Kappa Alpha Order

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Not to be confused with Kappa Alpha Society.
Kappa Alpha Order
Κappa Alpha
The Coat of Arms
Founded December 21, 1865; 149 years ago (1865-12-21)
Washington College, Lexington, Virginia
Type social, secret

Dieu et les Dames[1]
(God and the Ladies)

Fratres usque ad aram fidelis
(Brothers faithful unto death)
Colors Crimson and old Gold          
Flower Crimson Rose and Magnolia Blossom
Publication The Kappa Alpha Journal
Philanthropy Muscular Dystrophy Association

122 active[2]

103 alumni[citation needed]
Members approx. 7,600[citation needed] collegiate
approx. 150,000[citation needed] lifetime
Headquarters Mulberry Hill
Lexington, Virginia, United States
Homepage www.kappaalphaorder.org

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.[2] 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.[3]


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.[4] 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. 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.[5] 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.[6]

Administrative office[edit]

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.[7] Mulberry Hill is a Virginia Historic Landmark, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.[8] The offices for the Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation are also housed there.

Member programs[edit]

Number I's Leadership Institute[edit]

The Number I's Leadership Institute (Number 1 is the title of the chapter president[9]) is an intensive informational and educational retreat for chapter presidents. The retreat is held at Christian conference center.[10]

Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation (KAOEF)[edit]

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.[11]


The Kappa Alpha Journal (or KA Journal) is the fraternity's magazine. It has been published since 1879.[12] 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.[13]

Loyal Order[edit]

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.[14]


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.[15] 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.[9]

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.[1]


The Kappa Alpha Order motto is "Dieu et les Dames" (God and the Ladies)[1] and is written on the ceiling of the Mississippi State Capitol.[16]

Accusations of racial insensitivity[edit]

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.[17][18]

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.[19] The national organization has since banned the wearing of Confederate uniforms to its "Old South" parades.[20]

Notable hazing incidents[edit]

In 1997, a former pledge at Texas A&M University had to have a testicle surgically removed due to a fraternity member giving him a "super wedgie". The fraternity member was indicted for the incident.[21]

In 2008, the fraternity at Midwestern State University was suspended for three years after a pledge almost died due to alcohol poisoning under the fraternity supervision.[22]

In 2011, the fraternity was suspended at the University of Texas at Austin after the media receive reports of pledges being abused and adult female performers being hired for live sex shows.[23]

In 2013, the fraternity at the University of Virginia was suspended due to several serious allegations of hazing and misconduct.[24]

In 2015, Jonathan Ford, the son of Alabama State Representative Craig Ford and a former football recruit at Birmingham-Southern College, sued the fraternity for hazing and injuries he says he sustained while pledging which resulted in his football career ending prematurely.[25][26]

In 2015 the fraternity chapter at Virginia Wesleyan College was suspended by the national organization.[27] An investigation by the school determined that hazing had occurred in violation of school policy, but that it was not criminal.[28]

Notable members[edit]

Chapter list[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Shelton, Todd. "Insignia and Publications". Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  2. ^ a b http://www.kappaalphaorder.org/ka/active-chapters
  3. ^ Lyons, Jesse. "Kappa Alpha Order surpasses 150,000 initiates in its history". Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  4. ^ Zeta Zeta Chapter - Wingate University. "The Beginning...". Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  5. ^ Sigma Nu Fraternity. "The Virginia Fraternities & The Lexington Triad". Retrieved 2008-01-06. [dead link]
  6. ^ Kappa Alpha Order. "The mission of Kappa Alpha Order". Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  7. ^ Shelton, Todd. "Knight Commander's Message, Fall 2004". Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  8. ^ Shelton, Todd. "Mulberry Hill, Part One: History". Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  9. ^ a b "The Varlet" (twelfth ed.). Kappa Alpha Order. 2010. 
  10. ^ Rowson, Scott. "2008 Number I's Leadership Institute". Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  11. ^ Kappa Alpha Order. "What does the KAOEF do?". Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  12. ^ Kappa Alpha Order. "The Kappa Alpha Journal". Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  13. ^ Rowson, Scott. "The Kappa Alpha Journal Subscription Policy Explained". Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  14. ^ KAO. "The Loyal Order". Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ ALPHA UPSILON Chapter Kappa Alpha Order. "KA Motto in MS State Capitol". Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  17. ^ 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. 
  18. ^ "UVA latest in string of blackface incidents. (Noteworthy News).(University of Virginia fraternities)". Black Issues in Higher Education. 2002-12-19. 
  19. ^ "'Old South' frat targeted over Confederate event". Associated Press. 2009-05-13. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  20. ^ Wheeler, Linda (23 April 2010). "Southern fraternity banishes Confederate uniforms". Washington Post. Retrieved 11 October 2011. 
  21. ^ http://www.kbtx.com/home/headlines/Texas_AM_Greek_Life_Investigation_Reveals_Cases_of_Hazing_Goat_Shot_116450273.html
  22. ^ http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Kappa-Alpha-Suspended-from-Midwestern-State-.html
  23. ^ http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9Q155SG0.htm
  24. ^ http://www.richmond.com/news/state-regional/kappa-alpha-chapter-at-uva-suspended/article_becd36e4-a434-11e2-9772-0019bb30f31a.html
  25. ^ White, Linda (May 29, 2015). "Birmingham-Southern College, Kappa Alpha face hazing lawsuit". WVTM. NBC News. Retrieved November 26, 2015. 
  26. ^ Faulk, Kent (May 29, 2015). "Son of Alabama House minority leader files lawsuit claims 'hazing' injuries at BSC frat house". Al.com. Retrieved November 26, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Virginia Wesleyan College suspends fraternity for alleged hazing". 13 News Now. ABC. February 13, 2015. Retrieved November 26, 2015. 
  28. ^ Alvarez-Wertz, Jane (February 13, 2015). "Virginia Wesleyan fraternity suspended amid hazing allegations". WAVY. Retrieved November 26, 2015. 

External links[edit]