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Zeta Delta

Zeta Delta Chapter was founded at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont on October 17-19, 1980. The Chapter was unable to survive among the more established groups on campus and closed in 1994.

Founding Date: Oct 18th, 1980

Closed Date: Jan 1st, 1994

Status: Inactive



District: Alpha

238 total initiates

History of University of Vermont

The University of Vermont was chartered in 1791; the same year that Vermont became the 14th state. It was established as the fifth college in New England (after Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and Brown). The initials UVM stand for the Latin words Universitas Viridis Montis, or University of the Green Mountains. The phrase appears on the university's official seal as Universitas V. Montis.

Much of the initial funding and planning for the university was undertaken by Ira Allen, who is honored as UVM's founder. His statue sits on the university's main green. The citizens of Burlington helped fund the university's first building, and, when fire destroyed it in 1824, also paid for its replacement, the Old Mill building. The Marquis de Lafayette, a French general who became a commander in the American Revolution, laid the cornerstone for the Old Mill which still stands on University Row, along with Ira Allen Chapel, Billings Library, Williams Hall, Royall Tyler Theatre and Morrill Hall. A statue of Lafayette sits on the north end of the main green.

Although it began as a private university, UVM attained quasi-public status with the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant College Act in 1862 and the addition of the State Agricultural College. Today, the university blends the traditions of both a private and public university, drawing 16 percent of its general fund (and about 8 percent of its current operating budget) from the state of Vermont.

Throughout its history, the University of Vermont has demonstrated its commitment to fairness and equality. It was the first American college or university with a charter plainly declaring that the "rules, regulations, and by-laws shall not tend to give preference to any religious sect or denomination whatsoever." In addition, the university was an early advocate of both women's and African-Americans' participation in higher education. In 1871, UVM defied custom and admitted two women as students. Four years later, it was the first American university to admit women to full membership into Phi Beta Kappa, the country's oldest collegiate academic honor society. Likewise, in 1877, it initiated the first African-American into the society.

Highlights of the 1980s


On March 21-23, 1980, Zeta Delta Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma colonized at the historic and beautiful University of Vermont. This colonization was held at the University’s 224 acre campus, spread out along a ridge overlooking the city of Burlington and Lake Champlain. The campus included more than 30 architecturally distinctive buildings, including the largest library in the state. These buildings were clustered around several large and sprawling campus greens. Just a short distance away are the valleys, mountains, and rural countryside revealing the varied aspects of Vermont life.

The city of Burlington, located downhill toward the lake from the campus, is a vital and historic New England city. Just a short distance from the campus, the city offers interesting shops, restaurants, and many other entertainments. Since the campus separates the rural countryside from the city down the hill, the students can enjoy the best of both environments. Following only four other Ivy League institutions (Harvard, Yale, Brown and Dartmouth) the University of Vermont (UVM) offers a choice of more than 100 majors from its collection of colleges and schools. Half the students come from Vermont, while another quarter comes from the other New England states. These students chose UVM because of its superior academic reputation because of Vermont’s varied and beautiful environment. UVM tends to attract students who are involved and active, so there are 70 different student organizations on campus. Five other sororities and 15 fraternities are associated with UVM and are close to the academic center of campus.

Due to a strong and expanding Greek system, the Panhellenic was well prepared to welcome a new sorority to UVM. After the initial contact with the University, advance planning and organization by Marjorie Matson Converse, Purdue, chairman of extension, and confirmation of a graduate counselor, Panhellenic invited Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity to colonize a chapter at UVM. The Kappa colonization rush team began with Marj Converse, who made the initial contact and plans but was unable to attend due to a broken hip. A week before colonization weekend, Barbara Laitner, Colorado, field secretary, met with Mary Malloy, Panhellenic adviser, Kathy Geraghty, Panhellenic Vice President in charge of Rush, and other UVM officials. She worked on rush party details and organized the Burlington alumnae. Sally Leach Peterjohn, Colorado, and Lilli Johnston Copp, Florida State, Burlington alumnae, helped with preparing and executing parties, interviewing, and hostessing. Marian Klingbeil Williams, Missouri, director or membership, and Sally Moore Nitschke, Ohio State, director of chapters, directed the colonization rush in addition to securing references, interviewing rushes, and making selections. Patty Coffee Gesell, Penn State, province director of alumnae, and Judy Farnham Preston, Boston, province director of chapters, assisted in all areas which helped the colonization run smoothly. Other Burlington alumnae, Carry Pugh Shenk, Ohio State, and Jane Kuhn Titus, Ohio Wesleyan, also lent their support to the colonization efforts.

The four active chapters represented worked as a confident Kappa unit. Psi Deuteron from Cornell came back from spring vacation early to help. Delta Delta from McGill added their support after a long bus ride from Montreal. Delta Mu from the University of Connecticut traveled seven and a half hours to participate. Beta Beta Deuteron, St. Lawrence, sent seven sophomores and juniors who sang, smiled, and helped keep spirits high. All these Kappa actives rushed their hardest for the new Zeta Delta Colony. They provided excellent support for the alumnae and added the spirit of active Kappa life.

The team went into action for the first rush party held on Friday night in the John Dewey Memorial Lounge. The large, historic room was filled with rushees, Panhellenic members, several UVM officials, plus Kappa actives and alumnae. After welcoming the rushees, refreshments were served while slides and a narrative about "The Spirit of Kappa" were presented. Beta Beta Deuteron and Psi Deuteron chapters entertained with songs as the party ended. The rushees enthusiastically signed-up for interviews which would be held the next day.

The preference brunch was held in the Faculty Dining Room in Waterman Hall. The atmosphere was informal yet sincere, and the food was excellent. Psi Deuteron chapter added a special touch by bringing decorations from its preference party. The brunch was followed by a program highlighted with Kappa actives.

Formal pledging followed the preference brunch. As a result, Kappa gained 25 bright, attractive, active pledges from the University of Vermont, including one junior, 19 sophomores, and five freshmen. Four girls were from Vermont and 21 from other states. One legacy was included in this group.

After that weekend, the new Zeta Delta Colony was very busy. The Stowe Ski Resort was the location for their first retreat. The group stayed in the State Ski Dormitory while getting to know each other better and learning everything they could about Kappa. With the help of Barb Laitner and Lilli Copp, they elected officers, and were involved in pledge conferences with Sally Peterjohn and Lilli Copp.

They attended a Kite and Key party with the Thetas, a barbeque at a park on Lake Champlain, a colony dinner at a pizza parlor, and held a reception for area alumnae. The new pledges organized a Picker singing group and already had several philanthropic projects in mind. Panhellenic provided big sisters for the new colony members and they had Kappa Big Sisters from the Dartmouth Chapter in addition to their special Kappa friends who participated in rush. As the semester ended, Zeta Delta Colony looked forward to its first rush, their initiation as charter members, and the installation of their colony. They were already functioning as enthusiastic and energetic Kappas! The Key, Summer 1980, page 5

Installation: The colorful foliage and crisp, clear air on the weekend of October 17–19, 1980, provided the perfect atmosphere as Kappas gathered for the Installation of Zeta Delta Chapter at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont. The university’s 224 acre campus spreads along a ridge overlooking the city of Burlington on the shore of Lake Champlain, and the Vermont countryside offers a backdrop of mountains, valleys and farms for a campus strong in academic reputation and Vermont environment.

Installing officers included Sally Moore Nitschke, Ohio State, Fraternity President; Marian Klingbeil Williams, Missouri, Director of Chapters; Marjorie Matson Converse, Purdue, Extension Chairman; Judith Farnham Preston, Boston, Rho Province Director of Chapters; Patricia Coffee Gesell, Penn State, Rho Province Director of Alumnae; and Gretchen VanderVeer, Cincinnati, Graduate Counselor.

Planning and organizing the Installation since early August were Sally Leach Peterjohn, Colorado, and Lilli Johnston Copp, Florida State, co-chairmen. Jane Kuhn Titus, Ohio Wesleyan, was registration chairman, and many other Central Vermont Alumnae were most helpful in the preparations.

The setting for installation was the First Congregational Church in Burlington, located in the center of the city with its beautiful façade of tall white pillars, white bell towers and constructed with red brick. The inspiring Fireside Service was attended by alumnae and actives, and the spontaneous concert of Kappa songs at the conclusion of the evening showed the eagerness of the colony members to join in Kappa traditions.

Dinnie Texter Callahan, Colorado, and Jane Coombs, Miami, drove the Kappa van from Fraternity Headquarters in Columbus and oversaw the setup for installation. Karen Bosch, Minnesota, field secretary, and Jannie Gustafson, Colorado, graduate counselor from Connecticut were joined in the installation by graduate counselors Anna Corotto, Stanford, from Dartmouth; and Linda Pierson, Penn State, from Babson. Also taking part in the service was chapter president Katherine Huffman, Connecticut. Actives from other Rho and Alpha province chapters included Connecticut, Massachusetts, McGill, St. Lawrence, Babson and Syracuse. Several chapter advisers and alumnae from Dartmouth attended as did Jackie Balhatcher Downey, Northwestern; Lea Thomason Bemis, Penn State; and Marge Koza Gacso, Syracuse, representing the Fairfield County Alumnae Association.

Following the Installation, a reception was held at the Klifka Club in Burlington. The afternoon reception drew a crowd of 250 including alumnae, parents and guests, University of Vermont administrators, Panhellenic representatives, and members of the 15 fraternities and five sororities on the UVM campus. An enthusiastic welcome was given and each NPC women’s group presented the new chapter with a beautiful floral arrangement. The Panhellenic executive committee even added to the celebration by presenting the chapter with a large bunch of colorful helium balloons. The reception was planned by June Conklin assisted by Gertrude Jolls Winde, Swarthmore.

A lovely banquet was planned for that evening by Marilyn Chase and held at the Burlington Country Club. A welcome was extended to friends and relatives of the new chapter by Sally Peterjohn. Marj Converse served as toastmistress, and Corrine Richard, the associate dean of students, welcomed the new chapter to UVM. She was enthusiastic about the added diversity that Kappa would help to provide all university women who were seeking to join NPC.

Gretchen VanderVeer, Graduate Counselor, gave a lovely toast to the new chapter, and Debbie Cockayne, Zeta Delta President, responded. The installation address was given by Sally tNitschke, Fraternity President. Marian Williams, Director of Chapters, read greetings from across the nations, and several Kappas were honored with 50-year pins including Jean Cowman Ross, Syracuse, and Carolyn Lee Allen, Middlebury. Debbie Cockayne was presented with a President’s badge for the new chapter which was a gift from Alpha Province.

Patty Gesell helped the chapter open many lovely gifts including a hand-carved Kappa coat-of-arms from the Central Vermont Alumnae Club, an engraved gavel from the Greater Hartford Alumnae Association, candlesticks from the Bay Colony and Boston Intercollegiate groups, a painting of an owl and fleur-de-lis by artist Carrye Pugh Schenk, Beta Nu—Ohio State, pin pillows from Delta Nu—Massachusetts, and a trunk to contain Kappa materials from Epsilon Chi—Dartmouth. The new members presented a special banner. Patty Gesell and Judy Preston gave a chapter award, in the form of a fleur-de-lis pin, given in honor of Betty Deifenbach for a Zeta Delta member who best exemplifies the ideals of the Fraternity.

The banquet closed with the traditional ceremony and the following morning the new members held a model chapter meeting. A true spirit of togetherness prevailed as the new chapter looked ahead to growth and being part of Kappa Kappa Gamma on the Vermont campus.

In 1987 a retreat was held at an adviser’s house. Zeta Delta pledged 17 new members in the Fall. A number of cosmetic updates were given to the house. The chapter grew to approximately 40- members. It pledged the largest number of women during Recruitment, and achieved the highest GPA. Order of Omega society was established and Kimberly Heinig Pegg (’88) was a charter member. The chapter was continuing to face challenges of overall campus attitudes towards Greeks.

In 1988, 12-new members pledged in the Fall, plus 4 new members in the Spring. The chapter members enjoy participating in the Greek Games and won the Spirit Cup. Christmas Cocktails was a fun holiday tradition. The Apple Polishing event with professors was designed to help establish more understanding of Greeks on campus. The chapter focused on Organization with increased planning efforts in place.

The chapter won the all around most improved sorority from UVM’s Panhellenic in 1989. It participated in both a Spring and Fall Recruitments. Fall Recruitment resulted in 20 new members. The chapter size grew to 60 this year and it was very well thought of despite being one of the small groups on campus. The members focused on “Back to Basics” to emphasize the most important things surrounding Kappa. The chapter changed to a committee system (sisterhood, business, membership, education). tMany of the members received campus academic and overall awards.


During the late 1980s the chapter gave monetary donations to the Vermont Epilepsy Association, Women Helping Battered Women, and clothing donations to the Salvation Army. The money was raised from a plant sale. A Holiday party was held for children of Burlington’s Women Helping Battered Women Shelter.

Highlights of the 1990s

The chapter celebrated its 10th Anniversary on campus – October 10th celebration. It won the All Around Most Improved Sorority Award again. Laura Zahner won the Most Outstanding Greek Woman Award. The chapter also won Most Improved Chapter Award at Province Meeting (Newport, RI).

Ten new members were pledged during Recruitment. The chapter and Fraternity began planning for the purchase of a new house. There were 42 members of the chapter. tThe members worked on getting off the Warning of Probation, with the assistance of some Traveling Consultants. The members enjoyed the Monmouth Duo party with Pi Beta Phi in March 1990.

A new house purchased summer in 1991 and much work was done to the beautiful 19th Century home. The house had 22-bedroom house and 32 women lived in the house. The women started moving into the house August 24, 1991. Although the chapter total was only 48-members but there was hope that the new house would continue to foster growth.

The chapter focused on Sisterhood and Unity. The goal was to maintain a 90% membership attendance at meetings, and the year ended with an 84% average attendance. There were five new members added in the Fall making a total of 16 new members for the year. Philanthropy: 1990: Birchwood Terrace Nursing Home 1991: Birchwood Terrace Nursing Home; participated in the Giving Tree event with gifts to local children

Zeta Delta founded 1in 1980, closed in 1994 having initiated 238 members. The Greek system at Vermont was well established when Kappa installed its chapter there and the chapters were housed. The Kappa chapter was unable to survive among the established groups.

The members voted to surrender its charter and the Fraternity Council voted to accept it with regret. 2000 History, Kappa Kappa Gamma Through the Years