International Heritage

Founded on May 15, 1851 at Wesleyan Female College in Macon, Georgia, Alpha Delta Pi holds the distinction of being the first secret society in the world for college women.  As the mother of today's sorority system, it is only fitting that our founding took place at the first college in the world chartered to grant degrees to women.


The sorority was originally organized under the name The Adelphean Society.  The word Adelphean is derived from the Greek word meaning “sister.”  Eugenia Tucker Fitzgerald was elected as the first President and noted in her diary: “The Society shall be called Adelphean, and shall have for its object the mental, moral, social, and domestic improvement of its members."

The other five women who founded The Adelphean Society were Ella Pierce Turner, Octavia Andrew Rush, Mary Evans Glass, Sophronia Woodruff Dews, and Elizabeth Williams Mitchell.

Within two weeks of the founding of The Adelphean Society, these six young women were joined by thirteen others to form what is now known as the Alpha Chapter of Alpha Delta Pi.  The Adelphean Society flourished through the years and, in 1904, the members voted to become national and then, in 1905, changed their name to Alpha Delta Phi.  Shortly thereafter, in 1913, the name was again changed to Alpha Delta Pi to avoid confusion with a men's fraternity of the same name.


Today, there are over 215,000 initiated members of the sorority worldwide and more than 140 collegiate chapters throughout the United States and Canada.  The qualifications for membership remain unchanged through the years: scholarship, high principles of behavior, and true friendships. 


"The Society shall be called Adelphean, and shall 
have for its object the mental, moral, social, and domestic 
improvement of its members."

- Eugenia Tucker Fitzgerald, Founder of Alpha Delta Pi,
Diary Entry on May 15, 1851

Ella Pierce Turner

Octavia Andrew Rush

Mary Evans Glass

Sophronia Woodruff Dews

Elizabeth Williams Mitchel

Local Heritage

On Thanksgiving of 1899, Johnnie Wright, Alice Harrell, and Tillie Price founded a local sorority at Southwestern University with the help of the Brothers of the Kappa Sigma - Iota Chapter. The eleven charter members called themselves Beta Sigma, wrote their own constitution, and became the first sorority on campus.


On February 7, 1907, Beta Sigma was adopted as Zeta Chapter of Alpha Delta Pi. Southwestern University has an extensive collection of letters to and from Early Price, a member of Beta Sigma and then ΑΔΠ, which detail historic SU events, such as the first Homecoming reception in 1909.


Many of our early sisters did notable work for the sorority at the international level. Abigail Davis organized Nu Chapter at Randolph-Macon Women's College in Lynchburg, Virginia, and helped develop the ritual. Paula Garrison was inspector for two terms, and Ida Donovan assisted in the installation of the Alpha Zeta Chapter at Southern Methodist University. In 1956, a scholarship award was established in honor of Flora Root Cody, Zeta Chapter alumna and long-time State Membership Chairman for Texas.


Since our humble beginning, Zeta Chapter has moved forward to become a premier chapter in the United States. In 1909, Zeta Chapter hosted the Alpha Delta Pi National Convention at the Kappa Alpha Order fraternity house. Zeta Chapter also hosted the Alpha Delta Pi State Convention in 1956.

Beta Sigma

In 1989, Zeta Chapter was named to the Golden Lion Hall of Fame for the first time—the highest honor that recognizes many years of excellence in all areas of sorority life, only given every other year. Since then, Zeta has received the Golden Lion award regularly. In 1991, Zeta Chapter served as a pilot chapter for the new Total Membership Education Program and, in 1992, Zeta was honored as the chapter with the highest GPA in the nation.


Alpha Delta Pi celebrated our 150th international anniversary in 2001. For the occasion, Zeta Chapter donated a tree and a plaque outside the Sharon Lord Caskey Center as well as a beautiful stained glass piece, which hangs outside the building. In 2004, the chapter room was redesigned and refurbished to create a welcoming and cheerful environment for chapter meetings, open chapter room events, and sisterhood gatherings. Zeta Chapter celebrated our 100th chapter anniversary on February 7, 2007, making us the second oldest active chapter of Alpha Delta Pi.


Zeta Chapter has a chapter room inside the Sharon Lord Caskey Center. The room was redecorated in 2005 and then again in September 2010, after Southwestern University received 15 inches of rain in one day. The chapter room flooded with over a foot of water, causing rot and mold. Chapter members pitched in and, with the guidence of the Chapter President, redecorated the room to reflect our colors, motto, and heritage.


On May 15, 2011, Alpha Delta Pi celebrated our 160th international anniversary. Zeta Chapter celebrated its 105th anniversary on February 7, 2012. We, with our rich history, will surely enjoy sisterhood and success for years to come.