Notable Kappa Deltas

Kappa Delta members are three-star generals, circuit court judges, business executives, devoted mothers, Nobel Prize winning authors, U.S. Senators, renowned artists, entrepreneurs, visionaries, athletes, community leaders and volunteers. There's no doubt about it -- Kappa Deltas are making great things happen in the world!

Many Kappa Deltas credit the sorority and the many leadership opportunities it offers for making their success possible. Learn more about some notable Kappa Deltas...

Do you have a famous KD in your community? Click here to e-mail KD National Headquarters and let us know about her!

Pearl Sydenstricker Buck
Theta-Randolph Macon

Pearl Sydenstricker Buck, Theta-Randolph Macon is the renowned author of over seventy books -- novels, short stories, plays, biography, autobiography, translations (from Chinese), children's literature, drama, essays, journalism and poetry. She is the first American women to win the Nobel Prize in literature; she also won a Pulitzer Prize, the Howells Medal, an election to the National Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and a dozen honorary degrees. Her novels continue to be read around the world, in English and in scores of translations. Buck was very active in the American civil rights and women's rights movements. She published essays in both Crisis, the journal of the NAACP, and Opportunity, the magazine of the Urban League; she was a trustee of Howard University for twenty years, beginning in the early 1940s. In 1942, Pearl and her husband founded the East and West Association, dedicated to cultural exchange and understanding between Asia and the West. In 1949, outraged that existing adoption services considered Asian and mixed-race children unadoptable, Pearl established Welcome House, the first international, inter-racial adoption agency, In the nearly five decades of its work, Welcome House has assisted in the placement of over 7,000 children. Buck is the adoptive mother of six bi-racial children herself, in addition to other two daughters, founded Welcome House to help other bi-racial children grow up in the love of a family.

Georgia O'Keeffe
Beta-Chatham Episcopal

Recipient of the nation's highest civilian honor, the Medal of Freedom. While attending Chatham (Virginia) Episcopal Institute from 1903 to 1905, Chatham's principal and art instructor, Elizabeth May Willis, recognized and encouraged O'Keeffe's interest in art. In her senior year, O'Keeffe served as art editor of the school yearbook Mortar Board. As early as the mid-1920s, O'Keeffe became recognized as one of America's most important and successful artists, known best for her large-scale depictions of flowers as if seen close up. By the fall of 1915, while teaching art at Columbia College in Columbia, South Carolina, O'Keeffe attempted to discover a personal language through which she could express her own feelings and ideas; she began a series of abstract charcoal drawings that are now recognized as being among the most innovative in all of American art of the period. O'Keeffe continued to work in oil until the mid-1970s, when failing eyesight forced her to abandon painting, although she continued working in pencil and watercolor until 1982. She also produced objects in clay until her health failed in 1984. She died two years later, at the age of 98. O'Keeffe's legacy continues at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Kappa Delta is a proud supporter of the museum's Art and Leadership Program for Girls.

Claudia Kennedy
Alpha Delta-Rhodes

Kennedy is the United States Army's first female three-star general and highest ranking female officer in Army history (now retired.) Lt. During her career, she received numerous awards and decorations, including the Legion of Merit (three Oak Leaf Clusters), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters), the Army Commendation Medal (three Oak Leaf Clusters) and the Army Staff Identification Badge. In 1998, Kennedy was presented with the Living Legacy Patriot Award, as an extraordinary leader of the United States Army, representing all exceptional women of the U. S. Army. Kennedy has held a variety of command and staff positions throughout her career. Key assignments include: Commander, 3d Operations Battalion, U.S. Army Field Station Augsburg, Germany; Commander, San Antonio Recruiting Battalion, U.S. Army Recruiting Command; and Commander, 703d Military intelligence Brigade, Field Station Kunia, Hawaii. She has served as Operations Officer, U.S. Army Field Station Augsburg, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command; Staff Officer, Directorate of Training, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, Washington, DC; the Director of Intelligence, G2, Forces Command, Fort McPherson, Georgia, as Deputy Commander, U.S. Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca/Assistant Commandant, U.S. Army Intelligence School at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. She was confirmed by the Senate for promotion to Lieutenant General and Assigned to the position of Deputy Chief of Staff at Headquarters, Department of the Army, Washington, DC for intelligence as of May 21, 1997.

Bonnie Dunbar
Sigma Iota-Washington

Dunbar, a Space Shuttle Astronaut, was inducted into the Women in Technology International (WITI) Hall of Fame, one of five women in the world so honored. With five NASA Space Flight Medals, Dunbar has logged more than 1,208 hours (50 days) in space. She served as a mission specialist on five space flights, spending over 761 hours in space on just 3 of her 5 spaceflights. Dunbar is considered one of the most experienced female astronauts in the world. Her space missions include the: STS 61-A in 1985, STS-32 in 1990, STS-71 in 1995, Payload Commander on STS-50 in 1992, and STS-89 in 1998. The 1992 mission was a two week assignment aboard the Microgravity Laboratory. During this mission, the crew conducted several experiments on space manufacturing. In February 1994, she traveled to Star City, Russia, where she spent 13-months training as a back-up crew member for a 3-month flight on the Russian Space Station, Mir. From October 1995 to November 1996, she was detailed to the NASA JSC Mission Operations Directorate as Assistant Director where she was responsible for chairing the International Space Station Training Readiness Reviews, and facilitating Russian/American operations and training strategies. Currently, Dunbar serves as Assistant Director to the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) with a focus on university research. Dunbar is a private pilot with over 200 hours in single engine land aircraft, has logged more than 700 hours flying time in T-38 jets as co-pilot, and has over 100 hours as co-pilot in a Cessna Citation Jet.

Ruth Johnson Colvin

Colvin is the founder of Literacy Volunteers of America, now ProLiteracy Worldwide. An avid reader, she became aware the problem of illiteracy in her home city of Syracuse, New York when the 1960 census report was released. Working with reading specialists at Syracuse University, she developed materials to teach volunteer tutors motivation and instruction techniques. The tutors she recruited and trained from her church women's group formed the first literacy volunteer program in Syracuse. Her initiative, Literacy Volunteers of America, was incorporated in 1967, and is now a national, educational, non-profit organization with national/state/local staff and volunteer board of directors. The organization now has nearly 330 programs in 42 states and works in conjunction with correctional facilities, adult educational programs, schools, universities, libraries, industry, and other community service programs. Approximately 100,000 volunteer tutors and students are currently involved in the program.

Colvin was the organization's first president; she is a lifetime member of the board of directors, and continues to be active as a volunteer tutor both in the states and overseas. She started a literacy program in Madagascar, Papua New Guinea to initiate a literacy program in Tok Pisin. Along with the teaching in Madagascar and Papua New Guinea, Zambia and China.

An inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame, Colvin is the recipient of numerous awards, including, Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Woman's Day National Award, the International Center Goodwill Ambassador Award, The Rotarian International Harris Fellow, the NE Synod Presbyterian Ecumenical Award, the President's Volunteers Action Award, and the LVA President's Special Service Award. At the 2005 National Convention, Colvin was inducted into Kappa Delta's Hall of Honor, the highest honor the sorority bestows on its members.

Donna Stone

Stone is the founder of the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse, now Prevent Child Abuse America, one of Kappa Delta's national philanthropies. The agency led the way in building awareness, providing education and inspiring hope in the effort to prevent the abuse and neglect of our nation's children. Stone served as president of the W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation, board member of the National Council on Philanthropy, Child Welfare League of America, Juvenile Protective Association and the White House Fellows Board. She was appointed by President Ford to the President's Advisory Board and the Board of Trustees for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Preforming Arts in Washington, D.C. Her philanthropic vision and legacy continues today through the W.Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation, Prevent Child Abuse America, and the Kappa Delta Foundation.

Joan Lowery Nixon
Theta Sigma-USC

Nixon is a noted children's book author of over 140 childrens books published in 20 different languages. She is a four-time winner of Edgar Allen Poe Award given by Mystery Writers of America for best juvenile fiction. Nixon hosted a Web site area for mystery writers especially designed to assist young writers, allowing them to send her writings which she read and personally responded to along with positive suggestions and encouragement. She also developed "Kids Love a Mystery Week," and initiated a writing badge for the Girls Scouts of the USA.

Patricia Wood Barnes
Delta Delta-Troy

In 1989, Sister Schubert (dubbed "Sister" by a sibling) was baking her now famous rolls in the kitchen of her home for her small catering business and for friends and family using recipes belonging to her grandmother and other family members. That year, she donated some of her rolls to the food fair at her church. She filled 80 orders; the next year, 200; and the following year, 300. Today Sister Schubert's Homemade Rolls is a multi-million dollar corporation owned by the T. Marzetti Company with Sister and her husband running the business. Her rolls can be found in the freezer section of grocery stores in more than half the states in the U.S. Sister was presented the Woman of Achievement Award at the 2005 convention.

Sara James
Beta Alpha-Virginia

Sara is an award-winning correspondent for Dateline NBC, where her work has earned her an Emmy, several Gracies and a Headliner award among others. She has journeyed to the dangerous border of Afghanistan to report on the brutal Taliban regime and its treatment of women. She was the first reporter to travel to the bottom of the Atlantic to the site of the Titanic and has covered the Oklahoma City bombing, the first World Trade Center bombing trial and a host of other watershed events. Sara also serves as a substitute co-anchor and substitute newsreader on NBC News Today and Weekend Today and on MSNBC. Sara was presented Kappa Delta's Woman of Achievement award at the 2005 convention.

Winsome McIntosh
Beta Pi-University of Florida

McIntosh has over 30 years experience in the philanthropic community. She was a founder of the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties and has served on the board of the McIntosh Foundation since 1972 and the boards several other not-for-profit corporations, both local and national. McIntosh was the founding executive director of the Association of Small Foundations and has written numerous articles on non-profit management. She is the founder of Rachel's Network, a membership organization of leading women funders for the environment. For the past five years, McIntosh has nurtured the development of Rachel's Network and recently assumed the presidency of the organization with responsibilities of chief executive officer. McIntosh was presented Kappa Delta's Woman of Achievement award at the 2005 convention.

Janet Marie Smith
Delta Omega-Mississippi State

Smith is an urban visionary, planner and business woman. She is the current vice president of planning and development for Struever Bros. Eccles and Rouse, a Baltimore-based company responsible for the development and revitalization of historic Fell's Point and Locust Point, contributing to the growth of Baltimore's Digital Harbor. Smith served as president of Turner Sports and Entertainment Development, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, and as vice president of planning and development for the Atlanta Braves (MLB). During her tenure, projects that came to fruition included the Philips Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks (NBA) and Atlanta Thrashers (NHL), renovation of the CNN Center, improvements to Centennial Olympic Park, and conversion of Atlanta's 1996 Olympic Stadium into Turner Field, the home of the Atlanta Braves. The $300 million arena (and associated development in Atlanta) is considered a major catalyst in the city's downtown resurgence.

She also served as a Vice President for the Baltimore Orioles (MLB) from 1989 to 1994 and was responsible for the planning and development of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Prior to her tenure with the Orioles, she was based in Los Angeles, directing the redevelopment of Pershing Square, downtown's oldest park. From 1981 to 1984, she worked in New York as Coordinator of Architecture and Design for Battery Park City, a 92-acre, $3 billion waterfront development project located at the tip of lower Manhattan that includes the World Financial Center.

Cynthia Clark Wedel

Wedel was the first woman president of the National Council of Churches. Later she became the second woman president of The World Council of Churches. A renowned advocate and ecumenist, Wedel co-founded the Churches' Center for Theology and Public Policy, a national, ecumenical research center drawing upon the theological resources of the churches and other sources of expertise. The center is committed to the study of the relationship between Christian faith and critical issues of public policy, with the goal of enabling the churches to contribute more fruitfully to public dialogue and action. The Churches' Center convenes an annual endowed lecture honoring the memory of Dr. Cynthia Clark Wedel (1908-1986) and her commitment to bringing moral values to bear on public policy.

Margaret Holland Sargent
Alpha Iota-University of California/Los Angeles

One of America's leading portraitists, Sargent has painted presidents, princes, heads of state, members of prominent families, government leaders and celebrated personalities throughout the world. Presidents Ford and Carter, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Tennessee Williams are just a few subjects she has captured in likeness and spirit with her fresh, light style of portraiture. An enthusiastic supporter of career opportunities for women, Sargent was commissioned to paint the first woman midshipman at Annapolis, the first woman to graduate from West Point, and the first woman chaplain in the Armed Forces. Sargent was presented Kappa Delta's Woman of Achievement award at the 2005 convention.

Hellene Runtagh
Beta Theta-Pennsylvania State University

Runtagh is a director of Avaya Inc. She is the former president and CEO of Berwind Group, an enterprise with businesses in multiple industries. Her career includes twenty-five years at General Electric, including seven as President and CEO of General Electric Information Services where she oversaw 2500 employees and worldwide sales in excess of $700 million. Runtagh left General Electric in 1996 to become Senior Vice President of Universal Studios in California. She was hired to supervise Universal's corporate re-engineering, including strategic sourcing; her portfolio expanded considerably in 1999 when she was promoted to Executive Vice President and given responsibility for consumer products, interactive games, Internet services, information technology, new media, studio operations, and corporate marketing and sponsorship. Runtagh was presented Kappa Delta's Woman of Achievement award at the 2005 convention.

Trischa Zorn
Pi-University of Nebraska

An award-winning athlete and champion swimmer, Zorn, who is legally blind, competed in her first Paralympics in 1980 at the age of 16. She has gone on to win an astounding 55 Paralympic medals and has set eight world records, making her the most decorated Paralympian in the history of the games. She concluded her athletic career by winning a bronze medal for the 100 meter breaststroke at the 2004 Paralympics in Athens, Greece. Zorn recently received her juris doctorate from Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. Committed to making a difference, she coaches swimming at Noblesville High School in Noblesville, Indiana. Zorn says, "It is my passion to affect people's lives in a positive way, to show them that anything is possible." She received Kappa Delta's Woman of Achievement award at the 2005 convention.

Kathleen Babineau Blanco
Gamma Kappa-Louisiana/Lafayette

After serving two successful terms as Lt. Governor, Blanco became the first female to be elected Governor of the state of Louisiana. Blanco remarked in her inauguration speech on January 12, 2004, "Today marks the first time that an honor such as this has been earned by a daughter, a wife, a mother, a grandmother." Blanco is accustomed to firsts in her life. She's the first woman from Lafayette elected to the Louisiana State House, first woman elected to the Louisiana Public Service Commission and the first woman to chair the Public Service Commission. This is quite a track record for a wife, mother of six, grandmother of five, and former high school business teacher.

Patricia Polito Miller
Sigma Upsilon-Indiana

Co-founder of Vera Bradley Designs, former Secretary of Commerce for the State of Indiana and CEO of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, recipient of Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year award, founder of the Vera Bradley Breast Cancer Foundation. Awarded the Distinguished Alumni Service Award for her work with the Indiana University School of Medicine and the IU Foundation, where she serves on the board of directors. She has also been named both the Indiana Business Leader of the Year and the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year. In 1997, Patricia Miller was recognized by Kappa Delta Sorority as a Woman of Achievement.

Christine O' Grady Gregoire
Sigma Iota-Washington

Gregoire is the present Governor of the state of Washington. With her innauguration on January 12, 2005, Washington has become the first state in the nation's history with an all-female trio in its top elected positions--its governor and two U.S. senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. Gregoire is much remembered as the three-term attorney general who built a national reputation four years ago when she brought the nation's tobacco companies into a legal settlement that is paying Washington state $4.5 billion over 20 years. Progress during her administration can be monitored at The Governor of Washington's official Web site.

Suzy Spafford Lidstrom
Beta Rho-San Diego State

Lidstrom is the creator of Suzy's Zoo greeting cards and stationery products marketed worldwide. Lidstrom's characters--over 200 in the Suzy's Zoo and Little Suzy's Zoo collections--are recognized internationally. Beginning in 2004, Suzy's Zoo calendars became the first commercially-printed calendars to include National Women's Friendship Day, a holiday created by Kappa Delta Sorority. Lidstrom was presented with Kappa Delta's Woman of Achievement award at the 1997 centennial convention.

June Hunt
Sigma Alpha-Southern Methodist University

An author, singer and speaker, Hunt is the founder of Hope for the Heart, the award-winning radio broadcast heard daily across the country, as well as Hope in the Night, her two-hour, call-in counseling program that is helping people deal with problems with Biblical hope and practical help. Hunt's warmth, wisdom and wit let listeners know that they have a real friend behind the microphone. She has toured overseas with the USO, been guest soloist with the Billy Graham Crusade, was featured on the NBC Today show and recorded four music albums which reflect her message of hope. June is the author of numerous books on hope and healing, many of which have been translated into over fourteen languages. Her Biblical Counseling Institute trains leaders and lay people to handle life's most difficult challenges. In 2004, one of Ms. Hunt's books was honored in Russia for being the best selling book in Russia. She is a popular speaker and recognized throughout the world for her philanthropic deeds and her ministry work. June's program can be heard anytime on

Marjorie Mehne Culmer

Culmer was elected National President of Girl Scouts of the USA in 1957.

Debbie Maffett Wilson
Gamma Rho-Sam Houston State

Crowned Miss America in 1983, Wilson is an Emmy-nominated national television broadcast veteran who has hosted, written and produced thousands of hours of network, cable and syndicated programming. She has starred in numerous NBC specials and pilots. After co-hosting the pre-Rose Parade national telecast with Mary Hart, she began co-hosting PM Magazine, a nightly news magazine show for Fox Television in Los Angeles. 

Wilson created the family friendly country music show called Hot, Hip & Country, which aired in national syndication for over three years, producing 52 original episodes each year. While delivering Hot Hip & Country into syndication, she simultaneously hosted TNN Country News, a daily news magazine show that aired three times daily, reaching 80 million homes on The Nashville Network. Wilson is currently co-hosting The New Harvest, an inspirational hour-long daily show that is simulcast around the world on the LeSea Broadcasting Network, Sky Angel, radio and the internet, as well as recording songs and working with the Trinity Broadcast Network.

Ali Landry
Gamma Kappa-Louisiana/Lafayette

After being crowned Miss USA 1996, Landry began a career as a film and television actress and model. As the Frito-Lay spokesperson, she became known as the "Doritos Girl." In 1998, Landry was named by People Magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people. Starting in 2003, she had a recurring role on the UPN sitcom Eve. he also participated in the show Fear Factor. She is an avid athlete and has participated in the Boston Marathon.

Ellen Albertini Dow
Omega Chi-Cornell

Dow, a stage, television and movie actress, is best known as the "Rappin' Granny" Rosie in The Wedding Singer (1998). A veteran of NYC's Yiddish theater and a former drama teacher in Los Angeles, Dow has been playing feisty old women since she resumed her acting career in the mid-1980s with a chilling turn as a mass murderer on an episode of The Twilight Zone. She has played numerous roles in TV shows (e.g., Family Matters, The Golden Girls, Murphy Brown, Seinfeld) and films Tough Guys (1986); Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), Sister Act (1992), How to Deal (2003), and many others.

Jean Carpenter Carnahan
Epsilon Alpha-Missouri/Rolla

Carnahan served as U.S. Senator from Missouri from 2000-2002. She is the author of several books, including If Walls Could Talk: The Story of Missouri's First Families (1998), Christmas at the Mansion (1999), Will You Say a Few Words? (2000) and Don't Let the Fire Go Out! (2004). Carnahan graduated from George Washington University with B.A. in business and public administration. She is a Democratic party activist and former First Lady of Missouri (1993-2000).

Gloria Ray
Gamma Delta-East Tennessee State

President and CEO of the Knoxville Tourism and Sports Bureau, Ray was honored by the Knoxville American Marketing Association as the Outstanding Marketing Professional with a professional corporation. She was the first woman chair of the Knoxville Utilities Board, the first woman to serve on the executive committee of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Tennessee and the first president of the Southeastern Conference Womens Athletic Directors. Ray established the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame and created the Knoxville Sports Corporation. The University of Tennessee Athletic Department has honored Ray by creating a Leadership Award in her name. She is also a recipient of the YWCA Tribute to Women Award and the Knoxville Women's Center Courage Award. She has been named Public Relations Society of America Executive of the Year and Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame Administrator of the Year. Ray has taught and coached in the Orlando, Florida public school system and spent two years as a professor and coach at Mississippi University for Women in Columbus. Pictured here, Ray (far left) joins Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, Popeye and Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale.

Mary Elizabeth Nickinson Chitty
Kappa Alpha-Florida State

Chitty is editor of the Sewanee Review and historian of the University of the South. She is a scholarship philanthropist, serving as Director of Financial Aid and Placement from 1970-1980.

Nancy Thies Marshall
Sigma Omicron-Illinois

A 1972 Olympic gymnast, Marshall is now the vice chair for women of USA Gymnastics (formerly United States Gymnastics Federation) and a network television broadcaster.

Latest News