Delta Delta Delta Fraternity was founded in 1888 at Boston University and was a co-founder of the National Panhellenic Conference.
By 1885, only six of the sororities and women’s fraternities that had been established since 1851 had expanded and become national organizations. Of the six, only three had made their way into the collegiate world of New England: Alpha Phi, Gamma Phi Beta, and Kappa Kappa Gamma.
However, when Sarah Ida Shaw entered Boston University in 1885, she refused a bid, an invitation to join, all of the sororities because of her private life and lifestyle. In that year things changed, and Delta Delta Delta Fraternity soon resulted from a change in Sarah Ida Shaw’s mind.
History of Delta Delta Delta
When Sarah Ida Shaw came up with the idea to create a women’s organization, she asked her friend Eleanor Dorcas Pond if she would like to help. Together, they developed a constitution, bylaws, symbols, set of ritual, and a governmental structure. Because of their hard work, Delta Delta Delta became the first sorority or women’s fraternity to be found on a national basis with plans for expansion already in place.
Finally, on November 27, 1888, Shaw and Pond met to announce the founding of Tri Delta, the organization’s nickname. The new organization was not able to recruit many members immediately because Thanksgiving recess was so close.
Once the women returned from vacation, they quickly asked two more seniors, three juniors, five sophomores, and six freshmen to join, bringing the total number of members to eighteen. The new women were initiated in January of 1889, with the two new seniors, Shaw, and Pond are considered to be the organization’s founders.
Just three years after the organization’s founding, Delta Delta Delta began publishing The Trident, the organization’s magazine. The magazine is still in publication today and updates collegiate and alumnae members on events within the organization.
In 1902, representatives from seven sororities and women’s fraternities met to discuss matters relating to the world of such organizations. Alpha Phi, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Kappa Alpha Theta, Delta Gamma, Pi Beta Phi, and Delta Delta Delta formed what would later be known as the National Panhellenic Conference. Today, this group has twenty-six member organizations and is the premier advocate of Greek life and the women’s fraternity.
Throughout its history, Tri Delta was the first sorority or women’s fraternity to adopt a centralized accounting system for chapter finances and was also a leader in financing chapter facilities, such as houses and lodges.
Delta Delta Delta Today
Today, Delta Delta Delta boasts over 15,000 collegiate members from 136 active collegiate chapters across the United States. In addition, the organization claims over 177,000 alumnae members and over 300 alumnae organizations.
Tri Delta’s philanthropic cause is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude Hospital, founded by actor Danny Thomas, was adopted as Delta Delta Delta’s official philanthropy in 1999.
Delta Delta Delta can be recognized throughout the fraternity and sorority world by distinctive insignia adopted throughout the organization’s history.
- Colors: silver, gold, and cerulean blue
- Symbol: dolphin and pine tree
- Flower: pansy
- Philanthropy: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
- Motto: Let Us Steadfastly Love One Another
Delta Delta Delta, founded in 1888 by four women at Boston University, was the first sorority founded on the basis that a small group would grow into a national organization. Following the plans laid by its founder, the organization continues to grow and expand today.