Trisha Shetty (Editor)

Delta Delta Delta

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Type  Social
Scope  International
Delta Delta Delta
Founded  November 27, 1888 Boston University, (Boston, Massachusetts)
Motto  Let us steadfastly love one another
Colors  Silver      Gold      Cerulean Blue
Symbol  ΔΔΔ (primary), Dolphin (secondary)

Delta Delta Delta (ΔΔΔ), also known as Tri Delta and Tri-Delt, is an international sorority founded on November 27, 1888 at Boston University. With over 200,000 initiates, Tri Delta is one of the largest National Panhellenic Conference sororities.



Delta Delta Delta was founded by Sarah Ida Shaw, Eleanor Dorcas Pond, Florence Isabelle Stewart, and Isabel Morgan Breed at Boston University. Three women's groups were already represented at Boston University in 1888 (Kappa Kappa Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta and Alpha Phi). Shaw enlisted the help of Eleanor Dorcas Pond and told her, "Let us found a society that shall be kind alike to all and think more of a girl's inner self and character than of her personal appearance."

The two young women began the work of creating a new national fraternity. Later Sarah wrote "...The two enthusiastic friends were unaware of the fact that there was something stupendous about the task they had set hands, heads and hearts to accomplish. They were working for a principle, and it never occurred to them that there could be such a thing as failure. Earnestness of purpose, energy and enthusiasm had brought them both success in college and why should not these same qualities bring assurance of good fortune to the new venture."

Shaw and Pond wrote the rituals and constitution and designed the emblems. Choosing the name was a mutual decision. Pond suggested a triple letter while Shaw chose the actual letter and developed Greek mottos and passwords. Inspiration came from Egyptian Lore, Hindu mysticism, Greek Mythology and Astronomy, reflecting Shaw's wide and various interests.

The Founders of ΔΔΔ:

Tri Delta firsts

Tri Delta was the first sorority to:

  • write all ritual without the help of men.
  • be founded as a national organization with complete plans for governmental structure and expansion.
  • regularly publish its quarterly magazine, The Trident, published continuously since 1891.
  • organize an alumnae system.
  • pioneer chapter visitation in 1905, appointing an officer to visit all chapters.
  • publish a book-length history: A Detailed Record of Delta Delta Delta, 1888–1907.
  • hold a national Leadership Conference.
  • finance proper housing for collegiate chapters and has a large investment in houses, lodges and suites.
  • concentrate its national philanthropic efforts on higher education through the Founders' Anniversary Fellowships, the Zoe Gore Perrin Scholarships and the endowment of the National Humanities Center.
  • adopt a central accounting system for its collegiate chapters.
  • Symbols

    Colors: The colors of Tri Delta are silver, gold and cerulean blue. Green is also a significant color, symbolizing the union of the three colors.

    Symbols: The Greek alphabet letters Delta Delta Delta (ΔΔΔ) are the official symbols. The dolphin is recognized as an additional symbol of importance as it was considered to be a good omen by the ancient Greeks. It symbolizes rebirth, friendship, and leadership. In Tri Delta, the dolphin is symbolic of clear skies and smooth sailing and has special significance for Fraternity leaders.

    Jewel: The pearl is the jewel of Tri Delta. The one jewel that grows, it symbolizes the new member, developing from a tiny grain of sand into a thing of great value and beauty.

    Flower: The pansy is Tri Delta's flower. It is a symbol of alumnae membership and the third and final step in the lifetime development of Delta Delta Delta's members.

    Tree: The tree of Tri Delta is the pine tree. The pine is also a symbol of Tri Delta's collegiate members because it represents growth and lofty aspirations.


    The coat of arms consists of a shield quartered, first and fourth quarters in blue on each of which is a silver trident, second and third gold on each of which is a green pine tree. Above the shield, the crest, consisting of a torse with six folds alternating gold and blue, from which rises a white, gold and blue pansy. Below the shield the open motto, "Let us steadfastly love one another," is inscribed in Greek on a scroll.

    Official insignia

    New member pin: The new member pin is worn prior to initiation. It is a green and silver enamel badge described in the 1888 constitution as an "inverted Delta, surrounded by three Deltas."

    The Trident: The trident symbolizes the first degree of initiation and is returned prior to initiation into the Stars and Crescent degree. A gold trident may be worn as a badge guard.

    The Stars and Crescent: Three golden stars, crown set with pearls, within a gold crescent of three hundred degree bearing three deltas in black enamel is the official badge of the Fraternity. Tri Delta initiates receive a Stars and Crescent Badge with her initials, the Greek letters of her chapter, and her chapter Initiation number engraved on the back. The badge belongs to Tri Delta and is "lent" to each member during her lifetime or as long as she remains a member.

    The Silver Circle Pin: Introduced in 2004, a silver pin featuring the anniversary number engraved on the stars and crescent design. This pin may be worn by members who have reached the 25-year anniversary of their Initiation into Delta Delta Delta.

    The Golden Circle Pin: Introduced in 1962, this pin was originally created by Sarah Ida Shaw for the Circle Degree of Initiation. This pin consists of three deltas made of gold inside a golden circle, surrounded by six spherical triangles in blue. The Golden Circle Pin celebrates 50 years of initiation.

    The Diamond Circle Pin: This pin honors members who have served for 75 years with the fraternity. While the design is alike to the Golden Circle Pin, the 75-year token features a diamond in the center. This pin was introduced in the year 1996 and the first pin was awarded to Mary K. Wise of Butler University.


    In the early 1970s, a national survey established that Tri Delta chapters were interested in children, hospitals, and cancer. At the 1974 Tri Delta Convention, the three were combined to support children's cancer charities as the designated philanthropy.

    Many chapters observe "Sleighbell Day" on the first Tuesday of December, following the tradition of Sleighbell Luncheon, first held in the 1940s by 13 Southern California chapters to benefit a doctor researching blood diseases at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

    In 1999, Tri Delta partnered with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. St. Jude (through the fundraising branch, ALSAC) assists Tri Delta chapters in planning philanthropy events that benefit the children and subsidize research costs at St. Jude. Many chapters coordinate fundraising activities such as pancake breakfasts and football tailgates on their campuses each year. Since 1999, Tri Delta has raised more than $30 million for St. Jude.

    In 2002, Tri Deltas committed to raising $1 million to build a Teen Room at the St. Jude Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Tri Delta fulfilled the commitment in 2005.

    In July 2006, Tri Delta committed to raise $10 million in 10 years to build a new patient treatment floor focusing on brain tumor research at St. Jude. Tri Delta instead raised $10.4 million in 4 years.

    In 2010, a new philanthropic goal was announced to raise $15 million in 5 years. During the 2012–2013 academic school year, Tri Delta raised $5.6 million for a total of $14.2 million toward their "$15 million in 5 years" pledge to benefit St. Jude.

    On February 1, 2014, it was announced that Tri Delta surpassed the $15 million goal in just 3.5 years. On July 4, 2014, Tri Delta announced a new philanthropic goal to raise $60 million over 10 years, the largest single commitment by a partner of St. Jude in the history of the hospital. Their pledge funded the Tri Delta Place, a housing facility for families of hospital patients. Tri Delta was also named the St. Jude partner of the year for 2014, making Tri Delta the first non-corporation to receive this honor.

    In addition to the national partnership, Tri Delta continues to raise money for local Children's Cancer Charities, including two Canadian Hospitals, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa.

    Every year, chapters host a variety of events to raise money for these causes. This includes sporting events such as Greeks at Bat (an inter-fraternity baseball tournament) and Tri Delta Triple Play (kickball tournament), pancake breakfasts commonly named "Delta House of Pancakes" or "DHOP", and spaghetti dinners. Every Tri Delta member also participates in "Sincerely Yours", an international writing campaign to raise money for St Jude. Other St. Jude specific philanthropic endeavours includes a Gold Level National Team participation in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer. Tri Delta chapters donate 100% of philanthropic proceeds to these causes.

    The Trident

    The Trident is Tri Delta's award-winning publication, published continuously since 1891. The Trident's purpose is to bring to life shared values and reflect on the Tri Delta experience. The publication includes news about collegiate and alumni members, chapter events, topics in women's health, editorials, and upcoming events.

    Delta Shop

    Delta Shop carries official, licensed, Tri Delta apparel, accessories, jewelry, stationary, and gifts. All products can be purchased on Tri Delta's website, in store at the Executive Office in Dallas,Texas, or in various pop-up shops throughout the year.


    Each Tri Delta chapter offers its members the opportunity to be slated into an office or to join a committee in order to give back to her fraternity, develop her leadership abilities and professional skills. During the slating process, members adhere to the mantra "The Office Selects the Officer", and undergo the process of determining the officer that is best suited for each office based on her skills and previous experience.

    Much like the chief executive officer of a large organization, each collegiate chapter president oversees all chapter business, including membership in every team and committee. Each subsequent office is organized into one of the following teams, each headed by a Vice-President: Administration, Chapter Development, Finance, Public Relations and Membership. Further committees, assistants and chair-positions are tailored to each chapter's specific needs.

    Chapter Development Consultants

    Since 1910, Tri Delta has implemented a consultant program, in which recently graduated alumna members, trained and employed by the executive office, visit chapters to provide resources and advise on their chapter business. Chapter Development Consultants embody the purpose of Tri Delta and provide constructive feedback in order to align the chapter's proceedings with the values and standards determined by the executive office. Consultants have gone by many names over the years, including field secretaries, and field consultants. In 2015, the name was changed to Chapter Development Consultant.

    Alumnae involvement

    After graduation, alumna members continue to support Tri Delta and stay active within the Greek community. This includes joining an alumna chapter, attending and hosting philanthropy events, donating to the Tri Delta Foundation's scholarships, contributing to The Trident, writing reference letters for potential new members, and volunteering. Alumna members who wish to stay connected or make a more direct contribution to a specific collegiate chapter may join its alumna advisory team. Members volunteering on an international level include members of the National Housing Corporation, providing resources and managing Fraternity properties, and members of the Tri Delta Foundation, raising, managing and awarding scholarships to collegiate members in dire financial need.


    Tri Delta members have always been held to a no-tolerance policy in regards to hazing, which they define as:

    "any action which may be interpreted as producing, in any member, new member or other individual, mental or physical discomfort, embarrassment, harassment or ridicule; or as any activity which sets members, new members or any other individuals apart from other members or from the chapter without a constructive purpose."

    In order to keep potential new members, new, and collegiate members informed on the controversial topic, chapters implement member development workshops, anti-hazing information sessions and valuable resources. Tri Delta is also a platinum level sponsor of HazingPrevention.Org with a distinguished alumna member on the board of directors.

    In 2015, the chapter at the University of West Georgia was shut down for violating the university's policy and code of conduct. Serious allegations of hazing was charged against women of the sorority.

    In 2011, the chapter at the University of South Carolina was placed on probation after a party they hosted had 31 citations for underage drinking. The sorority was forced to temporarily suspend all social activities as a result.

    In 2009, the chapter at Pennsylvania State University was shut down due to hazing and endangering new pledges.

    In 2009, the chapter at Miami University was suspended for hazing. Pledges were blindfolded, forced off campus, and given an excessive amount of alcohol. Some women needed medical attention after the incident.

    In 2017, the chapter at Indiana University Bloomington was shut down after members were founded being involved in “activities that do not represent our high standards or align with Tri Delta’s Purpose – activities that also violated the chapter’s previous probation terms.”

    Beauty pageant contestants

  • Donna Axum (Delta Iota) – Miss America 1964
  • Elizabeth Safrit (Alpha Lambda) – Miss United States 2014, second runner-up at Miss World
  • Candace Michelle Brown (Phi Theta) - Miss Alabama USA 1992, first runner-up at Miss USA
  • Brittany Brannon (Gamma Rho) – Miss Arizona USA 2011, top 15 at Miss USA
  • Leanza Cornett (Beta Gamma) – Miss America 1993 and television host
  • Bethany Gerber (Theta Gamma) – Miss Kansas USA 2010
  • Julie Hayek (Theta Pi) – Miss California USA 1983, Miss USA 1983
  • Lynn Herring (Delta Omega) – Miss Virginia 1977
  • Nicole Jordan (Delta Mu) – Miss Tennessee 2010
  • Crystal Lee (Omega – Stanford) – Miss California 2013, first runner-up to Miss America 2014
  • Lexie Madden (Theta Eta) – Miss Wyoming 2012, 3rd runner-up to Miss America 2013
  • Carly Mathis (Alpha Rho) – Miss Georgia 2013, top 10 at Miss America
  • Rebecca Podio (Theta Eta) – Miss Wyoming 2013
  • Jaclyn Raulerson (Beta Lambda) – Miss Florida USA 2010
  • Jaclyn Stapp (Alpha Delta) – Miss New York USA 2004 and Mrs. Florida America 2008
  • Shawn Weatherly (Beta Theta) – Miss Universe 1980, actress
  • Tyler Willis (Phi Eta) – Miss Texas USA 2005, top 15 at Miss USA 2005
  • Melissa Witek (Alpha Psi) – Miss Florida USA 2005, 4th runner-up at Miss USA 2005
  • Business and education

  • Madeleine Wing Adler (Upsilon)- Former and first female president of West Chester University of Pennsylvania
  • Sara Blakely (Alpha Eta) – Founder of Spanx and Celebrity Judge
  • Betsy Boze (Theta Kappa) – President of The College of The Bahamas
  • Maureen Kempston Darkes (Canada Alpha) - Order of Canada recipient
  • Entertainment media

  • Elizabeth Banks (Psi) – Actress
  • Lee Phillip Bell (Upsilon) – Talk Show Host
  • Jodi Benson (Delta Epsilon) – Actress
  • Dixie Carter (Delta Sigma) – Actress
  • Kellie Coffey (Theta Gamma) – Musician
  • Mary Crosby (Theta Zeta) – Actress, Dallas
  • Joanna Garcia (Alpha Eta) – Actress
  • Cynthia Geary (Chi) – Emmy-Nominated Actress
  • Leeza Gibbons (Alpha Lambda) – Actress, Talk Show Host
  • Cathy Guisewite (Iota) – Comic strip author
  • Lynn Herring (Delta Omega) – Actress, General Hospital
  • Natalia Livingston (Alpha Omega) – Actress, General Hospital
  • Candace Whittemore Lovely (Eta) – Painter
  • Amanda Schull (Delta Omicron) – Jody in Center Stage, Sara and Katie in One Tree Hill
  • Savitree Suttichanond (Beta Upsilon) – Singer on TrueVisions's Academy Fantasia
  • Molly Sims (Delta Gamma) – Actress, Model
  • Beth Ostrosky-Stern (Alpha Theta) – Actress, Model, Married to Howard Stern
  • Paula Gonzalez (Alpha Rho) - Athens Socialite
  • News media

  • Kiran Chetry (Alpha Pi) – CNN Anchor
  • Katie Couric (Beta Sigma) – Anchor, CBS Evening News
  • Catherine Crier (Theta Zeta) – Award-winning broadcast journalist, best-selling author and former Texas State District Judge.
  • Hoda Kotb (Beta Nu) – News anchor
  • Vinita Nair (Upsilon) – News anchor
  • Deborah Norville (Alpha Rho) – News anchor
  • Kathy Orr (Omicron) – Meteorologist
  • Sally Stapleton (Delta Xi) – Award winning journalist
  • Literature

  • Joan Didion – Author
  • Doris Kearns Goodwin (Alpha Upsilon) – Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian
  • Jill Marie Landis (Phi Kappa)- Author
  • Anne Rivers Siddons (Phi Theta) – Author
  • Politics and public service

  • Lisa Boscola (Gamma Beta) – Pennsylvania State Senate
  • Debra Bowen (Michigan) – California Secretary of State
  • Bobbe Bridge (Theta Alpha) – Former Associate Justice of the Washington Supreme Court
  • Kathy Castor (Alpha Omega) – Democratic Congresswoman for Florida's 11th congressional district
  • Nellie Connally (Theta Zeta) – Former First Lady of Texas
  • Elizabeth Dole (Alpha Omicron) – U.S. Senator from North Carolina, Former Secretary of Transportation
  • Caroline Fayard (Gamma Gamma) – Louisiana political figure
  • Terry Gabreski (Delta Omega) – Vice Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
  • Rita B. Garman (Delta Pi) – Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois
  • Adele Khoury Graham (Alpha Psi) – Former First Lady of Florida (1978–1986)
  • Michelle Lujan-Grisham (Phi Delta) – Democratic Congresswoman for New Mexico's 1st congressional district
  • Helen Froelich Holt (Upsilon)- Politician (Former Secretary of State of West Virginia)
  • Sports

  • Sophie Caldwell (Gamma Gamma) – Finished 6th in the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Olympic Women's Cross Country Freestyle Sprint. This is the best finish by any American woman in this event.
  • Meryl Davis (Iota) – 2014 Olympic Gold Medalist Ice Dancer
  • Muffy Davis (Omega) - Paralympic cyclist, Sit-Skier and Mountain Climber
  • Annika Dries (Omega) – 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist Water Polo
  • Abby Johnston (Alpha Omicron) – 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist Synchronized Diving
  • Mariya Koroleva (Omega) – 2012 USA Olympic Synchronized Swimming Duet Team
  • References

    Delta Delta Delta Wikipedia