How Our Group Was Formed
In 1959, Sunny Delo, wife of the President of The University of Tampa, was searching the basement of Plant Hall for tiles she could use to restore the facings of the ballroom fireplaces. There, she discovered beautiful glass fireplace tiles previously removed from the building, covered with heavy mortar. Commercial tile setters refused to contract removal of the mortar as it required tedious, time consuming hand labor. Not one to give up easily, Sunny asked three of her friends, Martha Ferman, Bertha Fletcher, and Sue Klintworth for ideas. They invited five other friends to join them for lunch, a swim in Bertha's pool, and an afternoon removing mortar with a chisel and muriatic acid. Sunny's determination to preserve Plant Hall was so contagious, these friends decided to complete the job they had started.
The enthusiasm and dedication of these hard-working ladies inspired other members to attend each succeeding B.Y.O.M. (Bring Your Own Muriatic Acid) party. Soon, the workers grew to twenty-seven. One day Ruth Hendry proclaimed, "We are just a bunch of chiselers." From that day forward, the organization has been referred to as "The Chiselers."
This energetic group of women quickly decided to continue their work to restore and preserve Plant Hall and return it to its former grandeur. In July 1959, they formed an organization dedicated to that purpose, incorporating in October 1959 as The Chiselers, Inc.
A coat of arms was designed to include a glove, chisel & hammer, a minaret, the founding date 1959 and the Latin word "caementarii" meaning to chisel, mold or carve.
Today that group of twenty-seven has grown to 280 members.