Sigma Theta Tau International was founded in 1922 by six students of nursing at Indiana University in the United States of America. The society began with one chapter and six members. During the past 83 years, it has evolved to over 475 chapters across the globe, with more than 120,000 active members who are active in different countries and territories.
The founders named the honor society for the words: storge (Stor YEE), tharos (THAR os) and tima (Tih MEE). In the Greek language, these words mean love, courage and honor. The founders believed these to be enduring values that are at the root of the nursing profession – the foundation upon which the science grows and is used.”
We began our quest for a chapter here at Winston-Salem State University in 1994, with the establishment of a Nursing Honor Society. This effort was led by Dr. Sylvia Flack and a steering committee comprised of nursing faculty, nursing students, and local community leaders. On April 30, 1994, sixty-four members were inducted. Dr. Sadie Webster served as the advisor until her retirement in 2000. She was succeeded by Dr. Bonnie Pope and Dr. Camille Reese.
In April 2002, the Winston-Salem State University Honor Society was chartered into Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society as the Rho Lambda Chapter. Presidents for the chapter have been Dr. Camille Reese, 2002; Ms. Phyllis Knight Brown, 2003; Dr. Kimya Nance, 2003-2005; Ms. Diane Barber, 2005-2007; Ms. Shieghetha Edwards, Sherita Johnson and our current president Dr. Wanda Lawrence.
All of the presidents have worked diligently to assure that the Rho Lambda Chapter has a presence on the local, regional and international level. Our members have presented research at the International Biennial Conference. Our first Annual Research and Scholarship Day was held in 2004. It has since been expanded to include our colleagues at Forsyth Medical Center, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and Duke University. We have also initiated the Nurse Leader Mentorship Program to assist members to assume leadership positions in Sigma Theta Tau and in their professional careers. This led to the establishment of the Sadie B. Webster Leadership Award in 2005. We continue to work with the Grandparenting Program. We have enhanced facilitation of the transition from graduate to RN by our program “I’ve Graduated Now What.” Our members have been fundamental in the recruitment of middle and high school students to assure excellence in the future of nursing. We serve our community by donating food for families at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The vitality of the Rho Lambda Chapter will continue to thrive! We look forward to continuing to fulfill the vision of Sigma Theta Tau International, which is to create a global community of nurses who lead in using scholarship, knowledge and technology to improve the health of the world’s people.