MONMOUTH, IL (12/20/2018) Almost 150 years after its founding at Monmouth College as one of the first women's fraternities in the nation, Kappa Kappa Gamma is again breaking new ground in Monmouth.
Monmouth College and the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation have created an innovative and creative scholar-in-residence program that will build upon an already strong relationship between the College and the women's fraternity, which was founded at Monmouth in 1870.
Mary Osborne has been named the inaugural scholar-in-residence for the program, which is the only one of its kind in U.S. higher education.
The program's purpose is to create a partnership between academia and a Greek-letter organization that will provide expertise and research on topics of interest and importance to both entities.
"The original dream was to provide a scholar the opportunity to go back in time to the birthplace of the women's fraternal movement by living and teaching in the place where the idea was given life," said Kappa Kappa Gamma President Gail Owen, a 1974 Monmouth graduate.
Osborne recently earned a doctorate in modern U.S. history from the University of Kentucky. She also has a master's degree in history from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis and a bachelor's degree in history from the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Ky., as well as a master's degree in library science from IUPUI.
As scholar-in-residence, Osborne will teach one course per semester while conducting research on women's history and the women's fraternal movement at The Stewart House Museum, the founding site of Kappa Kappa Gamma.
This fall, Osborne taught the history course "American Home Front During World War I." She said the course explored "the American response to the war, including how alumnae of Greek-letter organizations contributed to the war effort."
"Women's fraternities cultivated leaders who were involved in nearly every aspect of war work, from investigating conditions at the front to raising money for refugees," she said.
Both the College and Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation look forward to providing opportunities for students and faculty to research the impact the women's fraternal movement has had on women in higher education, women's voting rights and equal access for women in all areas of life.
"Having the chance to work with the scholar-in-residence is a real treat," said Kappa Kappa Gamma member Elizabeth Smith '19 of Geneva, Ill., who recently interned at The Stewart House Museum. "Professor Osborne is so knowledgeable of everything regarding the women's fraternal movement, and her dedication inspired me to keep studying the Victorian era and women's history. I'm so proud of what women's fraternities have done to help create leaders in our midst."
Monmouth College is also the founding home of the women's fraternity Pi Beta Phi, which began in 1867. Together, Kappa Kappa Gamma and Pi Beta Phi are known internationally as "the Monmouth Duo." The organizations are part of the College's strong history of providing equal opportunity to both men and women, as Monmouth has admitted women on an equal basis as men since its founding in 1853, making it one of the first U.S. colleges to do so.
Kappa Kappa Gamma has 144 active chapters in the United States and Canada, more than 245 alumnae associations around the world, and more than 289,000 initiated members since its founding. More information about the women's fraternity and its foundation is at www.kappa.org.