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Alpha Sigma Tau
FoundedNovember 4, 1899; 123 years ago (1899-11-04)
Michigan State Normal College, (Ypsilanti, Michigan)
MottoActive, Self-Reliant, Trustworthy
TaglineDefining Excellence
Colors  Emerald Green   Gold
FlowerYellow Rose
PublicationThe Anchor
PhilanthropyWomen's Wellness Initiative
Members65,000+ lifetime
Headquarters3334 Founders Road
Indianapolis, IN 46268
WebsiteAlpha Sigma Tau homepage

Alpha Sigma Tau (known as ΑΣΤ or Alpha Tau) is a national sorority founded on November 4, 1899, at Eastern Michigan University (formerly Michigan State Normal College). A member of the National Panhellenic Conference, the sorority has 78 active collegiate chapters at colleges and universities around the U.S. and over 65,000+ lifetime members.


On November 4, 1899,[2] eight women founded Alpha Sigma Tau's first chapter at Michigan State Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University).[3] Founders were:

The name "Alpha Sigma Tau" was chosen, and emerald green and gold were chosen for the colors. Alpha Sigma Tau was initially founded as an educational sorority. There were three other sororities at Michigan State Normal College at the time: Pi Kappa Sigma (merged into Sigma Kappa), Sigma Nu Phi (local),[5] and Zeta Phi (local, inactive).

Effie E. Polyhamus Lyman was chosen as patroness. During the first year of its existence, the sorority did not display marked activity. The charter was received the following year, as Edith Silk, Myrtle Oram, Zoe Waldron, Grace Townley, Marie Gedding, Louise Agrell, and Mable Pitts had joined the organization and were the charter members. By suggestion of Mrs. Effie E. Polyhamus Lyman, Ms. Abigail Pearce and Ms. Ada A. Norton were asked to be patronesses.[6]

The Beta chapter was founded in 1905[7] at Central Michigan University (formerly Central Michigan Normal College) in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.[3]

Now at more than one institution, Alpha Sigma Tau leaders desired to grow the sorority and become recognized as a national group. In order to be recognized as a national organization by the Association of Education Sororities (AES), a national organization for sororities at teachers colleges; Alpha Sigma Tau had to meet certain requirements:

  1. Hold a National Convention
  2. Have five active chapters
  3. Publish a magazine

These requirements were met in 1925: Alpha Sigma Tau held its inaugural Convention in Detroit, Michigan; the first issue of the Sorority's magazine, The Anchor, was published; five active chapters was fulfilled the Sigma chapter at Buffalo State College was installed. In 1926, Alpha Sigma Tau became an initiated member the Association of Education Sororities (AES).

In December 1951, AES merged with the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC). This merger permitted Alpha Sigma Tau to begin establishing chapters at any accredited school and admit members regardless of major.

Symbols & Insignia

Alpha Sigma Tau's colors are emerald green and gold. Its flower is the yellow rose, its jewel is the pearl, and its symbol is the anchor.[8] Alpha Sigma Tau is nicknamed "Alpha Tau".

Sorority Badge

The badge is a black, kite-like polygon with a golden ΑΣΤ inscribed on the enamel, bordered by gold, inlaid with small pearls. Members with different roles may order badges with different jewels on the badge's four points: volunteers have rubies, advisors have rubies or amethysts, yellow topaz identifies NPC delegates, and emerald identifies National Council members and National Officers, while the badge used by all past and current National Presidents has a double border of gold inlaid with diamonds.[8]

Sorority Crest

The crest of the Sorority, which was designed by Ruth Magers Glosser in 1922,[8] is made of symbols important to the organization and members: an open book, a crown, six stars, and an anchor (counterclockwise starting from top right). A candle with glowing rays is above the shield, and a banner with "Alpha Sigma Tau" written in Greek (ΑλΦα ΣΙλμα Ταυ) is below. This crest is to be worn by initiated members only.


Alpha Sigma Tau emphasizes five core values that all members should uphold and abide by.[9]


The Sorority adopted its Creed in October 1944 [10]

As a member of Alpha Sigma Tau,
I believe in the permanence and loveliness of its ideals.
I believe in the values of friendship and fidelity to purpose.
I believe in the fulfillment of self and will strive to contribute my share to the progress of humankind.
I believe in cultivating beauty of spirit and graciousness of living in all my contacts with others.
I believe that faithfulness to these ideals will help me to live joyously and valiantly. [11]

The Creed was created at a National Council meeting to embody the beliefs of the Sorority. Each member on the committee was charged with creating the Creed, contributing a portion of this Sorority cornerstone known today. Contributions were made by: 3rd National President Carrie Washburne Staehle (Alpha 1924/Eastern Michigan), Beverly Bollard (Sigma 1932/Buffalo State), Mary Alice Seller Peterson (Iota*/Emporia State), and Ruth Maher (Pi 1938/Harris-Stowe).

In June 2021, the National Council revised the Creed to state: “…contribute my share to the progress of humankind.” This modernization, revising the term mankind to be humankind, better captures the spirit of the Sorority members’ commitment to enriching the lives of those around them. Reasoning that the intended sentiment of this line is that members of Alpha Sigma Tau play an active role in elevating humanity and making the world a better place for all. The exclusivity of the gendered term “mankind” not only doesn't represent the sorority membership base of women, but it also overshadows the key message of contributing positively to all of humanity.[12]

Collegiate Membership Experience


Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority is a private membership organization. For membership selection purposes, only women who meet and maintain the requirements and obligations as set forth by the Sorority shall be eligible for membership invitation.[13]


During the structured recruitment process, any woman who is related to a member of Alpha Sigma Tau is known as a Legacy. Alpha Sigma Tau defines a Legacy as someone who has a blood or step-relative in the Sorority. Potential new members will indicate this special status during the recruitment process and notify the chapter. In addition to notifying the chapter, it is encouraged to have a written recommendation from the relative.


Invitations to new members are extended based partially on academic success. Each potential new member must have a minimum 2.5 GPA before a chapter can consider her for membership. Current members are expected to maintain at least a 2.5 GPA, though ΑΣΤ chapters are encouraged to have a higher minimum requirement to maintain the average national GPA. The average national GPA is above a 3.0.GPA

Each collegiate chapter has a Director of Academic Success whose primary responsibility is to ensure members are reaching their fullest potential in their coursework. Additionally, members are encouraged to support one another academically. Upperclassmen members offer advice and guidance to freshmen and sophomores, while the built-in social network of sorority life also provides study partners.

Annually, members are eligible to apply for $65,000 in scholarship support. These scholarships are exclusive to members of ΑΣΤ and made possible by donors to the Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation.


The National Philanthropy of Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority is the Women's Wellness Initiative.[14] As a Sisterhood, Alpha Sigma Tau contributes to helping all women become the best versions of themselves. Alpha Sigma Tau believes that women who achieve and maintain wellness are more likely to reach their fullest potential.

Women's Wellness Initiative

The Women’s Wellness Initiative is grounded in the Six Dimensions of Wellness of the National Wellness Institute – a nationally recognized leader in promoting optimal health and wellness in individuals and communities. These dimensions are the result of decades of research, which shows that individuals who achieve and maintain wellness are considerably more likely to lead successful, fulfilling lives. The Six Dimensions of Wellness are:

  1. Occupational
  2. Physical
  3. Spiritual
  4. Emotional
  5. Intellectual
  6. Social

Through the Women's Wellness Initiative, Alpha Sigma Tau has established relationships with National Service Partners who believe in empowering women and girls in the communities throughout the U.S. Currently, Sorority partners include Dress for Success and Girls Who Code.

Dress for Success

Dress for Success is an international nonprofit organization that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire, and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code is an international nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in technology. Girls Who Code programs inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills they will need to pursue 21st-century opportunities.

The National Foundation

The Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation was created in 1982 to give members a way to directly support the charitable and educational initiatives of the Sorority. The Foundation is solely funded by donor support and benefits members through grant funding and scholarship support. In February 2021, Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation distributed approximately $65,000 in scholarships to support members' educational pursuits. Additionally, grants from the Foundation to the Sorority support education and initiatives for members[15] on:

Collegiate chapters

Main article: List of Alpha Sigma Tau chapters and interest groups

Alumnae Chapters and Associations

Alpha Sigma Tau alumnae members can establish or join alumnae clubs known as alumnae chapters or alumnae associations. As of 2021, Alpha Sigma Tau has 32 established alumnae chapters or associations. The purpose of these groups is to provide women with a network of support. Alumnae chapters and associations host events, foster friendships, and support collegiate members.[16]


Notable Members

National Presidents

Years Name Chapter/School
1925–1928 Grace Erb Ritchie Alpha/Eastern Michigan
1928–1934 Luella Chapman Sigma/Buffalo State
1934–1949 Carrie Washburne Staehle* Alpha/Eastern Michigan
1949–1955 Dorothy Bennett Robinson Pi/Harris-Stowe
1955–1964 Mary Alice Seller Peterson Iota/Emporia State
1964–1972 Elizabeth Wilson Pi/Harris-Stowe
1972–1984 Lenore Seibel King* Psi/James Madison
1984–1986 Gail Shockley Fowler Alpha Lambda/Radford
1986–1992 Patricia L. Nayle Phi/Southeastern Louisiana
1992–1996 Mary Charles Ashby Chi/Shepherd
1996–2002 Martha Drouyor DeCamp Alpha/Eastern Michigan
2002–2008 Patricia Klausing Simmons Delta/IUP
2008–2014 Christina Duggan Covington Alpha Lambda/Radford
2014–2020 Tiffany K. Street, DNP, ACNP-BC Delta Mu/Cumberland
2020–present Jamie Jones Miller Psi/James Madison

*The late Carrie Washburne Staehle and Lenore Seibel King have been recognized as Presidents Emerita.[22]

National Headquarters

The Headquarters building located in Indianapolis, Indiana, serves as an office for many Alpha Sigma Tau employees (known as Headquarters Staff) and archives for historical publications, photographs, documents, and keepsakes.

The original location of the National Headquarters was St. Louis, Missouri, adopted in 1949 by National President Dorothy Robinson. National Headquarters was relocated to Birmingham, Alabama, in 1994 for 16 years.[23] In 2009, Alpha Sigma Tau[24] moved its National Headquarters to Indianapolis, Indiana, the home of over 30 other fraternal organization headquarters.

See also


  1. ^ Mission statement, vision statement and other symbolism are noted on the national website, accessed 27 Apr 2021.
  2. ^ LaRon Torbenson, Craig; Parks, Gregory, eds. (2009). Brothers and Sisters: Diversity in College Fraternities and Sororities. Associated University Presse. p. 179. ISBN 978-0-8386-4194-1.
  3. ^ a b William Raimond Baird; Carroll Lurding (eds.). "Almanac of Fraternities and Sororities (Baird's Manual Online Archive), showing Alpha Sigma Tau chapters". Student Life and Culture Archives. University of Illinois: University of Illinois Archives. Retrieved 30 December 2021. The main archive URL is The Baird's Manual Online Archive homepage.
  4. ^ "Alpha Sigma Tau Celebrates 100th Anniversary". Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the 105th Congress, Second Session. Vol. 144 Part 9. United States Government Printing Office. 1998-06-23. pp. 13418–13419. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  5. ^ Not to be confused with the professional law fraternity of the same name, Sigma Nu Phi.
  6. ^ "Who We Are – History",
  7. ^ "History". Alpha Sigma Tau. 2015-12-02. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  8. ^ a b c "Emblems & Symbols". Alpha Sigma Tau. Retrieved 2020-10-30.
  9. ^ "Our Sisterhood". 4 December 2019. Archived from the original on 2020-01-08. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  10. ^ "A Look into our Creed". Alpha Sigma Tau. 2021-07-21. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  11. ^ ΑΣΤ - About our Sisterhood, accessed 27 Apr 2021.
  12. ^ "Alpha Sigma Tau announces updates reflecting our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion". Alpha Sigma Tau. 2021-07-21. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  13. ^ "Membership Eligibility". Alpha Sigma Tau. 2017-01-13. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  14. ^ "Women's Wellness Initiative". Alpha Sigma Tau. 2016-06-17. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  15. ^ "Foundation Grants to the Sorority". 28 December 2015. Archived from the original on 2016-06-04. Retrieved 2021-02-02.
  16. ^ "Alumnae". Alpha Sigma Tau. 2015-11-30. Retrieved 2021-07-29.
  17. ^ a b "Publications". Alpha Sigma Tau. Retrieved 2008-07-17.[dead link]
  18. ^ Becque, Fran; Ph.D. (2016-03-14). "#WHM - Mildred Doran, Alpha Sigma Tau Aviator, #notablesororitywomen". Fraternity History & More. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  19. ^ James, Sheryl (March 1, 1999). "Gwen Frostic: Michigan artist crafts nature into a rich life". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on 2001-05-06. Retrieved 2007-09-17.
  20. ^ "Jessica Furrer". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
  21. ^ Alpha Sigma Tau (1982). "1982 Fall ANCHOR". Issuu. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  22. ^ "Past National Presidents". Alpha Sigma Tau. 2015-12-02. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  23. ^ "National Headquarters". Alpha Sigma Tau. Archived from the original on 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2008-07-17.
  24. ^ "History". Alpha Sigma Tau. 2015-12-02. Retrieved 2019-11-08.