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Chapter History

The history of Phi chapter begins in September of 1913 with a group of seven Trinity College students. These young women—Mamie Cheek, Willietta Evans, Annie Hamlin, Ila Howerton, Annie Reade, Laura Tillet, and Fannie Vann—came together to form a local organization called Theta Delta. The purpose of the Theta Deltas was “to instill the characteristics of honor and loyalty into all its members, to encourage proficiency in scholarship, and to make broad-mindedness and versatility [their] aim”. The group gained distinction on campus for their superior scholarship and leadership.

In January of 1915, the women of Theta Delta petitioned to become part of Zeta Tau Alpha. Grand Secretary Clair Bugg was so impressed with the group that they were granted a charter on May 31st, just three weeks after her inspection.  With the women eager to become sisters of Zeta Tau Alpha before commencement, Mrs. Bugg arrived in Durham several days later to conduct the installation ceremonies. On June 3rd, 1915, Phi became the 22nd link in the Chain of Chapters.

After a brief hiatus, Zeta Tau Alpha proudly returned to campus in 2005 and has been going strong ever since. Today, nearly one hundred years after Phi’s installation, our collegians continue to shape the history of our storied organization. Starting in August 2012, members moved into the the first Phi living space on Duke's Central Campus. As we move forward with this new chapter in Phi’s history, our sisters continue to strive for the excellence, loyalty, and commitment of those original seven members.