Kappa Gamma Pi was founded June 30, 1926, in Louisville, KY, by the Conference of Catholic Colleges for Women of the National Catholic Educational Association. The presiding officer, Rev. Francis V. Corcoran, CM, and Sister Josephine Rosaire Rea, SC, Dean of the College of Mount St. Vincent, NY, formed a committee of five deans of Catholic women’s colleges to set standards for election of members and affiliation of colleges.
The society was organized to be an association of distinguished women graduates whose purpose would be to exert a positive influence upon their communities. Election to membership required a record of leadership in extracurricular activities and high academic scholarship.
The first Kappas were selected by their colleges from the classes of 1927, 1928 and 1929. By August, 1929, when 73 delegates met for the first National Congress at Seton Hill College, PA, there were 29 affiliated colleges and 346 elected members. The delegates adopted the name, Kappa Gamma Pi, representing the first letters of the Greek words meaning “Catholic Women Leaders.” They chose Faith and Service as their motto and organized the society on national and local levels.
Since then Kappa Gamma Pi has grown in size and scope. Originally intended for lay women graduates of Catholic colleges, the society extended membership in 1967 to members of religious orders and to those of various faith commitments, and in 1981, to eligible male graduates as well. Kappa Gamma Pi became the National Catholic College Graduate Honor Society for all qualified honor graduates of affiliated Catholic colleges and universities.
At the 1989 National Convention Kappa delegates approved nomination by affiliated colleges of former honor graduates who were ineligible for membership at the time of their graduation. Affiliates may apply for one retroactive alumni membership per year. Also approved was nomination of graduates of post-graduate divisions of affiliated colleges, including both masters degree and doctoral degree programs. In 1993, National Convention delegates approved the nomination of one administrator from each affiliated college per year.
Today over 59,000 graduates of 143 Catholic institutions are Kappa Gamma Pi members. They live throughout the United States and in many foreign countries. Their successful lives and careers exemplify outstanding leadership and service in church, profession and community.
The Society provides opportunities for members to network at local chapter meetings and at the National Convention, held every two years.
The printed publication of Kappa Gamma Pi is the KAPPA GAMMA PI NEWS. This stimulating forum for contemporary thought is published four times a year. Letters to the Editor may be sent to Madison Denton.