Barry McNamara  |   Published June 29, 2015

Kappa momentum

Two more gifts received for new chapter house project
  • Current students at Monmouth College who are members of Kappa Kappa Gamma gathered with a group of KKG alumnae. primarily from the Class of 1965, on the steps of the current Kappa house during Golden Scots weekend last month.
Monmouth College recently received two additional gifts toward a new residence for Kappa Kappa Gamma, one of two prestigious national women’s fraternities founded on campus nearly 150 years ago.
 
The two most recent donors to the Kappa project – Bonnie Bondurant Shaddock ’54 of Laguna Woods, Calif., and Roger and Mary Hawk of Toulon, parents of the late Kristin Hawk Keane ’00 – are hoping their support will inspire donors to step forward so that a Kappa house is not far behind.
 
The gifts from the Hawks and from Shaddock are now added to support from Stan ’63 and Karen Barrett Chism ’65 of Palo Alto, Calif. The Chisms recently provided the funding for the college to purchase a house in the 100 block of South Eighth Street, with the plan that someday a spacious and modern new chapter house would be built on the property, which also includes the site of a current residence where six Kappa members live.
 
Shaddock’s gift includes an iris garden in memory of her roommate in college, Kappa sister Doris Dubois Schlacks ’54, and also in memory of another Kappa sister, Joanne Dutcher Maxwell ’53. Another portion of her funding for the project will name the patio area.
 
Shaddock didn’t have the opportunity to live in a sorority house during her time at Monmouth, but her opinion that it would have been a valuable experience was driven home by a visit to her granddaughter, who was a Kappa at UCLA.
 
“The advantages of a house include spending more time with close friends, who can become academic mentors, or perhaps are in need of assistance with their studies themselves,” said Shaddock, adding that “numbers back up” the fact that Greek students post higher GPAs than campus averages.
 
“Also, the camaraderie is wonderful,” she continued. “So when the opportunity came along to help provide that opportunity for the women at Monmouth, I felt I should help out.”
 
Shaddock said being a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma “has certainly been a long-term benefit for me. When I was a student, I was drawn to the women of Kappa because they had similar values and similar interests. They were the kind of women I wanted to be around. After I got out of college, one of the first things I would do to seek friendships was join the Kappa alumni groups in the cities where I lived. I’ve been a part of alumni groups in Muncie, Ind., Joliet, Ill., and Glendale, Calif., and I’m part of one here in the Laguna Woods area. The friends from college that I’m still in touch with after all these years are my sorority sisters.”
 
Years from now, Kristin Hawk Keane would have probably shared a similar story but, as her parents said, “Cancer got in the way.”
 
Still, they witnessed that camaraderie on many levels, both during their daughter’s days as a student, and in her time after Monmouth.
 
“Kristin was a very social being, and Kappa got to be another social outlet for her,” said Roger. “We still have all the memorabilia from her Kappa involvement. One of her sorority sisters, Katie Erickson Bennett ’00, is the godmother of both of her children. They were best of friends throughout life.”
 
When Kristin passed away in 2014, the Hawks were grateful for the support they received from Kristin’s Kappa family.
 
“We received so many communications from Kappa members,” said Roger. “We got all these letters, and all the memories they shared really helped in filling in little gaps in Kristin’s life.”
 
The Hawks not only appreciated Kappa’s role in their daughter’s life, but also the role that Monmouth College played.
 
“She considered other schools in Illinois, but was drawn to Monmouth because she felt comfortable there on her campus visit,” said Roger. “She said, ‘I really feel safe here.’ I also remember that we were very impressed by (former vice president) Dick Valentine on our visit. So Kristin picked her college and never had an educationally unhappy day there. She loved Monmouth College.”
 
After working briefly in advertising and public relations, Roger reported, Kristin soon “got the job she’d really wanted coming out of college” – doing marketing and development for a hospital in Kewanee.
 
The Hawks decided to make a gift to the college in memory of their daughter.
 
“We tried to look at things that would make a difference,” said Roger. “With Kristin’s husband, Pat, and their children, we have a scholarship established in her memory at Stark County High School. We approached (director of alumni engagement) Hannah Maher about scholarships for Monmouth College, and she asked us if we were aware that Kappa Kappa Gamma was starting this project. It just seemed right. We tried to think like Kristin would think. So we’re making an investment in something that is tangible, that you can see is happening.”
 
“Kristin and her friends would’ve loved that,” said Mary of a sorority house.
 
With support beginning to roll in, the vision of those who have already donated moves closer to becoming a reality.
 
“Monmouth College meant a lot to me, and Kappa Kappa Gamma especially,” concluded Shaddock. “I know we need a major donor to come forward to make this possible. Hopefully it will happen soon.”
           
The proposed chapter house is part of the college’s Greek Life Initiative, designed to celebrate and strengthen Monmouth’s Greek life community. As a first step toward this commitment, Phi Delta Theta was reestablished in 2008 and, in 2010, the project to create housing for the women’s fraternities was launched with the $2 million Alpha Xi Delta chapter house construction. Ground was recently broken for a new $2 million house for the other women’s fraternity which, with Kappa, comprises the “Monmouth Duo” – Pi Beta Phi. 
           
More information about the Kappa Kappa Gamma house project is available from MC’s development and college relations office by phone at 309-457-2231.
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