History of Zeta Tau Alpha

     Zeta Tau Alpha was founded October 15, 1898, by nine women at the State Female Normal School (now Longwood University) in Farmville, Virginia. Only 14-15 years of age, these young women desired permanence to their friendships and hoped to perpetuate their sisterhood long after college. Though dedicated to the formation of a Greek-letter group, the band of nine delayed selecting a formal name. 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?” 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. After a year of careful contemplation, the group chose the formal name, the patron goddess and the badge.

Founders of Zeta Tau Alpha

Purpose of Zeta Tau Alpha

     The purpose of Zeta Tau Alpha is to intensify friendship, promote happiness among its members, to perform such deeds, and to mould such opinions as will conduce to the building up of a purer and nobler womanhood in the world.

Traditions of Zeta Tau Alpha

     Zeta Tau Alpha is known as a fraternity, not as a sorority. The founders intended that Zeta Tau Alpha be designated a "fraternity" to distinguish the organization from the sisterhoods organized in connection with men's fraternities, called "sororities."

     From its founding in 1898, the innermost meanings of Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity have remained unchanged through the preservation of and respect for our rituals.

     Members and chapters celebrate the founding of Zeta Tau Alpha on October 15th each year. The Founder's Day service offers remembrance, while turquoise and gray ribbons are worn under the badge show each member's commitment to our founding ideals. The "Zeta Prayer" is sung before dinner in chapter houses and at other appropriate times when ZTAs are gathered.

Open Motto

     "Seek the noblest."

Creed of Zeta Tau Alpha

     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 in 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.”
     -- Shirley Kreasan Strout
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