As we celebrate 133 years of Tri Delta, we invite you to read the Founders’ Day Proclamation from Fraternity President Megan Shaw James, Millsaps, or listen to it on our latest Let’s Talk Tri Delta podcast episode by hitting play below.
One hundred thirty-three years ago, Tri Delta’s Founders came together to create something distinctive, something dynamic and something worthy of the best that resides in each of us. They were stepping into the unknown and building something new as women who had not felt welcomed or included in other organizations at the time. They were trailblazers dedicated to creating a unique space for women as a “society that would be kind alike to all, and would think more of a woman’s inner character than her outward appearance or personal circumstance.”
Those words ring as true and powerful today as they did in 1888. As I look at the opportunities and challenges facing Tri Delta today, there is so much we can lean on for inspiration from our Founders.
The world has changed tremendously in the last 18 months as we endured a global pandemic and gained new awareness around the complex issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. We responded to those changes and challenges collectively as Tri Delta and as individuals. We learned that women have been disproportionately impacted on both of these fronts and as a sisterhood centered on kindness, we feel a tremendous responsibility to address these challenges and to ensure all women who share our values feel included, welcomed and supported in Tri Delta.
As I look toward the future, I believe maintaining a growth mindset will be vital to our ongoing success—both as we address the effects of the pandemic and work to fight for equity and inclusion… And against racism. By embracing a growth mindset, we allow challenges to be a springboard for growth and to expand our existing knowledge and abilities.
Luckily, we don’t have to look very far for examples of growth mindset. Our brave, bold and kind Founders were also avid learners and innovators.
Sarah Ida Shaw was an entrepreneur and launched a professional consulting business at the turn of the century! A catalyst in the Greek world, her business, the Sorority Service Bureau, helped several of our sister and brother organizations get started. Eleanor Dorcas Pond was a doctor. Isabel Morgan Breed was a teacher and community leader and Florence Isabelle Stewart was a teacher and investor. Not only were these women blazing trails, they were also leaving an important legacy for those of us who would follow. A legacy of growth and development in the pursuit of excellence, innovation and change.
In addition to embracing these values in their personal and professional lives, they ensured these themes of lifelong learning, growth and development were carefully woven through our beautiful Ritual in the words, legends and symbols that provide the foundation of our sisterhood.
Sarah, Eleanor, Florence and Isabel intentionally left us with the concepts of self-knowledge, self-reverence and self-control—all aimed at mastering a life that takes us to a place of our “greatest self-development.”
Each of our symbols and the legends behind them contain ideas and concepts centered on growth. The pearl, symbolic of inner growth, is formed from layers of development over time. The pine, which stands tall and deeply rooted, is always reaching upward toward the sky. And the pansy—a flowering plant known to reseed itself over and over again—reminds us there is always the opportunity for new growth and new life.
Tri Delta’s history shows that we have always taken seriously the calling to learn and grow. In 1938, Fraternity President Ernes-tine Block Grigsby spoke at Tri Delta’s biennial Convention about Tri Delta’s reputation among Greek organizations as a leader on vocational education.
Ernestine’s words remain true more than 75 years later as Tri Delta continues to lead the way by providing our members outstanding opportunities for growth and development.
From internal growth reflected in the pearl to leadership skills depicted by the pine to the constant reinvention of the pansy, Tri Delta is here to travel with you throughout your lifelong journey toward self-knowledge, self-reverence and self-control.
As I think about the ways in which Tri Delta has continued to embrace change as an organization and has centered innovation, I’d like to think that Ernestine and our Founders would be very proud of how we’re assisting our members in every possible way and helping them better their best.
With support from donors to Tri Delta’s Foundation, members can now learn online through LEADDDer.org and explore carefully curated courses designed to help build leadership skills, communications skills and a strong foundation in diversity, equity and inclusion. New this fall, members can attend LEADDD Keynotes every month—at no charge—and hear from dynamic women and leaders—authors, coaches, mental health experts and more!
And learning opportunities abound—as always—in The Trident. First published in 1893, The Trident, available annually in print, is now offered fully online! And don’t miss the powerful interviews and expert advice offered on our Let’s Talk Tri Delta podcast.
A stand-out in the last year in terms of learning and development has been our LEADDD Now Conversations, in which we’ve listened and learned from the lived experience of our Sisters of Color. We continue to make new resources available to our members on our LEADDD Now webpage, which I encourage you to visit.
It has never been easier—or perhaps, more important—to continue to learn, grow and develop, just as our Founders did… And as they hoped we would when we followed in their footsteps.
Many thanks to all of you who support Tri Delta’s Foundation AND for all of you who actively support Tri Delta by paying your annual dues. YOU help power these important learning opportunities for all of our members!
So, as we reflect back on 133 years this Founders’ Day, Tri Delta would like to thank you and invite you to lean on us as you lean in and learn. Thank you for continuing to pour into our sisterhood and support our important work of educating and empowering women throughout their lifetime. Please join us as we live into the spirit of our Founders by setting aside time to invest in yourself. Learn something new. Live into your dreams. And dream big like they did!
Remember, Tri Delta will be here to support you—cheering you on and surrounding you with steadfast love!
Happy Founders’ Day, Tri Deltas!
Megan Shaw James, Millsaps