Skip to Content

College of Nursing


Sigma Theta Tau

Chapter History

Sigma Theta Tau International, the Honor Society of Nursing, was established in 1922 by six students at the Indiana University Training School for Nurses, now the Indiana University School of Nursing, to recognize scholarly achievement in nursing. The founders chose the name from the Greek words Storgé, Tharsos and Timé meaning "love," "courage" and "honor." Sigma Theta Tau represents excellence and promotes scholarship, inquiry, leadership, and quality in nursing practice, education, research and administration.

In 1966, under the dedicated leadership of Dean Amy V. Cockcroft, the University of South Carolina College Of Nursing founded Alpha Xi as the 36th Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau. To date, Alpha Xi has inducted over 1700 nurses, and Sigma Theta Tau International has inducted more than 400,000 members worldwide. There are 446 chapters on college campuses in Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Ghana, Hong Kong, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan, South Africa, South Korea, Swaziland, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania and the U.S. Alpha Xi inducted its first international member from the Netherlands in 1999.

The diversity of Alpha Xi Chapter membership is highlighted by our nursing educators, clinical nurses, researchers, practitioners, administrators, and students who all work together to promote the purposes of Sigma Theta Tau International.

The chapter has a distinguished history having received the Ethel Palmer Clarke Award for Chapter Excellence in 1985, the highest honor conferred by Sigma Theta Tau International. Additionally, Alpha Xi has been awarded the Chapter Key Award five times, most recently in 2007.  The award, established in 1991 honors chapters that excel in chapter-related activities such as membership recruitment and retention, publicity and programming, and professional and leadership development.

Since 1978, the Chapter’s Annual Viewpoints Conference, now known as the Mary Ann Parsons Lecture, has featured noted scholars and prominent leaders from across the US, making Alpha Xi distinguished for its outstanding educational programs addressing critical professional issues. A fundamental duty of the Chapter is the support of members to conduct research, innovative research utilization projects, and scholarly inquiry as well as leadership development at all levels of practice. Alpha Xi continues to be a proud sponsor of the S.C. Palmetto Gold Awards which honor nurses for their excellence in nursing practice and their commitment and dedication to the profession of nursing.