The Founding of KDR

In the Fall of 1904, Middlebury College had three fraternities on campus: Chi Psi, Delta Kappa Epsilon, and Delta Upsilon. There also existed the Commons Club, a large neutral group of students.

George E. Kimball, President of the Commons Club, met with fellow members Irving T. Coates and John Beecher to discuss forming a fraternity. They met in Kimball’s room, Room 14 of Old Painter Hall on the Middlebury College campus. After several meetings, they approached seven other members of the Commons Club to form the nucleus of a new fraternity: Thomas H. Bartley, Pierce W. Darrow, Benjamin E. Farr, Gideon R. Norton, Gino A. Ratti, Chester M. Walch and Roy D. Wood.

Founding Members

Back Row: Benjamin E. Farr, Chester M Walch, Gideon R. Norton, Gino A Ratti. Front Row: Thomas H. Bartley, George E. Kimball, and Roy D. Wood

On May 17, 1905, these ten met again in Room 14 of Old Painter Hall as the Founding Members of the newly formed Kappa Delta Rho Fraternity. They left school for the year and did not publicly announce the formation of the new Fraternity until the fall.

Kimball, Walch & Ratti met and drafted a ritual, open motto, and a constitution. Ratti designed the coat of arms and helped develop the ritual. Princeton Orange and Middlebury Blue were chosen as the fraternity colors, and the red rose as the fraternity flower. The first new member of KDR, George E. Shaw, wrote the fraternity Credo.

During the first year, a representative from Delta Tau Delta met with KDR to discuss merging the new fraternity into their organization. The Founders had expressed some interest in joining a national fraternity, but ultimately decided against this idea and in Kimball’s words: “We had decided that we preferred to paddle our own canoe and took no further action in the matter.” The new fraternity found support from Middlebury professor Henry Harvey, who became their first honorary member.

The new fraternity did not have pledge classes or pledges but new members were part of delegations, and by 1913 the fraternity was attracting delegations of 10-15 men. 1913 also saw KDR expand beyond the Middlebury campus with the formation of the Beta Chapter at Cornell Univerity. The Gamma and Delta Chapters were formed in 1915 at New York State College for Teachers (now SUNY Albany) and Colgate Univeristy, respectively.

Nu Chapter

KDR came to Indiana University when the local fraternity Sigma Eta Chi was officially chartered as the Nu Chapter of Kappa Delta Rho on April 9th, 1926. The Nu Chapter has proudly served IU with Honor Before All Things for over 80 years of activity.

Nu Chapter has been an important factor at IU for the duration of its existence, and the legacy of our past is still prevalent on campus today. Nu Chapter has occupied a number of locations including the Air Force ROTC building on 3rd Street, the Evans Scholars House, the Alpha Omicron Pi house, and a unit in Ashton.

The current chapter has seen a strong resurgence in activity and interest, receiving numerous national awards. In 2012, we achieved the highest GPA of any KDR chapter nationwide. Brothers represent us well as Executive Board members in Gamma Sigma Alpha, the all-Greek honors society, as well as with leadership positions in IUSF, IUDM, RHA, and other organizations on campus.

The commitment to Kappa Delta Rho does not end when an undergraduate brother graduates. Membership in Kappa Delta Rho is for life and our alumni continue to stay involved and support her through a variety of alumni events, serving as chapter advisors or housing corporation members, becoming a member of the National Board of Directors or their committees, and/or providing financial support to the Fraternity’s educational endeavors through the Kappa Delta Rho Foundation.