“KA traces its beginning to 1865, when four men at
Kappa Alpha has a fascinating history, especially for CW buffs and admirers of Lee. Two of the founding fathers, James Wood & William Scott, fought for the Confederacy. Robert E. Lee, whose ideals of chivalry and gentlemanly conduct inspired the founders, was designated the "Spiritual Founder" of the Order by John Temple Graves at the 1923 Convention. The mission of KA is a simple one:
“Kappa Alpha Order seeks to create a lifetime experience which centers on reverence to God, duty, honor, character and gentlemanly conduct as inspired by Robert E. Lee, our spiritual founder.”
Their Order is based on the ancient tradition of chivalry and KA continually emphasizes the importance of this concept; so wanting in American society today. A number of distinguished Americans have been members including:
General George C. Marshall
J. Edgar Hoover
Admiral Richard E. Byrd
General George S. Patton
Dr. James I. Robertson, Jr.
The Kappa Alpha Order Administrative Office is located at Mulberry Hill, in
These young men came to this event for a reason—to sharpen their leadership skills and I was impressed with their demeanor and attentiveness during the lecture. I had the privilege of chatting with several of them after my talk. What a delight to meet young men of this caliber. This was not your typical Fraternity event. The Academy’s alcohol policy is as follows:
“The Academy will provide an alcohol and drug free educational program and environment. All participants, regardless of age, are not to bring or purchase alcohol during the program. If this rule is broken, the participant will be sent home and charged a registration fee.”
After the event, we all gathered in front of Lee Chapel for the “Convivium Toast to Robert E. Lee.” I was invited to participate and offered a glass with some clear liquid in it. Not knowing about the alcohol policy, and assuming the liquid was vodka, gin, or some other adult beverage I, being a teetotaler, declined. One of my hosts chuckled and said, “It’s just water.” (Of course! How else would you toast Robert E. Lee?!) Somewhat embarrassed, I accepted the invitation and the toast was given:
“Knights, Gentlemen, Brethren:
Lift high your glasses here tonight, and, in the liquid spotless as his fame, let us pledge for all time the spiritual founder of Kappa Alpha Order—Robert Edward Lee of old
An experience and privilege I will not soon forget! The Year of Lee continues.