In April, 1998, advisors from DMACC, Hawkeye, and Clinton community College met at Kirkwood Community College with Rhonda Kekke, Dean of Arts & Humanities and Kathleen Van Steenhuyse (Dean of Social Sciences and Career Option Programs) to hammer out a proposal to have Iowa named an independent Region of the International Organization of Phi Theta Kappa — formerly part of what they called the Minn-io-wi-kota Region (Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas.) The rationale included the facts that although dues were paid, the awards, all leadership conferences, Regional meetings, and the annual statewide conventions were held in Minnesota, and dominated by Minnesota chapters. While it was helpful to have had Minnesota’s tutelage as the Iowa chapters began, Minnesota was too far away and too expensive for Iowa chapters to really participate. Iowa students were losing opportunities for leadership and scholarships.
Over the years, Rhonda worked with other Iowa advisors to realize that Iowa should form its own region as soon as enough chapters existed statewide to justify breaking away. Her efforts paid off that April evening. They worked late into the night and presented all the chapters and the National organization with a proposal to form a separate Iowa Region.