|Founded||October 24, 1902
Miami University, (Oxford, Ohio)
|Flower||Pink Killarney Rose|
|Publication||The LAMP of Delta Zeta|
|Philanthropy||Speech and Hearing; The Painted Turtle,
The Starkey Hearing Foundation
|Headquarters||202 East Church Street
Oxford, Ohio, USA
Delta Zeta (ΔΖ) is an international college sorority founded on October 24, 1902, at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Today, Delta Zeta has 158 collegiate chapters in the United States and over 200 alumnae chapters in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. There are over 234,000 college and alumnae members. In 2007, a New York Times article regarding the closure of the DePauw University chapter of Delta Zeta accused the organization of alleged discrimination of girls based on looks.
Delta Zeta Sorority was founded at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1902, the same year that the university first allowed female students. Miami is dubbed the "Mother of Fraternities" because of the many prominent men's fraternities which were founded there.
Six of the newly admitted female consulted university president Dr. Guy Potter Benton regarding the founding of the first sorority chapter. Having been a leader in the Phi Delta Theta fraternity he was familiar with the processes of a Greek organization and helped the women establish the first Delta Zeta chapter. Benton aided in preparation of the ritual, badge, and colors. For his contributions, he was named the 'Grand Patron' and became the only man ever awarded the Delta Zeta badge. The Delta Zeta Sorority was officially incorporated in October 24, 1902. The founding members were: Alfa Lloyd Hayes, Mary Jane Collins, Anna Louise Keen, Julia Lawrence Bishop, Mabelle May Minton, and Anne Dial Simmons.
Article II of the Mission Statement reads as follows: "The purpose of this sorority shall be to unite its members in the bonds of sincere and lasting friendship, to stimulate one another in the pursuit of knowledge, to promote the moral and social culture of its members, and to develop plans for guidance and unity in action; objects worthy of the highest aim and purpose of associated effort."
The women were harassed for wanting to form a sorority. In one account, someone stole the constitution out of the secretary's hand but Dr. Benton pursued the offender and retrieved the constitution.
The sorority joined the National Panhellenic Conference in 1910. Delta Zeta has absorbed four other sororities: Beta Phi Alpha in 1941, Phi Omega Pi in 1946, Delta Sigma Epsilon in 1956, and Theta Upsilon in 1962. Delta Zeta marked its Centennial Celebration in 2002.
One event that many Delta Zeta chapters use to raise funds for their philanthropies is a Turtle Tug, a tug-of-war contest conducted across campuses by both sororities and fraternities to raise money for The Painted Turtle and their local hearing and speech foundation. Trophies and prizes are given to the winning teams and the most spirited team.
The Delta Zeta Foundation
The Delta Zeta Foundation is a not-for-profit entity within the organization that provides various scholarships for members of the sorority as well as funding leadership, philanthropy, and education programs. There is a national philanthropic organization for active members of Delta Zeta known as the 1902 Loyalty Circle, members join by donating $19.02.
Accusations of discrimination
At the end of 2006, the Delta Chapter of Delta Zeta at DePauw University became enmeshed in a controversy that would eventually make national headlines and result in the chapter's closure. The Delta Zeta national leadership was criticized after the New York Times published an article accusing the National office of moving certain members of the Delta Chapter at DePauw University to alumnae status based on their perceived attractiveness. Founded in 1909, the Delta chapter was the sorority's second oldest active chapter and its fourth oldest chapter overall (a "single letter" chapter). Despite its long history at DePauw, the Delta chapter struggled with declining membership and had acquired a negative reputation on campus. As a result, the Delta chapter members voted to request Delta Zeta Sorority to close the chapter due to falling numbers and lack of interest in recruitment. When notified of the chapter decision, Delta Zeta Sorority arranged a chapter membership review and chapter reorganization rather than close the chapter completely. Several of the members that were moved to alumnae status (and therefore required to move out of the Delta Zeta house at DePauw) argued that they were moved to alumnae status due to their perceived unattractiveness, weight, or ethnicity and contacted the media.
- Mercedes Bates (Theta) – first female corporate officer of General Mills Foods. After being appointed to head the Betty Crocker division, she was often referred to as "Betty Crocker".
- Shelley Berkley (Iota Phi) – U.S. Representative for Nevada's 1st congressional district
- Marti Dodson (Theta) – lead singer for national recording artist, Saving Jane
- Nanette Fabray (Xi Omicron) – actress, worked to bring sign language and captioning to television
- Edith Head (Alumna Initiate, Mu) – Emmy Award-winning designer; 7-time Oscar winner in costume design
- Florence Henderson (Alumna Initiate, Alpha Chi - Honorary Member) – actress, (The Brady Bunch)
- Maurine Brown Neuberger (Omega) – former US Senator
- Melissa Ordway (Delta Delta) – actress and model
- Pat Priest (Alpha Chi) – actress, (The Munsters)
- Ivy Baker Priest (Alpha Chi) – Former United States Treasurer
- Märtha Sofia Lovisa Dagmar Thyra (Alumna Initiate, Upsilon) – princess of Sweden, crown princess of Norway.
- Marcia Wallace (Delta Nu) – TV and stage actress
- Kay Yow (Zeta Lambda) – women's basketball Coach, NC State
- The 1905 Baird's Manual lists the colors as "old rose and nile green" which some chapter websites still use. The 1991 edition says "old rose and green". However, the official national web cite lists the colors as "rose and green".
- "Delta Zeta History". Delta Zeta. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
- "Delta Zeta History". deltazeta.org. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- "Delta Zeta Facts - Delta Zeta Sorority". Delta Zeta. Retrieved 2012-06-10.
- "Philanthropy and Service - Delta Zeta Sorority". Delta Zeta. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- Associated Press (March 12, 2007). "DePauw University severs ties with sorority/". MSNBC. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- Dillon, Sam (February 25, 2007). "Sorority Evictions Raise Issue of Looks and Bias". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 October 2013.
- "Up Close and Personal: OSU's Connection to ‘Betty Crocker’". OSU Alumni Association. Retrieved 2007-04-02.
- "Women of Achievement - Law, Government and the Military". Delta Zeta. Retrieved 2012-02-17.
- "Spring 2006 - The Lamp of Delta Zeta" (PDF). Delta Zeta. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- "Lamplighters host 50th Annual Flame Fantasy to Benefit the House Ear Institute". Delta Zeta. November 7, 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- "Delta Zeta Sorority - Edith Head". Delta Zeta. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- "Florence Henderson Official Site - FAQ". Florence Henderson Official Site. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- "Famous Delta Zeta sisters". Tech Turtles of Delta Zeta. Archived from the original on 2007-03-11. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- Brewer, Nancy, and Rochelle Mackey. A Century of Sisterhood: The Story of Delta Zeta Sorority 1902-2002. Phoenix: Heritage, Inc., AZ.
- "Spring 2005 - The Lamp of Delta Zeta" (PDF). Delta Zeta. Retrieved 2007-03-18.
- "Kay Yow ΖΛ ’62, 1987 Delta Zeta Woman of the Year". Delta Zeta. October 8, 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-15.