Sigma Delta Tau's History

The Beginning

 Cornell University is the birthplace of Sigma Delta Tau. Seven Jewish women came together on March 25, 1917, to build a group where there would be no discrimination. Greek agencies at the time were notoriously exclusive, and religious minorities suffered as a result.

Originally, the women chose Sigma Delta Phi. They changed it shortly thereafter once the founders realized that another group was using it. They continued to build policies and ideas and became official on June 16 of the same year. Although there has never been a religious requirement, the group does respect its Jewish origins and strives to present an atmosphere of tolerance and diversity.

Over the years, the group has grown tremendously, now including over 100 chapters. There are more than 60,000 sisters across the nation, spreading the ideas of forming close unions and pulling together to achieve its goals.

The founders are still important to the sorority and receive recognition to this day. Dora Bloom, Amy Apfel, Marian Gerber, Grace Srenco, Inez Ross, Regene Freund, and Lenore Rubinow each brought a unique aspect to ΣΔΤ. Their examples show modern women how different ideas and personalities rely on each other for success.

Insignia and Colors

There are many ways to identify ΣΔΤ sisters such as their crest, which features a torch in the center emblazoned with the Greek letters. Several objects flank this logo, including a sword, shovel, and Star of David. Seven water droplets frame each side of the shield, and a banner supports the bottom. The motto “Patriae Multae Spes Una” translates to “One Hope of Many People” and the original designers inscribed it on the banner. The flame of the torch is always red, and the rest of the design is in light blue and gold.

The colors of choice are cafe au lait, which is a cool and soft beige, and old blue. Playing on this combination, the founders selected Lapis Lazuli as the jewel. They named the Golden Tea rose as their official flower, providing a bright warmth to complement the darker blue. Additionally, the teddy bear mascot shows off the soft color of cafe au lait.

The torch is their official symbol, and the sorority uses it throughout their designs. Their publication is named after it, and the badges feature it as well. Across the front of these gold pins are the ΣΔΤ letters. Each one features six pearls and a diamond. Only initiated members wear this official emblem, and those going through the process of joining are given a separate badge until they’re officially enrolled.


The founders of Sigma Delta Tau knew that women have the power to change the world when they come together for a common purpose. With that potential in mind, ΣΔΤ partners with three other organizations to help build the world they want to see.

Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA) is the first, an organization whose classic pinwheels make it easily identifiable. ΣΔΤ events and fundraisers support this group of dedicated volunteers throughout the year. Sisters work to spread awareness and utilize prevention efforts. PCAA knows that children are the future of the country, and Sigma Delta Tau strives to help them protect our posterity. Since the beginning of the partnership in 1982, ΣΔΤ has helped raise over $2 million for PCAA and has touched thousands of lives.

The second outreach program that Sigma Delta Tau is involved with is Jewish Women International. This organization’s mission is to provide fundamental rights to all ladies, including a safe home, healthy relationships, and the chance to reach their full potential. JWI wants to teach girls and women that they have the power to direct their own lives, and ΣΔΤ stands by that purpose. Several campaigns have been launched, including Girls Achieve Grapeness!, Safe Smart Dating, Life$avings Financial Literacy, and the Mother’s Day Flower Project.

ΣΔΤ also works with Women for Women to support females across the world. Through financial and emotional support, the WFW reaches out to those in war-torn areas to help them rebuild their lives. Aside from $50 million in direct aid and loans, the program has touched nearly 200,000 survivors in more than 100 countries.

Clothed in Pride

ΣΔΤ does some astounding things in the community and across the world, and it’s only natural that you want to show off your association with them. From special event designs to everyday wear, Houndstooth Press can help you create the perfect shirt for any occasion.



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