Our Story

On April 20, 1898, a sisterhood emerged from the dreams and determination of eight visionary young women in Farmville, Virginia. This group of pioneering women set out to create a steadfast bond that has withstood the test of time.

Our Insignia

Coat of Arms

Sketched by Harriet Hankins, Alpha, around 1902, the significance of the Coat of Arms is revealed to members following their initiation.


Adopted as the official symbol at the 1974 Convention, the sails always appear full to represent an empowered sisterhood that is always moving forward.


The official flower is the purple violet, as they were in bloom in Farmville at the time of our founding and were gathered the morning of the first initiation ceremony.


Although not official until 1909, the pearl has been our designated jewel since our founding and first appeared formally on the member badge in 1903.


The skull & crossbones appear on our member badge. It symbolizes our closed motto which is known only to initiated members.


Adopted in 1903, the badge design is reflective of the Triangle Degree—Tri Sigma’s second degree of membership—and is worn only by initiated members.

Our Beginnings

Inspired by their Greek-letter friends at nearby Hampden-Sydney College, our eight Founders first cemented their ties of friendship by forming the S.S.S. Club while at the State Female Normal School (now Longwood University). A year later, surrounded by candlelight and purple violets picked from the nearby woods, Sigma Sigma Sigma held its first initiation on April 20, 1898. By the next decade, Tri Sigma had grown to eight collegiate chapters in five states, and 18 alumnae chapters. More than 125 years and 140,000 initiated members later, Tri Sigma still empowers women to change the world through the guiding values of wisdom, power, faith, hope, and love.

Our Founders

In 1898, Margaret Lee Batten, Louise Marie Davis, Martha Trent Featherston, Isabella Merrick, Sallie Jackson Michie, Lelia Scott, Elizabeth Watkins, and Lucy Wright embarked on a mission to forge a sisterhood grounded in the unbreakable bond of friendship. Click any of the images below to learn more about our Founders.

Team Tri Sigma

Each triennium, six members are elected to Executive Council to guide the strategic plan of Tri Sigma. The National Headquarters staff works to ensure the day-to-day operational needs of the organization and strategic goals are met. Together, through a team of national and collegiate chapter volunteers, we work hard to enhance the Tri Sigma experience for all members.

National Headquarters

Though currently located in Woodstock, Virginia, Tri Sigma’s national headquarters will soon move its base of operations to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. With 75% of Tri Sigma’s full-time NHQ staff working remotely across 12 states, the new NHQ building will serve as an administrative hub and house our extensive archives collection. For more information about NHQ’s relocation, visit our FAQ.