Delta Sigma Theta
Initiation Ritual


The President and presiding officers shall stand throughout the ceremony unless otherwise indicated in the ceremony
President, * * *: Will the meeting please come to order. Sergeant-at-Arms, are we free from intrusion?
Sergeant-at-Arms: Worthy President, we are free from intrusion.
President: I light the torch of Wisdom. Lights the red taper.
Vice-President: Our motto is “Intelligence is the Torch of Wisdom.” Behold the Torch of Wisdom. Pointing to Red Taper. It burns whenever Delta women are assembled, and guides our footsteps as we work in the name of our sorority. As college educated women, holding the torch aloft, we seek to use our trained intellect toward the advancement of intellectual, social, and spiritual pursuits in the service of mankind.
President: Is there new business?
Secretary: Worthy President and sorors, there await without those who would join our sisterhood.
President: Sorors, you hear the words of our secretary. What is your pleasure? Soror Vice-President, do those without give evidence of being worthy to join our sisterhood? Have they been examined diligently?
Vice-President: We have examined them diligently and we believe them worthy to be admitted.
President: Have they satisfied our financial requirements?
Treasurer: Worthy President, they have satisfied these requirements.
President: Sergeant-at-Arms, permit those who are without to enter.
Sergeant-at-Arms opens the door and candidates enter.
Here it is important that music be played. The Delta Choir may hum Delta Sigma Theta, or there may be soft organ, piano, or record background music. Music stops after candidates line up.
Dean of Pledges: Worthy President, I present these candidates for admission to our sisterhood.
President: We are assembled on the most serious occasion in the cycle of our sorority-life – the induction of new members into Delta Sigma Theta. The Dean of Pledges and sorors responsible for your probationary activities have indicated the sorors of … Chapter that you have fulfilled the necessary requirements for membership into our sorority. As we proceed in this ceremony will each of you pause to consider this question: “De you of your own free will and accord seek admission into Delta Sigma Theta Sorority?”
Candidates: I do.
President: You seek of your own free will admission to our sisterhood and we agree to accept you. You are about to take upon yourselves vows and obligations from which you can never be freed. They will follow you to the Final Judgment. I charge you that you approach with serious minds as we do now proceed. Pause. Delta Sigma Theta is a glorious international sisterhood. If there is any soror present or not present toward whom you cannot have a feeling of kinship and devotion, to whom you cannot pledge true loyalty and sisterly attitudes, I charge you here and now to withdraw.
Candidates: I do not wish to withdraw.
Here Ave Maria, The Lord’s Prayer, or Delta Sigma Theta may be sung by a soror. If a song is inserted here, the President must instruct candidates to be seated.
President: You will observe that there are nine jewels in the Sigma of our emblem. These jewels represent the foundation of our sorority. We believe that the strength of an organization lies in the personal integrity and character of its individual members. The nine cardinal virtues, symbolized in the nine jewels of the Sigma, were conceived as basic attributes which all Delta women should strive to attain. These virtues are:
President continues: A soror, speaking for each of these jewels will explain their meaning in Delta Sigma Theta. During the explanation, the nine sorors will light the nine tapers representing the jewels. Each soror faces the candidates as she speaks. At this point ALL may be seated—officers and candidates.
Honesty: Truthfulness to one’s own heart in determining the moral quality of all one’s own thoughts and actions is the loftiest faculty of the human mind. Scrupulous exercise of this faculty is the first requisite to keeping peace with one’s self and meriting the trust of others. In the name of our mothers who, bt precept and example, instilled in us a love and respect for truth, I light the first jewel of our golden Sigma—Honesty.
Purity: Purity of mind and conduct is the first glory of womanhood. In the name of our Founders, whose exemplary lives before us have been an inspiration, I light the second jewel of our bright Sigma—Purity.
Fidelity: Nothing is more noble, nothing is more venerable than fidelity. Fidelity and truth are the most sacred excellencies and endowments of the human mind. In the name of our departed sorors, faithful until death to the ideals of Delta, I light the third jewel of our beloved Sigma—Fidelity.
Justice: Nothing which lacks justice can be morally right. Justice is the respectful observance of all that is fair and equitable in human relations. It is firm and continuous desire to render everyone that which is his due. In the name of the executive branch, from whom we expect justice tempered with kindness and understanding, I light the fourth jewel of our resplendent Sigma—Justice.
Compassion: There was never a heart truly great and generous that was not also tender and compassionate, ever ready to respond to the needs of the unfortunate and the weak. In the name of our honorary members who have inspired us by their great endeavours for human betterment, I light the fifth jewel of our beautiful Sigma—Dedication.
Dedication: To find yourself you must lose yourself in living for a purpose in which you fervently believe and in striving to attain some worthwhile goal related to the common good and to the highest human values. In the name of those dedicated women who endured unspeakable hardships in the agelong struggle for human freedom, for the emancipation of women, and for those rights and privileges which we as women now enjoy, I light the sixth jewel of our glorious Sigma—Dedication.
Fellowship: Fellowship is heaven; fellowship is life; it is the service that we render that makes us happy, the communion with God that gives us strength, and the fellowship one with another that helps us to understand. In the name of our many graduates and undergraduates who keep alive the spirit of fellowship, I light the seventh jewel of our mighty Sigma—Fellowship.
Temperance: Temperance is a bridle of gold. It is the firm and moderate dominion of reason over passion and unrighteous impulses. In all our activities, let us be temperate. In the name of our national officers, past and present, whose decisions and authority have been characterized by wisdom and temperance, I light the eighth jewel of our magnificent Sigma—Temperance.
Courtesy: Courtesy is more than mere politeness or civility in our relations with others. It springs from thoughtfulness and genuine feeling for others and from true respect for the dignity of the human personality. In the name of all that is good and orderly in the conduct of our relationships, I light the ninth jewel of our wonderful Sigma—Courtesy.
President: These jewels in our beloved Sigma have been ignited by the Torch of Wisdom, reminding us that wisdom and virtue go hand in hand. As you take the final pledge standing in the radiance of these jewels, think deeply of their significance.
I shall now administer to each candidate the membership pledge. Listen first to that pledge:
The President reads the pledge to the candidates for their consideration before they are asked to repeat it individually. Each candidate then comes forth, one at a time, to the induction table, kneels (optional), and clasps both hands on the Torch of Wisdom and repeats the pledge.
Note: Candidate should read this pledge alone from the paper pinned in front of her.
Candidate: I, …, do promise in the presence of the Eternal Spirit of Truth, and these finite witnesses, that I will never reveal in any manner whatsoever, for any purpose whatsoever, any of the secrets, passwords, signs, grips, or other confidences entrusted to my keeping as a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, now at the time of my initiation into the sisterhood, or that may hereafter from time to time be so entrusted. I do further solemnly promise that I will dedicate my life to the nine cardinal virtues of Delta Sigma Theta. This pledge is upon my sacred word of honor.
Each candidate is given a white taper—in a holder to prevent burning—as she leaves the induction table and returns to her position. After all candidates have repeated the pledge, the ceremony proceeds.
Vice-President: We are a sisterhood pledged to seek success. And we believe:
She has achieved success
Who has lived well, laughed often, love much;
Who has gained the respect of intelligent men and women
The love of little children.
Who has accomplished her task;
Who has made the world better than she found it,
Whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who has not lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it.
Who has always looked for the best in others and given the best she had;
Whose life has been an inspiration and whose memory is a benediction.
President: Hear now the Delta Prayer. All sing Prayer.
President: We believe in a spiritual life but we leave to the individual the selection of the medium for its outward manifestation.
A fire—mist and a planet
A crystal ball and a cell,
A jellyfish and a saurian,
And caves where cavemen dwell—
The a sense of law and beauty
And a face turned from the clod,
Some of us call it longing,
And others call it God.
A haze on the far horizon,
The infinite tender sky,
The ripe, rich tint of the cornfields,
And the wild goose sailing high—
And all over the upland and lowland
The charm of the goldenrod,
Some of us call it Autumn,
And others call it God.
Like the tides on a crescent sea beach,
When the moon is new and thin,
Into our hearts high yearnings,
Come rolling and surging in—
Come from the mystic ocean
Whose rim no foot has trod,
Some of us call it longing,
And others call it God.
A picket frozen on duty,
A mother starved for her brood,
Socrates drinking the hemlock,
And Jesus on the rood—
And millions who, humble and nameless
The straight hard pathway trod,
Some call it consecration,
And others call it God.
President continuing: Sorors in Delta Sigma Theta, I am about to administer the oath of allegiance to these initiates. I charge you to receive into our sisterhood freely, and with a feeling of loyalty and affection. May we stand and repeat the Oath together.
All stand and repeat the Delta Oath. Place right hand over the heart.
Delta Oath
I will strive to reach the highest educational, moral and spiritual efficiency which I can possibly attain.
I will never lower my aims for any temporary benefit which might be gained.
I will endeavor to preserve my health, for however great one’s mental and moral strength may be, physical weakness prevents the accomplishment of much that otherwise might be done.
I will close my ears and seal my lips to slanderous gossip.
I will labor to ennoble the ideals and purify the atmosphere of the home.
I will always protest against the double standard of morals.
I will take an active interest in the welfare of my country, using my influence toward the enactment of laws for the protection of the unfortunate and weak and for the repeal of those depriving human beings of their priviliges and rights.
I will never belittle any race and will try to persuade others to take the same just stand.
I will not shrink from undertaking what seems wise and good because handicaps or obstacles of any kind confront me; but striving to preserve a calm mind with a courageous spirit, barring bitterness from my heart, I will strive all the more earnestly to reach the goal.
President: Will the sorors come forward with the pins of our sorority.
Before awarding the puins the President may make some extemporaneous remarks about the significance of the pin. Following this, each soror who has a pin for a neophyte will step forward and place the pin on the new soror. At the same time, she teaches the handshake. Neophytes then sit as instructed. Sorors resume their seats.
President: These symbols are the outward manifestations of sorority life. The true meaning of a sorority requires a personal commitment of inward dedication.
Chosen soror: What does it mean, a sorority?
What does it mean to you?
Is it just a name,
Bringing local fame,
With perhaps a friend or two?
What of your life in the world of greeks?
What have they gained through you?
Have you won a smile.
Done a thing worthwhile,
Or wasted a year or two?
A, what does it mean, a sorority
To the girl with a heart of gold?
‘Tis to love and to serve
And high ideals preserve
With a wealth of joy untold.
Tapers held by neophytes and sorors should be passed to the Sergeant-at-Arms to be extinguished.
President: As you pass your candles, remember our motto is “Intelligence is the Torch of Wisdom.” Behold the Torch of Wisdom. Indicates Torch. It burns whenever Deltas are assembled and guides our footsteps as we work in the name of our sorority. As college educated women, holding the torch aloft, we seek to use our trained intellect toward the advancement of intellectual, social and spiritual pursuits in the service of mankind. By the power vested in me as President of … Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, I do now declare that you are members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto.
We are happy to greet you. We congratulate you and extend the hand of welcome and fellowship in Delta Sigma Theta. Let us join hands in singing our National Hymn.
Sorors sing: Delta! With glowing hearts we praise thee
For the strength thy love bestow,
For the glowing grace of thy sisterhood,
And the power that from it flows.
Keep in us a strong endeavor,
And our souls to rapture raise.
Delta lights the flame, and ever
Warms our hearts her bonds to praise.
Chorus: Delta Sigma Theta! We rejoice thee!
Delta Sigma Theta! We pledge thee loyalty,
Devoted to truth; a bond of our youth,
That keeps our hearts clean and pure to the end;
The bright gleam of thy vision has lighted the world;
Delta Sigma Theta! Our Own!
Delta! With loyal hearts we gather
To renew our vows of love;
In the forceful bond of devoted trust,
As our womanhood moves on.
Strengthen in us, old and younger,
As our ranks increase and grow;
Delta’s ideals, ever stronger,
Glorious in triumphant power.
President will declare chapter business closed and the initiation banquet for Deltas only may proceed.