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Sigma Theta Epsilon
ΣΘΕ
Sigmathetaepsiloncrest.png
FoundedApril 7, 1925; 97 years ago (April 7, 1925)
TypeSocial
AffiliationIndependent
EmphasisReligious/Service
ScopeNational
MottoΣυνεργοι Θεου Εσμεν
"Fellow Workers with God"
Colors  Purple
  Old Gold
  White
Chapters1
Verse"For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building." --1 Corinthians 3:9
Headquarters, OH
USA
WebsiteOfficial website

Sigma Theta Epsilon (ΣΘΕ) is an interdenominational national Christian fraternal organization, currently with one active chapter. Originally called Delta Sigma Theta, Sigma Theta Epsilon Christian Fraternity traces its history (through a series of name changes and mergers) to Phi Tau Theta's founding in April 7, 1925 at Lincoln, Nebraska and Sigma Epsilon Theta's founding on October 8, 1936 at Indiana University.

Background

Origin of the Name

The name "Sigma Theta Epsilon" finds its roots in the Greek words, "Sunergoi Theou Esman", meaning "Fellow Workers with God". This is taken from I Corinthians 3:9, and should be a constant reminder of our duty as a Christian Brotherhood.

History

A group of Methodist men in the Wesley Foundation at the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, South Dakota, had been carrying on a program as a religious fraternity, which they called Phi Lambda Phi, for some time when it occurred to them that perhaps the men in other Wesley Foundations had similar groups which could be mutually helpful if they should form a union. The idea was brought up at the student council retreat at Ames, Iowa, in 1924 and 1925. They sent an invitation to all Wesley Foundation units asking those interested to send representatives to an organizational meeting. This meeting was held at Lincoln, Nebraska on February 6–7, 1925. The delegates drew up articles of federation and elected National Officers, thus a National Religious Fraternity for Methodist Men became known as Phi Tau Theta (meaning "Friends of God").

On October 8, 1936, another group of Christian men met and started a fraternity. The meeting was held at Indiana University, and there, Sigma Epsilon Theta was formed.

In 1939, a delegation of Phi Tau Theta approached the National Officers of Sigma Epsilon Theta and proposed a merger of the two National Fraternities. During Thanksgiving break, 1941, "Delta Sigma Theta" was formed. The transition from two fraternities to one was smooth, largely due to careful preparation by the officers. However, when all seemed to be going well, Delta Sigma Theta (a sorority) threatened suit against the new fraternity for use of their name. The name Sigma Theta Epsilon was selected during Easter break 1949.

After a period of expansion, inactivity of the chapters (high in number - low in spirit) persuaded the National Conclave of 1968 to appoint a committee to examine the philosophy of the fraternity. The committee suggested that the fraternity change from its original emphasis as a National Religious Fraternity for Methodist Men. This change saw a decrease in enrollment due to lessened support by the Wesley Foundation. The National Cabinet Meeting of 1972 realized that Sigma Theta Epsilon had evolved into a National Christian Service Fraternity, and thus adopted purposes centered on three main areas: religious, service, and social. These purposes were revised at the Conclave of 1975 into the four Purposes of Sigma Theta Epsilon identified today.

Still, chapters were lost to dormancy. An low point was reached in 1975 when only two active units remained: Alpha Gamma chapter at West Virginia Wesleyan College and newly formed Epsilon chapter at Ohio Northern University. The following years almost saw the dissolving of Sigma Theta Epsilon as a National Fraternity. The addition of a new Delta chapter, the second of that name, at Mount Union College in April 1980 stimulated new optimism and growth for the fraternity.

In 1988 Sigma Theta Epsilon struggled again through some growing pains. Delta chapter had all but disappeared while Alpha Gamma chapter's numbers began to fall. But 1988 also saw the start of the Beta Alpha chapter in Oklahoma City. This new chapter grew rapidly, and soon vied with Epsilon chapter as the fraternity's largest. Beta Alpha's designation marked what was hoped to be a rebirth for the fraternity, and all chapters from this point on would be named in succession following Beta Alpha.

Whereas previously the Fraternity had used a standard naming system of Greek alphabetical succession, at some point it began to use a state model, naming a new chapter "Alpha chapter of Texas" for example, that had been formed in 1999.

This excitement carried into Spring 1993, when Beta Beta chapter at Miami University of Ohio was formed. An excited group of men gathered together and quickly grew to be as solid as any chapter. In the fall of 1993, Delta chapter at Mt. Union put together its first pledge class in almost five years. Led by an alumnus of Epsilon chapter, who had been teaching at Mount Union College, these men revived the Delta chapter just weeks before the National Fraternity was to absorb their charter and assets.

The fraternity didn't see National Growth again until 1998, when on January 31, the Beta Gamma chapter was initiated at the University of Cincinnati. Thus began a substantial period of National Growth that continues today. Spring Conclave 1999 saw the formal initiation of a group of men from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas as Beta Delta chapter. This group of men would mark themselves as one of the most active chapters in the Nation.

At the 2000 Spring Conclave, a group of men from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois pledged as a temporary club. These same men were formally initiated as Beta Epsilon chapter at The English Chapel at Ohio Northern University during the East Regional Fall Gathering on October 21, 2000.

At the West Regional Fall Gathering at Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, a group of men from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma were formally initiated as the Beta Zeta chapter on October 26, 2002. Their road to establishing a chapter was a rocky one to say the least, but their persistence prevailed.

On April 5, 2003, the Beta Eta chapter was formally initiated at Spring Conclave in St. Louis, Missouri. These men from West Virginia University were blessed to have pledged under the supervision of the sitting National President, Chad Burdette, while he was completing graduate studies there.

The addition of the Beta Kappa chapter brought the number of chapters nationally to eleven. This was the highest number seen since the 1960s.

A period of growth ceased, and as of August 2022 there appears to be a single active chapter, at Our Lady of the Lake University; the other chapters of the fraternity are dormant.

Chapters

Chapters of Sigma Theta Epsilon include the following. Active chapters noted in bold, inactive chapters noted in italics. [1]

AlphaIowa State University, 1925–1967
Beta - University of Nebraska, 1925–1965
GammaUniversity of South Dakota, 1925–1960
DeltaUniversity of Minnesota, 1925–1951 [a]
EpsilonUniversity of Iowa, 1927–1941
ZetaUniversity of California, Berkeley, 1928–1931
EtaUniversity of Northern Iowa, 1929–1962, 1966–1971
ThetaOhio University 1931-43, 1945–1972
IotaUniversity of Wyoming, 1931–1934
KappaOhio State University, 1934–1968
LambdaKansas State University, 1936–1943, 1952–1965
MuWest Virginia University, 1938–1970
NuOklahoma State University, 1939–1971
XiIndiana University, 1936–1957
OmicronMiami University, 1937–1962
PiBowling Green State University, 1937–1942, 1952–1958, 1960–1962
RhoFort Hays State University, 1948–1959
SigmaKent State University, 1948–1971
TauUniversity of Oklahoma, 1949–1968
UpsilonUniversity of Nebraska at Kearney, 1950–1953
PhiUniversity of Michigan, 1950–1953
Epsilon (2)Oklahoma City University, 1950–1954
Zeta (2)University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, 1952–1954,
ChiPittsburg State University, 1952–1953, 1960–1968
Iota (2)University of Iowa, 1954–1960
PsiSouthwestern Oklahoma State University, 1955–1957
Omega – Unassigned. Memorial chapter?
Alpha AlphaMichigan State University, 1956–1962
Alpha BetaWestern Michigan University, 1956–1974
Alpha GammaWest Virginia Wesleyan College, 1957–2012
Alpha DeltaPennsylvania State University, 1958–1965, 1967–1970
Alpha EpsilonAmerican University, 1960–1969
Alpha ZetaCentral Michigan University, 1961–1963, 1966–1971
Gamma (2)Mansfield University, 1967–1971
Beta (2)Lane College, 1974–1975
Alpha chapter of OhioOhio Northern University 1975–2021
Eta (2)Northern Illinois University, 1976–1977
Delta (2)Mount Union College, 1969-1975, 1980–1987, 1994-2011
Beta AlphaOklahoma City University, 1988–2003
Beta BetaMiami University, 1993–2008
Beta GammaUniversity of Cincinnati, 1998–2011
Alpha chapter of Texas, Our Lady of the Lake University, 1999 [b][1]
Beta EpsilonBradley University, 2000–2012
Beta ZetaNortheastern State University, 2002–2015
Beta EtaWest Virginia University, 2002-2011
Beta ThetaOhio University, 2003–2006, 2009-2010
Beta IotaIllinois Wesleyan University, 2004–2006
Beta KappaMissouri Valley College, 2006–2007

Notes

  1. ^ This was originally a chapter of Phi Tau Theta. Once dormant, its name appears to have been re-used for the later Mount Union College chapter.
  2. ^ Was this chapter originally the Beta Delta chapter, and renamed for simplicity?

References

  1. ^ a b William Raimond Baird; Carroll Lurding (eds.). "Almanac of Fraternities and Sororities (Baird's Manual Online Archive)". Student Life and Culture Archives. University of Illinois: University of Illinois Archives. Retrieved 1 March 2022. The main archive URL is The Baird's Manual Online Archive homepage.