Founded in 1938, the Gamma Gamma chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha is the oldest women’s fraternity at UTEP and recently celebrated its 75th year. Their home, designed by one of El Paso’s first female architects, Mabel Welch, was located on campus.
The father of founding member, Margaret de Wetter, assisted in construction and built the wall surrounding the garden. He added the functionally decorative blue glass on top of the wall to protect the girls.
The original sisters etched their names into the stones of the fireplace. In the years that followed, other young women recorded the names of those who earned their degrees by carving them into the wooden beams and the front door. The building now houses the UTEP Alumni Association and is formally known as the “Peter and Margaret de Wetter Center”. The Zetas moved off campus in the early 1950’s but still request the building’s use for ceremonies.
The ZTA has a long list of prestigious women who are listed among its alumni, they range from national journalists, Broadway stars, to the first woman General of the U.S. Marine Corps. The El Paso chapter also has distinguished members and sponsors. Margaret de Wetter graduated with a Literature degree, and is an accomplished poet. A plaque commemorating the contributions Peter and Margaret de Wetter made to UTEP graces the wall beside the entrance of the building. Dr. Gladys Gregory, the first woman to become a full professor at UTEP was active with the sisters and sponsored them from 1939-1965. KFOX News at Nine Anchor/Reporter, Elizabeth O’Hara is an alumni member of ZTA. Most of the alumni remain active in the sisterhood, having forged lifelong friendships and a dedication to shared causes.
ZTA remains very active in its philanthropic endeavors, their main focus being the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. “Think Pink. Think Zeta.” is their motto with regard to their involvement in the fight against breast cancer and they plan to participate in the Race for the Cure this March. They also participate in events year round. The young women host the “Zeta Tau Annual Cheer Classic”, a cheer camp for children, ages 4-12, which helps fund breast cancer awareness and education initiatives. During “Zeta Pink Week”, they hand out ribbons, pink lemonade, hold bake sales and raffles.
There is no official Greek housing at UTEP. Due to budget restraints, the University pulled its financial support and fraternity and sorority houses at the campus are now a part of the school’s history. ZTA members now choose to live at home or share apartments. Some Greeks have formed small, unofficial houses and are in talks with the University about reinstating funding, according to Fraternity and Sorority Life Intern, Hector Soltero. ZTA President, Alejandra Del Real points out that being a part of the sorority gives her “the best college experience she could hope for”. She and her sister Zetas remain focused on personal development through academic excellence and being strong, independent young women. The Zeta Tau Alpha website states the goal of this women’s fraternity is to make a difference in the lives of its members by emphasizing “leadership development, service to others, academic achievement and continued personal growth for women.”
Zeta Tau Alpha Traternity (ZTA) minetracker.utep.edu/organization/zetataualphafraternity
Zeta Tau Alpha Celebrates 75 Years News.utep.edu
DR. GLADYS GREGORY – TEXAS WESTERN’S FIRST FEMALE “FULL PROFESSOR” tranformations.utep.edu
“The Peter and Margaret de Wetter Center” The University of Texas at El Paso Alumni Relations Alumni.utep.edu
Interview with Hector Soltero, Fraternity and Sorority Life Intern
Interview with Alejandra Del Real , Zeta Tau Alpha Women’s Fraternity President
Pictures: Flowsheet- digitalcommoms.utep.edu, Alejandra Del Real, and the Peter and Margaret de Wetter Center