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Zeta Delta

Iowa State University

Jan 15th, 1977

Founding Date

The Zeta Delta chapter at Iowa State University was first chartered on January 15, 1977. 


In March of 1976 the ISU administration had interviews with representatives from each national sorority which had requested permission to establish a new chapter at ISU. Only one group would be chosen. During ISU’s formal recruitment in early September, it was announced that Alpha Phi had been invited to hold a special recruitment week and establish a new chapter at ISU.


There was little time for celebrating. Alpha Phi’s special recruitment was to start just one week later, on Sunday, September 19. Telephones rang throughout the ensuing nights all across the Midwest homes of international, regional, district and local officers as well as alumnae and collegians. Collegiate chapters from the University of Nebraska, University of Northern Iowa, Drake University and the University of Iowa were asked to present skits, recruitment Alpha Phi and assist in the selection process. Alpha Phi officers with suitcases, files and briefcases set off for Ames, Iowa, to finalize plans.


For Nu chapter at the University of Nebraska, ISU recruitment started on a dark, rainy Sunday morning as they boarded two chartered buses for the four hour trip to Ames, Iowa. The enthusiasm in their group could in no way be dampened by rain, however. After all, how many times is a chapter invited by Alpha Phi International to present the programs for both the opening and closing days of a special establishment recruitment week? For those who were new members it meant learning all of the recruitment songs and skits in just one short week, but it was also the first opportunity for them to practice recruiting techniques. It was a fantastic chance for the new members to get to know the activities and to bring the house together. They left for ISU full of optimism.


The rainy weather should have been a forewarning of what lay ahead, but they failed to heed its warning. As the first bus arrived at ISU’s student union, they were greeted by clear skies and a bright, sunny day. However, they arrived without their second bus and half of their skit material. The second bus had broken down outside of Omaha, Nebraska. International had informed the chapter they could expect as many as two hundred potential new members for the one opening day party. Panicky Phis envisioned being engulfed by a multitude of potential new members. Their fears were quelled as the second bus arrived ten minutes before recruitment was to start. It can be said that Sunday’s recruitment was saved by a charter bus driver who tested Iowa’s speed limit more than once during the course of the journey to Ames.


Thanks to the long hours of preparation on the part of alumnae and officers, the first day of recruitment went very smoothly. As they talked to the potential new members, they stressed the envious position which any charter member of a new chapter has, the love and sisterhood which we’ve found in Alpha Phi, and the opportunities which can arise from being a Phi. The potential new members were as enthusiastic as they were, and as their group left that evening with pride in representing their Fraternity, they were already looking ahead to their return for the final day of recruitment.


The excitement continued to grow at Ames as chapters from the University of Iowa, University of Northern Iowa and Drake University provided skits and presentations throughout the week. The potential new members were able to see the diversities which exist between each Alpha Phi chapter in the sisterhood of Alpha Phi.


While the collegiate chapters provided the entertainment for the week, the officers and alumnae interviewed each potential new member and made the final selection for the new member class. Phyllis Sims Selig (Gamma Delta-Kansas), International President, and Barbara Wasser Melchert (Omicron-Missouri), Vice-President Collegians, headed the list of officers who actively participated in the recruitment effort. Joan Poyser Kiernan (Beta Alpha-Illinois), Administrative Assistant; Margaret Donnelly Leonard (Epsilon Theta-Northern Iowa), ISU’s special adviser, and former Field Secretary Mary Devlin (Delta Pi-Indiana State) kept recruitment moving smoothly.


On Thursday, Nu chapter again set out on the long road to Ames and the Delta Upsilon fraternity house, where the final two recruitment rounds were to be held. As the first group of potential new members approached the DU house that evening, it was apparent that this was not going to be an ordinary night. They were greeted by a twenty foot banner which proclaimed that they had entered the “Alpha Phi Soda Shop.” The chapter had arrived at ISU with a soda shop setting, gingham dresses, a theme of “Hey, Look Us Over” and an abundance of Alpha Phi spirit. The potential new members witnessed the magical transformation of a destitute girl named Rose into a ravishing Alpha Phi beauty, listened to Alpha Phi songs, were treated to ice cream sodas and shared in the spirit of the sisterhood. As they departed to the strains of “Warm and Gentle Girls,” everyone had the chance to reflect over the past recruitment week.


After more than 15 years, the Zeta Delta chapter made its return to Iowa State’s campus. Festivities began on Friday evening with the Court of Ivy ceremony at the Scheman Building of the Iowa State Center, inviting over 135 collegiate and alumnae initiates to their Saturday initiation. Following the ceremony, Alpha Phi Foundation hosted a reception for Zeta Delta and area alumnae at the Iowa State Alumni Center. Saturday started bright and early with a community service event for collegians and alumnae. Members participated in Take Heart. Take Part. Hands-Only CPR training as a kickoff to their partnership with the Iowa Heart Center. The afternoon of March 7 featured International President Deana Koonsman Gage (Gamma Iota-Texas Tech) presiding over the first Zeta Delta initiation since 1998. This special occasion took place at the Ames Hilton Garden Inn. The day concluded with a Zeta Delta alumnae reunion at the home of Chris Walter Cornelius (Zeta Delta-Iowa State). The weekend culminated with the installation banquet in the ballroom of the Scheman Building on Sunday, March 8. Extension Team Lead Amy Jordan (Omicron-Missouri) served as toastmistress for the celebration, with Fraternity Executive Director Linda Wells Kahangi (Zeta Delta-Iowa State) and Foundation Executive Director Ann Brinkman Carstensen (Zeta Delta-Iowa State) providing heartfelt moments during their chapter’s official return. Educational Leadership Consultants Megan Eckerle (Zeta Psi-Dayton) and Stephanie Tripi (Beta Omega-Kent State) formally introduced the new initiates to families and friends in attendance. Deana Gage also conducted the installation ceremony and presented Chapter President Valerie Vander Linden (Zeta Delta-Iowa State) with the Zeta Delta charter. The Zeta Delta chapter was also lucky to have Cy, the school's mascot, in attendance.