Convention 2022 Recap


Large lighted letters spelling out “Howdy Y’all” and topped with a spray of turquoise and gray balloons greeted collegians and alumnae as they arrived at Convention 2022. Seeing and hugging sisters for the first time in four years created a special excitement that lasted throughout the week.

National President Alicia Patten Williams welcomed the 1,000 attendees in the opening session and introduced National Council, the boards of the ZTA Foundation and the ZTA Fraternity Housing Corporation and the 2022-2023 Leadership Consultants.

Keynote speaker Bonny Boutet Shade (Kappa Tau Chapter, Florida Gulf Coast University), set the tone for the week’s focus on love. “Love is a journey, not a destination,” said Bonny, associate director for fraternity and sorority life at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. “Love is a verb. It’s a choice you make with grace, and it requires action.” She encouraged her sisters to love by doing the work that maintains ZTA’s common thread.

At dinner, Mrs. Williams and the eight other members of National Council presented the State of the Fraternity address. They spoke of how the lessons of The Creed of Zeta Tau Alpha guided their decisions during the challenging 2020- 2022 biennium.

“We created a symphony of high ideals by holding true to the Creed’s last instruction, ‘remembering always that the foundation precept of Zeta Tau Alpha was Love, the greatest of all things’,” Mrs. Williams said. “We have enriched and ennobled our lives under the most difficult circumstances by learning to love sisters steadfastly, enduringly and unconditionally.”


The first Business Meeting featured treasured Convention traditions— the processional of delegates and National Officers, the parade of chapter flags, the Welcome given by the President of the nearest collegiate chapter, the Response from the President of the newest chapter, and the presentation of new chapter silver cups.

After the Business Meeting, the Fraternity Housing Corporation held its biennial meeting and elected officers (see page 14). The FHC also hosted Thursday’s luncheon, celebrating housing volunteers and announcing the creation of the Julia Marthaler Hill Excellence in Housing Leadership Award. The award was named in honor of and presented to Mrs. Hill for her 20 years of service to the FHC. Read more about the FHC awards on page (34).

Nora Nell Hardy Jackson, former National President and former FHC President, received the Repeater Award for attending 27 Conventions. The afternoon guest speaker, Nataly Kogan, urged ZTA members to embrace themselves as “awesome humans.” She offered strategies for reducing stress, including disconnecting for 30 minutes every day to refuel, and finding balance between emotional, mental and physical energy.

Thursday’s dinner paid tribute to collegiate Crown Chapter recipients, Outstanding Advisors, the collegiate recipient of the Louise Kettler Helper award, Danielle Harrison (Alpha Theta Chapter, Purdue University), and the recipients of the Vivian Ulmer Smith Recruitment Award, presented for the first time to multiple members—the Virtual Recruitment Task Force.

Following dinner, attendees changed into ritual attire for the Rededication Service, conducted by the Leadership Consultants, and the Memorial Service, honoring members who passed away during the biennium. During the service, ZTA remembered 32 former National Officers who died from 2018 to 2022.


At the second Business Meeting, delegates approved changes to
the Constitution & Bylaws of Zeta Tau Alpha, including eliminating the requirement of alumnae references for potential new members. The meeting also included a review of ZTA’s harm reduction policies.

Guest speaker Alex Hudgens (Lambda Iota Chapter, Vanderbilt University), called ZTA “love in motion” and asked how each attendee would stay in motion after Convention. The Emmy- nominated journalist and producer, formerly with Access Hollywood, offered the acronym HEART as a guideline for motion: hope, energy, accountability, relationships and tenacity.

With everyone dressed in pink, Friday’s luncheon celebrated the ZTA Foundation’s commitment to scholarships and philanthropy. To commemorate the 30th anniversary of breast cancer and education as ZTA’s philanthropy, the Foundation announced at $500,000 grant to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (see page 46).

The Foundation also honored the retirements of Vice President of Philanthropy Sherry Server Tilley and Vice President of Scholarship Catherine G. Slaughter with endowed scholarships in their names.

The afternoon collegiate small group sessions continued the week’s focus on the newly defined Key Value of Love. Collegians learned more about how to practice self-care and how to love their sisters more authentically through moments big and small.

Friday’s dinner was a rousing tribute to the recipients of the Honor Ring, Alumnae Crown Chapter Award and the Louise Kettler Helper Alumnae Award, Diane Hansen Keegan.

Sisters then donned their hats and boots for the “Zonky Tonk” Sisterhood Party, featuring line dancing, games and multiple backdrops for that perfect Instagram photo.


The 2022-2024 National Council.

At the final Business Meeting, the retiring members of National Council—National President Alicia Patten Williams, Vice President Collegiate II Laura Moak Redman and Extension Director Raechel Bennett Biggs—received silver trays and boxes filled with personal notes from ZTA sisters in honor of their service.

The proposed slate of National Council members for 2022-2024 passed by acclamation and the former National Presidents conducted the National Council Installation Service. Former National President Nora Nell Hardy Jackson presented the purple of the Fraternity to her daughter, new National President Dinah Jackson Laughery.

Saturday’s luncheon featured the ZTA Foundation’s 2022 Outstanding Alumnae, EPSN and SEC Network host Laura McKeeman Rutledge (Gamma Iota Chapter, University of Florida). Laura recalled how her ZTA sisters believed in her more than she believed in herself and encouraged her to serve as a chapter officer, campus tour guide, sports radio reporter and pageant contestant. “Looking around this room right now, I think about the power we have as women. Everyone here is a leader, a difference maker, an influencer,” she said.

On their free afternoon, Zetas were able to relax around the pool, enjoy the Gaylord’s amenities or just rest up for the final celebration.

At the Recognition Banquet, 22 alumnae chapters and 28 collegiate chapters received the coveted silver trays, representing excellence over the last biennium. Convention concluded with a sisterhood circle, with Zetas linking arms from table to table to sing “Today and Forever.”

Outstanding Alumna

Learn more about previous Outstanding Alumna recipients

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