In 1838, the original Trinity College was founded in the city of Durham, becoming Duke University in 1924. It was in 1927 that Delta Gamma first made its way to our beloved campus, inquiring about a potential chapter. Local sorority Delta Chi, formed in 1938 with nine members, petitioned Delta Gamma for a charter, and in May 1939, the Council of Delta Gamma unanimously approved the establishment of a chapter at the University. Beta Theta chapter of Delta Gamma at Duke University was founded on June 1, 1939.
The celebratory Installation banquet was held at the Washington Duke Inn, with the theme "Delta Gamma Goes South Again." Evelyn Culp, president of Delta Chi and colony president, was the first member initiated into Beta Theta, and since she was in a hospital bed after a serious car accident, she was given her badge in a special ceremony in the hospital.
Beta Theta was a powerhouse chapter on campus in the 1940s, with the first female editor of the Chronicle, a senior class president and the women’s student government president.
By the early 1970s, interest in Greek life was at an all-time low. Beta Theta joined the ranks of groups that were unable to withstand the tumultuous times. In April 1974, the chapter requested that Delta Gamma suspend its charter due to low numbers, and on June 3, 1974, Council honored this request.
By 1985, the Duke campus was ripe for expansion. In December 1985, the Fraternity was officially invited to re-colonize at Duke. Delta Gamma expected 70 women to attend, and instead interviewed 334 interested women. On February 18, 1986, Delta Gamma pledged 96 women, and the official Initiation and Installation occurred October 11, 1986. The very next year, the chapter held its first Anchor Splash and exceeded quota in its first formal recruitment. Beta Theta was back!
Since then, the chapter has been awarded numerous Fraternity Awards, including the Patricia Peterson Danielson Award on 15 separate occasions, the H.K. Stuart Spirit of Service Award, and the Frankie Ladley Wakefield Parnsassus Award for academic excellence.
In April 1994, the Dorothy Garrett Martin Lectureship in Values and Ethics was established through the Delta Gamma Foundation. From then until 2013, the esteemed Maya Angelou served as the keynote speaker for Duke’s freshman convocation, where she touched students of all different backgrounds.
Chapter members continue to hold leadership positions on campus and help the university and student body move forward with visions for change and adaptation to cultural and campus needs. Our chapter has contributed over $141,528.82 to the Delta Gamma Foundation and has over 1,700 initiates.