In 1905, ten undergraduates at Middlebury College realized that the social organizations available there were lacking in the strong ties between members that were the basis for the earliest fraternities. These ten fellows, all members of the Commons Club, a loose-knit social organization at Middlebury, met at 14 Old Painter Hall and decided to create a new fraternity dedicated to the ideals of truth, justice, and virtue.
Our founders wanted to develop an atmosphere that was nurturing of excellent moral character, dignity, gentlemanly conduct, and leadership as well as academic success and the strong ties of brotherhood that brought them together. The result was Kappa Delta Rho.
A few years later, a Middlebury graduate named Harold A. Severy came to Cornell University to pursue graduate studies, and brought ΚΔΡ with him. On May 24, 1913, twenty-three men formed the Beta Chapter of Kappa Delta Rho here at Cornell. During the twenties and thirties our house continued to grow. WWII, however, forced us to close our doors; ΚΔΡ lost seventy brothers to the war. In the early fifties, local alumni recruited new members and this chapter reopened.
In 1956, Beta spearheaded a national interfraternity anti-discrimination drive. We were the first chapter of a traditionally white fraternity to impledge an African-American. We continue this philosophy of nondiscrimination to this day. In 1992 we became the first fraternity to add a nondiscriminatory clause to its constitution. This clause states that ΚΔΡ does not consider a candidate's race, religion, income, disability, course of study, or sexual orientation when considering him for membership.
In 2014, the Beta Chapter proposed a constitutional amendment at the ΚΔΡ National Convention which states that members who have had a sex change retain their membership. This amendment passed in 2016, and Kappa Delta Rho became one of the first fraternities to make such a rule.
Notable Beta chapter alumni include Colston E. Warne ‘20, founder of Consumers’ Union, which publishes Consumer Reports; C. Edward Ackerly ‘20, the 1920 Men’s Freestyle Wrestling Olympic gold medalist; and Matt Urban ‘41, one of the most decorated U.S. war heroes in history and personal trainer of Cassius Clay in the 1960 Olympics.