In the academic year of 1913- 1914, twelve girls organized an official "house club" under the university. It was called Mekatina, which meant "Among the Hills". Mekatina had a ritual based on Native American themes. The pin was a rising sun. The formal founding date, according to Delta Zeta's history, is January 1, 1914.
On February 7, 1921, the Mekatina students became members of the Alpha chapter of Theta Upsilon. Ida Shaw Martin, of the Sorority Service Bureau, had outlined the plans for Theta Upsilon and perfected the ritual.
Theta Upsilon installed many chapters across the country. Early in its history, the fraternity merged with Lambda Omega and Alpha Sigma Delta sororities. Lambda Omega began as the Norroena club at Berkeley in 1915. The name meant "Breath of the North" and the ritual was based on Native American and Norse values. The Norse values emphasized were hardihood, hospitality, economy, and friendship. Lambda Omega was an associate member of the National Panhellenic Conference. In 1932, Lambda Omega merged with Alpha Sigma Delta, which began as the Iaqua club at Berkeley in 1919. In 1932, Lambda Omega was absorbed by Theta Upsilon.
On May 6, 1962, Theta Upsilon fraternity was officially absorbed by Delta Zeta sorority. The ceremony was held at the Alpha Alpha chapter house at Northwestern University. Delta Zeta gained nine new collegiate chapters:
- Simpson College
- Birmingham-Southern College
- University of New Hampshire
- Westminster College
- Louisiana Polytechnic Institute
- University of Akron
- Creighton University
- DePaul University (Chicago)
- Western Carolina College
There were also three "overlaps" in chapters at Miami, Illinois, and Temple universities.
Seven Degrees of Membership
(Per Delta Zeta's history)
- Rainbow Degree: pledge ceremony; new members received rainbow ribbons
- Iris Degree: second pledge ceremony; pledge pin of sterling silver fleur-de-lis received
- Covenant Degree: initiation degree, "full lifetime membership"; received official badge of "a pearled Θ superimposed upon Y"
- Temple Degree: awarded to alumnae at national convention; distinguished thoise who "supported and cooperated with the national fraternity"
- Laurel Degree: awarded to Temple degree members who showed "outstanding service"; given at National Convention
- Mother/Patroness Degree: awarded to mothers of initiates, patronesses of college chapters, and housemothers.
- Honorary Patron: awarded by college chapters to any man who made an outstanding contribution to the fraternity; approved by National Council
- The flower was the iris.
- The tree was the bay tree.
- The patron was Apollo.
- The official motto: Let there be light
- The magazine was The Dial
"As a daughter of light, I believe in loyalty to God, the Light of all our being; in loyalty to our country, the land of opportunity and freedom, where all women have important roles to play; in loyalty to our fellowmen with whom I shall seek constantly understanding and true love.
"I believe in love, learning, and labor, bearing in mind that each is incomplete without the other- true love expressed through intelligence, service, learning acquired as a result of loving interest in others, and labor inspired by love and guided by intelligence.
I believe in Theta Upsilon, its purposes, its ideals, and its aspirations. I pledge my heart, my head, and my hand to be a good citizen on the campus and in the community, to cooperate in all endeavors, to maintain high ideals in social life, to uphold a worthy standard in harmony with my sisters in Theta Upsilon, that together we may work to further the divine plan for all mankind." - Beatrice Card Fuller
- Miner, Florence Hood (1983). Delta Zeta Sorority 1902- 1982: Building on Yesterday, Reaching for Tomorrow. Indianapolis, Indiana: Compolith Graphics and Maury Boyd and Associates, Inc. pp. 150–151.
- Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities (multiple volumes)