Kappa Alpha Order
(commonly known as Kappa Alpha, KA, or “the Order”) is a social fraternity and a fraternal order founded in 1865 at Washington College in Lexington, Virginia. As of 2014, the Kappa Alpha Order lists 122 active chapters, 7 provisional chapters, and 33 suspended chapters. Along with Alpha Tau Omega and Sigma Nu, the order represents a third of the Lexington Triad. Since its establishment in 1865, The Order has initiated more than 150,000 members.
Kappa Alpha Order was originally founded as Phi Kappa Chi on December 21, 1865, at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. James Ward Wood, William Archibald Walsh, and brothers William Nelson Scott and Stanhope McClelland Scott are the founders of the fraternity. Soon after the founding, the local Virginia Beta chapter of Phi Kappa Psi protested the name “Phi Kappa Chi”, due to the similarity of the names, leading Wood to change the name of the fraternity to K.A. by April 1866. The popular Kuklos Adelphon society had gone defunct during the Civil War, and it is suspected that Wood selected the letters K.A. to attract those who were familiar with the old society. Within one year, the order’s ritual would be expanded upon by Samuel Zenas Ammen, who was dubbed the “practical founder”. In the years that followed, the fraternity spread throughout the Southern United States, as well as other states such as California, Arizona and New Mexico.
KA is one-third of the Lexington Triad, along with Alpha Tau Omega and Sigma Nu. The founders listed Robert E. Lee‘s chivalry and gentlemanly conduct as an inspiration, and he was designated the “Spiritual Founder” of the Order by John Temple Graves at the 1923 Convention.
The colors of The Order are traditionally Crimson and Old Gold. The colors represent the blood sacrificed (crimson red) and the money spent (old gold) in defense of the country. The flowers of the Order are the crimson rose and the magnolia blossom. The crimson rose represents masculine might and the white magnolia blossom represents purity.
The flowers of the order, and a ribbon featuring the order’s motto adorn the bottom of the crest. The crest itself is representative of several things; the hand holding the axe represents the continuing power of the Knight Commander and of the order. The Helmet was, at one time, a symbol used by the Knight Commander of the Order. The badge is featured at the center of the crest, and the lions on either side represent different things each. The lion on the left, looking away, symbolizes “rampant”, meaning magnanimous. The lion on the right, looking towards you, symbolizes “regardent”, which means cautious or circumspect.
Accusations of racial insensitivity
The fraternity has been criticized for racial insensitivity, identification with the Confederacy, and racism. In November 2002, the Zeta Psi and Kappa Alpha Order chapters at the University of Virginia were suspended and subsequently cleared after the fraternities held a Halloween party where a few guests were photographed wearing blackface and dressed up as Uncle Sam and Venus and Serena Williams.
In 2009, Kappa Alpha Order at the University of Alabama was criticized for wearing Confederate uniforms for an “Old South” parade that passed by an African-American sorority house celebrating its 35th anniversary. The organization apologized for any offense that might have been caused. Kappa Alpha Order on other campuses, including Auburn, Centenary College, Mississippi State University, and the University of Georgia had already ceased to wear Confederate uniforms in public following complaints from black students. The national organization has since banned the wearing of Confederate uniforms to its “Old South” parades.
List of Kappa Alpha Order members
This is a list of notable alumni of Kappa Alpha Order.
- Michael Beck (Alpha Mu) actor
- Pat Boone (Gamma Lambda) movie star and recording artist
- Marty Brennaman (Zeta) announcer for the Cincinnati Reds
- Zac Brown (Zeta Kappa) Grammy Award Winning Country Music Singer. Lead Vocalist for “Zac Brown Band”
- Thomas F. Dixon, Jr. (Tau) author, playwright
- Bill Engvall (Xi) actor and comedian – best known for “Here’s your sign!”
- Ben Ferguson (Alpha Upsilon) Conservative radio talk show host, author
- George Grizzard (Upsilon) actor, Tony award winner – Best Actor 1996
- Taylor Hackford (Beta Sigma) film director, Oscar award winner
- George Hamilton IV (Upsilon) country music singer
- Rob Huebel (Delta Omicron) Comedian, Actor (Human Giant)
- William Joyce (Beta Lambda) author, artist, illustrator, creator of Rolie Polie Olie and numerous Disney / Pixar films
- Bill Lawrence (Alpha Zeta) television writer, producer and director
- Paul Loverme/Right Side Art (Epsilon Tau) visual fine artist 
- Frank McCarthy (producer) (Beta) movie producer, won an Oscar for producing Patton, 1970’s Best Picture
- Page McConnell (Beta Lambda) member of music group “Phish”
- Delbert Mann (Chi) film director – Oscar award winner – Best Director 1955 for Best Picture – Marty
- Richard Moll (Alpha Xi) actor, best known as “Bull Shannon” on television’s Night Court
- Rich O’Toole (Epsilon Delta) Country music singer
- Anthony Perkins (Alpha Psi) actor, acted in over 50 films, but best known as Norman Bates in “Psycho”
- Mark Povinelli (Epsilon Lambda) actor in movies such as Water for Elephants and The Polar Express
- Charlie Rose (Alpha Phi) talk show host
- Randolph Scott (Alpha Sigma) actor
- Ned Vaughn (Phi) actor
- Mark L. Walberg (Delta Tau ) game show host
- Douglass Wallop (Beta Kappa) writer – Tony award winner – Best Writer 1956 – Best Musical Damn Yankees.
- Michael Brun (Sigma) – DJ/Producer
- Robert Crandall (Alpha Zeta) former president, chairman and CEO of American Airlines
- Ken May (Gamma Gamma) CEO, FedEx Kinko’s
- Jerry Richardson (Delta) Carolina Panthers Owner/Founder
- Robert W. Woodruff (Epsilon) President, Coca-Cola Company, 1926-1954
- George W. Woodruff (Alpha Sigma) Director, Coca-Cola Company, 1936-1985
- Chase Fitzhugh Wilson (Nu) Chief Executive Officer, The Wilson Company, 1989–Present
- Jordan Wheat Lambert (Zeta) Owner, Lambert Pharmaceutical Company, formulated and marketed Listerine
- Nicholas Schaefer (Beta Iota) President and Owner, Packers By-Products, Inc.
- Christopher Chmelik (Alpha Kappa) Chief Executive Officer, Big Dogg Enterprises 2009–Present
- Allen Stephenson (Rho) Founder, Southern Tide 
- William James Barrow (Zeta) American chemist and paper conservator
- John B. Watson (Iota) American Psychologist, founder of Behaviorism
- Ben Logan (Theta) KA legacy and supreme pledge educator (pretty much the definition of frat)
- Robert W. Hemphill (Rho) Former U.S. Congressman 1857-1964 (South Carolina); Federal Judge for South Carolina 1965-1980.
- Thurman Adams (Beta Epsilon) Former Senator and President Pro Tempore of State Senate (Delaware)
- Robert Aderholt (Phi) U.S. Congressman (Alabama)
- Carl Albert (Beta Eta) former U.S. Representative (Oklahoma) Speaker of the House 1971-1977
- Paul Atkins (Delta) Former Commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Roger Bedford, Jr. (Alpha Beta) State Senator Alabama
- Roy Blunt (Alpha Eta) U.S. Congressman (Missouri)
- J. Caleb Boggs (Beta Epsilon) former Governor and U.S. Senator (Delaware)
- Rick Boucher (Beta Rho) U.S. Congressman (Virginia)
- Charles Boustany (Gamma Phi) U.S. Congressman (Louisiana)
- Adm. Richard E. Byrd (Lambda) U.S. Navy, Antarctic explorer; Medal of Honor recipient
- William Denis Brown, III, former state senator from Monroe, Louisiana
- Bryan Edward Bush, Jr., former district attorney of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana
- Nathaniel W Cabell (Chi) Originator of National States Rights Party, SC State Senator
- Jack Clary (Kappa) Lawyer, Williams College
- William Clements (Beta Lambda) former governor (Texas)
- Clark M. Clifford (Alpha Theta) former counsel to U.S. presidents Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy; former secretary of defense
- Larry Combest (Gamma Chi) U.S. Congressman (Texas)
- Zel M. Fischer (Alpha Delta) Judge, Missouri Supreme Court
- Don Fowler (Delta) Former Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
- Bart Gordon (Delta Lambda) U.S. Congressman (Tennessee)
- Henry Hager (Tau) married to Jenna Bush, daughter of U.S. President George W. Bush
- J. Edgar Hoover (Alpha Nu) former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Richard Hudson (Epsilon Xi) U.S. Congressman (North Carolina)
- Buddy MacKay (Beta Zeta) former Governor and Lieutenant Governor (Florida); former U.S. Congressman (Florida)
- GA George C. Marshall (Beta) former U.S. Secretary of State, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, former U.S. Army Chief of Staff, namesake of the “Marshall Plan“, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, graduate, the Virginia Military Institute
- G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery (Beta Tau) former U.S. Congressman, author of the GI Bill of Rights
- Henry McMaster (Rho) Attorney General of South Carolina
- Daniel Mongiardo (Alpha Theta) Lt. Governor of Kentucky (2007-)
- Bill Owens (Delta Kappa) Governor (Colorado)
- Gen. George S. Patton (Beta) former Commander, 3rd U.S. Army
- Austin Peay (Omega) former Governor (Tennessee)
- Gen. J. H. Binford Peay III (Beta) Former Commander, 101st Airborne Division, US CENTCOM, Superintendent of VMI
- Claude Pepper (Alpha Omega) former U.S. Congressman (Florida); former U.S. Senator (Florida)
- Melvin Purvis (Rho) FBI. Headed the Division of Investigation Offices in Birmingham, Alabama. Famous for leading manhunts that led to the end of gangsters, Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, and John Dillinger.
- Dean Rusk (Sigma) former U.S. Secretary of State
- Ellison D. Smith (Delta/Rho) U.S. Senator South Carolina
- Floyd Spence (Rho) U.S. Congressman (South Carolina)
- Mitchell Reid Iken (Alpha Kappa) current intern/tour-guide at the Missouri state capital. (Poli Sci Major) (Missouri)
- Earl Ray Tomblin(Alpha Rho) Governor of West Virginia
- Richard Truly (Alpha Sigma) Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy; Astronaut; former Director of NASA
- Steve Womack (Epsilon Zeta) U.S. Congress (Arkansas)
- Fletcher Long (Pi) High profile legal attorney
- Dustin Mullins (Delta Mu) Conservation Officer (Kentucky)
- Rt. Rev. James L. Duncan (Kappa) Former Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida
- Bishop Robert C. Morgan (Phi) Retired Bishop, Mississippi and Kentucky Annual Conferences, and former President of the United Methodist Council of Bishops
- Bishop Marshall L. Meadors Jr. (Delta) Retired Bishop, Mississippi Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
- His Grace, Most Reverend Edward Dalton White Jr (Beta Zeta) Presiding Bishop, Anglican Church of Washington
- Tommy Aaron (Beta Zeta) professional golfer – 1973 Masters Champion
- Tony Azevedo (Alpha Pi) water polo player – 4-time All-American, three-time National Player of the Year & 3-time Olympian.
- Bill Bergey (Delta Eta) a four-time All-Pro player and member of the Philadelphia Eagles Honor Roll
- David Binn (Alpha Xi), San Diego Chargers, Long Snapper, 1994–present
- Rex Cawley (Beta Sigma) Olympic gold medalist (1964) and former world record holder, 400m hurdles
- Jason Collins (Alpha Pi) NBA player, Atlanta Hawks
- Jarron Collins (Alpha Pi) NBA player, Phoenix Suns
- Ben Crenshaw (Omicron) professional golfer and Master’s champion in 1984 and 1995
- Al Geiberger (Beta Sigma) professional golfer
- Burt Hooton (Omicron) former major league baseball player and coach
- Clyde Littlefield (Omicron) former University of Texas football and track & field coach
- Don January (Gamma Lambda) professional golfer
- Paul Johnson (Delta Alpha) head football coach Georgia Tech
- Christian “Sonny” Jurgensen III (Alpha Phi) former professional football player, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee
- Joe Kapp (Alpha Xi) former professional football player, College Football Hall of Fame inductee
- Tim McCarver (Gamma Gamma) former professional baseball player
- Mason Miller (Delta Rho) Head Football Coach McMurry University
- Hal Mumme (Epsilon Pi) head football coach, New Mexico State University
- Will Muschamp (Gamma) Head Coach of the Florida Gators football team
- Ernest Nevers (Alpha Pi) former professional baseball and football player, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee
- Tommy Nobis (Omicron) former professional football player with Atlanta Falcons, University of Texas All-American, 1965 Winner – Outland Trophy & Maxwell Award
- Charles Paddock (Beta Sigma) 3-time Olympic gold medalist, track & field
- Jay Sigel (Tau) professional golfer
- Jerry Richardson (Delta) Wofford College receiver – Associated Press Little All-America selection in 1957 & 1958, former professional football player with Baltimore Colts, current owner NFL Carolina Panthers
- Brandt Snedeker (Chi) Professional Golfer
- Melvin Stewart (Pi) Olympic gold medalist (swimming)
- Dave Stockton (Beta Sigma) professional golfer
- Danny Sullivan (Theta) Formula One and Indycar driver, 1985 Indianapolis 500 Winner
- William Vlachos (Alpha Beta) All-American Center and two time (2009, 2011) National Champion for the Alabama Crimson Tide
- Sam Wyche (Iota) former NFL head coach, NFL analyst
- Frank Wykoff (Beta Sigma) Olympic gold medalist, 1928, 1932, 1936 – track & field
- Ernie Zampese (Beta Sigma), NFL offensive coordinator who helped pioneer the west coast offense.