Our History

Delta Kappa Alpha was first organized in 1935 as a Professional Cinematography Fraternity for men. Receiving its National Charter, the Fraternity was founded on March 16, 1936, in Bridge Hall of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California. Eighty-five years later, we’re proud to have evolved to a gender-inclusive organization. While it will always be important to value film and the cinematic arts, our members are now involved in fields across the entire entertainment industry.


The ten founding men agreed on the name Delta Kappa Alpha because it was the reverse of the initials of the leading Founder and first President, Allen K. Dallas, they determined that each letter will stand for a basic art of the Cinema – Dramatic (Delta), Kinematic (Kappa), and Aesthetic (Alpha).

Two years later, in March, 1938, they established the National Board of Officers, with Jack McClelland serving as the first National President.

Delta Kappa Alpha expanded in 1949 when a Beta Chapter formed at Boston University. Additional chapters were established at Gamma Chapter at NYU in 1950, and Delta Chapter at UCLA in 1953. By 1979, all of the chapters deactivated because the National Fraternity lacked an Executive Office, keeping it from surviving the anti-establishment period that shut down chapters and Greek organizations across the country. Former National President and National Secretary Herbert E. Farmer protected the Fraternity’s History through his well-preserved Archive. This made it possible for the Fraternity to be resurrected at the University of Southern California in 2009 by Grace Lee and Hillary Levi. Now the organization thrives with its overhauled and improved national structure, passionate membership, and close-knit alumni.


In 2008, Hillary Levi, Southern California, Alpha Chapter, 2009, was searching the internet for film-related student organizations and stumbled upon an article about a cinema fraternity banquet. She met Grace Lee, Southern California, Alpha Chapter, 2009, and they both bonded over the observation that cinema students were competing against each other instead of collaborating and actually being productive together, which seemed like a tragic waste of energy. Shortly after, they registered Delta Kappa Alpha with the University of Southern California and it was reborn.

For the next three years, pieces of the Fraternity’s history started trickling in and the organization began looking more as it used to. In 2012, with the assistance of the Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity, Delta Kappa Alpha drafted and passed a full Constitution that organized the National Fraternity into multiple corporations and allowed there to be unity between chapters, expansion to new campuses, structure for alumni participation and leadership, and the ability for all aspects of the Fraternity to not only survive, but to grow beyond the prominence they once had during the Golden Age of Hollywood. 


After being elected as President of the USC chapter in December of 2011, Andy Dulman was able to access the original archives that had been in the university’s long-term storage. He read through all that Herb Farmer so carefully curated, organized, and preserved and realized the potential for growth on a national level. As his term concluded, he held a meeting with all current alumni members at the time to elect the first National Council, and thus the revival process began. 

The first revived National Council was composed of Andy Dulman (President), Eric Foss (Vice President), and National Councilors Ryan Bartley, Arielle Zakowski, Shipra Gupta, and Flo Miniscloux. The new leadership worked endlessly to improve the foundation of the organization on a national level, working with several advisors and entertainment industry leaders to create and ratify a National Constitution and Chapter Bylaws. 

An initiative for expansion soon began. Under Andy’s leadership, Delta Kappa Alpha expanded to 16 chapters nationwide and held its first National Convention in 33 years, uniting members of the organization across the country. As of 2021, there are currently 22 chapters of Delta Kappa Alpha, with plans for expansion on the horizon.


Herb E. Farmer

Herbert E. Farmer

When Herb Farmer first arrived at USC in the fall of 1938, both the cinema program and DKA were still in their development stage. This allowed Farmer to become present and active in the overall shaping of both. As a member of DKA, Farmer took on many roles from President to Secretary, but his most important was that of archivist and historian. Thanks to his efforts in preserving the history of DKA, those involved today will be able to create its future.

Farmer began classes at USC in the fall of 1938. He double majored in physics and cinema while also finding time to produce the Trojan Newsreel, shoot football coaching films and surgical motion pictures for the university, play sousaphone in the marching band, and of course be very active in DKA. He acquired and installed the very first 35mm projectors on campus and by 1940, along with his friends Dan Wiegand and Dave Johnson, had installed a full film laboratory. In 1942, Farmer was actually put in charge as acting head of the Department of Cinematography and took over teaching a motion picture history class from Warren Scott, who had been called to active duty in World War II. Farmer himself was called to service in 1943 where he served in the Navy Motion Picture School but returned to USC after the war in 1946 and began teaching classes in basic film technology and distribution.

Farmer remained at USC for 71 years, and those who interacted with him over the years learned many valuable lessons, that DKA members can continue to use as worthwhile in present times.

  1. Selflessness & Loyalty. Perhaps no one in any University has remained as loyal as Herb Farmer was to USC. Because of this, USC and decades worth of students have benefited in many ways from the jobs he did over the years, including his preservation of its history. But even Herb Farmer benefited because he always had a family and an unparalleled support system with USC, and DKA. With Farmer here USC knew that anything was possible, and Farmer knew that the only reason it was possible was because of the people that surrounded him for all of those years.

  2. Constant Learning & Adaptability. One of the last things that Herb Farmer said when he was in his late 80’s and was at the unveiling of the new USC cinema complex was. “I wish I could go to school again.” He always knew that the field of cinema was one based on continuous change, and that to do one’s best you must have equal respect for the past as you do for the future, which means never feeling like you have it all figured out. If you stay hungry for knowledge you will maintain the keys for success.

  3. “Do-It-Yourself” Inventiveness & Problem-Solving. Whenever times got hard at USC, and it looked like the program might not have the funds to grow, or accommodate the students, Herb Farmer always found a way to get what was needed. He became known by students as the person to speak to if you needed something extraordinary to happen. If a project looks to be in jeopardy because funding is running low, do not be afraid to create the solution with the same ingenuity used to create your movies.

and National Councilors Ryan Bartley, Arielle Zakowski, Shipra Gupta, and Flo Miniscloux. 


Delta Kappa Alpha quickly became a powerful name in the entertainment industry with its annual Banquets. These banquets were for the purposes of inducting pledge members into active members and inducting Cinema icons with honorary membership before a hall of industry professionals and journalists. These Banquets became so renowned that they were considered one of the year’s top three most distinguished and celebrated events in Hollywood (the Academy Awards ranking as number one). They took place at University of Southern California’s Town & Gown Banquet Hall.

Tables were purchased for the attendance of executives from renowned organizations like The Writer’s Guild of America, Director’s Guild of America, Producer’s Guild of America, 20th Century Fox, Warner Brothers, MGM, Paramount, Disney, and others. The DKA banquets were an incredible spectacle that would attract not only Hollywood’s elite but the attention of the media with such industry publications as Variety and Hollywood Reporter.