Zenobia Wooten Keller


Feb 2nd, 1888




Belmont University

Bibliographical Information

No Phi Mu has served the Fraternity at the highest national level for longer than Zenobia Wooten Keller. Zenobia served on the National Council almost continuously for 38 years - in five different positions - from 1908 to 1954 and served in positions of national scope for 45 years. Zenobia also contributed to Phi Mu as a volunteer officer for nearly 50 years, serving on the Scholarship, Secret Works, and Discipline Boards, among others. As if this service was not enough, Zenobia also managed the Phi Mu Executive Offices for 33 years and was perhaps the most knowledgeable person about Phi Mu business and history.

Born to a prominent family in New Orleans in 1888, Zenobia always retained the charm and graciousness she learned growing up. She attended Belmont College in Nashville, Tennessee where, in April 1907 she became a charter member of Theta Chapter and then served as the chapter's first president. A distinguished and highly involved student, Zenobia graduated cum laude and with a Bachelor's degree. Although Theta Chapter was at a B-rank college, Zenobia was convinced of the importance of placing chapters only at collegiate-rank institutions. This meant sacrificing her own chapter for the good of the Fraternity as a whole so that Phi Mu could become a member of the National Panhellenic Congress. At the 1910 National Convention, it was Zenobia who seconded the motion to dissolve all non-collegiate rank chapters (including her own).

Zenobia was first elected to the National Council in 1908, just one year after her own initiation, to serve as First Vice President. She would serve in this position from 1908-1911, at which point she took over the role of National Secretary, a position she held from 1911-1913. Refusing to hold a National Council office at the 1913 Convention, she instead spent her time between 1913-1916 as Discipline Chairman and Gamma Province President. She also served as president of the Chicago Alumnae Association, Phi Mu's first nationally recognized alumnae organization, which she had helped to found in 1909. Elected, once again, to the National Council in 1916, Zenobia served as Second Vice President from 1916-1919, when she was elected National President. After two terms as National President (1919-1923), Zenobia was named Executive Secretary, a position she held from 1923 until shortly before her death in 1956.

Zenobia married Irvine M. Keller on October 19, 1912 and they had one daughter, Virginia Keller Campbell. After having been in frail health for almost a year, Zenobia died at her daughter's home in Evanston, Illinois on September 12, 1956, just months after being honored as Phi Mu's "Woman of the Years" at the 1956 National Convention. She is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California.

In 1972, the Phi Mu Foundation created the Zenobia Wooten Keller Scholarship in her honor. Today, a scholarship is given in her name in rotation with other Past National Presidents.


Share on Social Media

Powered by
HistoryIT | We Give History A Future