At Boston University in 1888, three women’s Greek organizations were represented on campus. While many women were content to call these organizations home, a few were not. Sarah Ida Shaw, Eleanor Dorcas Pond, Florence Isabelle Stewart, and Isabel Morgan Breed felt that the existing organizations were far too concerned with a woman’s outer appearance, rather than her inner self and character. The friends began working together in earnest to form a new society, deciding upon a name, Greek mottos and passwords, and a set of ideals. In their enthusiasm, the friends were unaware of the impact their new organization would have upon future women and Greek-letter organizations, founding on November 27, 1888, the sorority of Delta Delta Delta (Tri Delta).
Since its beginning at Boston University with the four founders, Tri Delta has grown into an international sorority with 138 active chapters, more than 13,500 undergraduate members, and over 190,000 living alumnae. With these impressive numbers, it is not surprising that there are many Sisters who have gone on to lead noteworthy lives, including Sara Blakely (founder of Spanx), Farrah Fawcett (actress, Charlie's Angels), Elizabeth Banks (actress), Hoda Kotb (TV personality & news anchor), and Elizabeth Dole (U.S. Senator from North Carolina, former Secretary of Transportation). With Sisters like these, it is easy to see why so many women want to wear the Tri Delta Silver, Gold, and Cerulean Blue.
The ladies of Delta Delta Delta have always put great value on giving back to their communities and helping out those who are less fortunate. Over the years, Tri Delta chapters have shown much interest in charities involving children, hospitals, and cancer research, and so in 1999, the sorority partnered with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as its official philanthropy. Founded in 1962, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a pediatric treatment and research facility based on the principle that “no child should die in the dawn of life.” In the years since adopting the philanthropy, the Sisters of Tri Delt have had great success in raising funds to further the mission of St. Jude. In 2002, they committed to raising $1 million to build a Teen Room at the St. Jude Hospital in Memphis, Tennesee, and Tri Delta fulfilled the commitment in 2005. In July 2006, they committed to raise $10 million in 10 years to build a new patient treatment floor focusing on brain tumor research; instead Tri Delta 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. Tri Delta has raised more money than any sorority or fraternity in the world and accounts for more than 25% of philanthropic dollars raised by all Greeks combined.
The purpose of Delta Delta Delta was to establish a perpetual bond of friendship among its members, to develop a stronger and more womanly character, to broaden the moral and intellectual life, and to assist its members in every possible way. Through these ideals, women are supported through successes and failures, through joys and sorrows, and most importantly, through college and beyond. The Sisters of Tri Delta know they can always depend upon one another to do the right thing, to act when action is needed, and to help wherever help is needed most, making both the campus and the community a better place.