Ruth Barnes was the founder, inspiration, and guiding spirit of Sigma Delta Pi. This National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society (La Sociedad Nacional Honoraria Hispánica), was established on November 14, 1919, at the University of California in Berkeley. Its insignia is the royal seal of Fernando and Isabel, representing Castille, León and Aragón. The Society's colors are red and gold and its flower is the red carnation.
With the guidance of such notable Hispanists as S. Griswold Morley, Elijah C. Hills, Rudolph Schevill, Leavitt O. Wright, William Berrien, John D. Fitz-Gerald, Tomás Navarro Tomás, José Martel, Archer M. Huntington, John T. Reid, Stuart M. Gross, James O. Swain, F. Dewey Amner, Carl A. Tyre, T. Earle Hamilton, Dolores Brown, Richard E. Chandler, Ignacio R.M. Galbis, John H. LaPrade, Mark P. Del Mastro and Germán D. Carrillo, the Society has expanded its activities and now has over 560 chapters in 49 states.
The following reveal the diverse nature of the colleges and universities that form the Sigma Delta Pi family: the Catholic University of America, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Southern Methodist University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Hawaii, Oral Roberts University, Georgian Court University, Stanford University, Texas Christian University, Hood College, Brigham Young University, College of William and Mary, Howard University, Friends University, Georgia Southern University, California State University San Marcos, Baylor University, Auburn University and The Citadel.