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Sigma Sigma Sigma (ΣΣΣ), also known as Tri Sigma, is a national American women's sorority.

Sigma Sigma Sigma
ΣΣΣ
Sigma Sigma Sigma crest.png
FoundedApril 20, 1898; 121 years ago (1898-04-20)
Longwood College (Farmville, Virginia)
TypeSocial
ScopeInternational
Motto"Faithful Unto Death"
Colors     Royal Purple      Pure White
SymbolSailboat
FlowerPurple Violet
JewelPearl
PublicationThe Triangle of Sigma Sigma Sigma
PhilanthropyThe Sigma Sigma Sigma Foundation and March of Dimes
Members125,000+ lifetime
NicknameTri Sigma, Sigma
Headquarters225 North Muhlenberg Street
Woodstock, Virginia
USA
Websitewww.trisigma.org

Sigma Sigma Sigma is a member of the National Panhellenic Conference, an umbrella organization encompassing 26 national sororities or women's fraternities, which focus on service, education, scholarship programming and social activities. Once a sorority exclusively for teacher's/educational colleges, Tri Sigma became a full member in 1951 and, as a social sorority, now admits members without limits based on major. The sorority counts a membership of more than 125,000 women, hosts chapters on more than 112 college campuses, and maintains over 90 alumnae chapters. The sorority's own headquarters are located in Woodstock, Virginia.

Contents

HistoryEdit

The State Female Normal School in Farmville, Virginia (now known as Longwood University) was the state's first institution to open its doors to teacher education. Eight students, Margaret Batten, Louise Davis, Martha Trent Featherston, Isabella Merrick, Sallie Michie, Lelia Scott, Elizabeth Watkins, and Lucy Wright started the sorority in 1898.[1] Scott and Wright led the first meetings of their secret society, the S.S.S. Club, in 1897. On April 20, 1898, these women officially announced the founding of the Greek letter society known as Sigma Sigma Sigma.

At the same time, Lucy Wright's roommate, Julia Tyler, worked to form Kappa Delta sorority. In the fall of 1898, Zeta Tau Alpha was founded, followed by the founding of Alpha Sigma Alpha in 1901. These four sororities were all founded at the State Female Normal School and were henceforth referred to as the Farmville Four.

In its first decade, Tri Sigma recognized the need for both legal recognition as a social body and a written record of organization. Therefore, they filed documents with the Commonwealth of Virginia and received their Charter of Incorporation on February 12, 1903. Tri Sigma's first constitution was adopted by its first chapter, the Alpha Chapter, in April 1903.

In the first decade since the sorority's inception, the founders took steps to lay the groundwork of the sorority's foundation, including joining the Association of Education Sororities.[1] In 1915, Tri Sigma absorbed the two remaining chapters of Sigma Delta Chi sorority. Additional collegiate chapters were established and all members met at a convention. As the sorority grew, the national nature of Tri Sigma solidified with the standardization of a ceremony for new members and the creation of a program to celebrate the day that Sigma Sigma Sigma was founded, Founder's Day.

Tri Sigma menEdit

James Miller Leake, a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity, was the only man permitted to wear the badge of the sorority and is counted as a member of Tri Sigma due to his help with drafting the constitution and writing the initiation ritual. Though Leake is the only man counted as a member, other men have names recorded with credit for assisting in its founding. These include three men from Kappa Sigma at Hampden Sydney College: H.W. Cole, who assisted with the constitution, and Garret G. Gooch and Alex J. Boyer and Robert Miller. Marvin Smithey (a member of Kappa Alpha Order and brother of a member of the sorority's first chapter) offered legal services to secure the first charter.[2]

Modern dayEdit

In 1951, Sigma Sigma Sigma became a full member of the National Panhellenic Conference[3][4] and has so far chaired the NPC once, with Mary K. Barbee serving as Chairman from 1981–1983. The NPC rotates chairs every two years between its member organizations in the chronological order of each group's join date.

Each initiated member receives the latest edition of Tri Sigma's story, The Years Remembered of Sigma Sigma Sigma, and The Path from Farmville, which chronicles the beginnings of each collegiate chapter as well as the evolution of the national organization. Members also receive a lifetime subscription to their national magazine, The Triangle of Sigma Sigma Sigma, which is published three times a year.

The sorority now counts more than 125,000 women as members.

SymbolsEdit

 
Tri Sigma Badge

The official colors are royal purple and pure white. The pearl was designated as the official jewel in 1909. The official flower is the purple violet, while the sailboat is the official symbol.

The coat-of-arms came into use in 1902, designed by Harriet Henkins of the sorority's Alpha chapter. All the symbols on the shield may be used for jewelry, recognition pins, stationery, and formal clothing. From the upper left to lower right is the "bar" or "band" displaying three Greek sigmas. Above the band in the right third are spreading wings joined by a centered circle, and above these is an equilateral triangle on which is engraved a single Sigma. Below the wings are clasped hands and in the lower left third is a flaming urn. On the banner below the shield are the words in Greek of the sorority's open motto, "Faithful Unto Death".

Adopted in 1903, the badge of the sorority is an equilateral gold triangle bordered with pearls, with a small semi circular indentation on each side. On the gold triangle is a raised black enamel triangle bearing a gold sigma in each corner. In the center of the badge is another symbol of the sorority, a skull and crossbones.[2]

PhilanthropyEdit

The Sigma Sigma Sigma Foundation is a non-profit corporation formed in 1992.[5] It distributes funds for charitable, educational, and miscellaneous purposes, including programs that support women's leadership, student grants and scholarships, and play therapy programs for hospitalized children. The organization centers its latter philanthropic efforts around the theme “Sigma Serves Children,” specifically through the Robbie Page Memorial (RPM).

On September 15, 1951, Robbie Page, the son of Tri Sigma's National President, died of bulbar polio, a disease which at that time had no cure or vaccine; this death prompted his parents to establish a memorial fund in his honor.[6] The sorority adopted this fund as its official philanthropy in 1954.[5] In its early years, the RPM supported various polio research projects, including the Salk vaccine trials. It now focuses on supporting play therapy for hospitalized children and providing support for playrooms, libraries, and programs for children undergoing long-term hospital care.[6][7][8]

Current national efforts are centered in funding fellowships at the Children's Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, and in funding graduate assistantships at the University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. At UNC, the sorority also funds the Robbie Page Play Atrium.[8] The National Therapeutic Recreation Society has recognized Sigma Sigma Sigma for their support of Child Life and Play Therapy Programs. In 2016, Sigma Sigma Sigma added the March of Dimes as a national philanthropic partner.[5]

MembershipEdit

National HeadquartersEdit

Tri Sigma's National Memorial Headquarters is located in Woodstock, Virginia at the Mabel Lee Walton House, a historical landmark.[9] Named after the sorority's third National President, the Walton House serves as the main operations center of Tri Sigma, where day-to-day business is conducted. The sorority acquired the house in 1963; the contributions of individual members, and the dues and fees of alumnae and collegiate chapters, helped to purchase and furnish the property and to maintain it still.

Notable alumnaeEdit

Name Original chapter Notability References
Carrie Underwood Alpha Iota American signer-songwriter, Grammy Award-winner, Winner of American Idol season four [10]
Kristin Corrado Epsilon Eta New Jersey State Senator
Mary Rhodes Russell Mu Supreme Court of Missouri Judge
Billie Letts Beta Xi Author of Where the Heart Is
Jennifer Grey Alpha Zeta CNN Meteorologist
Lauren Lee Psi Biggest Loser, Season 13
Gabbie Hanna Beta Theta YouTuber, Viner, Singer and comedian [11]
Calli Cox Alpha Psi Former pornographic actress [12]

ChaptersEdit

LeadershipEdit

National PresidentsEdit

  • 1903–1908 Rhea Scott, Alpha chapter
  • 1908–1913 Bess Brower Willis, Gamma chapter
  • 1913–1947 Mabel Lee Walton, Gamma chapter
  • 1947–1956 Mary Hastings Holloway Page Lovejoy, Alpha chapter
  • 1956–1965 Margaret Freeman Dixon Everett, Sigma chapter
  • 1965–1971 Nelda Francis Crawford, Alpha chapter
  • 1971–1983 Helen Marie Eggert Snyder, Alpha Xi chapter
  • 1983–1989 Mimi Brandt Hiner, Beta Xi chapter
  • 1989–1995 Anne Buchler Williams, Gamma Eta chapter
  • 1995–2001 Diana Hornick Sarber, Beta Mu chapter
  • 2001–2004 Mary K. Barbee, Iota chapter
  • 2004–2010 Laura Sweet, Alpha Sigma chapter
  • 2010–2016 Kaye Schendel, Gamma Phi chapter
  • 2016-Present Natalie Averette, Gamma Beta chapter

ConventionsEdit

The sorority currently holds conventions every three years at various locations.[13]

  • 1903–Farmville, VA
  • 1904–Farmville, VA
  • 1905–Lewisburg, WV
  • 1906–Old Point Comfort, VA
  • 1907–Old Point Comfort, VA
  • 1908–Lynchburg, VA
  • 1909–Chattanooga, TN
  • 1911–Richmond, VA
  • 1913–Buffalo, NY
  • 1915–Cincinnati, OH
  • 1917–Chicago, IL
  • 1919–Kansas City, MO
  • 1921–Detroit, MI
  • 1923–Estes Park, CO
  • 1925–Norfolk, VA
  • 1927–Buffalo, NY
  • 1929–Santa Fe, NM
  • 1931–Mackinac Island, MI
  • 1933–Chicago, IL
  • 1936–Washington, DC
  • 1939–Colorado Springs, CO
  • 1947–Williamsburg, VA
  • 1950–Chicago, IL
  • 1953–Spring Lake, NJ
  • 1956–Estes Park, CO
  • 1959–St. Louis, MO
  • 1962–Biloxi, MS
  • 1965–New York, NY
  • 1968–Roanoke, VA
  • 1971–Denver, CO
  • 1974–Kansas City, MO
  • 1977–Chicago, IL
  • 1980–Lafayette, LA
  • 1983–Philadelphia, PA
  • 1986–Indianapolis, IN
  • 1989–New Orleans, LA
  • 1992–Dallas, TX
  • 1995–San Francisco, CA
  • 1998–Tyson's Corner, VA
  • 2001–Tampa, FL
  • 2004–Scottsdale, AZ
  • 2007–Nashville, TN
  • 2010–Minneapolis, MN
  • 2013–Orlando, FL
  • 2016–Schaumburg, IL
  • 2019– Las Vegas, NV
  • 2022—Norfolk, VA

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Tri Sigma". 2012-06-18. Archived from the original on 2012-06-18. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  2. ^ a b McGraw, Marylin (2011). Sigma Sigma Sigma, Over a Century of Sisterhood. Maury Boyd and Associates. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
  3. ^ "Tri Sigma". Sigmasigmasigma.org. Archived from the original on 2012-10-08. Retrieved 2012-09-13.
  4. ^ "National Panhellenic Conference". 2009-09-05. Archived from the original on 2009-09-05. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  5. ^ a b c "Timeline of Foundation History | Tri Sigma". Tri Sigma. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  6. ^ a b "Happy Founders' Day Tri Sigma – Its Robbie Page Memorial Fund Honors a National President's Son – Fraternity History & More". Fraternity History & More. 2013-04-19. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  7. ^ Contributor, Posted By NorthShore University HealthSystem Foundation, Community. "Sigma Sigma Sigma Foundation and Chicago North Shore Alumnae Chapter Provide Pediatric Patient Education Support to NorthShore University HealthSystem Evanston Hospital". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  8. ^ a b "The Sigma Sigma Sigma Foundation's Robbie Page Play Atrium | UNC Medical Center, Hospitals – Chapel Hill, NC". www.uncchildrens.org. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  9. ^ "Mabel Lee Walton and Sigma Sigma Sigma Historical Marker". Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  10. ^ "Carrie Underwood has her town talking". MSNBC. May 9, 2005. Retrieved 2007-10-12.
  11. ^ Hanna, Gabrielle. "Gabrielle Hanna LinkedIn". LinkedIn. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  12. ^ Erwin, Ben (17 April 2003). "From Panther to pornstar to public relations". The Daily Eastern News. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  13. ^ "Sigma Sigma Sigma Chapters & Conventions – Google My Maps". Google My Maps. Retrieved 2018-06-10.

Further readingEdit

  • Schuch, Kate Kaczmarek (1990). The Path From Farmville: Years Remembered 1898–1989. Sigma Sigma Sigma, Inc.
  • Executive Council of Sigma Sigma Sigma, Inc. (1993). Forever Sigma. Sigma Sigma Sigma, Inc.

External linksEdit