Sigma Tau Delta
Initiation Ritual


Traditional Sigma Tau Delta Induction Ceremony
The candidates assemble in an adjoining room in charge of the marshal. The president calls the chapter to order, then sends word to the marshal that all is in readiness.
MARSHAL: President, I have the honor of bringing before you and … chapter of
Sigma Tau Delta … candidates, whenever it shall be your wish to have them enter.
PRESIDENT: Will the secretary please read the names of the candidates and inform us whether or not the qualifications of each have been duly approved by the executive committee in accordance with the standards of Sigma Tau Delta.
SECRETARY reads the names and states that each candidate is eligible, etc.
PRESIDENT: Will the treasurer please make a report concerning the financial obligations of these candidates. Have they all been paid?
TREASURER: They have.
PRESIDENT: Will the marshal please usher in the candidates. When at the door with the candidates, the marshal raps three strokes. The vice president opens the door and inquires.
VICE PRESIDENT: Who seeks admission to Sigma Tau Delta?
MARSHAL: The marshal with candidates for … chapter.
VICE PRESIDENT: You may enter. The marshal enters with one candidate, the others follow two by two. The marshal causes the candidates to stand in line before the presiding officer.
MARSHAL: I have the honor of bringing before you at this time these candidates who desire to become members of Sigma Tau Delta.
PRESIDENT: My friends, are you ready to take upon yourselves the obligations of Sigma Tau Delta membership? If so, answer "We are."
PRESIDENT: Then will you repeat after me the pledge and motto of the society: "I shall endeavor. . . to advance the study. . . of the chief literary masterpieces . . . to encourage worthwhile reading . . . to promote the mastery of written expression . . . and to foster a spirit of fellowship. . . among students specializing in the English language and literature. . . ever keeping in mind our international motto. . . Sincerity, Truth, Design."
PRESIDENT: Neophytes, you have been recommended to …  chapter of Sigma Tau Delta as person(s) of excellent scholarship and commendable zeal. As you know, the aim of this society is to promote a mastery of written expression, to encourage worthwhile reading, and to foster a spirit of good fellowship among students of the English language and literature. In a word, Sigma Tau Delta seeks to stimulate a desire on the part of its members to express life in terms of truth and beauty and to gain a first-hand acquaintance of the chief literary masterpieces of our language. It endeavors to stimulate achievement by providing the reward of membership and congenial association with persons of like aspirations. Membership, however, should not be sought with anything but a high seriousness of purpose. To this end, unselfishness of service is asked and fidelity to the lofty aims which caused Sigma Tau Delta to be founded. This we expect of you. May you prove faithful to your obligations.
MARSHAL: My friends, you are now to hear a brief résumé of the history of Sigma Tau Delta.
HISTORIAN: The Society is an outgrowth of the English club at the Dakota Wesleyan University in Mitchell , South Dakota . Plans worked out for the local group there met the approval of heads of the departments of English in other institutions and resulted in the nationalization of the order under its present name in 1924. Within a few months, more than twenty of these other institutions signified their desire to establish chapters. At an early date a constitution was drawn up, which defined the name and purpose of the organization, the qualifications for and degrees of membership, and the rules governing national and local organization. It prescribed the ceremonies of induction, authorized the official insignia, and provided for the establishment of The Rectangle, the official journal of the Society. In 1988, the society became international. There are at present … chapters of Sigma Tau Delta. A full list of these is published once a year in The Rectangle.
At this point may be given a history of the local chapter.
VICE PRESIDENT: The words Sigma Tau Delta are the initial letters in Greek of the English words symbolizing "Sincerity, Truth, and Design." Only students of high scholarship are desired or admitted into our ranks. The official colors are cardinal and black.
If certificates and pins have not been obtained, omit the following speech and proceed to
PRESIDENT: In recognition . . . please sign . . . .
PRESIDENT: In recognition of your reception into Sigma Tau Delta, you are hereby presented with this membership certificate and pin. The certificate is endorsed by chapter officers and the international president. Please step forward as your name is called.
President calls the name of each candidate in turn; and as the name is called, the candidate steps forward and receives his/her certificate, etc. Chapter should have a roll book in which at this time the inductee records his/her name, address, telephone number, and social security number (the last being required on the registration form sent to the Central Office).
PRESIDENT: In recognition of your reception into Sigma Tau Delta, please sign the permanent roll of the chapter with your name, address, telephone number, and social security number. Your insignias of induction will be sent to you shortly from the Central Office.
When all have signed, the President says:
PRESIDENT: I now declare you to be members in full standing of the … chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, and our secretary will so inform (or has so informed) the Central Office. We welcome you into the Society.
The president and all members shall shake hands with each new member. Be sure that new members sign the membership book.
N.B. This traditional ritual has been updated to conform to the latest Constitution of the Society and to Board actions.