Zeta Chapter History

Zeta Chapter of Kappa Delta was the first national Greek letter sorority at the University of Alabama. The chapter was installed on March 12, 1904, and the first members were initiated in the Sigma Nu Hall by Katherine Lovejoy, Theta Chapter at Randolph-Macon Woman's College. Kappa Delta was the first sorority to have a chapter in state of Alabama, and is now the oldest continuous Kappa Delta Chapter.  Zeta Chapter charter members were: Alice Ashley, Pear Bogles, Mary Cockrell, Louise Crawford, Nell Hopkins, Elta Lamont, Bessie Leach, Eleanor McCorvey, Myrtle Merill, Anna Moody, Mary Moody, Katherine Nickolls, and Mary Parker.  In 2004, Zeta Chapter celebrated its centennial with many of its current members and alumnae.  We look forward to many more years at the University and continued excellence among our members!

Kappa Delta National History

"A chilly rain splattered against the windowpanes of the little dormitory room on Professional Hall, the dormitory floor where most of the seniors lived. Saturday meant no classes, and the dreary weather that hung over Farmville was a perfect excuse for the four friends to tuck themselves away in that cozy spot and talk for hours... It was that afternoon that Kappa Delta was born - October 23, 1897 - at the State Female Normal School in Farmville, Virginia." 

-Ordinary Miracles: 100 Years of Kappa Delta Sorority

The thought that over 100 years ago four young women could just sit down and create a sisterhood as enduring as Kappa Delta sometimes defies understanding.  But that's exactly what they did.

Kappa Delta's founders were four very different women. They ranged in age from 15 to 23, yet brought a singular sense of purpose to this particular endeavor. Their dream was to create something more lasting than a club -- a sorority! It was to be an entity that would grow beyond their own chapter at State Female Normal School. But they never dreamed that it would grown into an organization of nearly 200,000 women, over 200 chartered chapters and nearly 500 chartered alumnae associations nationwide.

The sorority still holds true to its original object adopted sometime before 1902...
"The object of Kappa Delta Sorority is the formation and perpetuation of good fellowship, friendship and sisterly love among its members; the encouragement of literature and education; the promotion of social interest; and the furtherance of charitable and benevolent purposes."

Kappa Delta's early leaders were women of vision. Today's women live that dream and keep the vision alive!

Our Four Founders

Lenora Ashmore Blackiston was unconventional. She was a dreamer and an idealist filled with enthusiasm for new ideas. Nicknamed "Nora," she was a writer and a poet, able to put her thoughts into action. She was the one who first suggested the idea of forming a sorority, but was unable to put her lasting personal marks on Kappa Delta's beginnings because, after Christmas holiday, she transferred to Randolph-Macon Women's College.


Quiet and extremely intelligent, Julia Gardiner Tyler Wilson came from a distinguished and respected family; her grandfather was John Tyler, former U.S. president, and her father was the president of the College of William and Mary. She was characterized as capable, dependable and possessing considerable artistic talent. She illustrated most of the school's first yearbook and designed the Kappa Delta badge. After helping to found the sorority, Julia spent another year at State Female Normal before transferring to Dana Hall, a preparatory school for Wellesley College where she earned her AB degree in 1904. She joined her founding sister Sara at Kappa Delta's 50th anniversary celebration at the 1947 convention.



Daughter of a Virginia senator, Sara Turner White was gracious and friendly, but known as being a bit more straight-laced than most students. She enjoyed her friends and social activities more than she did her studies. Sara did not return to college after that first year, but remained steadfastly involved with Kappa Delta throughout her long life.



Mary Sommerville Sparks Hendrick was much loved and respected by all students at State Female Normal School. She was known for her fine character and gentle understanding. Mary had concern for others, perhaps because, at 25, she was more mature than the younger students. She was a Bible class leader. Mary stayed on and helped the fledging sorority through its early years.



Helpful Links

Kappa Delta National Website    University of Alabama    Alabama Panhellenic Association    RollTide.com