about us


Honorary fraternity for men and women in The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and College of Natural Resources and Environment

The Virginia Chapter of Alpha Zeta is a professional, service, and honorary fraternity for men and women in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Natural Resources at Virginia Tech. It is composed of student, alumni, associate, and honorary members who have been initiated by chartered chapters or alumni associations of the Fraternity



  • Foster high standards of scholarship, character, leadership, and a spirit of fellowship among all its members
  • Strive for breadth of vision, unity of action, and accomplishment of ideals
  • Render service to students and to agricultural divisions of the respective institutions
  • Promote the profession of agriculture


The purpose of The Fraternity of Alpha Zeta is to bind together a group of men and women interested in the continued advancement of agriculture and to foster and develop high standards of scholarship, character, leadership, and a spirit of fellowship among all its members.



Alpha Zeta believes that mastery of subject matter is essential for strong leadership in our modern scientific world. Unless students can learn to apply themselves effectively through mental discipline to maintain an above-average scholarship record, they are not likely to become an outstanding leader in their chosen field.



Alpha Zeta feels that good character is essential for effective leadership and service. Too frequently, individuals insist upon their rights, privileges, and liberties without consistently emphasizing their responsibilities to society. Good character includes those elements of personal makeup that among other things make a person honest, fair, faithful, loyal, and dependable.



Alpha Zeta consistently encourages individuals to aspire to high ideals of leadership - a quality that can be cultivated and developed. It comes from the application of acquired knowledge, from desire to accomplish, from the exercise of good judgment, from the will to do, from the understanding of human nature, and from a personality to influence and lead others.



In Alpha Zeta, members refer to each other as 'Brothers' and 'Sisters' to emphasize the feeling of fellowship that comes with being members of a common family of interests. This emphasis on developing a feeling of strong fellowship, interest in, and respect for others is essential for successful cooperative enterprise. Alpha Zeta strives to encourage the development of friendship and fellowship.

Our History


The Fraternity of Alpha Zeta was founded on November 4, 1897, at Ohio State University by Charles W. Burkett and John F. Cunningham. The founding of the Fraternity began with Brothers Burkett and Cunningham, who were roommates while studying in the College of Agriculture at Ohio State. They realized the need for fellowship among students dedicated to the cause of agriculture. Agricultural education was of low meaning in the University. Similarly, there was little regard for the few students enrolled in agriculture. They needed an organized way to promote agriculture openly and cooperatively and to gain respect for themselves.

It was three years between the first planning and the actual organization of the Fraternity. In June of 1897, Brother Burkett and Brother Cunningham took the following oath: "The Fraternity of Alpha Zeta begins its work. Its spirit will be : To give, not to receive; to server, not ourselves only, but the agricultural body, the whole cause of higher education, and in every way possible all people engaged in the profession of agriculture. May the Fraternity live forever."

Ten other men were included in the plans and ideas. These twelve men became the charter members of the first, and therefore the oldest, agricultural fraternity in America. In Brother Burkett's own words, "Alpha Zeta was to be a professional fraternity - to foster leadership in the college of agriculture, to promote scholarship, to choose personable young men [and women] of high character and integrity and unite them into an elite body with a fraternal bond encircling them. It was not a body to show favor but to serve; it was not a body to give honor to anyone but one where its members could be of help to others. In other words, it was not intended as an honorary fraternity but a fraternity to help; all, in its reach, in the cause of agriculture." Burkett and Cunningham were not only dedicated, devoted, and determined men, proud of their places in agriculture, they were also men of vision who took an active role in the fraternity's development.

The purpose of the Fraternity is to promote agriculture in its broad concept while encouraging and developing its actual and potential leadership. It is felt that recognition of these ideals would serve to inspire greater achievement by agricultural students and would also serve to motivate members to greater service in the advancement of agriculture after college work had been completed. Fellowship, service, and a spirit of love and fraternity are involved, thus members down through the years have found recognition and satisfaction in becoming part of The Fraternity of Alpha Zeta.

National Alpha Zeta Foundation of America

The National Alpha Zeta Foundation of America, Inc. (NAZF) was founded in 1960 in Washington, D.C. by the Fraternity in conjunction with the Washington D.C. Alumni Association as an instrument to more completely accomplish its purpose and objectives. Its primary purpose was to receive and administer funds for scientific, educational, and charitable purposes which best advance agriculture for the public good.

Alpha Zeta Foundation

A second foundation, the Alpha Zeta Foundation, Inc. (AZFI), was established on April 4, 1984 in Indiana. It was established to provide support for leadership development programs, including the LEAD (Leadership Education and Development) conferences, in addition to Alpha Zeta's national scholarship program.

Alpha Zeta National Office

The Alpha Zeta National Office is located in Chesterfield, Missouri. Some of the duties and services of the National Office are listed below:

  • Maintains all fraternity membership records
  • Issues membership certificates and identification cards
  • Coordinates the orders of all chapter supplies and jewelry
  • Edits and distributes all national fraternity publications
  • Maintains the financial records of the Fraternity and the foundations
  • Handles all general correspondence regarding general fraternity business
  • Keeps in contact with the individual chapters
  • Processes applications for scholarships and other purposes
  • Performs the directives of the High Council

The Biennial Conclave

The Biennial Conclave is the Fraternity's national convention. It is held every odd-numbered year, currently in August. The conclave site is rotated between regions. Each chapter is expected to send one delegate, but all members are strongly encouraged to attend. The Conclave is the governing body of the Fraternity. The official body of the Conclave consists of members of the High Council and transacts other Fraternity business.

Pledging Information

The pledging process for the Fraternity of Alpha Zeta is designed to introduce prospective members to each other, the history of the Fraternity, and the activities and current members of the Virginia Chapter.

Pledges must complete a paddle and booklet which help guide them through learning the history of the Fraternity and the practices and policies of this chapter. The components for the paddle and booklet require pledges to meet members and advisors, interview officers, and learn the history of Alpha Zeta. Pledges must also pass a certain number of quizzes and one final test which implement knowledge of the Fraternity and its officers. The final component of the pledging process is a fundraiser and project which the pledge class will select and complete within their pledging semester. Pledging requirements will be further outlined at the informational meeting and first pledge meeting.

The Virginia Chapter of Alpha Zeta does not encourage, nor practice hazing of pledges seeking membership in the Fraternity.


  • Must be enrolled in CALS or CNR at Virginia Tech
  • Must have a 3.00 GPA
  • Must have attended Virginia Tech for 1 semester
  • Will address transfer students on a case by case basis


Position Name Email
Advisors Dr. Welbaum welbaum@vt.edu
Censor Wonjae Kim wonjae12@vt.edu
Chancellor Elizabeth Galbreath hardingm@vt.edu
Chronicler Rebekah Slabach rslabach@vt.edu
Fundraising Chair Caroline Warns cmw5@vt.edu
Pledgemaster Paryce Bradlly paryce@vt.edu
Scribe KaLynn Harlow keharlow@vt.edu
Co Service Chairs Jessica Perkins jessp94@vt.edu
Co Service Chairs Addie Guthrie addie16@vt.edu
Sergeant at Arms Caroline Warns cmw5@vt.edu
Social Chairs Lizzie Davis eliza13@vt.edu
Social Chairs Chelsea Abbott chelseaa@vt.edu
Treasurer Zach Horton zachho5@vt.edu
Webmaster Angela Bladen angela12@vt.edu