Phi Kappa Theta, informally known as KAP, was once a National Catholic Fraternity.
Phi Kappa Theta was originally chartered as Theta Kappa Phi in 1935, by an organization known as The Friars. In 1959, the National Fraternities, Theta Kappa Phi and Phi Kappa merged into Phi Kappa Theta. This merger is the only true merger of two fraternities, since it maintained all the Greek Letters in the names of the merged organizations. Through the 1950s and 1960s, the Fraternity had great success, touting high membership (over 100), and three houses. Along with many Fraternities both at WPI and nationally, during the 1970s and 1980s, the Fraternity saw declining membership. The Fraternity shut down temporarily in the 1990s, and closed the "Green House", which is now the location of a WPI-owned parking lot, across from the Founders Parking Lot.
Upon reopening, the chapter saw continued membership growth, but was closed again in 2004 by the alumni board, The Aquinas Association, Inc.
In the Fall of 2006, a small interest group was formed, hand-picked by the Aquinas Alumni Board, to restart the Fraternity. These five members met frequently to discuss how the new Fraternity would thrive, as well as selected an additional 6 members to join the re-founding father class. In March, 2007, the 11 men were initiated as "neophytes", therefore recognizing the chapter as an active colony on WPI's campus. The following August, the national Fraternity recognized the Massachusetts Lambda chapter an official & active chapter of Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity.
The chapter currently resides at the "Old house", at 26 Institute. The "New House" was sold to WPI during the Summer of 2007, and is currently being rented by the Alpha Chi Rho Fraternity for overflow housing.
Ideal and Mission of KAP
The mission of Phi Kappa Theta is to foster a brotherhood of exceptional men and guide them to become individuals who routinely display passion and dedication in their endeavors, always maintain integrity and humility, and show the ability to lead through influence.
Based upon the mission of the chapter, the five ideals of the Fraternity are:
- Paul Allaire, 1960: former CEO of Xerox
- Ron Zarrella, 1971: former President of GM North America, retired CEO of Bausch & Lomb, and former Chairman of the WPI Board of Trustees
- Paul LaCouture, 1972: former President of Verizon
- John Casey, 1976: President of General Dynamics Electric Boat
- William R. Grogan, 1946: Dean Emeritus of Undergraduate Studies and Father of the WPI Plan
- John F. Kennedy, 1957: US Senator from Massachusetts (at the time), became an honorary and was inducted at WPI
- The national headquarters of the fraternity was once in Worcester.
- The former President of the National PKT Fraternity, William R. Grogan, served as Chapter Advisor from 1948 until he passed away in 2015.
- Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy is an honorary member of the WPI chapter of Phi Kappa Theta.