History of Kappa Psi
The first chapter of Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity was founded on May 30, 1879 at Russell Military Academy in New Haven, Connecticut, by F. Harvey Smith. Known, at the time, as the "Society of Kappa Psi," the fraternity existed as a secret organization which helped teammates come together after a strenuous football game against Cheshire Military Academy. After the two teams met again on November 30, 1879, a second chapter was established at Cheshire Military Academy. Unfortunately, these two chapters were eventually forced to disband in 1899.
In 1894, a group of students attending Hillhouse Academy in New Haven, Connecticut thought of forming a secret society of their own. They consulted with F. Harvey Smith and his father, David Smith, and a third chapter was installed on October 7, 1894. This chapter dissolved when all of its members graduated on June 30, 1895.
The idea of making this society into a national organization developed in the minds of several of its members. In the fall of 1885, alumni from the three chapters came together and established the Alpha Chapter. The Alpha Chapter was comprised of all alumni from the original three chapters that were interested in joining. F. Harvey Smith was made Grand Alpha, with Preston W. Eldridge, Jr., Lewis Bishop, and Lewis Oakley along side him as officers. The officers held meetings until 1899, and, during that time, they made plans to establish collegiate chapters in some of the schools that members were expected to attend.
The first collegiate chapter was established in the fall of 1898 by William F. Clark at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine at Baltimore. This was designated as the Delta Chapter. Around the same time, Albert Kaehrle and his brother entered Columbus University, College of Pharmacy. They installed the Gamma Chapter there on November 20, 1898. Preston Eldridge, Jr. and William F. Clark installed the third collegiate chapter, Beta Chapter, at the University College of Medicine at Richmond, Virginia on March 31, 1900.
In 1902, the group realized that in order to give legal status to the organization that they should be incorporated. The objectives listed in the application for incorporation were the basis for the fraternity's current objectives. After approval occurred, the group became known as Kappa Psi Fraternity, Incorporated. This fraternity existed as a joint medical-pharmaceutical fraternity, even though most of the original effort was made to charter chapters in medical schools.
Kappa Psi continued to grow rapidly over the next 15 years, until World War I threatened the strength of the fraternity. Membership was cut due to the enlistment of many members into the armed forces. Luckily, in the years following the war, developments for reorganization of Kappa Psi were in motion. One of the ideas for reorganization was to split Kappa Psi between medical and pharmacy members. While many thought that the fraternity helped to unite the two professions into cooperation, many others recognized that each field of study was branching out into its own. In 1924, the two groups officially split. The pharmacy group maintained all of the existing names and offices, including the Kappa Psi name, the offices of Regent and Vice Regent, and the "The Mask" as the journal. The medical group became known as Theta Kappa Psi Medical Fraternity, their officers were known as Prytan and Vice Prytan, and the journal was known as "The Messenger." At the time of reorganization, there were 32 active medical chapters and 27 active pharmacy chapters.
Another threat to membership came in the form of World War II, which had a far greater impact on the fraternities than World War I. By 1944, classes in medical and pharmacy schools were at their lowest levels in history, reducing the numbers in both fraternities. There was also some uncertainty about how people would feel about fraternities when they came back. However, when the men came back, pharmacy became the profession of choice for veterans. Pharmacy schools grew to capacity, and Kappa Psi experienced its largest period of growth in history.
The growth of Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity has not waned since then. At the time of the Centennial Celebration of the fraternity in 1979, there were 61 active collegiate chapters and 35 active graduate chapters. Kappa Psi has also fostered growth through the admittance of women and has benefited from the transition of a 5-year pharmacy program to a 6-year program. Currently, there are 80 active collegiate chapters and 59 active graduate chapters with over 85,000 members. Kappa Psi has benefited from change in the past and will continue to grow stronger through its changes in the future.
History of the Beta Chi Chapter at Drake University
Taken from The History of Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity (1992) by Dewey D. Garner, pages 121-122
The Beta Chi chapter was installed at the Des Moines College of Pharmacy in Des Moines on May 3rd, 1930. The installation ceremony was held at the Hotel Des Moines with W. Bruce Phillip, Grand Regent in charge. He also demonstrated the Ritual of Initiation. On April 15th, 1939, The Des Moines College of Pharmacy affiliated with Drake University and Beta Chi became a part of an important fraternity system on the Drake campus.
Throughout its early years decorations for homecoming and later floats for the Drake Relays Parade were both annual events. On May 10th, 1955 the chapter celebrated its 25th anniversary with a banquet at the Drake Dining Hall with Charter member, Dr. John D. Shumaker as the speaker for the occasion.
Professional projects include annual poison prevention talks which were first initiated in 1967, CPR training and hypertension screenings. Social highlights include Snoball, our annual semi-formal which began in 1971, a Formal Dance in the Spring, Halloween and Holidays parties, and Drake Relays activities. From 1951 until 1982 the Chapter published an all college of pharmacy publication, the "Post Script". Beta Chi was one of the first chapters to organize a Little Sister program, in January of 1971.
Beta Chi celebrated its 50th anniversary with a banquet and reception at the Rolling Prairie Inn in Des Moines on April 26th, 1980. Grand Regent, Dr. Dewey D. Garner recalled some of the accomplishments of the chapter over the years, presented a 50 year plaque to Regent Dale Wagener, and presented Order of the Golden Mortar Certificates to the charter members in attendance: Verne Nyman, C. Burdeen Withrow, B.F. Elin, Ralph Anderson, and Argyll Thompson. Dean Boyd Granberg, a former Grand Officer and Grand Council Deputy, was recognized as a longtime member of Beta Chi. Also present for the anniversary was Third Grand Vice Regent and Province Supervisor, Mr. Larry Lee Slater. The Co-Chairmen for the Golden Anniversary Planning Committee were Grand Council Deputy, Jerry Karbeling, and Mike Seifert.
In the fall of 1988 Beta Chi had its first co-ed pledge class (seven women) and phased out its Little Sister program. The following year Marcy Longseth was elected the chapter's first female Regent.
Beta Chi donates books to our new National philanthropy, Reach Out and Read. Socially, the chapter continues the monthly tradition of Wednesday Night Outs after Meetings.