The Upsilon chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta was installed by Sevilla Cleveland and welcomed onto the University of Minnesota campus by other sorority chapters on February 6, 1889, and recognized three years later on February 6, 1892. Lillie Marten, Kittie Comfort, Emma Kemp, Minnie Rexford, Anna Guthrie, Dora Guthrie, Beulah McHenry, Gertrude Bell, and Helen Tombs were the nine members who founded the Upsilon Chapter. By 1889, the Theta Upsilon chapter had eighteen members while the average Theta chapter nationally had between sixteen to seventeen members! From Theta’s beginnings in the 1890’s our chapter has maintained a high percentage of participation in campus activities, which have been recorded in the University’s newspaper.
By the turn of the turn of the century, chapter members enjoyed various ways of spending time together in the house, from doing homework together, eating meals to gathering around the piano. During the third decade (1910’s), the alumnae members held their first annual meeting of the Minnesota Kappa Alpha Theta Association (The Corporation Board).The first chapter house was purchased in 1911, where it housed 14 members and 1 chaperone. Theta’s participation on campus grew even more, with memberships in organizations from sports, to Women’s Self Government Association, and Young Women’s Christian Association. Going into the 1920’s to the 1930’s, the women of Theta maintained a busy social schedule. They had social gatherings with fraternities every weekend, dances after Monday night meetings, and put on their formals every quarter. Also, the University campus became familiar with the Theta quartet singing at various events around campus.
As the years went by, World War II affected everyone’s lives, even the women at the Theta Upsilon Chapter. More and more women were announcing engagements and marriages as the war continued. Despite the shadow of the war hanging over everyone’s head, Theta women were still able to find fun. They had movies, dances, and played bridge together if there were no boys for date night.
By the 1950’s Theta women waited anxiously for the completion of their new house, which is where the current women of Theta live today! Because the house was not finished for their annual Dad’s Day Luncheon, it was held at the Sigma Chi house and their fathers came marching down the street singing! In the 1960’s, Theta continued to strive as they enjoyed laying out back to catch some sunlight, while listening to the Beach Boys, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones. They also kept the tradition of Monday Night Dinner before meeting and gave the new members required readings to gain a fuller understanding of Theta.
The 1970’s was a time where many changes took place in the United States. Women fought for more freedom and independence in their lives. While the women of Theta studied hard for their diverse career plans, they also took breaks, and could almost always be found watching their favorite Soap Operas. When the women were not studying or watching their Soaps, they were preparing for Campus Carnival, what we know today as Spring Jam. In the 1980’s Theta continued to do amazing in their scholastic performance, almost always having one of the highest GPA’s in the Greek system, while maintaining a presence in campus activities. In 1988, Kappa Alpha Theta successfully re-colonized.
Kappa Alpha Theta has had a long and memorable presence on the University of Minnesota campus. The women of Theta’s past and present represent a group of women who can all identify with the sense of accomplishment our chapter has received through each individual's continuous efforts to perform to their highest capabilities in academics, service, sisterhood, and everything that makes a Theta for a lifetime.