Beta Zeta Chapter was founded at University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa on May 2, 1882.
Initially, the fraternity custom was to name a new chapter after a closed one, so that all 24 letters of the Greek alphabet were always in use. Because of this custom, the Chapter is referred to simply as Zeta in early records. This practice ended in 1890 when Convention delegates voted to affix Beta to the name of a chapter to indicate it was the second and to affix Gamma on the second round, then Delta, and so on. The chapter at the University of Iowa was the second chapter to be known as Zeta and, after 1890, it became known as Beta Zeta.