First Degree Ritual
Paraphernalia needed: Eight candles; one to be used as a torch (4 blue candles and 4 white candles); a coat of arms banner and a pin banner; a gavel; a blindfold for each initiate; and a rose for each initiate.
The officers (in pairs) march in to music in the following order:
Vice-President and President
Treasurer and Chaplain
Secretary and Historian
As they reach a point before the altar they separate—the President marching to the right and the Vice-President to the left; the Chaplain to the right and the Treasurer to the left, etc. When they reach their places behind the altar, they stand facing the members with the President in the center, the Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary on her right in the order named; and the Chaplain and Historian on her left The Marshal should be stationed at the door to collect the password as each member enters the meeting room. A chair should be reserved for the Marshal at the altar next to the Historian.
PRESIDENT: What is the time, Sister Secretary?
SECRETARY: It is now … o’clock.
PRESIDENT: It is then time to devote ourselves to a serious contemplation of our beloved Alpha Iota. Sister Marshal, have you collected the password and are all present in good standing?
MARSHAL, standing inside the door: Sister President, all present are in good standing and the password has been collected from each of them.
PRESIDENT: Sister Marshal, you will see that the doors to our meeting place are securely guarded and the shades drawn so that none who is unworthy may enter or observe.
Marshal closes door. President raps three times. Members rise. National anthem is played. The Flag is brought by the Marshal from the rear of the room and is placed at the right and in front of the altar. An Alpha Iota song is introduced. The Marshal takes her place at altar, and then members join in singing this Sorority song.
PRESIDENT: Our Chaplain will now petition for wisdom and guidance in the further contemplation of our Sorority.
CHAPLAIN: Almighty and all-seeing One, Alpha of the Universe, we acknowledge Thee in all things. As Thy daughters, we would glorify Thee by our works. In our hearts are Thy temples and our deeds are the sacrifices we make unto Thee. Keep us pure and undefiled that we may bring the blessing of heaven to earth, and make our Sorority the dwelling place of Thy holy peace. Let no dissention enter here; but make us true Sisters working together for the advancement of Thy Kingdom while we “Strive to show ourselves approved.” Amen.
President raps once with her gavel to seat members. Officers remain standing.
PRESIDENT: Sister Vice-President, what are the purposes of Alpha Iota?
VICE-PRESIDENT: Alpha Iota teaches us that we cannot live unto ourselves alone, that friendship is above price; that we profit only as we serve. It teaches us also to be loyal to our friends, to our Sisters everywhere, and to our school. It stands for the highest standards in business life and in private morals. Its aim is to make of us, every one, better women that we may add our mite to the general happiness and well-being of the community in which we live.
PRESIDENT: Sister Marshal, what is the bond that unites all the members of this Sorority?
MARSHAL: Our bond is, “Study to show thyself approved.”
PRESIDENT: Sister Historian, how should Sisters of Alpha Iota meet?
HISTORIAN: Those who have been initiated into the mysteries of our Sorority should meet as Sisters of the blood—sharing home, sympathy, affection, and if need be, our worldly goods.
President raps three times, members stand, clasp hands, and repeat the following pledge in unison.
MEMBERS: My Sisters, I pledge to you my loyalty and friendship.
PRESIDENT: Sisters, we have pledged ourselves to each other. In this binding tie, let us in all seriousness and with as much expedition as possible approach the tasks that lie before us. “Study to show thyself approved.”
Sister Marshal, I now declare … Chapter of Alpha Iota duly opened. We shall now proceed with the initiation of new members.
If there is a large doss of pledges, this ceremony will be more impressive if Parts 1 and 2 are given on a day Previous to Part 3.
Candidates should be assembled in a room adjoining initiation chamber under the supervision of the Pledge Captain who should impress the class with the solemnity of this ceremony. Pledges should be silent. The Pledge Captain and President should each have a list of the names of the Pledges in the order they are to be Presented before the altar. Pledges should be blindfolded and placed in this aider, with each Pledge having her right hand on the right shoulder of the Pledge before her. Marshal takes her place at the door. When all is in readiness the Pledge Captain RAPS TWICE on the door of initiation chamber.
MARSHAL: Who are these trespassing upon our threshold?
PLEDGE CAPTAIN: They are candidates for initiation into Alpha Iota, International Honorary Business Sorority.
MARSHAL: Have they passed all the tests given thus far?
PLEDGE CAPTAIN: They have.
MARSHAL: Sister President, the candidates await your command.
PRESIDENT: Sister Marshal, conduct these initiates into the chapter room that we may further examine them as to their eligibility.
Music should be played while Pledges march into initiation chamber. Music played very softly in an adjoining room adds much to the effectiveness of this ceremony. The Marshal, assisted by the Pledge Captain, should guide hue of Pledges to Position in front of altar.
PRESIDENT: Pledges, raise your right hand and assume the vow of secrecy, repeating after me: “I (give your full name in unison), / do solemnly swear / that I will keep secret / every word and deed / pertaining to this initiation into Alpha Iota / and will never reveal them / except to one duly authorized to know them, / whether I am admitted to full membership or not. / So help me, God.”
Pledges may lower their right hands.
PRESIDENT: Sister Marshal, you will conduct the pledges from the room to await further instructions.
The Marshal and Pledge Captain guide the Pledges from the room, each
Pledge having her right hand on the right shoulder of the Pledge before
her. There should be music during the marching. The Marshal returns to
the initiation chamber. Pledges should remain silent at all tinies in outer
rooms under the supervision of the Pledge Captain. Blindfolds niay be removed
while Pledges are awaiting further initiation.
President explains to assembly of members that after the questioning of the Pledge, balloting is done by all members present, knocking one at a time, beginning at the right of the President. There should be a Pause of exactly five seconds between each knock, and the President knocks last. The knocking must be properly timed to be effective and impressive. This may be accomplished if each member will count five slowly before knocking. If the ballot is favorable, at a signal from the President, the members say, “All is well,” in unison.
PRESIDENT: Sister Marshal, you will communicate with the Pledge Captain and have her prepare the Pledges for further initiation. Then you may present them one at a time before the altar.
Pledges, blindfolded, are presented one at a time for final ballot. Alpha Iota songs should be played softly as each one enters and leaves the initiation chamber.
MARSHAL: Sister President, may I present Pledge
PRESIDENT: Pledge , it is our desire to determine whether you are eligible for further initiation into Alpha Iota.
You will answer satisfactorily and honestly the questions asked you. Your answers will decide whether you will receive the final initiation.
The replies to the following two questions should be memorized by each Pledge before initiation.
What does Alpha Iota teach us?
“Alpha Iota teaches us that we cannot live unto ourselves alone, that friendship is above price; that we profit only as we serve. It teaches us also to be loyal to our friends, to our Sisters everywhere, and to our school. It stands for the highest standards in business life and in private morals. Its aim is to make us, every one, better women that we may add our mite to the general happiness and well-being of the community in which we live.”
What should be the attitude of Alpha Iota sisters toward each other?
“Those who have been initiated into the mysteries of our Sorority should meet as sisters of the blood—sharing home, sympathy, affection, and if need be, our worldly goods.”
What benefit do you personally expect to gain through your membership in Alpha Iota?
How may Alpha Iota expect to benefit through your membership?
It may be necessary for the President to question the Pledge until she states that her object pertains to good fellowship and the best interests of the Sorority.
PRESIDENT: Members of Alpha Iota, are there any other questions you would like to have asked of this pledge? Pause. There appear to be no more.
Sisters in Alpha Iota, we shall at this time ballot on Pledge …. One knock on wood with the knuckles of the right hand will signify your willingness to see her go through with this initiation. A single failure to knock signifies disfavor.
If the ballot is favorable, at a signal from the President the members say, “All is well;’ in unison.
Sister Marshal, you will conduct Pledge … into the outer room where she may meditate before taking the final vows.
After all pledges have passed this stage af the initiation, proceed with Part 3.
When Parts I and II are given on a previous date, the Opening Ceremony should precede Part 3; except, of course, when the charter members of a new chapter are being initiated, in which case, the Opening Ceremony would necessarily be omitted.
The Pledges should be assembled in an outer room under the supervision of the Pledge Captain.
PRESIDENT: Sisters Secretary and Marshal, you will present the Pledges for final initiation.
SECRETARY AND MARSHAL: All is well.
Music. Secretary and Marshal meet in front of altar and march to rear of room. Pledges enter still masked, walking in double column, and led by the Secretary and Marshal. Soft music while pledges are led into room and seated in chairs arranged in a semi-circle before the altar. Then the Secretary and Marshal take their places at the altar.
SECRETARY: As the body without the spirit is dead, so FAITH without works is dead, also.
TREASURER: Now the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in HOPE, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
VICE-PRESIDENT: And now abideth FAITH, HOPE, CHARITY, these three, but the greatest of these is CHARITY.
PRESIDENT: Hatred stirreth up strife, but LOVE covereth all sins.
CHAPLAIN: Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are HONEST, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there is any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
HISTORIAN: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these you might be partakers of the divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue; and to virtue, knowledge.
MARSHAL: That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have FELLOWSHIP with us.
Honorable President, these Pledges before you have proved themselves worthy of membership in Alpha Iota, the International Honorary Sorority of Business. They are still in darkness groping for the light.
PRESIDENT: Pledges, you must pass through darkness to reach the light. As the darkness into which you have been placed signifies your ignorance of the great lessons which our Sorority teaches, so now there must be light, revealing unto you some of the lessons which should be the guide of your life henceforth.
Darkness will be dispelled, the gate of mystery be passed, and the full light shine forever; the lights of which, those of our Sorority are but symbols. In Alpha Iota we have seven candles which will reveal unto you the lessons they teach.
Have seven candles, alternating blue and white, ready to be lighted.
Sisters Secretary and Marshal, you will now remove the masks in order that our newly constituted Sisters may see the light.
SECRETARY AND MARSHAL: Let there be light.
Music while masks are removed.
Music may be played VERY softly in an adjoining room throughout the candle-lighting ceremony. When the Secretary and Marshal return to the altar, they and the other officers, except the President, take one or two steps backward so that they will be standing about two feet back of the altar.
Then each one steps forward to light a candle when called upon by the President.
PRESIDENT: That the light of our Sorority may shine into all the world and that you, my Sisters, may be instructed in its teachings, I shall now light the candle which represents ALPHA, the light that was in the beginning, and from which all light sprang.
President lights the torch, a white candle, when, she says “Alpha.”
You will now be instructed by the Officers. Sister Secretary.
The Secretary steps forward to receive the torch with which she will light the first blue candle farthest to her right as she says the underlined word.
SECRETARY: With this torch, symbolic of the Divine fire which creates the finer and the nobler things in our lives, I now light the candle of FAITH. It is faith in ourselves and in our God which sustains and supports us in our most severe trials and temptations. Without Faith we should be deprived of our trust in mankind and our belief in God. This is to teach you that we have faith in you, faith in your desire to deal honestly with everyone, to lead a clean and upright life, to bestow charity wherever it is needed, and to hope for the best in life and in love. As we have Faith in you, so also have you Faith in us.
As each officer is addressed in turn by the President, she steps forward to receive the torch and light a candle. After saying her part, she returns the torch to the President and steps back.
PRESIDENT: Sister Treasurer.
TREASURER: Hope, like the gleaming taper’s light
Adorns and cheers our way;
And still, as darker grows the night,
Emits a brighter ray.
The candle of HOPE is now lighted.
PRESIDENT: Sister Vice-President.
VICE-PRESIDENT: Because it is more blessed to give than to receive, I now light the candle of CHARITY. Charity is a virtue of the heart more than of the hands. Better than money, is the Charity of a kind word. Be thou charitable of the faults of your Sisters and mindful of your own.
PRESIDENT: The candle of Love is lighted from within your breast by a flame unseen. This torch lights the candle that symbolizes LOVE. Love brought you into the world; watched over you in your helpless infancy; guided you in childhood; inspires you in youth; and will comfort you in old age.
Mysterious love, uncertain treasure,
Hast thou more of pain or pleasure,
Endless torments dwell about thee,
Yet who would live, and live without thee?”
PRESIDENT: Sister Chaplain.
CHAPLAIN: The light of honesty shines forth as brilliant as the sun. Evil and dishonest deeds seek darkness and the night. So now I light the candle of HONESTY, not to reveal its virtue, but rather to drive away all secret mental reservations, if any now linger with you. This virtue stands high in our regard. “An honest man is the noblest work of God.”
PRESIDENT: Sister Historian.
HISTORIAN: Morality is the basis of character. Had your morals been lax, we should have been obliged to deny you membership in our Sorority. After this honor has been bestowed upon you, we still reserve the right to ask you to surrender your pin in case your conduct should become unworthy of a Sister of Alpha Iota. I now light the candle of MORALITY so that its light may shine upon you always and keep your feet from the paths of error and darkness. Remember always that Virtue is its own reward.
PRESIDENT: Sister Marshal.
MARSHAL: The stars of the night shine not alone but in Fellowship with all the others. With this torch I now light the candle of FELLOWSHIP. Your success and, in fact, your very happiness in life will depend upon the nature of your Fellowship.
The associations which you make not only in your Sorority but with those with whom you come in daily contact will be the ultimate measure of your success. In order to keep the candle of Fellowship bright and burning, you must select your friends with care. We have selected you with that care which we ask you to use henceforth. With all your Sisters in Alpha Iota everywhere, you may safely hold Fellowship.
Marshal returns torch to President who extinguishes it. Very brief pause.
PRESIDENT: These are the seven candles—Faith, Hope, Charity, Love, Honesty, Morality and Fellowship—the light of Alpha Iota shining through you.
Sister Marshal, you have guided the steps of our new Sister thus far, who, with bowed heads and in all solemnity may now seriously meditate upon the virtues of the seven candles.
Pause a minute for silent prayer.
Pledge, you have shown yourself worthy and will now be further entrusted with the meaning of Alpha Iota.
The underlying principles of the Sorority are FRIENDSHIP and LOYALTY.
In the spirit of friendship we are gathered here tonight. Sisters, I do beseech you that there be no division among you, but that you may be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. Be friends. To HAVE a good friend is one of the highest delights of life. To BE a good friend is one of the noblest and most difficult undertakings.
Friendship depends not upon fancy, imagination, or sentiment, but upon character. There is no one so poor that she is not rich if she has a friend; there is no one so rich that she is not poor without a friend. Real friendship is abiding. Like charity, it suffereth long and is kind. Like love, it vaunteth not itself, but pursues the even tenor of its way. Friendship is a gift. Even fragments of friendship are precious and to be treasured. To have one whole, real friend is the greatest of earth’s gifts save one, and that is to be such a friend.
It is the human touch in life that counts,
The touch of your hand and mine.
It means more to the human soul
Than shelter or bread or wine.
“For shelter is gone when night is o’er,
Bread lasts only a day,
But the clasp of the hand and the sound of the voice
Remain with the soul always.”
The second great virtue of Alpha Iota Sorority is Loyalty—loyalty to God, to your country, to your school, to your employer, to your neighbor, to your Sorority, and to yourself—for Friendship and Loyalty bring you close to the
Alpha is the first letter of the Greek Alphabet, and means the beginning—that which gives you a start in life. “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow.” You must start at the bottom of the ladder and develop slowly into the full reality of your powers. Alpha stands for AMBITION, that stimulus which lifts you above the common mass and creates within you the desire to achieve.
Iota is a Greek letter signifying something of a minute nature. Iota stands for INITIATIVE, that stimulus within you that leads to the fulfillment of all your ambitions. If you would succeed, pay strict attention to details.
The password of Alpha Iota is made up of the first two letters of Ambition and the first letter of Initiative, which is “Ami,” the French word for “Friend.”
The motto of Alpha Iota is “Study to Show Thyself Approved.”
The flower of Alpha Iota is the American Beauty Rose.
The colors of Alpha Iota are white and royal blue, representing Friendship and Loyalty.
The Vice-President holds the coat-of-arms banner so it may be readily seen by the Pledges and members. The President uses a pointer to indicate the several insignia as she explains their meaning.
On the Alpha Iota coat-of-arms, the Sphinx stands for Secrecy; the Rose, for Beauty; the Ionic Column, for Strength; the Two Stars, for Friendship and Loyalty; the Open Book, for Knowledge; and the Roman Fasces, for Authority. At the bottom of the coat-of-arms are the Greek words, Alpha Iota.
Alpha Iota Sorority is made up of select girls from the
The Chaplain holds the pm banner so it may be readily seen by the Pledges and members. The President uses the pointer.
The Alpha Iota pin signifies the mark of efficiency and is the badge of honesty and integrity. The seven pearls at the top of the pin symbolize the seven candles; the six pearls on the panels represent the six symbols of the coat-of-arms; the center jewel is symbolic of character; the cup of Friendship and the Greek letters, Alpha and Iota, complete the meaning of the pin. Always wear the Alpha Iota pin so that you may be readily identified by Sorority sisters wherever you may go.
When Sisters of Alpha Iota meet, they salute one another with the recognition hand clasp. Listen well while it is described to you. Squeeze the hand twice slowly, once for Friendship and once for Loyalty; Follow with pressure of thumb (meaning Alpha); then with pressure of little finger (meaning Iota).
The secrets of Alpha Iota Sorority have nothing to do with commercial trickery, political deceit, or moral shame. We stand for the first principles of Bookkeeping and Accounting—that for every debit, there must be an equal credit.
Sisters, you will now ‘rise and assume the final vow of Alpha Iota. Let all of you raise your right hand and repeat after me:
“I (give your full name in unison), do solemnly swear / that I will cherish the word “Friendship” / and will advance in America / the most upright of business methods at all times; / that I will cherish the word “Loyalty”; / that I will always keep in mind the lessons taught by the seven candles; / that I will act as a moral and upright woman; / that I will place the welfare of the Sorority above personal prejudice; / that I will give generously of my time and effort for the good of the Sorority; / that I will cherish and preserve the secrets of Alpha Iota. / May I be disgracefully expelled from this Sisterhood / should I ever wilfully violate this, my solemn obligation. / So help me, God.”
Sister, you have fulfilled all requirements of our Sorority as Pledge. I, therefore, welcome you into full membership in Alpha Iota, the International Honorary Sorority of Business, and present each of you with the flower of Alpha Iota, the American Beauty Rose.
Marshal and Secretary distribute roses. There are several appropriate songs which may be played and sung during this part of the ceremony; i. e., “Love Sends a Little Gift of Roses” and “Rose of Sharon.”
Let its beautiful hue be an indication of your deep Loyalty to Alpha Iota, and its fragrance the essence of true Friendship.
PRESIDENT: Members of Chapter, it gives me deep pleasure to announce that the following pledges have fulfilled all obligations and are now entitled to full membership rights.
Sisters, we have profited by our meeting and the bond of our Sorority has been strengthened. That we may be refreshed and able to meet the tasks that each new day brings to us all, It is well that we cease our labors and seek our rest. With befitting humbleness and in token of our reverence, let us repeat together the benediction of Alpha Iota.
President raps three times with gavel, members rise to repeat the benediction as follows:
“We thank Thee, Father, for Thy gift of peace,
For love and loyal friends;
We play that faith and courage may not cease,
Nor patience that transcends
The stress and strain the passing years may bring,
But grant us strength to face
The daily task with eager hearts that sing,
Enfolded in Thy grace.” Amen.
PRESIDENT: Sister Marshal, you will open the doors of our meeting room that all may depart.
Marshal opens doors and stands in doorway.
MARSHAL: Sister President, the doors have been opened, and the assembly is now ready to depart with proper decorum.
PRESIDENT: I now declare Chapter of Alpha Iota closed in due form. Depart as you came, Sisters all.
Music while officers march out.
First Degree Examination
All Pledges must pass this examination to the satisfaction of the Sponsor of the Chapter. The Written Examination shall be given by the Sponsor before initiation. Answers to questions 16-17-18 must be given verbatim. The Oral Examination is to be given after initiation.
1. Write the Greek Alphabet, giving both the form and letter.
2. Give the roll of active chapters and cities where located.
3. What are the national offices?
National President, National Vice-President, National
Secretary, National Treasurer, National Historian, and
4. Name three persons who hold national offices.
5. Who is the founder of Alpha Iota?
Elsie M. Fenton.
6. When and where was Alpha Iota founded?
Alpha Iota was founded as a local organization at the American Institute of Business in
7. When was Alpha Iota incorporated?
Alpha Iota was incorporated under the laws of the State of
8. When is Founder’s Day?
9. Give date of founding of your local chapter.
10. Name five objects of Alpha Iota.
1. To create and perpetuate a friendly spirit among students of our school.
2. To extend friendly courtesies to new students.
3. To build up a continued loyalty to our Alma Mater.
4. To create and perpetuate a friendly spirit among the members of the various chapters of Alpha Iota.
5. To help each other when possible in the securing of positions and promotions.
11. What determines eligibility to active membership in Alpha Iota?
Every girl must be a high school graduate or have had an equivalent education before entering this school, must be doing superior work as a student, and must be of good character and personality.
12. Name and explain the four classes of membership.
ACTIVE — A member attending school and faculty sponsors (except the sponsors of an alumna chapter).
ALUMNA—A member who has been out of school one month or longer, and faculty sponsors.
ASSOCIATE—A member not eligible as an active or alumna but who has demonstrated her interest and service to the school and sorority, and her election to the chapter has been approved by the National Board of Governors. Not more than five associate members may be elected by any one chapter during a twelve months’ period.
HONORARY—A member whose professional ability is recognized in her community, and her name approved by the local chapter and by the National Board of Governors.
13. Name the two kinds of chapters.
There are two classes of chapters, active and alumna.
(a) Active chapters may be established in recognized schools, colleges, and universities of commerce and business when granted charters by the National Board of Governors. The First Degree Ritual is used for initiation into an active chapter.
(b) Alumna chapters may be formed by groups of at least fifteen alumna members of Alpha Iota when authorized by the National Board of Governors. Alumna chapters are designated by the names of the cities in which they are located. The Second Degree Ritual is used for initiating members from an active chapter into an alumna chapter.
14. What are the colors and the flower of Alpha Iota?
White and Royal Blue. The American Beauty Rose.
15. What is the motto of Alpha Iota?
“Study to Show Thyself Approved.”
16. What is the benediction of Alpha Iota?
“We thank Thee, Father, for Thy gift of peace,
For love and loyal friends;
We pray that faith and courage may not cease,
Nor patience that transcends
The stress and strain the passing years may bring,
But grant us strength to face
The daily task with eager hearts that sing,
Enfolded in Thy grace.” Amen.
17. What does Alpha Iota teach us?
Alpha Iota teaches us that we cannot live unto ourselves alone, that friendship is above price; that we profit only as we serve. It teaches us also to be loyal to our friends, to our Sisters everywhere, and to our school. Its aim is to make of us, every one, better women that we may add our mite to the general happiness and well-being of the community in which we live.”
18. What should be the attitude of Alpha Iota Sisters toward each other?
Those who have been initiated into the mysteries of our Sorority should meet as sisters of the blood—sharing home, sympathy, affection, and if need be, our worldly goods.
19. Why do you desire to become a member of Alpha Iota?
20. List the offices and present officers of your local chapter.
The answers to the following questions are never to be written. The Sponsor shall act as the examining officer, and each question must be answered orally to her satisfaction by every new member. This oral test should be given within a week after the First Degree Initiation.
1. Explain the meaning of the name of the Sorority.
2. What do the Alpha Iota colors, white and royal blue, represent?
3. ‘What is the password of Alpha Iota? Explain it.
4. Explain and demonstrate the Alpha Iota hand clasp.
5. Name the seven candles used in the initiation ritual.
6. Explain the meaning of the six symbols in the coat-of-arms.
7. Explain the meaning of the jewels in the Alpha Iota pin.
8. Explain the meaning of the cup on the crest.
9. Repeat verbatim the final vow of Alpha Iota.