Sigma Tau Delta was founded by Judson Q. Owen on December 12, 1922, as the English Club of Dakota Wesleyan University, Mitchell, South Dakota. As the club prospered, it attracted interest from other campuses, eventually prompting Owen to expand the club into a national honor society. There are now more than 750 active chapters across the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean, and approximately 8,500 new members are inducted into the Society each year.
The motto of the Sigma Tau Delta Organization, "Sincerity, Truth, Design," is based upon the Greek letters that make up its name, and its goals adhere to that motto. Its goals are "to confer distinction for high achievement in English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies; provide, through its local chapters, cultural stimulation on college campuses and promote interest in literature and the English language in surrounding communities; foster all aspects of the discipline of English, including literature, language, and writing; promote exemplary character and good fellowship among its members; exhibit high standards of academic excellence; and serve society by fostering literacy."
To that effect, the Organization promotes participation among its individual chapters in activities such as the current book drive effort in partnership with Better World Books, an organization that donates books to literacy-centered programs such as Books for Africa and Invisible Children in addition to selling new and used books and textbooks online to fund literacy initiatives across the globe. (For more information about Better World Books, visit their website,www.betterworldbooks.com )
The Society also holds an international convention every spring, at which hundreds of Sigma Tau Delta members and faculty meet, share ideas, and participate in discussions with accomplished authors. The 2009 convention, held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and hosted by our local chapter, featured keynote speakers Alexandra Fuller, Mike Perry, and Neil Gaiman, in addition to 135 sessions of member-written creative works and critical essays, 17 panels, and 11 special presentations, readings, and workshops. The 2010 Sigma Tau Delta International Convention will be held March 17-21 in St. Louis, Missouri, and promises to be as exciting as ever.