Two Members of Kappa Alpha Theta Honored during Women's History Month

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Kappa Alpha Theta is proud that two of the 18 women honored by the National Women's History Project (NWHP) in March (National Women's History Month) were members of our Fraternity.

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Dian Fossey and Julia Morgan are just two of the Thetas recognized as "firsts" in their fields.

More than 10 percent of the women honored by the National Women’s History Project (NWHP) during 2013 Women’s History Month were members of Kappa Alpha Theta. This year’s theme, Women Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination, honors 18 women who throughout American history have used their intelligence, imagination, sense of wonder, and tenacity to make extraordinary contributions to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Julia Morgan (1872-1957) was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta’s Omega Chapter at UC Berkeley. The first woman admitted to the architecture program at l’Ecole Nationale Superieure de Beaux-Arts in Paris, she was also the first woman architect licensed in California. Morgan designed more than 700 buildings in California and is best known for her work on Hearst Castle in San Simeon. She built her reputation as the architect identified with the modern women's movement and helped to open up the field of architecture by hiring and training them as artists, drafters, and architects.

Dian Fossey (1932-1985) was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta’s Gamma Xi Chapter at San Jose State and the world's first female primatologist. Accepted by the gorillas she studied in their natural environment (1967), she became a leading authority on mountain gorillas. Fossey's dedication to protecting the gorilla from extinction may have cost her life. She was murdered (perhaps by the poachers she challenged) at her research camp in Rwanda in 1985. Her book, Gorillas in the Mist, documented her intense study of these animals and the need to protect them; her life and work were portrayed in the motion picture of the same name that starred Sigourney Weaver.


Every year in March, the NWHP coordinates observances of National Women’s History Month throughout the country. The NWHP originated this widely recognized celebration and sets the annual theme, produces educational materials, and chooses particular women to honor nationally for their work. Women’s History Month programs, community events, plays, essay contests, and related projects often have wide-ranging effects.

Since our founding in 1870 at DePauw University (then Asbury College) in Greencastle, Ind., members of Kappa Alpha Theta have been notable for their contributions to their professions and the larger community. Dian Fossey and Julia Morgan are just two of the Thetas recognized as “firsts” in their fields. Across the US and Canada, Kappa Alpha Theta supports 132 college chapters and 200 alumnae groups. Membership totals nearly 220,000 women.

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Liz Rinck
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