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About Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Honors Society

About Sigma's Theta Epsilon Chapter:

Chapter History

The Department of Nursing at UCF graduated its first class in 1981. In the Fall of 1982, a Steering committee was formed within the Department of Nursing to explore the possibility of forming an Honor Society as the first step to applying for STTI Chapter status. Dr. Frances Smith, Dr. Jean Kijek, and other faculty were instrumental in creating this Society.


A Chartering Ceremony for Theta Epsilon Chapter of STTI was held February 22, 1986. The First Ceremony included induction of transfer members, new student members, and Community Leaders. The first Honor Society officers included Karen Hansen, Kathy Gillman, Kathy Snyder, Ermalynn Kiehl, Joy Lynn Douglas, Joyce Dorner, and Frances Smith.


The STTI membership criteria have changed throughout the years. Currently the criteria includes potential members demonstrating academic excellence or being a community leader, however, prior to 2005, membership was by invitation only. If prospective members met STTI criteria, invitees were voted upon by the membership in a secret ballot. Each Candidate was then invited by formal letter and had to obtain two endorsements by current members. Attendance at the induction ceremony was required or one had to obtain official permission for absence and be “inducted in absenti."


Throughout the years, there were many rituals to be followed. Major changes were voted into effect in 2005. These changes included the following:


  • The secret vote on candidates by the general membership was no longer mandatory; all students who meet the established criteria are invited to join;

  • Endorsement for membership by two STTI members was no longer required.

  • Invited Candidates can be processed up to one year after invitation.

  • Community nurse leaders may be accepted and  inducted at any time by the Board of Directors of a chapter;

  • Candidates are  encouraged but not required to attend the induction ceremony

  • An “induction in absentia” form is no longer required.


In June 2016, Theta Epsilon celebrated its 30 year anniversary as a chapter with over 100 members in attendance. This celebratory meeting included a review of the history of the chapter, viewing of a recording of the original chartering ceremony, and Recognition of Charter Members in attendance. These members were: Frances Smith, Jan Peterson, Anne Peach, Patricia Lafferty, Jean Kijek, and Joyce Dorner.


Past presidents of the organization:

Martha Neff, 1982 - President-elect   

Karen Hanson, '83 -'85

Karen Hanson '85 - '87

Karen Hanson '87 - '88

Ermalynn Keihl '88 - '90

Cindy Love ’90 - '92

Anne Peach '92 - '94

Jan Peterson '94 - '96

Deborah Chandler '96 - ‘98

Elizabeth Stullenbarger-Galford ‘98 -‘00

Debbie Pusateri ‘00 - ‘02

Frances Smith ‘02 - ‘04

Joanie White ‘04 - ‘06

Jean Leuner ‘06 - ‘08

Jayne Willis ‘08 - ‘10

Jean Leuner ‘10 - ‘12

Susan Chase ‘12 - ‘14

Maureen Covelli ‘14 - ‘16

Vicki Loerzel '16 - '18

Joyce DeGennaro '18 - '20

Dawn Turnage '20 - '22

Kelly Allred '22-24

Chapter Priorities 

Our chapter goals include the following: Foster leadership, promote clinical, educational and research scholarship, recognize member excellence, and give back to the community

About Sigma Theta Tau International:

Society History

In 1922, six nurses founded the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) at the Indiana University Training School for Nurses, which is now the Indiana University School of Nursing, in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. The founders chose the name from the Greek words storgé, tharsos, and timé, meaning love, courage, and honor. STTI became incorporated in 1985 as Sigma Theta Tau International Inc., a nonprofit organization with a 501(c)(3) tax status in the United States. Learn more about the STTI Founders here.

Society Mission

The mission of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, is advancing world health and celebrating nursing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service.

Society Vision

Sigma Theta Tau International's vision is to be the global organization of choice for nursing.

Society Membership

STTI membership is by invitation to baccalaureate and graduate nursing students who demonstrate excellence in scholarship and to nurse leaders exhibiting exceptional achievements in nursing. Here are some additional facts about our membership:

  • STTI has more than 135,000 active members.

  • Members reside in more than 90 countries.

  • 39 percent of active members hold master’s and/or doctoral degrees; 51 percent are in staff positions; 19 percent are administrators or supervisors; 18 percent are faculty/academics; and 12 percent are in advanced practice.

  • There are roughly 520 chapters at more than 700 institutions of higher education throughout Armenia, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, England, Ghana, Hong Kong, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon , Malawi, Mexico, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Swaziland, Sweden, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

  • STTI communicates regularly with more than 100 nurse leaders who have expressed interest in establishing chapters globally, including those in Chile, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, Finland, India, Ireland, Israel, Germany, Jamaica, New Zealand, and Spain.

Society Products and Services

From its inception, STTI has recognized the value of scholarship and excellence in nursing practice. In 1936, STTI became the first US organization to fund nursing research. Today, STTI supports these values through its numerous professional development products and services that focus on the core areas of education, leadership, career development, evidence-based nursing, research, and scholarship. These products and services advance the learning and professional development of members and all nurses who strive to improve the health of the world’s people.


  • STTI, with its grant-offering partners (corporations, associations, and foundations), contributes more than US $200,000 annually to nursing research through grants, scholarships, and monetary awards.

  • A number of education and research conferences are supported by STTI, including a yearly research congress that presents the latest nursing research from around the world and a biennial convention that offers nursing’s best practices in clinical, scientific, and leadership areas.

  • Online continuing nursing education offers peer-reviewed interactive learning activities that are presented in a variety of learning formats including case studies, evidence-based articles, and module courses. These activities are linked to full-text articles and abstracts and are available for continuing nursing education contact hours.

  • The Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository is an online digital service that collects, preserves, and disseminates digital materials in both abstract and full-text format. Submissions to this repository may be made by individual nurses and nursing students as well as nursing organizations.  

  • STTI's career development programming provides resources for every stage in the career process, from selecting nursing as a profession to active retirement.

  • Leadership programs include mentoring programs and global healthcare think tanks.

  • Alliances with other leading providers of nursing knowledge products and services round out STTI's offering and provide added value to its members.

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