Amy Olgen Parmelee, Northwestern University, was born in Chicago, Illinois, on February 1, 1882. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from Northwestern University in 1904. Parmelee provided years of service to Tri Delta in multiple capacities, serving as a delegate to three Inter-Sorority Conferences, grand secretary from 1904-1906, and grand president from 1906 to 1915. She was also the editor of The Trident. She married Egbert Nelson Parmelee on September 12, 1906. They had two children, Rexford Parmelee and Elizabeth Rose.
During Parmelee’s tenure as grand president, Tri Delta underwent a period of growth, as chapters and alumnae alliances were added at a rapid pace. During the 1912-1913 academic year, under Parmelee’s leadership, Tri Delta became the women's fraternity with the largest number of chapters. Parmelee was a strong believer in the value of sorority membership for women, writing, “Let the chapter life cultivate in each member accuracy, promptness, business ability, reliability, and justice.”
In addition to her work with Tri Delta, Parmelee was deeply involved in settlement work in Chicago. The settlement house movement, introduced to the United States by the reformer Jane Addams in the late 19th century, operated homes that offered educational and social resources to working-class women and families. During her years in Chicago, Parmelee also worked to organize an employment service for college women, served as president of the Evanston League of Women Voters, and was active in many other civic organizations.
During World War I, Parmelee served as a Red Cross captain for a local public school. In this position, she supervised students working to make supplies for the trenches, including ration heaters, trench torches, fracture pillows for the wounded, and knitwear to keep those at the front warm.
In 1933, Parmelee earned a master’s degree from the University of Illinois. The following year, she became the dean of women at Colorado State University, where she worked until her retirement in 1947. In this role, Parmelee served as an important adviser to women, advocated for the construction of CSU’s first women’s dormitory, and worked to increase the availability of scholarships for women. In recognition of her service, CSU named a women’s dormitory Parmelee Hall in her honor in 1957. Parmelee died in 1958 at the age of 79.