Zeta Tau Alpha

"It is the object of this fraternity to cultivate a higher ideal of womanhood and to encourage all those womanly traits existent in our kind, to give a firmer foundation to those friendships founded on college companionship, to promote sympathy in both sorrows and pleasures, and to furnish aid and sisterly advise in our school life."


Zeta Tau Alpha History

 The Zeta Tau Alpha Tradition began in 1898 when nine friends wanted to honor the permanence of the friendship...

     Zeta Tau Alpha was founded October 15, 1898, by nine women at the State Female Normal School (later Longwood College) in Farmville, Virginia. Maud Jones, Alice Bland Coleman, Ethel Coleman, Ruby Leigh, Frances Yancey Smith, Della Lewis, Hella M. Crafford, Alice Grey Welsh, and Mary Jones began as a small group of friends wishing to add more permanence to their relationship. A temporary name of "???" was taken when, as legend has it, a member of another group met with the Founders. Raising her eyebrows and forming her fingers in the shape of a question mark, she asked "Who are you?" and in unison the group answered, "Yes, who? Who? Who?" Thus, the group came to be known as "???" while they sought an appropriate Greek name and symbols.    

    During this time, the group received valuable assitance from two of the members' brothers- Maud's brother, Plummer Jones, and Frances Yancey Smith's brother, Giles Mebane Smith. Both were students at the College of William and Mary, members of men's Greek-letter organizations and knowlegable of Greek lore.  

    After a year of careful contemplation, the group chose the formal name Zeta Tau Alpha, the patron goddess Themis, and the badge. ZTA would be the "first woman's fraternity to be chartered in the State of Virginia, and the only one every to be granted a charter by a special act of legislature." With the help of Senator Frank C. Moon, ZTA's charter was drawn up and passed on March 15, 1902.     

    Over the years, thousands of women of all ages have shared the common bond created by Zeta Tau Alpha's nine founders. this organization has grown through the century to become the third largest women's Greek organization in North America. Today, Zeta Tau Alpha has 243 chapters at colleges and universities, as well as alumnae chapters throughout the U.S. With now over 206,000 initiated members, the original founders succeeded in creating a group that emphasizes scholarship, sisterhood, service, and values that stand the test of time,


Nine Founders of Zeta Tau Alpha: 

Maud Jones Horner, Died 1920
Della Lewis Hundley, Died July 12, 1951
Alice Bland Coleman, Died June 11, 1956
Mary Jones Batte, Died December 3, 1957
Alice Grey Welsh, Died June 21, 1960
Ethel Coleman Van Name, Died January 24, 1964
Helen M. Crafford, Died September 17, 1964
Frances Yancey Smith, Died April 23, 1977
Ruby Leigh Orgain, Died October 22, 1984


 founders pic