Delta Zeta Sorority was founded at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, on October 24, 1902, after Dr. Guy Potter Benton admitted women to the all-male university.
Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, was one of the first universities west of the Appalachian Mountains. Because of its distinction within the world of sororities and fraternities, Miami has been nicknamed the “Mother of Fraternities” because of the six national organizations, four men’s fraternities and two women’s sororities, that were founded on the institution’s campus.
Five of these organizations are still thriving organizations today. The fraternities were Phi Delta Theta, Beta Theta Pi, Sigma Chi, and Phi Kappa Tau. The two sororities are Delta Zeta and Delta Sigma Epsilon.
History of Delta Zeta
When Dr. Guy Potter Benton was elected as the president of Miami University in 1902, one of the first things that he set out to do was to full admit women to undergraduate programs of study. The university had already absorbed a couple of local women’s institutions prior to the turn of the twentieth century.
With women quickly arriving on campus, six of the university’s earliest female students set out to form a sorority, since the fraternity system was already well-established on Miami’s campus. Alfa Lloyd, Mary Collins, Anna Keen, Julia Bishop, Mabelle Minton, and Anne Simmons met with Dr. Benton, an alumnus of Phi Delta Theta, to begin planning the organization that would become Delta Zeta.
Delta Zeta received its articles of incorporation from the State of Ohio on October 24, 1902, which was also founder Alfa Lloyd’s birthday. This day is celebrated as Delta Zeta’s Founders Day.
In 1910, Delta Zeta had met the requirements for membership in the National Panhellenic Conference and was granted full membership in the organization, which today represents twenty-six of the United States’s national and international sororities and women’s fraternities.
Throughout the middle portion of the twentieth century, Delta Zeta continued its expansion efforts by absorbing four other sororities between 1941 and 1962: Beta Phi Alpha in 1941, Phi Omega Pi in 1946, Delta Sigma Epsilon in 1956, and Theta Upsilon in 1962.
Delta Zeta Today
Today, Delta Zeta has initiated over 220,000 women since the founding of the organization and has 158 active collegiate chapters and over 200 alumnae organizations across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Delta Zeta’s philanthropic causes include speech and hearing disorder research and The Painted Turtle Camp, Gallaudet University for the Speech and Hearing Impaired, House Ear Institute, and The Starkey Hearing Foundation. The Painted Turtle Camp is Delta Zeta’s newest addition to its philanthropic pursuits, adopted by the organization’s national convention in 2006.
To support its philanthropic pursuits, Delta Zeta chapters sponsor Turtle Tug, a tug-of-war competition to help raise money towards philanthropic goals.
Delta Zeta, like many other fraternal organizations, can be identified by various insignia adopted throughout the organization’s history.
- Colors: pink and green
- Mascot: turtle
- Symbol: Grecian lamp
- Flower: pink Killarney rose
- Philanthropies: speech and hearing disorder research, The Painted Turtle Camp, Gallaudet University for the Speech and Hearing Impaired, House Ear Institute, and the Starkey Hearing Foundation
Founded in 1902, Delta Zeta continues to support various philanthropic causes and support hundreds of thousands of members across the globe.