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Sigma Tau Delta Centennial

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society!

On May 1st of 1924, Sigma Tau Delta began its official promotion of the English language—by honoring the first students who would represent its motto: sincerity, truth, design. Founder Judson Q. Owen had been sponsoring an English club at Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell, SD, whose popularity inspired him to reach out to college English professors across the nation with a striking proposition: to create a national English honor society. By its first national convention in Des Moines, IA, less than one year later, the Society’s original seven charter chapters had expanded to thirty-one. Learn more about Sigma Tau Delta’s historical highlights.

A century later, the Society has expanded its original mission and diversified its membership. Our 794 chapters encompass thousands of members and represent more than 200,000 alumni. Through the National English Honor Society (launched in 2005) and English Language Arts Honor Society (launched in 2023), we have extended the honor society to high schools and middle schools. Our love for English and English-related disciplines continues to shape us as an organization. In celebration of our 100th anniversary, the Society invites members to join us at the local, regional, national, and even international levels.

While we will officially kick off the Centennial at our 2024 Convention in St. Louis, we invite your chapter to begin the celebrations closer to home. Over the course of the year, members may want to participate in numerous ways. Here are some of the ways we'll be celebrating over the coming year:

  • Giving back to the Society with a donation celebrating the Centennial. We’ll be challenging each of our chapters to fundraise in an amount of their choosing. Whether that’s $19.24, $100, $192.40, or even more, these donations from chapters will support (among other things) the newest of our scholarships;
  • Paying it forward through the “100 for 100,” an idea our Student Leadership crafted;
  • Investing in new Centennial merchandise—whether outfitting your graduates in Centennial-specific stoles and medallions, collecting and displaying stickers commemorating the decades, or adding to your T-shirt and tote collections, members will have new and exciting options for displaying their Sigma Tau Delta pride;
  • Applying for the 1924 Scholarship, the latest way in which the organization continues to support its members. Each year, the recipient of this scholarship will be someone who represents the high standards of our mission and vision as an organization;
  • Joining webinars and Regional events designed to offer a deeper dive into our discipline(s) without leaving the comfort of your area—or even your own home; and
  • Attending the 2024 and 2025 conventions, which highlight well-known and upcoming authors, celebrate and feature our members as presenters, and strengthen connections between members. Students return to their own chapters brimming with ideas for new events.

As we celebrate the centennial of Sigma Tau Delta, we also want to look ahead to our next hundred years—and continue being the forces that shape both the discipline and the world. After all, we’re transforming the world with words.