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Kappa Eta Nu

The men of the Kappa Eta Nu fraternity

Quick Facts

  • Letters – KHN
  • Nickname – Knicks
  • Colors – Black and red
  • Motto – Fellowship, Moral, Intellect
  • Founding Year – 1909
  • Sister Sorority – Alpha Gamma Phi (Alpha Gams)


In the early 1900s, Hope College drew most of its students from its now defunct prep school. As a result, the freshmen classes were cohesive groups when they arrived on campus. The freshmen class of 1909 (the class of 1913) was especially close-knit, and it was their custom to meet in the northwest corner of Van Vleck Hall (at that time it was a men's dorm) for long bull sessions.

At this time the Fraternal and Cosmopolitan Societies were the only fraternities at Hope College. And while both fraternities "rushed" various members of the freshmen class of 1909, the frosh decided to stick together and create their own identity. With a loyalty that has become synonymous with Knickerbocker, a new fraternity was formed.

Known as the Founding Fathers of the Knickerbocker Society, the 12 men who founded the fraternity were: Dr. Clarence Dame, the Rev. Aleck VonBronkhorst, Frank Klienheksel, Martin Verburg, William J. Leenhouts, Dr. Richard Vandenberg, Harry C. Kremers, the Rev. Berend T. Vanderwoude, John Vruink, Gerret DeMotts, the Rev. Cornelius DeYoung, and Harry D. Tellman, who took ill and died of tuberculosis before his senior year.

Under the direction of this dynamic group of 12 men, the Knickerbocker Fraternity soon became a driving force at Hope College. From the beginning, Kappa Eta Nu drew men of the highest ability. Yet these men were not just success-conscious. A look at the early minutes of the fraternity will show that the Knicks have probably never let the Dean of Men sleep peacefully. Then, as now, the ideal Knick had a multi-faceted personality.