History of DK

History (courtesy of Ithaca College's DK chapter web site)

Delta Kappa Fraternity was originally founded in 1920, assuming the name Kappa Kappa Kappa to represent the tri-Kappa symbolism of Korufaios, Kathapos, and Kosmos. Established at the State Normal School, Buffalo, NY, now the Buffalo State Teacher's College. The Five Original founders were James Finley, Albert Meinhold, Albert Stalk, Fred Weyler, and Arthur S. Bellfield.

From 1925 to 1927, with the advent of the foundation of the original Alpha Chapter, came the addition of three new Chapters. Beta Chapter, located at Cortland State Teacher's College, founded 1925, Gamma Chapter, located at Oswego State Teacher's College, installed 1926, and in 1927 the Delta Chapter at Plattsburg State Teacher's College was added. Following 1928 the addition of the first Alumni Chapter, Pi Alpha, covering the New York area was completed.

A landmark in the history of Delta Kappa Fraternity occurred in 1930 when the fraternity was nationalized as an incorporation, Kappa Kappa Kappa, under the corporate law of New York State. It was now recognized as a national fraternity for the teaching profession. Perhaps due to the Great Depression the addition of new chapters was somewhat impeded, but at Ithaca this chapter's history began when Epsilon Chapter was installed in 1931. In 1935 Zeta Chapter, New Paltz State Teacher's College, was added, as was Pi Beta, another alumni chapter serving the New York area.

From 1936 to 1937 chapter delegates completed a second incorporation in which the name was changed from Kappa Kappa Kappa to Delta Kappa due to the possibility of mistaken identification with the Ku Klux Klan. The Tri-Kappa symbolism was retained with the use of the Greek letter Delta, meaning three.

Although Eta Chapter was installed at Oneonta State Teacher's College , in 1942, World War II necessitated that the entire fraternity be rendered inactive for the duration. This inactivity was short lived however as the returning war veterans successfully reactivated the fraternity with the addition of Theta Chapter, Potsdam, NY in 1946. As the fraternity was a national, yet included only chapters in New York State, a reevaluation of the ideals and objectives of the fraternity resulted in a policy of expansion directed outside the borders of New York. The results of this policy revealed another weakness in the fraternity's outlook. Many petitioning chapters were denied membership because they could not meet the professional requirement, all members training for the teaching field. The post-war influx of enrollees in Colleges had caused many additions and changes in the curricula of many higher institutions. Thus the one vocation schools such as Teacher's Colleges were no longer feasible. Realizing that the expansion was useless unless Delta Kappa changed it's professional requirement to read that at least half the members of any petitioning fraternal group must be working toward the teaching profession. The significance of this change was measured by the addition of eleven new active chapters and one passive chapter. These were: Iota, Geneseo, NY, 1948; Delta Chi, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, 1949; Kappa, Terra Haute, Indiana, 1950; Delta Rho, Harrisonburg, Virginia, 1951; Phi, Clarion, Pennsylvania, 1951; Sigma Phi, Frostburg, Maryland, 1951; Sigma, Menominee, Wisconsin, 1951; Chi Delta, Whitewater, Wisconsin, 1952; Eta Phi, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 1952; Omincron, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1953; Chi Gamma, Milton, Wisconsin, 1953; Pi Kappa, Evansville, Indiana, 1953.

Everything was running smoothly for Delta Kappa and the future looked prosperous when in 1953 the Board of Regents of New York State issued an edict forcing the abandonment and inactivation of all chapters affiliated with national societies in the state supported colleges of New York. This act eliminated the twelve veteran chapters and two alumni chapters. With limited experience the remaining chapters attempted to maintain their unity and preserve Delta Kappa Fraternity. Led by the close knit perseverance of the Wisconsin chapters a provincial meeting was called for the fall of 1954 and the decision was made to preserve the national fraternity, at all cost !

In Wisconsin, 1956, after one and a half years of desperation, a convention was held in the spring and attended by seven chapters. Out of this convention came a new constitution, a national fraternity for social purposes, incorporated in the state of Wisconsin, recognized at Delta Kappa National Fraternity, Incorporated. The success of this venture was measured by the addition of six passive chapters: Pi Chi Delta, Whitewater, Wisconsin, 1956; Pi Omicron, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1957; Pi Sigma Phi, Frostburg, Maryland, 1957; Pi Chi Gamma, Milton, Wisconsin, 1958; Pi Epsilon, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY, 1958; and Pi Phi, Clarion, Pennsylvania, 1958.


The following addition is from a DK pledge book during the final years of the fraternity.   

 Delta Kappa Beta was originally founded under the name Kappa Kappa Kappa at the State Teachers College at Buffalo, NY in 1920 by seven men who constituted almost the entire male registration at the time. The success of the venture was so pronounced that the other soon became aware of the benefit to be derived and petitions for the installment of chapters at other schools began. Expansion took place rather rapidly and by 1930 there were six chapters located in the Normal Schools and Colleges of the State of NY. 


During that year the Fraternity eventually became nationalized. The Kappa Kappa Kappa Fraternity here at Cortland was organized in 1925 with the assistance of Dr. Degroat and Mr. H. Ward McGraw. Having been incorporated soon after, the Van Hoesen home on Lincoln Avenue was purchased. However, because of inability to make the necessary payments due to the depression, the Fraternity was forced to give up this property and from then on until the War have its members live in rented rooms. Dr. Lynn Brown “fathered” the Fraternity during most of those years and in fact until they disbanded for the duration of the war. World War II caused a marked decrease in male college enrollment and the entire Fraternity became inactive. The interest and enthusiasm of the pre-war members lived on throughout the national crisis.

In 1946 the returning Brothers set about to re-activate the Fraternity. In 1947 the Kappa Kappa Kappa Fraternity was re-activated at Cortland with the new name Delta Kappa Beta and a new House located on Clayton Avenue. One year later Delta Kappa Beta was relocated to 50 Tompkins. A ban was issued in 1953 which forced the abandonment of chapters affiliated with national societies to become inactive. Because Delta Kappa Beta was in danger from this ban, the Fraternity here at Cortland was localized. The leaders of the Fraternity who had formed national policies were forced to direct their
attention to local affairs. We have various chapters at the present time in other schools, namely Oswego, Oneonta, Potsdam, Ithaca, Plattsburgh and New Paltz.

On May 27 1989 the house at 50 Tompkins was destroyed by fire. The house was condemned for one and a half years with the Brothers once again renting rooms. In the Fall of 1990 alumni William McDermott bought and rebuilt the House. The Brothers of Delta Kappa Beta were once again residing on Tomkins thanks to the hard work of the Brothers and William McDermott.


During the 1990’s Delta Kappa Beta became unrecognized by Cortland. In May of 2000, the College took the much stronger and extreme step of banning the fraternity, and threatening to expel any student associated with it. The fraternity still survived, but as an underground organization.


In July of 2001, the landlord evicted the brothers remaining in the house, and agreed to lease the house to a new fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi. In August of 2001, one of the evicted brothers returned and set fire to the house, making it uninhabitable.


In Fall of 2001 the Fraternity moved to 79 Central Avenue where it remained until Fall of 2003 where they then moved to Clayton Avenue and then to 80 Tompkins in 2004. In 2004, on a tip from a pledge that quit, police raided the House during pledging resulting in the expulsion of Brothers. The Fraternity was able to survive for the next six years and the House moved to various locations. The last location of the House was 18 Reynolds Avenue.



On October 26 2010 eight Brothers were arrested on hazing charges during pledging after a pledge went to the police. Delta Kappa Beta is no longer a Fraternity at Cortland.