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Zeta Theta

Tufts University

Nov 11th, 1978

Founding Date

On November 11, 1978, Alpha Phi became the first new sorority and the largest group to be installed on the Tufts University campus in Medford, Massachusetts, near Boston. 


Alpha Phi sisterly love goes a long way, as proven by Gayla Reed Brown (Gamma Phi-Florida State), whose enthusiasm and love for Alpha Phi spread to her sister, Lori Reed, who was attending Tufts University, a school without an Alpha Phi chapter. Thus, through Gayla’s interest and devotion to Alpha Phi and Lori’s efforts to start a new chapter at Tufts, eight women were recruited on May 7, 1977, at the Colonial Inn in historic Concord, Massachusetts. The new member ceremony was conducted by Nancy Wittgen Burks DeVoe (Gamma-DePauw), Director of Extension, and Kathy Watson, Field Representative, with members of the Boston Alumnae Chapter participating.


On Friday evening, November 10, thirteen Delta sisters and sixteen Alpha sisters with three advisers arrived by bus from Cornell and Syracuse universities at the Tufts University campus, to participate in the weekend events. The evening began with a Court of Ivy conducted in the Faculty Lounge, Mugar Hall, by members of Delta chapter. Following the ceremony, Boston alumnae stayed to begin preparations for initiation to be held the next morning. 


The initiation of thirty-three women took place early Saturday morning in the Faculty Dining Room, Mugar Hall, with Alpha chapter conducting the initiation, led by president Donna Marchisio, with president Denise Gilbert (Delta-Cornell), as chaplain. When it was time for pinning, Gayla Reed Brown stepped forward to pin her sister, Lori, with the Alpha Phi badge. Alpha chapter conducted the model meeting which followed in the Faculty Lounge.


A formal luncheon was held at 1:00 p.m. in the Roscoe Pound Dining Room, Mugar Hall; 145 people attended. Toastmistress for the luncheon was Nancy DeVoe, Vice President Extension, who introduced Denise Gilbert, who gave the invocation. Bruce Reitman, Assistant Dean of Students, welcomed Zeta Theta to the campus. Welcomes to Zeta Theta were also given by Nancy DeVoe, Elizabeth Parkhurst (Beta Alpha-Illinois) and Donna Marchisio. Sheri O’Boyle, new chapter president, responded.


Much to everyone’s dismay, Mary Carr Boyd, Alpha Phi International President, became ill Friday evening and was unable to give the main address. Her regal presence was greatly missed by all. District I Governor Elizabeth F. Parkhurst came to the rescue and graciously agreed to read the address while Betty Loveland Heinze (Alpha-Syracuse), Historian-Memorabilia Consultant and Alpha Phi Nurse, cared for the ill president.