In 1924, Sigma Tau Delta was formed, an outgrowth of the Dakota Wesleyan English Club. Its sponsor, Judson Q. Owen, our founder, established the purpose, the insignia, the Greek letters and the English words (Sincerity, Truth, Design) assigned to them, and the colors cardinal and black. He announced on May 28, 1924 that the society was national, English departments in several universities having formed chapters.
Professor Owen became the first Executive Secretary and Editor of the society’s literary magazine, The Rectangle, positions he held until his death in 1969. A reorganization in 1970 resulted in a revised Constitution, an expanded national board, and a scheduling of national conventions on even-numbered years. Dr. Edwin Stockton served as the National President from 1970-1987. Professor Isabel Sparks was elected President in 1987.
Our local chapter, Phi Ro, was founded in 1982. The Phi Ro chapter’s original members included Robert Stein, Pamela Dawes, Donna DeGraff, Kelly Fieger, Marianne Heald, Jeannine Lardner, Dan Royer, Grace Stewart, Thomas Averill, Howard Faulkner, Elaine Gardiner, James Hoogenakker, Robert Lawson, Virginia Pruitt, Robert Tremmel, Nancy Vacher, and Thomas Kennedy. Our current faculty sponsor is Dr. Erin Chamberlain.
The international society has grown steadily, now having over 880 active chapters. The Phi Ro chapter is active in both the Washburn University and Topeka communities, volunteering at many events in addition to hosting and organizing literary projects and events of their own. The members work diligently throughout the year to promote and support literature and the arts.