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Sigma Sigma Sigma
(ΣΣΣ)
Sigma sigma sigma crest.jpg
Founded April 20, 1898 (1898-04-20) (111 years ago)
Longwood College (Farmville, Virginia)
Type Social
Scope National
Motto Faithful Unto Death
Colors      Royal Purple

     White

Symbol Sailboat
Flower Purple Violet
Jewel Pearl
Publication The Triangle of Sigma Sigma Sigma
Philanthropy The Robbie Page Memorial (Providing play therapy for terminally ill children.)
Members 100,000+ collegiate
Triple Sigma Lady Sigma
Headquarters 225 North Muhlenberg Street
Woodstock, Virginia, USA
Homepage http://www.sigmasigmasigma.org

Sigma Sigma Sigma (ΣΣΣ), also known as Tri Sigma or Sigma, is a national American women’s sorority with membership of more than 100,000 members. They are members of the National Panhellenic Conference and host chapters on more than 110 college campuses and 88 alumnae chapters in communities all over the world.

Contents

History

In the 1890s, 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, at a time when higher education for women was a highly debated topic. Eight students (Margaret Batten, Louise Davis, Martha Trent Featherston, Isabella Merrick, Sallie Michie, Lelia Scott, Elizabeth Watkins, and Lucy Wright) formed a special bond while studying for their future teaching careers. Lelia Scott and Lucy 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.

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In the first decade since its inception, giant steps were taken in laying the groundwork of the sorority’s foundation. 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, Founders Day.

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 the national magazine of Sigma Sigma Sigma, The Triangle of Sigma Sigma Sigma, which is published three times a year.

Member badge

The circle of friendship that began in the 1890s, with eight women sharing common experiences, now encompasses more than 100,000 women representing the diversity found on the college campuses of today. The growth and change that occurred in the many decades to follow always stayed true to the ideals of friendship espoused by the founders.

Mission and values

Sigma Sigma Sigma exists to provide a lifelong sorority experience for women through ensuring a perpetual bond of friendship, developing a strong womanly character, and promoting high standards of conduct.[1]

Philanthropy

The Sigma Sigma Sigma Foundation is a non-profit corporation formed in 1984. The Foundation distributes funds for charitable, philanthropic, educational, and other benevolent purposes that focus its programs on the following categories: enhancing the leadership skills of modern-day women, providing grants and scholarships to students, and supporting play therapy programs for children. The Sigma Sigma Sigma Foundation 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. At that time, there was no cure or prevention for polio. This prompted Robbie’s parents, Robert and Mary Hasting Holloway Page, to establish a memorial fund in honor of their son. Tri Sigma adopted the Robbie Page Memorial as its official philanthropy in 1954. In its early years, the RPM supported various polio research projects, including the Salk vaccine trials. The RPM now focuses on supporting play therapy for terminally ill children, and providing support for playrooms, libraries, and programs for children undergoing long-term hospital care. 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. The National Therapeutic Recreation Society has recognized Sigma Sigma Sigma for their gracious support of Child Life and Play Therapy Programs.

National headquarters

Tri Sigma’s National Memorial Headquarters is located in Woodstock, Virginia at the Mabel Lee Walton House. 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. Walton House was acquired in 1963 and was purchased, furnished, and is maintained by the contributions of individual members, and the dues and fees of alumnae and collegiate chapters.

National Panhellenic Conference

The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) is an organization which fosters strong interfraternity relationships, assists collegiate chapters, partners with colleges and universities in maintaining high scholastic and social standards, and provides structure for and ensures continuous growth of the Greek system. The confernce comprises 26 national general sororities or women’s fraternities, which focus on service, education, scholarship programming and social activities. Sigma Sigma Sigma is a member of the National Panhellenic Conference and has held the distinction of chairing the NPC once; Mary K. Barbee, Iota chapter, served as Chairman (the NPC’s highest leadership position) from 1981–1983.

National Presidents

  • 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–Present Laura Sweet, Alpha Sigma chapter

Notable alumnae

References

  • Schuch, Kate Kaczmarek (1990). The Path From Farmville: Years Remembered 1898–1989. Sigma Sigma Sigma, Inc.. ISBN. 
  • Executive Council of Sigma Sigma Sigma, Inc. (1993). Forever Sigma. Sigma Sigma Sigma, Inc.. ISBN. 
  • Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority (2005). Sigma Sigma Sigma Home. Retrieved March 4, 2006.
  • Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority Press Release (2006). Press Release. Retrieved August 7, 2006.

Footnotes

  1. ^ "Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority". Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority. http://www.sigmasigmasigma.org/pages/sss_about::mission. Retrieved 2008-03-21. 
  2. ^ "Carrie Underwood has her town talking". MSNBC. May 9, 2005. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/7794328/. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
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