March 7, 2024

Answering the Need: Irene C. Boughton, Order of the Laurel

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Delta Zeta Women's Membership Organization | Delta Zeta Sorority

March kicks off Women’s History Month, and this year’s national theme is “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.” Throughout Delta Zeta’s history, we have had many members who lived this through their actions on behalf of the sorority. A cherished tradition from Theta Upsilon, which merged with Delta Zeta in 1962, the Order of the Laurel honors members for sorority service of unusual merit and covering a period of many years. According to the Delta Zeta Constitution, Article XX, National Awards, Section 3, The Order of the Laurel was established to honor those members for sorority service of exceptional merit covering a period of many years.

Irene C. Boughton, Iota-Iowa, graduated in 1925 where she had served the Iota Chapter as president. Following her graduation she did not take a vacation from sorority activity but soon became a Province Director in which position her work was so excellent that she was asked to be the Delta Zeta Executive Secretary. She assumed this post in 1928, and was “the head” of the National Headquarters ever since retiring as Executive Secretary after thirty-eight years in the office in 1966. 

In the early days of her stewardship Delta Zeta, National Headquarters moved to the home city of the National President. Can you imagine this now? National Headquarters moved from Indianapolis to San Antonio, Texas with the president, Myrtle Malott, and of course Irene went with it. Then it moved to Cincinnati and finally back to Indianapolis. In the lovely old home which Delta Zeta bought and renovated for an office, Irene had an apartment in which she was always a most competent and gracious hostess.

In 1936 the National Convention asked Irene to accept the office of National President. The Convention did not wish her to give up her position as Executive Secretary but merely to add the responsibility of being president to the full time job she already held. Irene, being the loyal and devoted Delta Zeta she is, accepted and served as president until 1938.

For many years, Irene had a vital part in the publication of The LAMP, one time as editor and then as business manager. She has been on the Board of Trustees of the Life Lamp Fund and served as its president. In conjunction with the National Panhellenic Conference the editors and the executive secretaries of the various NPC member groups hold conferences. Irene was active in both of these organizations serving as vice president and president of the Executive Secretaries Conference.

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