Kappa Theta Psi men celebrate 100 years of memories


by Laina Toliver

The men of Kappa Theta Psi will celebrate 100 years of memories and brotherhood during their centennial on Nov. 10.

Kappa Theta Psi was founded on Nov. 10, 1902, at Simpson College, making it the oldest local fraternity west of Ohio and the sixth oldest local fraternity nationwide.

At the time of the fraternity’s founding it was the only Greek lettermen’s organization on campus. At the time, a religious revolution had pushed out four fraternities already established on campus.

The unofficial origin of the fraternity dates back to the winter and spring of 1901, according to Joe Walt, professor emeritus of history and author of “Beneath the Whispering Maples: The History of Simpson College.”

At that time, three seniors: A. Graham Reid, Rex Kennedy, John Harrold and three sophomores: Clifton Beatty, Loren Talbott and Frederick Kennedy began a group known as “The Six.” When the seniors graduated in the spring, the three remaining members began to discuss changing the membership of their group into a fraternity. With the help of thirteen other men they established Kappa Theta Psi.

“The men of Kappa Theta Psi were a strong fraternity on campus until they petitioned to be Delta Upsilons in 1964,” Walt said. “Eleven years later, due to drugs and the Vietnam War, Delta Upsilon was no longer a fraternity on campus. I suggested to Simpson that there were 600 or 700 alumni of Kappa Theta Psi that would love to see it revived, and in 1979, it was.”

Walt was initiated as an honoree Kappa Theta Psi member in recognition of his help to reestablish the local fraternity on campus.

The men of Kappa celebrated the centennial early on Labor Day weekend so the alumni were able to participate. The day was filled with golfing, dinner and bowling with over 100 alumni and the current collegiate members in attendance. Brothers united and shared memories of the ever-changing fraternity.

“It was interesting to talk to the alumni and hear about the issues Kappa has faced in the past 100 years, but also about all of the good times the men had as fraternity members,” said junior member Matt Edwards.

The men will also recognize the official Founder’s Day with a dinner Nov. 10.

“It is a remarkable thing for a local fraternity to be alive after 100 years and I am very proud of them,” said Walt.