Founding of KDP

University of Illinois Professor of Education Dr. William Chandler Bagley and a group of four of his students, including Truman Lee Kelley and Thomas E. Musselman, founded the Illinois Education Club at the University of Illinois in 1909.

Bagley tasked this first group of students with developing a constitution and standards for membership. He gave Musselman 18 more names, nine men and nine women, to invite into the club.

It was their hope to form an association with another undergraduate honor society in education, Pi Kappa Mu, a group that later merged with a graduate student honor society, to become Phi Delta Kappa.

Since Phi Delta Kappa limited its membership to men, the leaders of the Education Club decided against forming a united organization because they felt strongly that women should be included.

The Club was transformed to Kappa Delta Pi in 1911. The founders were Dr. William Chandler Bagley, Truman Lee Kelley, and Thomas E. Musselman.

The credit for the Greek letters Kappa Delta Pi and the motto “Knowledge, Duty, Power” is attributed to Dr. Bagley.

Truman L. Kelley was elected as the first president of KDP.

Kelley is credited with the beehive design on the Kappa Delta Pi emblem. He said that in order to be a good teacher, one must be like a bee, working tirelessly for the “common weal.”

The original colors of Kappa Delta Pi were crimson and pale blue. In 1930, the colors of the Society were officially changed to the present colors, jade green and violet.