Our History

Alpha Chapter Sigma Theta Tau

In 1922, six IU students established the Alpha chapter of Sigma Theta Tau (Sigma) nursing honor society in order to advance the status of nursing as a profession, recognize scholarship, represent the best in nursing, encourage future leaders and provide a social forum. Indiana University School of Nursing is honored to have such close ties with STTI, one of the most well-known and highly respected organizations in the nursing profession.

The founders are:

Mary Tolle Wright Mary Tolle Wright
(Brownsburg, IN)
Edith Moore Copeland Edith Moore Copeland
(Brazil, IN)
Marie Hippensteel LIngeman Marie Hippensteel Lingeman
(Rochester, IN)
Elizabeth Russell Belford Elizabeth Russell Belford
(Jeffersonville, IN)
Elizabeth McWilliams Miller Elizabeth McWilliams Miller
(Olney, IL)
Dorothy Garrigus Adams Dorothy Garrigus Adams
(Brazil, IN)


The founders chose the name Sigma Theta Tau from the Greek words storgé, tharsos and timé, meaning love, courage and honor. The vision of the organization is to be the global organization of choice for nursing. Membership is by invitation to baccalaureate and graduate nursing students who demonstrate excellence in scholarship and to nursing leaders exhibiting exceptional achievements in the field.

STTI was incorporated in 1985 as Sigma Theta Tau International Inc. Today, the organization operates approximately 520 chapters at more than 700 institutions in 90 countries and has more than 135,000 active members.

Products and services offered to members include education and research conferences; online continuing education; $200,000 annually in nursing research grants, scholarships and monetary awards; career development; leadership programs and the Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository, an online digital library.

Members also have access to various STTI publications such as the Journal of Nursing Scholarship, Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing, STTIconnect, Reflections on Nursing Leadership and more.