Two dental students (Lou Mitchell and Chas. Howard) at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in Ann Arbor were invited to join Nu Sigma Nu, a medical fraternity. However, they decided to decline. Why should they join a medical fraternity when they were going to be dentists? So on November 15, 1882, seven dental students met at Mrs. Slattery's boarding house at #10 North State St., Ann Arbor, Michigan, and founded the first dental fraternity in the world. For a name, they transposed the initials of the D.D.S. degree, to D.S.D. and substituted Greek letters for the English. Thus, Delta Sigma Delta was born and the new chapter became known as Alpha Chapter.
Soon a second chapter, Beta, was formed at the Chicago College of Dental Surgery in 1885 by Dr.L.L.Davis who had migrated there to practice dentistry. Then a third, Gamma, at Harvard was begun. And so we grew!
After graduation these men became scattered in all directions but they strongly desired to maintain their associations and friendships of college days. This was the beginning of the Supreme (or Alumni) Chapter, which was founded in Detroit, MI in 1895.
Delta Sigma Delta was established by far-sighted professionals - men with vision- who possessed the desire to render the best dental services in the highest professional manner. It was intended to bring together not only the most talented students of dentistry while in school, but by the establishment of the Supreme Chapter, it brought in the outstanding teachers and practitioners.
Professional fraternities have strong faculty support because of the high standards required for the establishment of a chapter on a campus. A good scholastic average is an important criterion for membership. These fraternities feature professional and educational programs as well as the usual social functions, and have active Graduate Chapters. Nowhere in the history of Delta Sigma Delta has it been written that we must initiate the largest number of candidates. On the contrary, the literature is replete with the philosophy of selectivity.
Undergraduate Chapters are located in dental schools and Graduate Chapters are located throughout the United States of America, as well as Europe and Australasia. The Supreme Council is designated as the administrative or governing body of the fraternity.
There are five Graduate (Alumni) Chapters in the five states of Australia and one in New Zealand. Membership is via Invitation from within the Profession.
There are four to six formal dinner meetings throughout the year in each of the Chapters, with additional social and sporting events creating a vibrant and cohesive organisation.
Strong links are maintained with the parent organisation, the Supreme Council and the Chapters in the USA and Europe.
National communication between the Chapters is facilitated by the Australia New Zealand Coordinator.
The executive of the A/NZ Chapter meets every two years, in conjunction with the Australian Dental Congress.
The European Continental Chapter comprises five Graduate Chapters in London, Paris, Holland, Scandinavia and Belgium.
The membership of each Chapter is by invitation only and all new members are recruited from within the dental profession. Each Chapter holds up to six formal meetings each year and there is a separate annual meeting of the European Continental Chapter. The venue for this meeting rotates around Europe and in recent years has been held in Dublin, Vienna and Dijon. In 2014 the meeting will be held in the “eternal city” of Rome on 20-21 June.
The European Continental Chapter coordinates the Chapters in Europe and liaises directly with the Supreme Chapter sending representatives to attend the Annual Supreme Meeting every year.