UMaine women honor friendship, leadership and philanthropy with reestablished sorority

Last February, the University of Maine Panhellenic Council selected Delta Delta Delta (Tri Delta) to reestablish its Alpha Kappa Chapter at UMaine in the 2016–2017 academic year.

Tri Delta is the eighth National Panhellenic Conference organization on campus. The local leadership of the chapter made the decision to close after the 2000–2001 academic year. That decision was not prompted by any campus disciplinary action.

Since it is a newly reestablished sorority, most of Tri Delta’s marketing and recruiting was done by chapter development consultants. Molly McCullough, a Millikin University graduate, is one of them. McCullough visited UMaine twice last fall and moved to Orono a month ago.

“We are so excited to start fresh and new. We have a group of incredible women who are really excited to make a lasting impression on the community, and I am excited to see how it grows,” McCullough said.

Being a Tri Delta sister has made a lasting impact on McCullough and that is the reason why she helped bring Tri Delta back to UMaine.

“Tri Delta brought out the best qualities I didn’t know I had,” she said. “The women I’ve met have pushed me, inspired me, and gave something to grow toward. It truly is a support network of individualistic women. It’s an exciting time to be a woman in this world, a time of growth and women helping other women.”

Greek Life at large has supported the reestablishment of Tri Delta at UMaine.

“Other sororities are very welcoming,” McCullough said. “We met with a lot of chapter presidents and the panhellenic council. Different sororities and fraternities came to our bid day. They really want to help Tri Delta grow here. They are so strong as their individual units, and can also dedicate their time to help other organization grow.”

Tri Delta was established at Boston University in 1888. College seniors Sarah Ida Shaw and Eleanor Dorcas Pond saw a need for an organization that would “be kind alike to all and think more of the girl’s inner self and character than of her personal appearance.”

Currently, there are 141 chapters, 18,857 collegiate members, 279,000 alumnae members of Tri Delta. The message the Tri Delta Our Founders envisioned is a women’s fraternity that would inspire the ideals of truth, self-sacrifice and friendship. Tri Delta was the first sorority to regularly publish its quarterly magazine, “The Trident” since 1891. It is also the first sorority to hold a national leadership conference, among many other firsts.

Madeleine Wing Adler, first female president of West Chester University of Pennsylvania and Katie Couric, a distinguished journalist and a news anchor are among many of Tri Delta’s notable alumnae.

In 1999, Tri Delta began its partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Located in Memphis, Tenn. St. Jude focuses on research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases. This hospital is one of a few pediatric research organizations in the United States where families do not pay for treatments not covered by insurance. At St. Jude, families without insurance are never asked to pay. In addition to providing medical services to eligible patients, St. Jude also assists families with transportation, lodging and meals.

Since 1999, Tri Delta has raised more than $50 million in support of St. Jude. In 2014, Tri Delta received prominent recognition on the hospital’s campus at Tri Delta Place, a specially-designed patient housing facility for short-term (up to one week). It provides housing for patients and up to three family members, with no cost to the patient. In July 2014, Tri Delta announced its current fundraising commitment of $60 million in 10 years — the single largest fundraising commitment in St. Jude’s history.

“I really liked the idea of being a part of something new,” third-year zoology student Caroline Spangenberg said, who saw Tri Delta tabling in the Memorial Union. Several of her sisters and aunts are Tri Delta sisters. “I decided to try something new this year, and this [Tri Delta] was placed in front of me for this reason. It feels so different to me because I never pictured myself a part of a sorority before, and that’s what makes it exciting. I am excited to continue forward.”

Spangenberg never thought she would join a sorority, but her desire to establish roots at UMaine encouraged her to join Tri Delta.

Sixty-three women have joined the newly reestablished Tri Delta’s founding class. With the common values of friendship, leadership and philanthropy, these women say they are thrilled to continue their journey as Tri Delta sisters.

For more information, please visit Tri Delta’s website.

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