Our Creed

by Shirley Kreason Strout

To realize that within our grasp, in Zeta Tau Alpha, lies the opportunity to learn those things which will ever enrich and ennoble our lives; to be true to ourselves, to those within and without our circle; to think in terms of all mankind and our service to the world; to be steadfast, strong, and clean of heart and mind, remembering that since the thought is father to the deed, only that which we would have manifested in our experience should be entertained in thought; to find satisfaction in being, rather than seeming, thus strengthening in us the higher qualities of the spirit; to prepare for service and learn the nobility of serving, thereby earning the right to be served; to seek understanding that we might gain true wisdom; to look for the good in everyone; to see beauty with its enriching influence; to be humble in success and without bitterness in defeat; to have the welfare and harmony of the Fraternity at heart, striving ever to make our lives a symphony of high ideals; devotion to the Right, the Good and the True, without a discordant note; remembering always that the foundation precept of Zeta Tau Alpha was love, "the greatest of all things."




Zeta Tau Alpha History


National History

During the post-Civil War era, families had little money, but were characterized by their close relationships. In Virginia, a major battleground, there was a complete social upheaval, including the education of women. 

Due to the lack of money and the close family relationships, most women attended school near home. A majority of women realized the practicality of the teaching profession. The founders chose this profession and attended Virginia State Female Normal School. 
This group of women, at school and among other students, gathered together because they had similar beliefs and backgrounds. Each woman was away from home for the first time and longed for close companionship. A close circle of nine friends developed, and although they were only 15-16 years old, the women knew their group was something special, and it would be lost if a means of continuing the group was not found. 

This group formed a Greek-letter organization to continue the friendships they found so important. The nine women and founders of Zeta Tau Alpha are: Maud Jones, Alice Bland, Ethel Coleman, Ruby Leigh, Frances Yancey Smith, Della Lewis, Helen M. Crafford, Alice Grey Welsh, Mary Jones. 

They organized the Fraternity on October 15, 1898 in Farmville, Virginia. Over the years, women of all ages have shared a common bond created by these nine students. They each had their own strengths that brought the fraternity together. With their diversity of talents they helped and supported each other along the way. 


The Founders


* Maud Jones Horner

Fun-loving, natural leader with undying energy 
Loved tennis 
Wrote the first constitution and was the first ZTA Fraternity President 
Friends called her their "Guardian Angel" 


* Frances Yancey Smith *

A person of beautiful religious character 
Served as Chapter President and later became ZTA's first Grand National Vice President 
Excellent equestrian and loved to ride her horses, Dexter and Nancy 
Her sister, Katherine Yancey Farrior, pledged Zeta 


 * Alice Bland Coleman * & * Ethel Coleman Van Name *

Close sisters, practically inseparable 
Alice was the catalyst for the fraternity's formation 
Alice was ZTA's first secretary 


* Ruby Leigh Orgain * 

Chose our colors and our flower 
Was a descendant of Henry VIII's sister 
A writer and a poet 
Daughter, Parke Leigh, was inititated into Zeta 
Named her home "Themismere" 


 * Helen May Crafford *

Skilled equestrian who could ride and shoot 
Also a top bicyclist in college 
Teaching was her life and love 


* Alice Grey Welsh *

Romantic who loved adventure and travel 
Helped establish one of the first riding clubs in Richmond, Virginia 


 * Mary Cambell Jones Batte * 

Was never called anything but "Cammie" 
An admirer sent her strawberries...Lots of them...which led to their first social gathering to become recognized as a
campus organization 
First founder to wear a jeweled badge 

* Della Lewis Hundley *

Only founder NOT born in Virginia, but in Pennsylvania 
Classmates called her "orderly" 
Traced her lineage back to Queen Anne of England


Local History

In April 1975, Brenda McCurry and Martha Moats came to Salisbury, Maryland to colonize a Zeta Tau Alpha chapter at Salisbury State College. After only three parties, the first group of new members were pledged on April 10. Because it was so close to the end of the semester, the group decided just to elect officers and plan a summer retreat.

The first retreat was held in Lewes, Delaware. The group of charter members planned formal and informal rush. In September 1975, the women held informal rush for upperclassmen and pledged eight girls. During formal rush, they pledged eight freshmen.

Other fall semester activities that the colony participated in included a Founder's Day service, an Interfraternity Dance, a Halloween Party, a service project for a nearby NARC center, and a camping retreat at Ft. Frederick State Park. 

With the help and constant encouragement of their advisors, the colony had reached its membership goal early in November and the alumnae gained the support needed for the new colony. Installation Weekend was set for December 5, 6, and 7, 1975.

The first Theta Delta Zeta Week was held the week before installation. It was a week of close sisterhood. Monday was Fun Night with paper bag skits. Tuesday was Friendship Night with entertainment by the members and readings on friendship. Wednesday night was Sisterhood Night. A silver paper chain was made with each link having the name of a member or pledge symbolizing unity and strength. Thursday was the Pledge Pin Service and, of course, each girl left with an excited feeling of anticipation of what was to come. 

Installation Weekend

On Friday, December 5, the first group of charter members were initiated. The initiation team was made up of: 

Mrs. James Shearer, National President 
Mrs. Henry Skipper, VP-Collegiate 
Mrs. M. P. White, Province I-N President 
Mrs. Daniel Hutchinson, District I President 
Mrs. Becky Kirwan 
Mrs. James Frye 
Ms. Diane Sedlock 
Ms. Bobbie Sietz 
Ms. Harriette White 

On Saturday morning the initiation ceremony began again with the initiation of the final group of charter
members and the installation initiates. 

The Charter Members include: 

Bonnie Downes, Nedra Butler, Brenda Smith, Grathel Wichy, Lynn Lanier, Dorothy Conklin, Shirley
Malzone, Donna Curtis, Sheila Hurley, Lisa Burgemeister, Debra Dean, Kathy Main, Theresa Flott, Keena
Parsons, Ruth Williams, Margaret Troians, Janet Fox, Barbara Wagner, Valerie Dobbins, Mary White, Sally
Hilton, Barbara Scott, Catherine Clagett, and Alise Wheatley. 

Installation Initiates were: 

Carol Brown, Janet Simpson, Joanne Keys, and Eileen Derby 

The New Members were: 

Debra Morse, Deborah Ford, Teresa Hales, Lori MacKenzie, Marjorie Webb, Melinda Wilson, Barbara
Serra, Gail Kendall, Rhonda Giles, Patricia Tyndall, and Ann Fangmeyer. 

The Installation Ceremony was held on Saturday afternoon in the Asbury Methodist Church. The installing
officers were Nelly Shearer and LaVerne Skipper.  Directly afterward, the installation of officers occurred.

The Officers were: 

President:  Keena Parsons 
Vice President:  Grathel Wichy 
Secretary:  Catherine Clagett 
:  Sheila Hurley 
Historian-Reporter:  Bonnie Downes 
Ritual:  Kathy Main 
















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