforms to its "Old South" parades.
- Shelton, Todd. "Insignia and Publications". Retrieved 2008-01-06.
- Lyons, Jesse. "Kappa Alpha Order surpasses 150,000 initiates in its history". Retrieved 2010-11-24.
- Zeta Zeta Chapter - Wingate University. "The Beginning...". Retrieved 2008-01-06.
- Shelton, Todd. "Our Kappa Alpha Heritage". Retrieved 2008-01-06.[dead link]
- Sigma Nu Fraternity. "The Virginia Fraternities & The Lexington Triad". Retrieved 2008-01-06.[dead link]
- Kappa Alpha Order. "The mission of Kappa Alpha Order". Retrieved 2008-01-06.
- Shelton, Todd. "Knight Commander's Message, Fall 2004". Retrieved 2008-01-06.
- Shelton, Todd. "Mulberry Hill, Part One: History". Retrieved 2008-01-06.
- The Varlet (twelfth ed.). Kappa Alpha Order. 2010.
- Rowson, Scott. "2008 Number I's Leadership Institute". Retrieved 2008-01-06.
- Kappa Alpha Order. "What does the KAOEF do?". Retrieved 2008-01-06.
- Kappa Alpha Order. "The Kappa Alpha Journal". Retrieved 2008-01-06.
- Rowson, Scott. "The Kappa Alpha Journal Subscription Policy Explained". Retrieved 2008-01-06.
- KAO. "The Loyal Order". Retrieved 2008-01-06.
- ALPHA UPSILON Chapter Kappa Alpha Order. "KA Motto in MS State Capitol". Retrieved 2008-01-06.
- Argetsinger, Amy (December 3, 2002). "University of Virginia Frats Cleared in Blackface Incident". Washington Post. p. A15. Archived from the original on March 13, 2008.
- "UVA latest in string of blackface incidents. (Noteworthy News).(University of Virginia fraternities)". Black Issues in Higher Education. 2002-12-19.
- "'Old South' frat targeted over Confederate event". Associated Press. 2009-05-13. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
- Wheeler, Linda (23 April 2010). "Southern fraternity banishes Confederate uniforms". Washington Post. Retrieved 11 October 2011.
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