Kappa Delta Rho (ΚΔΡ, also known as KDR) is an American college social fraternity, with 82 chapters (40 of which are active) spread out over the United States, primarily in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Kappa Delta Rho's open motto is Honor Super Omnia, or Honor Above All Things.
Kappa Delta Rho was founded in room 14 of Old Painter Hall at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont on May 17, 1905. Middlebury was the site of two other national fraternities during that eventful first year, Chi Psi and Delta Kappa Epsilon. However, not finding these organizations to their liking, the founders of the fraternity chose the more difficult, and ultimately successful, course of creating their own new organization. Kappa Delta Rho was the creation of a group of men from the Middlebury Commons Club by ten principal founders: George Edwin Kimball, Irving Thurston Coates, John Beecher, Pierce Wordsworth Darrow, Thomas Howard Bartley, Benjamin Edward Farr, Gideon Russell Norton, Gino Arturo Ratti, Chester Monroe Walch and Roy Dyer Wood.
The first year was busy: Founders Kimball, Walch and Ratti met by committee to draft the ritual, open motto, and a constitution. Walch created the fraternity's secret motto and password. For its organizational structure, the founders chose Roman nomenclature for fraternity positions, evocative of Roman values. Ratti, who had previous artistic experience, designed the coat of arms and helped develop the ritual. He also chose the fraternity's colors and flower .
This flurry of activity was soon noticed by a representative from Delta Tau Delta fraternity, who met with the founding members to discuss absorption of KDR into DTD. While the Founders indeed had expressed some interest in joining a national fraternity, the debate soon turned against this idea. In Kimball's words: “We had decided that we preferred to paddle our own canoe and took no further action in the matter.” Yet the idea of national expansion took root, and by 1913, KDR had established its second chapter, Beta, at Cornell, and soon after, its third chapter, Gamma, at SUNY Albany.
Growth continued after World War II, when chapters which had briefly ceased operations reopened to returning students, and expansion again became possible. Similarly, after World War II, the fraternity successfully reopened to the flood of returning GIs fifteen of its then twenty chapters in the fall of 1946.
In 1960, the KDR Trust was formed, which marked the birth of today's KDR Foundation, an educational, charitable and literary foundation.
KDR has allowed moderate expansion during most of its history, with several new chapters forming in each ensuing decade. The pace of chapter growth increased substantially in the 1980s and 1990s. For example, while the 1970s saw just two chapters formed, during the 1980s the fraternity gained 28 new chapters. All told, the fraternity has organized at more than 80 campuses, and from these boasts 40 active chapters and colonies. See the list of KDR chapters.
Unusual among college fraternities, KDR's Alpha Chapter at Middlebury chose to coeducate (go "co-ed") in 1989, due to a policy at the school against single-sex organizations. Their choice was stark: either that, or disband, an unthinkable choice for the founding chapter of a national fraternity. After several years of negotiation, Alpha chapter was restored to its place as the eldest chapter of the fraternity and by agreement was the only chapter of the Kappa Delta Rho Society, a parallel branch of the fraternity meant to support this, its only co-ed chapter. Because of its special status, Alpha chapter maintained its own traditions and a unique badge, slightly modified from the standard fraternity badge, which ironically, Alpha men had designed at the 1905 birth of the fraternity. Alpha chapter too, was the only nationally affiliated fraternity chapter at Middlebury, where all other groups remain "locals.". On June 25, 2015, Middlebury College terminated its relationship with KDR.
Kappa Delta Rho is the sole fraternity to have a co-ed chapter within the North-American Interfraternity Conference.
The values of ΚΔΡ are: Fellowship, Leadership, Scholarship, Service, and Tradition and can be seen in its Credo and Precepts. The Credo first received national recognition in the fraternity world when The Fraternity Month published it in the October 1946 issue. The author is George E. Shaw, Alpha ‘10, (1885 – 1976), Director of Kappa Delta Rho and National Historian. The Precepts were adopted by the 95th National Convention in 2006.
The National Office of the fraternity publishes a semi-annual news magazine called the Quill & Scroll. First published as The Scroll in 1909 at Middlebury College, the Fraternity changed the name in 1924 after it became a national publication. Today, articles in The Quill and Scroll detail the successes of the National Fraternity, the various alumni corporations, undergraduate chapters and individual members. The articles reflect the high ideals of KDR as experienced by its undergraduates and alumni.
The Pathfinder is the KDR educational and historical manual. It is given to those who choose to pledge the fraternity so that they may understand the responsibilities of membership. It also provides them with an introduction to the way in which KDR is organized, how it operates and what the roles are of the chapter, alumni, and National Office. The Manual is updated every few years by the National Office to bring it up to date with new information, policies and ideas.
Awards are given out to chapters and individual Brothers each year at the National Convention. Chapter awards include the Robert D. Corrie Award for Chapter of The Year, O.D. Roberts Award for Chapter Improvement, Donald C. Wolfe for Outstanding Newsletter, George E. Kimball Award for Outstanding Social Service, John L. Blakely Award for Outstanding Philanthropics, Leo T. Wolford Award for Outstanding Campus Involvement, Gino A. Ratti Award for Outstanding Alumni Relations, E. Mayer Maloney Award for Outstanding Faculty Relations, Dr. Harold Osborn Award for Outstanding Intramural Sports, and the George E. Shaw Award for Outstanding Public Relations.
Individual awards are also handed out, including Outstanding Senior, Outstanding New Member, Outstanding Advisor, and the Red Rose Award. In addition, qualified Alumni may be inducted into the prestigious Ordo Honoris based upon achievements in either their career, community or their dedication to the fraternity.
In 2015, the KDR chapter at Pennsylvania State University was suspended for three years after a tip led to a police search warrant regarding their private Facebook page that showed naked women who appeared to be sleeping, passed out, or otherwise incapacitated, apparently without the subjects' consent.
At least 144 current KDR members and alumni were members of the private group. The group was titled "2.0" because an earlier version of the site had been taken down after a woman who saw a naked photo of herself threatened to report the group.
38 members of the fraternity were expelled and the former member of the fraternity who gave authorities the tip that led to the search warrant sued the fraternity for severe hazing he allegedly endured as a pledge. While pledging he was allegedly burned with cigarettes, physically beaten by larger members, and forced to drink liquor mixed with urine and hot sauce.
Kappa Delta Rho is financially supported through undergraduate dues and by the Kappa Delta Rho Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity. The foundation raises funds from Brothers, family, and friends of KDR to financially support the educational, leadership, and character development programs undertaken by the national fraternity. The foundation also manages both individual and collective scholarship endowments of the national fraternity, providing more than $75,000 in academic support each year to qualified members of the fraternity.
The Kappa Delta Rho Foundation provides competitive scholarships based upon academic achievement. Applications are submitted online. The foundation also serves as caretaker to several chapter-specific scholarships and area of study-specific scholarships that can be applied for with the same application. The foundation typically gives away more than $75,000 in annual scholarships with individual awards ranging from a minimum of $500 upwards to $2,200.
In addition to competitive academic scholarships the foundation also gives away non-competitive New Member academic scholarships. Any KDR brother who received above a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale during his pledging semester will receive $100 from the foundation, providing they submit the proper documentation.
The Kappa Delta Rho Foundation also offers scholarships for the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute and Futures Quest, both of which are educational programs run by the North-American Interfraternity Conference. The scholarships cover the full cost of registration for each program.
The Elmon Williams Leadership Academy is a multi-day leadership program that occurs each August (in conjunction with the National Convention in even-numbered years) and is funded in large part by the Foundation. The academy allows for undergraduate KDR brothers to learn more about being an effective leader in their chapter and in the professional world.
The Consuls Academy is a three-day leadership program held every January for incoming chapter consuls (presidents). This intensive academy prepares consuls for the responsibilities of running a chapter.
In 2007 the KDR Foundation created the Kappa Delta Rho Wilderness Institute, which occurred once a year in a different wilderness location around the country. Brothers who were admitted to the program through an application process took part in a multi-day hike that was led by an alumni mentor and experienced guide. The program was designed to provide hands on leadership programming, substance-free brotherhood building activities, personal growth opportunities, and core values exploration. The Wilderness Institute continued until 2011.
In 2014, KDR introduced a total member education program called The Legion. This innovative four-year personal development track grounded in the Fraternity's values will combine the latest educational technology with a holistic personal development curriculum to mold brothers from the first day of new member education to preparing them for life after graduation.
Kappa Delta Rho has 82 chapters, 40 of which are active.