Kappa Kappa Psi, National Honorary Band Fraternity
In the years that followed World War I, a movement developed among college and university bands, searching for some motivating force that would create a greater interest in band music. Seizing upon this idea, ten members of the Oklahoma A & M College (later to be known as the Oklahoma State University) Band, led by William A. Scroggs and their director, Bohumil Makovsky, drew up a plan for a national honorary society for college bandsmen. The charter was granted November 27, 1919, and “Kappa Kappa Psi, Honorary Fraternity for College Bandsmen,” was established on the Oklahoma State University campus with the local group being known as the “Alpha Chapter.”
The Greek name and symbols, “Kappa Kappa Psi,” were furnished by Dr. Hilton Ira Jones of the OSU Chemistry faculty, and assistance in the final organization was furnished by Col. F.D. Wickham of the OSU Military Department.
Founded by bandsmen for the band member, Kappa Kappa Psi was (and is) a tribute to the dynamic personality of one man. For around this personality there grew a core of student leaders committed to assist him in a program of developing the best college band with the highest performance standards possible. “Boh” was that man, and each incoming member of this Fraternity should be familiar with the man who was officially recognized by the Grand Chapter in Convention assembled as “The Guiding Spirit of Kappa Kappa Psi.”
For more information, visit the national website
The Eta Chapter - The Ohio State University
In 1921, a local honorary fraternity of the Ohio State University Band known as The Gray Baton was created to gather interest in the bands at Ohio State. Snare drummer, Jenie Lee Burke, came up with the suggestion for this organization.
Charter members of Gray Baton included Director Gustav Bruder, Student Director Elvin Donaldson, and Drum Major Edwin “Tubby” Essington.
In late 1922, the members of Gray Baton sent a leather-bound petition to Stillwater for Alpha Chapter to consider granting a chapter charter for Kappa Kappa Psi at Ohio State. This petition featured letters of endorsement from Bruder and from the deans of various colleges at Ohio State, as well as several photographs of the university and band.
Burke quickly gained recognition on the national level when he was elected as National President at the Third National Convention that was held in Oklahoma City in 1926. Helping to stabilize the constitutional framework and administrative structure of Kappa Kappa Psi, Burke brought the young organization its first set of comprehensive by-laws and parliamentary procedures.
Eta chapter survived the Depression of the 1930s. However, according to an article in the May 1941 issue of The Baton of Kappa Kappa Psi, the chapter came very close to extinct.
The national president reorganized the chapter, expanded its programs, and with the help of faculty adviser Major William N. Thomas, Jr., acquired a permanent office in the Armory in 1938. Under the leadership of President Glenn L.R. Baumhardt, Eta Chapter became “the leading honorary on campus.”
The chapter today is still strong. Recently winning their first Governor's Cup in 2016 (The highest award a chapter can get in a district), and hosting a North Central District Convention in 2017, the chapter works swiftly to build and develop strong leaders, musicians, and brothers on campus.