Women's History Month: Empowerment

March 14, 2022


Could you imagine your life without Delta Zeta? The 1905-1906 school year brought with it some surprises and we almost didn’t have Delta Zeta as we know it today. The Delta Zetas returned with a larger group that fall than before and they all lived together in a house, pledging several new members quickly. It was also the first time a Founder was not in the collegiate chapter, though most were nearby teaching or at home. That pioneering spirit was missing just a little bit in Alpha. The chapter then learned of another group forming on campus calling themselves Q.T., that not only started functioning as Phi Tau Sorority but quickly was giving them competition by recruiting the same women they were interested in!


As time went on, rumors flew that it would be easier to acquire national recognition by joining some already established organization than the longer and harder method of building their own national sorority. Conferring with Dr. Benton, the Delta Zetas made the decision to petition a national sorority for membership. Imagine their astonishment when they heard the Phi Tau’s had also petitioned the same goal and the same national organization! Advice was given by friends of both groups to combine efforts to try again, and the Delta Zetas make the heart-breaking decision to abandon their ideal to build Delta Zeta into a national organization. They burned all of their paraphernalia and joined with Phi Tau to prepare the petition in the Phi Tau name. After what seemed like an interminable wait, they received the answer. It was negative.


To the Delta Zeta Founders, this seemed providential. They urged the current collegiate Delta Zetas to withhold any petition for a national organization long enough for them to graduate in 1907. The end of the school year was left in great uncertainty with the division from the Phi Tau group. However, in the summer of 1907, the Delta Zeta alumnae held the first National Convention in Dayton, Ohio. They laid the groundwork for the current Delta Zeta during that meeting. “Plan your work, then work your plan!” So, Alfa Lloyd, Mary Collins, Bess Coulter and Jessie Denman living there in Oxford together began to do that and in the fall of 1907 searched for just the right women to take the important work of re-establishing the chapter. And, in early 1908 Delta Zeta began functioning at Miami again.


Our early alumnae were filled with what Delta Zeta historians called a pioneering spirit. They made decisions that might be considered difficult in order to realize their ultimate goals. Without their steady confidence, we might not know the Delta Zeta of today which has empowered hundreds of thousands of women’s lives since.