Sigma Beta Delta traces its beginnings to June 19, 1986, where, at a Beta Gamma Sigma Long-Range Planning Committee meeting in Williamsburg, Virginia, the decision was made to thoroughly examine its relationships with schools that had regional accreditation, but not specialized accreditation in business. In subsequent discussions, Beta Gamma Sigma leaders acknowledged that the business honor society is a vital participant and positive force in higher education, and should be available to all regionally accredited baccalaureate institutions.
The culmination of the discussions was a decision by the Beta Gamma Sigma Board of Governors in January 1994 to establish Sigma Beta Delta. Seven founding chapters were established early in 1994. They included: Belmont University, Houston Baptist University, McKendree College, Morehouse College, North Carolina State University, Saint Leo College and Southern University. By the end of the chartering period, June 30, 1995, an additional 54 charter chapters had been installed for a total of 61 founding and charter chapters. Today, over 400 chapters have been established in 47 states and internationally and over 80,000 members have been inducted to honor their high academic achievement in business, management, and administration
The creation of Sigma Beta Delta follows a 200-year tradition of honoring scholastic achievement in higher education, beginning with the establishment of Phi Beta Kappa honor society in Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1776.