Sigma Tau Delta was founded in 1924 by Dr. Judson Q. Owen, its first Executive Secretary and first editor of one of the society’s publications, The Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle. The society’s endeavors include recognizing high achievements in English studies of all levels, promoting interest in literature and language, encouraging literary discipline in creative and critical writing, and exhibiting academic excellence. The acronym for Sigma Tau Delta, STD, also stands for the society’s ideal: “Sincerity. Truth. Design.”
The Armstrong chapter, Alpha Gamma Rho, will be celebrating its 20-year anniversary after its establishment in 1994 through the efforts of the first president, Cristina Van Dyke and Dr. Thomas Cooksey.
Dr. Carol Andrews, a recent advisor for the society, recalls Van Dyke’s enthusiasm and recognizes her as a key force in the chapter’s installment.
“Cristina Van Dyke is the reason for our chapter of Sigma Tau Delta,” Andrews said.”She researched it and asked, “Why don’t we have one?”
Since its installment, the chapter has held many activities and programs. For new members, there is an initiation ceremony which includes candle lighting as well as reciting the society’s pledge. A red rose, the society’s official flower, is given to each member upon their initiation into STD. Often, a new member’s favorite poem is recited upon their induction. These special intiations often take place in an intimate setting, sometimes even at the advisors’ homes.
STD hosts social events, including fundraisers, book sales, and conventions. In fact, the Sigma Tau Delta National Conference has been held in Savannah three times. Students have made presentations at these conventions, along with speakers who are college professors at different colleges. The society can be found under their own booth during the Celebrate ASU festival. Dr. Andrews recalls a funny and ironic theme that a fellow advisor suggested: “STD: The Good Kind” title (because of the association the acronym has with, well, other things). “We wrote literary quotes on condoms and passed them out,” Andrews said.
The society does other fun things such as volunteering to read for elementary schools and writing for their publications, The Rectangle, and The Review. STD sponsors DEEP, a writing program for middle school students in the surrounding area. Members can often be found in the writing center or the library, and alumni can be found at graduate schools and other English programs. One alumnus founded the writing center at Georgia Technical College.
Sigma Tau Delta, as an Honor Society, has won numerous awards. The society gives its members the opportunity to participate in publication and writing scholarships. The current head advisor, Dr. Deborah Reese, remembers the pride of winning her own award.
“When I was a member, I won the first place writing award,” Dr Reese said. “Sigma Tau Delta is one of the most recognized and highest ranking honor societies nationwide.”
Requirements for joining the society include at least a 3.0 grade point average in all English courses and an interest in being an English major. So any journalist, author, scriptwriter, playwright, or simple book worm can join and have some fun with STD.