Sigma Theta Tau International was established in 1922 by six nurses at the Indiana University Training School for Nurses, now the Indiana University School of Nursing, in Indianapolis, Ind., USA. The founders chose the name from the Greek words Storgé, Tharsos and Timé meaning "love," "courage" and "honor." The honor society became incorporated in 1985 as Sigma Theta Tau International Inc., a nonprofit organization with a 501(c)(3) tax status in the United States.
The society began with one chapter and six members. During the past 86 years, it has grown to 463 chapters across the globe with more than 405,000 members who have been inducted. Currently there are 130,000 active members who live in more than 86 different countries.
The mission of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International is to support the learning, knowledge, and professional development of nurses committed to making a difference in health worldwide.
The vision of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International is to create a global community of nurses who lead in using knowledge, scholarship, service and learning to improve the health of the world's people.
Sigma Theta Tau International recognizes the value of scholarship and excellence in nursing practice. In 1936, the honor society became the first U.S. organization to fund nursing research. The honor society, with its chapters and grant partners (corporations, associations and foundations), contributes more than $500,000 annually to nursing research through grants, scholarships and monetary awards.
Kappa Gamma Chapter - Stony Brook University
In April of 2008, the Kappa Gamma Chapter celebrated its 20 year anniversary as a chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International. Kappa Gamma was formally chartered on April 17, 1988. The Chartering Ceremony was the culmination of three years of meticulous, time consuming work. In 1985, Dean Lenora J. McClean asked Maryann Bezyack, a member of the faculty to fully re-activate the School of Nursing Honor Society. Maryann recruited a committee of dedicated faculty, alumni and friends of the School of Nursing who began the arduous task of establishing a fully functioning Stony Brook School of Nursing Honor Society, the primary pre-requisite to qualify for membership in Sigma Theta Tau. Within three years, the committee was successful in applying to Sigma Theta Tau International and was granted a charter as the 241st chapter of the society at the Biennial Convention in the Fall of 1987. At the First Induction Ceremony in April of 1998, 220 members were inducted including 192 members new to the society and 28 members who had previously been inducted into other chapters but accepted membership in Kappa Gamma with dual or transfer status. It was one of the largest charter inductions in Sigma Theta Tau history.
Maryann Bezyack served as the first President of the Chapter and initiated the task of integrating Kappa Gamma into the International Organization by building a strong group of officers, committee chairs and active members. Kappa Gamma set high goals to increase membership, conduct educational programs for members, students, nurses in the community and members of the public, and to raise funds to support scholarships for students in the School and provide funds for research conducted by faculty, students and society members. Successive Presidents and the chapter's officers and committee members have continued working toward those goals. In the following years Kappa Gamma became and remains one of the most active chapters in the international society.
The leadership of the succeeding Presidents, Gene E. Mundie (1989-1994), June Julier(1994-1996), Dr. Janet F. Sullivan(1996-1998), Dr. Lee Ann Xippolitos(1998-2000), Rosemary Mahan (2000- 2002), Dr. Debra Sansoucie (2002-2004), Dr. Barbara Messina (2004-2006), Kathleen Bratby (2006-2008) and Dr. Bruce Zitkus (2008-2010) has fostered the development of a solid foundation for the chapter to ensure Kappa Gamma will advance the goals of Sigma Theta Tau International, excellence in scholarship, research, practice and entrepreneurship for many years to come. They have provided a solid foundation to assist the current President, Dr. Bruce S. Zitkus to continue the traditions of the Chapter and the Society.
The chapter has inducted 0ver 1,870 international members into Sigma Theta Tau in the last fourteen years. Over 550 members retain active membership enjoying the full benefit of maintaining close ties with the chapter and the society. In Spring 2008, close to one hundred new applicants received the honor and privilege of membership in Sigma Theta Tau International at the Annual Induction Ceremony on May 4th.
The chapter has a very active fundraising committee which raises funds to support the scholarly activities of the faculty and nurses in the community and to assist students remain in school. Kappa Gamma has awarded over $60,000.00 dollars in scholarship, and research grants, eleven of which supported many of the faculty's doctoral dissertation studies. It awards $5000.00 annually in stipends to members to support attendance at professional conferences or to participate in society functions. It has contributed several thousand dollars to support the national organizations building drive and to sponsor regional and national educational programs. At the same time, it has built a small endowment fund and has two funded scholarships, The Dr. Janet F. Sullivan Scholarship and the Edward A. McKenna Scholarship both of which are awarded annually.
The commitment and hard work of the Officers, Board Members, Committee Chairs, Members, and Friends of the Kappa Gamma Chapter who have worked together so well has not gone unrecognized. The Chapter has been tapped to serve on several national committees and has been the recipient of many regional and national awards. The 1995 Region V Chapter Leadership Award was presented to Gene E. Mundie in November, 1994.
The occasion marked by the presentation of the paper, "The First Five Years – Expanding the Chapter Through Leadership." At the Region V Assembly. The Kappa Gamma Chapter has been the Recipient of the Sigma Theta Tau International Key Awards for Excellence in Member Involvement in 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999. In November, 1998, the Chapter through the efforts of June Julier received the Media Award for Excellence in Nursing Journalism for "Nurse Practitioners – Preventing, Healing, Caring." The most recent award, the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society In Nursing 2002 Pinnacle Award was bestowed one the Stony Brook University's School of Nursing Faculty and the Staff of the School of Nursing Office of Computer Services in the Computer Based Professional Technology Category for the Advanced Practice Distance Learning Programs.
Though a relatively young chapter, Kappa Gamma has already developed a distinguished heritage on which the current members can look with pride. The chapter has set a standard of excellence which is an inspiration to future officers to meet and exceed that standard and a source of motivation on which future members can draw to continue to develop a history of service to society and to the profession.