Cornell University Iota Chapter
  • About

    Our Mission Statement:

    Yesterday, today and tomorrow, Kappa Alpha Theta exists to nurture each member throughout her college and alumna experience and to offer a lifelong opportunity for social, intellectual, and moral growth as she meets the higher and broader demands of mature life.

    Our Purpose:

    The intellectual ambition of the Fraternity shall be the attainment of highest scholarship. The social aim of the Fraternity shall be to exercise the widest influence for good. The moral aim of the Fraternity shall be the standard of love.


    Kappa Alpha Theta has more than 130 active college chapters and more than 200 alumnae groups across the US and Canada. More than 240,000 women have been initiated into our fraternity.


    The values of Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity are scholarship, service, leadership, personal excellence, and friendship/sisterhood.

    Leading Women:

    Membership in Kappa Alpha Theta leads women into a life of friends, experience, and goals that they might not have had otherwise. Being a Theta leads a woman to personal excellence, offering her ways to become her best self. Our ritual, in fact, commands us to be nobler women, to lead ourselves to personal excellence, and to lead others there as well. It commands us to set the bar high.

    And when Thetas model personal excellence, we not only have the chance to lead on our campuses, in our communities, and in our professions, but we also have the chance to effect real change. Just as Bettie, Hannah, Alice, and Bettie did.

    Our Chapter – Iota History

    Kappa Alpha Theta’s Iota Chapter was founded at Cornell in 1881 and was the first female fraternity on campus. Because of distance, the charter was mailed to Ithaca, and the new members initiated themselves. A policy disagreement in 1965 led the Iota chapter to leave Cornell’s campus, however in 1980 the Iota chapter returned to campus and moved into their current house, 519 Stewart Avenue. In 1980, Iota returned to Cornell as the national office realized the demand for a chapter at Cornell. One of Iota’s most famous alumnae is Anna Botsford Comstock, for which Comstock Hall is named after. Theta is one of two sororities located on West Campus and our current house was built in 1900.

    For more information about our Fraternity, please visit the Kappa Alpha Theta website.



  • Recruitment

    A Letter from Chief Recruitment Officer, Rachel Baer

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    Dear Potential New Members,

    As the Iota Chapter of Cornell’s Kappa Alpha Theta Chief Recruitment Director, I want to extend a warm welcome to each and every one of you and let you know how excited we are to see you during formal recruitment in January! We hope you have an incredible Fall semester at Cornell and I think I speak for everyone when I say we cannot wait to get to know you better as recruitment approaches. I encourage all of you to use your first semester as a chance to get to know the incredible women of each chapter on campus. The opportunities that exist within individual chapters and the greater Panhellenic community at Cornell are truly endless.
    I hope you are as eager about the upcoming recruitment process as we are. The week itself is crazy but wonderful and helped each of us find a home at 519 Stewart. At Theta, we’re surrounded by sisters from countries all over the world, but we pride ourselves on the fact that we aren’t just geographically unique; with an unlimited variety of interests, majors, aspirations, talents, and passions, Theta provides us with a connection that will last a lifetime. In addition to our individual involvement on campus, Theta participates in a number of sisterhood events. Our philanthropic commitments to Jog for Jill, Rock the CASA, and GOPiNK are tremendously close to our hearts and we couldn’t be more proud to support such inspiring individuals and meaningful causes.
    I am so excited for each of you and know that your recruitment experience will be unique and fulfilling. We are extremely proud and grateful to call Kappa Alpha Theta our home; this experience has given me indescribable friends, a support network, and memories that I’ll cherish forever. I think I speak for the entire chapter when I say that Theta has truly become a home away from home. I can only hope that you will have a similarly meaningful experience at one of the 13 wonderful chapters on this campus.
    Theta love from us to you,
    Rachel Baer
    How to Submit a Reference Letter:
    1. Go to https://www.kappaalphatheta.org/
    2. Click on the “Alumnae” tab and find the “Resources” section. Select “Recommend a Potential New Member.”
    3. Click the”Letter of Reference/Legacy Introduction” tab on the right.
    4. There are two links, an online version (easy and straightforward if you remember your log in) and a PDF version. If you choose to fill out the PDF, email it to rachelcbaer@gmail.com

    Questions about recruitment? Learn more about the Cornell University Panhellenic Council

  • Service

    Leading Women.

    Being a part of Theta means not only making a commitment to your sisters, but to your community as well. Our chapter truly takes this to heart and devotes over 2000 hours every year to service and philanthropy events held on and off the Cornell campus! We are extremely proud of the support we have offered and money we have raised as a chapter. In addition, the individual service accomplishments of our sisters demonstrate our diverse interests and global awareness. Cornell Thetas have been participated in service projects all over the United States and as far away as India, Peru, and Nicaragua!

    All sisters of Kappa Alpha Theta support our official philanthropic causes: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), the Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation, and the Friendship Fund. Theta has pledged itself to provide support and advancement of court-appointed volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children through its national partnership with CASA.

    Founded in 1960, Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation is a charitable and educational tax-exempt organization. Theta Foundation’s mission is to secure and manage resources for the educational leadership, and philanthropic programs of the Fraternity and for the scholastic, professional, and service pursuits of its members to help them reach their fullest potential and make a difference in the world. Theta Foundation awards more than $1 million annually and is dedicated to partnering with individuals and college and alumnae chapters for fundraising efforts to support Thetas with scholarships, non-degree educational and leadership grants, and the Fraternity’s educational and leadership programs. After more than 50 years, Theta Foundation remains committed to partnering with Theta women and chapters to support the Fraternity’s ideals of highest scholarship, widest influence for good, and love. For more information, please visit the Kappa Alpha Theta Foundation website.

    Iota’s have also been moved and motivated by philanthropic causes that are close to home. Our chapter has taken special initiative to support the awareness and research fundraising efforts of lung and breast cancers – cancers that have directly affected our Theta sisters and their loved ones. These events have become an integral part of our sisterhood and the Cornell community. If you have any questions about philanthropy, please contact our Service and Philanthropy Director, Olivia Wherry at odw2@cornell.edu.

    More about our annual events…

    Rock the CASA

    Every April, Iota’s host the campus-wide Rock the CASA Volleyball Tournament and BBQ in support of Court Appointed Special Advocates. We cross our fingers for a sunny Ithaca day and spend the afternoon running competitive and just-for-fun beach volleyball tournaments at Chi Psi Fraternity. During the tournament, there are hot dogs and hamburgers hot of the grill, live music, hand-spun cotton candy, raffles, and – of course – a dunk tank! Rock the CASA is a perfect way to celebrate the start of spring at Cornell and raise money for the amazing volunteers that help children navigate the court and foster care systems.


    Jog for Ingrid

    The Jog for Ingrid 5K is a walk/run through the beautiful Cornell Plantations aimed at beating lung cancer big time! In March 2011, current Iota senior Ingrid Nunez was diagnosis with stage-four lung cancer. Her diagnosis came as a shock to all given Ingrid is a non-smoker. Without skipping a beat, Ingrid continued classes at Cornell while waging a personal and public battle against lung cancer. Soon after her diagnosis, Ingrid joined the Jill’s Legacy Advisory Board to the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and brought the first “Jog for Ingrid” 5K to Cornell in September 2011. Thetas have sponsored “Jog for Ingrid” at Cornell for the last three years, and have helped Ingrid raise over $100,000 for the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation! Theta’s looks forward to organizing the event for years to come. We love you, Ingy!


    GOPiNK Gala and Breast Cancer Awareness Seminar

    This past November, Theta sisters helped to bring the GOPiNK organization to Cornell! GOPiNK seeks to educate young men and women on the risks and impact of breast cancer and also supports breast cancer programs and research at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. Theta partnered with six other Greek chapters to host a formal gala and educational seminar. The entire Cornell community came out for a night of fantastic DJ-ing, dancing, delicious treats, and all pink festivities. The educational seminar featured distinguished breast cancer researchers and survivors. The event raised over $17,000 in its first year! The Iota chapter is excited to add GOPiNK to its annual philanthropy commitments.


  • Officers

    Within Theta, the opportunities to grow as a leader are endless. We like to encourage each girl to contribute her own special piece to our Chapter, which in turn, helps each and every one of our sisters grow to be a strong, confident leader.


    Sarah Allen RayChief Executive Officer

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    Kaley NelsenChief Administrative Officer

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    Erin SiegelChief Operating Officer

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    Rachel PadillaChief Education Officer

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    Claire BenningerChief Financial Officer

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    Madison LeonardChief Marketing Officer

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    Caroline KayeChief Panhellenic Officer

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    Rachel BaerChief Recruiting Officer

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  • Meet the Sisters

    The sisters of the Iota Chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta pride themselves in widespread campus and community involvement, while maintaining their role as students at Cornell University. Our members span all seven undergraduate colleges, participate in over a hundred unique extracurricular activities, and take the time to give back through various philanthropic efforts. Each week, we will have a Sister Spotlight in either the area of Campus, Athletics, Community, or Scholarship highlighting one of our member’s extraordinary performance. This week’s Spotlight is Ingrid Nunez for her work in the Community.


    Ingrid Nunez


    Ingrid Nunez is a Senior in the School of Hotel Administration here at Cornell. Two years ago, Ingrid was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. As a non-smoker, Ingrid was left quite shocked, but never gave up and soon teamed up with the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation and Jill’s Legacy. On September 25, 2011, Ingrid, along with her Iota Chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta, organized the first annual Jog for Jill in Honor of Ingrid Nunez at Cornell. Since that first run, Ingrid has raised over $100,000. Today, Ingrid is still fighting and has made a lot of progress. We love you, Ingrid!

  • Social

    Kappa Alpha Theta aims to provide lifelong opportunity for social, intellectual and moral growth. In balance with the chapter’s high scholastic and philanthropic efforts, the Iota chapter also provides numerous opportunities for social growth.

    Sisterhood Events

    These events allow members to bond over various fun activities! Some sisterhood events Theta organized this year include:

    Lineage Events


    Theta sisters frequently meet up with their lineages to do activities around Ithaca or to grab a meal together!   

    Theta Holiday Party


    All of the sisters got together this December to celebrate the holidays over a catered dinner at our chapter’s house at 519 Stewart Avenue.  Everyone wore their favorite holiday sweater and enjoyed the festive music, decorations, and egg nog!

    Formal Events

    Spring Crush Party


    This year, Theta hosted our annual spring Crush Party at Joe’s Restaurant.

    Fall Date Night


    Each Fall Theta hosts a formal Date Night. This past October, Date Night was held at The Barn, where we had a BBQ themed dinner and delicious desserts.

    Spring and Fall Formal


    Theta Formal occurs at the end of each semester and is a fun way to get all of the sisters together before the semester comes to a close.  We had our Spring and Fall Formal at The Boatyard this year, where we enjoyed d’oeuvres and the beautiful venue.

  • Alumnae


    The Class of 2014

    In May of 2014, the Iota Chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta had to say goodbye to 41 of our beautiful sisters as they graduated from Cornell University. These women are heading into the world with the love and support of all of Theta and will forever be our loyal sisters. The Iota Chapter wants to dedicate this Alumnae Spotlight to our newest graduates and the amazing places they are going. Below is a list of where some of our sisters are heading:


    Oliver Wyman
    Deloitte Consulting
    Next Step Living
    Citi Bank
    UNC Chapel Hill Graduate School of Environmental Engineering
    US Department of Justice
    Morgan Stanley

    J.P. Morgan
    Stanford Law School
    Bracket Computing
    Sandler O’Neill
    Temple University Medical School

    Kelsey Bent

    Kelsey (right) with fellow Theta graduate, Leah Jarrett

    Kelsey (right) with fellow Theta graduate, Leah Jarrett

    At Cornell, I double majored in Comparative Literature and Middle Eastern Studies and minored in Communications. I am currently in Seattle for the summer working for a cruise line out on the lakes here with a fellow Cornell Theta, Sierra Shumate. She and I, along with two other Thetas, Leah Jarrett and Erin Riegert road tripped Cross Country after our graduation, from New York to California. I will be joining the Marine Corps this coming October, specializing in foreign intelligence. We are all going our separate ways and I’m going to miss them more than words can convey, but I know that we are all very excited for what is to come!


                  Beth LeBow

    Beth (second from left) with fellow Theta graduates, Katherine Olsavsky, Ingrid Nuñez, and Annelise Quinn

    Beth (second from left) with fellow Theta graduates, Katherine Olsavsky, Ingrid Nuñez, and Annelise Quinn

    I graduated first in the Animal Science Department, Summa Cum Laude with Distinction in Research. Additionally, I was an active member of Cornell’s Varsity Women’s Polo team. I owe a lot of my successes at Cornell to the Theta chapter. The experiences I had as a sister have, undoubtedly, shaped my expectations for myself and taught me so much about finding myself in the world. When I start law school at Stanford University in the fall, I can only hope to be surrounded by the same type of amazing, smart, and loving women that I met in Theta at Cornell.


    If Iota alumnae have any questions, please contact our Alumnae Engagement Director, Amanda Loesch!