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Chapter History - Fraternity History - Tri Delta Firsts - Symbols - Purpose & Motto

The History of Gamma Nu
Much of the following information is taken from the 1993-94 
Gamma Nu chapter histories by Debra Gorbet and Kristin Huber.

Originally founded as a men's institution in 1851, Westminster College opened its doors to women in 1979. Within a few years, two national sororities had colonized at our newly co-ed college; Kappa Alpha Theta opened its Westminster chapter in 1982, followed by Kappa Kappa Gamma in 1984. By the early 1990s, however, some women had become dissatisfied with a two-house system. To that end, they sought to bring a third group to campus, and thus was the Gamma Nu Chapter of Delta Delta Delta born.

In September 1992, unaffiliated student Debra Gorbet met with Dr. Patrick T. Kirby, Dean of Student Life, to propose the establishment of a third sorority at Westminster. Dean Kirby agreed, and a sorority expansion committee was formed. This committee was comprised of the campus Panhellenic officers, the president of each sorority chapter already present at Westminster, and five independent women: Debra Gorbet, Donna Gorbet, Karen Griffin, Trisha Howard, and Anne Zimmermann. Together, they set about the task of finding a suitable sorority to invite to campus.

After much research and inquiry, the sorority expansion committee met in February 1993 with representatives from Pi Beta Phi and Delta Delta Delta, the two sororities who wished to establish a chapter at Westminster. Ultimately, Tri Delta was chosen, and 14 women pledged their loyalty to the Fraternity on February 26, 1993. Debra Gorbet later wrote of the experience: 
"On the second day [of meetings], I knew that I could never pretend to be a member of [another sorority], because I was meant to be a member of Delta Delta Delta. As the expansion team walked into the room, I felt as if they were old friends. I remember realizing that day that I didn't have to change...that I could have dignity and sophistication without growing up and without changing who I am. I have never been able to quite explain my feelings that day, except to say that the moment I saw their smiling faces, I felt a sense of home."

The next several months saw the construction of Gamma Nu Chapter. In August 1993, many loyal Deltas came together to help carry out Gamma Nu's first formal recruitment. Among those involved in Gamma Nu's recruitment were members of Delta Xi Chapter at the University of Missouri-Columbia, four members of the Fraternity's Executive Board, and several Fraternity rush officers. All their hard work paid off, and an additional 19 new members pledged their loyalty at the conclusion of rush.

At last, the time came for initiation of the 31 charter members and the installation of Gamma Nu Chapter. The members of Executive Board arrived in Fulton to conduct the ceremonies, and Gamma Nu Chapter was duly installed at Westminster College on November 13, 1993. The chapter's first slate of officers was installed a few months later, with Karen Griffin serving as our first Collegiate Chapter President. (These days, she goes by Karen Butcher and continues to serve Gamma Nu as our Alumna Advisor!)

Recently, Gamma Nu celebrated the 10th anniversary of her installation. We have worked hard, studied hard, played hard, and seen many happy days here in Fulton. We are confident that our chapter will remain strong and close-knit for many years to come!

The History of Delta Delta Delta
The following is taken from

In the late 19th century, a woman's place in society was very different from what it is today. Women were not permitted to vote, and few women were found in the workplace. In the frontier states of the mid-west, women began to attend the formerly all-male universities, but they were not welcomed by their male classmates. Because of this cool reception, it was natural for women students to join together in small groups for friendship and support. At first these groups were limited to their individual campuses, but as they developed they imitated the existing men's fraternities, and the various groups spread from one school to another.

By 1885 (when Sarah Ida Shaw entered Boston University), there were six of these "ladies' societies" with enough chapters to be called national organizations: Pi Beta Phi (founded 1867), Kappa Alpha Theta (founded 1870), Kappa Kappa Gamma (founded 1870), Alpha Phi (founded 1872), Delta Gamma (founded 1873) and Gamma Phi Beta (founded 1874). Other groups existed at that time but had only one chapter. They included: Alpha Chi Omega, Sigma Kappa and the societies which would later become Alpha Delta Pi and Phi Mu.

Expansion of these groups into conservative New England was slow. The first to come was Kappa Kappa Gamma to Boston University in 1882, followed by Alpha Phi (also at Boston) in 1883. A chapter of Kappa Alpha Theta opened at Vermont in 1883.

Although there were three women's groups represented at Boston University in 1888 (Kappa Kappa Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta and Alpha Phi), Sarah Ida Shaw saw a need for a group which would be different from the others. She said to her friend, Eleanor Dorcas Pond, "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."

So 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." 

Not only did they found a fraternity, but at the same time they wrote the rituals and constitution, and designed the emblems. The choosing of the name was a joint decision. Eleanor suggested a triple letter and Sarah chose the letter and worked on the Greek mottos and passwords. Inspiration for these came from a variety of sources: Egyptian lore, Hindu mysticism, Greek and astronomy, reflecting the wide and various interests of Sarah Ida Shaw.

Never before had a sorority been founded so completely and with such depth of meaning from the very beginning, and the actual day of founding is beautifully described in Sarah's words. 
"At last, all was finished on Tuesday...November 27, 1888, but there was one more meeting of the two friends on the following afternoon before they separated for the Thanksgiving recess, at the top of the college building in what was then the Philological Library. It was there that the two girls embraced each other and said 'Tri Delta is founded'...It is not strange that the hearts of these sponsors were full of emotion as together they went out of the college building, for each felt there were added reasons why her Thanksgiving should be a very happy one. When they came to the parting of the ways at the historic Boston Common, Miss Pond said, 'We can make the girls we initiate promise secrecy, but what shall hold us two?' So there in the shadow of the old Park Street Church, with a bright new moon and three brilliant stars nearby...the two faithful friends clasped hands and said, 'In the presence of these myriads of witnesses, I swear eternal loyalty and fealty to Delta Delta Delta.'"

After vacation they began the task of building the Alpha chapter. Senior Florence Isabelle Stewart, a high school friend of Eleanor's, soon consented to join. Isabel Morgan Breed, another senior, was at first reluctant to join. She was deeply religious and felt fraternities were fundamentally wrong. When the girls convinced her that the aims of the society had strong Christian ideals and asked her to be the chaplain, she consented to join.

Three girls from the junior class, five sophomores and six freshman were then chosen. Since there was such a short time before the Christmas holiday, initiation was postponed until January. The history of Alpha Chapter describes that initiation: "At the opening of the college term, on Friday, January 15, 1889, the new fraternity pins were received, and in Prof. Browne's room in the college building on Somerset Street, the other seniors, Belle Breed and Flora Stewart were initiated."...followed later in the day by the juniors. The remaining 11 were initiated in the evening, bringing the chapter total to 18. "The first initiation service was quite elaborate...After the initiation we had a sumptuous banquet...followed by toasts and the shouting of our call."

The appearance of a new sorority startled the other "society people," who probably expected a weakling organization. The new chapter of Gamma Phi Beta had only 15 members, so they hastily initiated three more. But the Tri Deltas were determined to stay ahead of their rivals, and on March 7 initiated three more of their own, bringing their total to 21.

At 12 Somerset Street on Beacon Hill, Delta Delta Delta was not only created but was developed and expanded by the wise, successful and strong leadership of its two founders, as well as the early members of Alpha Chapter. Sarah Ida Shaw and Eleanor Dorcas Pond from the beginnings of Alpha Chapter included their two senior classmates, Isabel Morgan Breed and Florence Isabelle Stewart, as "founders." Therefore, the Fraternity has always recognized the four seniors as Founders of Delta Delta Delta.

Tri Delta Firsts

Tri Delta was the first women's fraternity to be founded as a national organization with complete plans for governmental structure and expansion.

Tri Delta began regular publication of a quarterly magazine earlier in its existence than any other women's fraternity. 

Tri Delta was the first to plan and perfect an alumnae system.

Tri Delta provided a sound financial basis for the Fraternity by establishing endowment funds in its early years.

Tri Delta was one of the seven organizations founding the National Panhellenic School, now called National Panhellenic Conference.

Tri Delta pioneered in chapter visiting by appointing in 1905 an officer to visit all chapters.

Tri Delta was the first to publish a book-length history: A Detailed Record of Delta Delta Delta, 1888-1907

Tri Delta was the first women's fraternity to hold a national Leadership Conference.

Tri Delta was the first to establish a central office (now called Executive Office).

Tri Delta was a leader in financing proper housing for collegiate chapters and has a large investment in houses, lodges and suites.

Tri Delta has been chosen to participate in campus expansion programs at many fine institutions when they first opened to NPC fraternities.

Tri Delta has concentrated its national philanthropic efforts on higher education and has been praised by educators for these contributions through the Founders' Anniversary Fellowships, the Zoe Gore Perrin Scholarships and the endowment of the National Humanities Center. 

Tri Delta led NPC organizations in the number of members listed in the first edition of Who's Who of American Women, and many other members have been added in subsequent editions.

Tri Delta was the first NPC group to adopt a central accounting system for its collegiate chapters.

Individual Tri Deltas have made outstanding contributions in many fields. The History of Delta Delta Delta, 1888-1988 includes a chapter recognizing many "Distinguished Deltas," and The Trident regularly features articles on our outstanding Tri Deltas.

Symbols of Delta Delta Delta

Jewel: Pearl - Symbolic of our new members, the pearl is the only living jewel, growing and developing from a grain of sand into an object of value and beauty. 

Pine - Symbolic of our collegiate members.

Pansy - Symbolic of our alumnae, the pansy comes in many colors and varieties, reflecting our alumnae's wealth and diversity of experience.

Dolphin - Evoking "clear skies and smooth sailing", the dolphin has special significance for our elected officers.

Poseidon - This mythic Greek divinity was the god of the sea and one of the three rulers of the universe. His trident is often worn as a guard for our badge.

Adopted at the 1906 Convention.

Purpose & Motto


THE PURPOSE OF DELTA DELTA DELTA shall be 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.
IT SHALL ALSO BE THE PURPOSE OF DELTA DELTA DELTA to promote and develop mutually beneficial relationships between the Fraternity and the colleges and universities where the Fraternity has established chapters, to develop qualities of unselfish leadership among its members, and to encourage them to assume, with integrity and devotion to moral and democratic principles, the highest responsibilities of college women.


(As'-fah-los Ag-a-po'-men Al-lay'las)

"Let us steadfastly love one another"