Established in 1924, Sigma Tau Delta is the national English honor society. Chartered in 1925, our English Department’s chapter — Eta Alpha — is one of the oldest in the country. In fact, Georgetown College sent one of the original thirty-one delegates to the first national convention of “Sigma Tau Delta, Professional English Fraternity,” and in the first years of Sigma Tau Delta’s life, a Georgetown College professor, Myron McCurry, served on the national organization’s five-person Administrative Council as editor-in-chief.
Since its foundation, the society has aimed to “promote the mastery of written expression, encourage worthwhile reading, and foster a spirit of fellowship among those specializing in the English language and literature … 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 … by providing the reward of membership and congenial association with persons of like aspirations.”
In 2012, the Eta Alpha chapter of Sigma Tau Delta still has an active presence on Georgetown’s campus and still seeks to meet the organization’s original goals. We regularly offer events from film screenings to field trips and from literary pilgrimages and lawn parties to seasonal performances and publications. Most of our meetings and events involve open readings and discussions of poetry and short fiction, including original works written by students.
Together, we informally study literature and, through that study, stimulate literary composition. As a result, in the last two years, our members have completed an anthology of Valentine’s Day poetry and collaboratively written two full-length novels for NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month (the second inspired in equal parts by Sir Philip Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella and gothic novels). Students involved with Sigma Tau Delta also have an opportunity to contribute to Inscape, the student-edited campus literary magazine (advised by Dr. Steve Carter).
All students are invited to attend meetings and participate in activities, though official membership in the Eta Alpha chapter is limited to those who meet the national organization’s membership criteria. Georgetown College’s Sigma Tau Delta faculty advisor is Dr. Holly Barbaccia. Anyone interested in participating or becoming an official member should contact Dr. Barbaccia in her office (Pawling 116) or call her at (502) 863-8126. You can also follow our chapter on Facebook and Twitter.