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In 1837, the Methodist Church established Indiana Asbury (now DePauw University) in Greencastle, Indiana. Indiana Asbury officially opened its doors to women in 1867, but not without great uproar from the male students.
The first women students at Indiana Asbury were looking for ways to make friends and find support and encouragement for their academic pursuits. They were reviled by their teachers, taunted by their classmates, and ignored by their girlhood friends who did the "right" thing and attended conservatories for girls. It took these brave pioneers three years to found Kappa Alpha Theta, the first Greek-letter Fraternity for women.
To be sure, there were societies for women before 1867, and some of these had secret rituals with badges, passwords, mottoes, and other symbols. But in 1870, Theta became the first women's Greek-letter fraternity because its primary founder, Bettie Locke, wanted full membership in a male fraternity. When the men asked her to wear their fraternity badge as a "mascot," she responded, "If you won't initiate me into your fraternity, I'll start my own." Thus, Kappa Alpha Theta was established on January 27, 1870. In 2018, Kappa Alpha Theta celebrated its 148th anniversary.