October 24, 1902|
Miami University, (Oxford, Ohio)
|Flower||Pink Killarney Rose|
|Publication||The LAMP of Delta Zeta|
Speech and Hearing; The Painted Turtle,|
The Starkey Hearing Foundation
202 East Church Street|
Today, Delta Zeta has 160 collegiate chapters in the United States and Canada; and over 200 alumnae chapters around the globe. As of 2013, there are over 244,400 college and alumnae members, making them the third largest sorority in the nation (after Alpha Delta Pi and Chi Omega).
Delta Zeta is one of 26 national sororities which are members under the umbrella organization of the National Panhellenic Conference.
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 females 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'. 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.
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.
Delta Zeta's officially recognized mascot is the turtle. Delta Zeta partners with Starkey Hearing Foundation and is committed to philanthropy. DZ implements a "Heart For Hearing" to raise money for the foundation.
Since 1954, the national philanthropy of Delta Zeta is speech and hearing. Part of the Delta Zeta creed states, "To those whom my life may touch in slight measure, may I give graciously of what is mine," in recognition of the importance of service. Delta Zeta has national partnerships with the Starkey Hearing Foundation and Gallaudet University. Individual chapters may also support local organizations in their area.
In addition, Delta Zeta supports The Painted Turtle Camp as a national service project. This camp supports children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. Delta Zeta is committed to supporting the camp financially through donations, as well as with their time through volunteering in the camps themselves.
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 Society, and members join by donating $19.02.
Current National Council
The National Council of Delta Zeta is an alumnae board tasked with the governance of the organization.
- Mercedes Bates (Chi) – 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".
- Joy Behar – co-host of The View
- 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)
- Princess Märtha of Sweden (Alumna Initiate, Upsilon) – princess of Sweden, crown princess of Norway.
- Maurine Brown Neuberger (Omega) – former US Senator
- Melissa Ordway (Delta Delta) – actress and model
- Gail Patrick (Alpha Pi) — actress, executive producer of the Perry Mason television series; vice president of the first board of directors of the Delta Zeta Foundation; $1 million bequest established the Women of Distinction Program.
- Ivy Baker Priest (Alpha Chi) – Former United States Treasurer
- Pat Priest (Alpha Chi) – actress, (The Munsters)
- Galadriel Stineman (Kappa Beta) – actress
- Marcia Wallace (Delta Nu) – TV and stage actress
- Kay Yow (Zeta Lambda) – women's basketball Coach, NC State
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 Zeta 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.
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- "Florence Henderson Official Site – FAQ". Florence Henderson Official Site. Archived from the original on 2000-01-19. 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.
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