In 1936, the “Circle K House” at Washington State College was established by the Kiwanis Club of Pullman, Washington. Organized as a fraternity, Kappa Iota Phi served men who needed financial aid to attend college. Kiwanians also wanted to provide collegiate students leadership opportunities for their future careers and work service projects to better their communities while having a sense of fellowship.

In 1947, Circle K changed from a fraternity to a service organization. That year, the first Circle K club was chartered at Carthage College in Carthage, Illinois. In 1949, two more clubs were added, and by 1955 there were 147 clubs, at which point Circle K received official endorsement from Kiwanis International. Circle K International adopted the Kiwanians beliefs by establishing the three tenets of Service, Leadership, and Fellowship to bring a sense of purpose to the organization.

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