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Alpha Sigma Tau (ΑΣΤ) is a national Panhellenic sorority founded on November 4, 1899, at Michigan State Normal College.

Alpha Sigma Tau
Alpha Sigma Tau crest.png
FoundedNovember 4, 1899; 119 years ago (1899-11-04)
Michigan State Normal College, (Ypsilanti, Michigan)
MottoActive, Self-reliant, Trustworthy
Colors     Emerald Green      Gold
FlowerYellow Rose
PublicationTHE ANCHOR
PhilanthropyWomen's Wellness Initiative
ChaptersOver 90
Headquarters3334 Founders Road
Indianapolis, Indiana 46268

Alpha Sigma Tau is a member of the National Panhellenic Conference,[1] an umbrella organization encompassing 26 national sororities or women's fraternities, which focus on service, education, scholarship programming and social activities. Once a sorority exclusively for teacher's/educational colleges, Alpha Sigma Tau became a full member in 1951,[2] and, as a social sorority, now admits members without limits based on major. It has more than 90 active chapters nationwide.



In 1899,[3] eight women founded Alpha Sigma Tau's first chapter at Michigan State Normal College (now Eastern Michigan University): Helene M. Rice, her sister Adriance Rice, Mayene Tracy, Eva O’Keefe, May Gephart, Mabel Chase, Ruth Dutcher, and Harriet Marx.[4] There were three other sororities on campus at the time: Pi Kappa Sigma, Sigma Nu Phi and Zeta Phi, all of which are now inactive. The name "Alpha Sigma Tau" was chosen, and emerald green and gold were chosen for the colors. It was initially founded as an educational sorority.

Effie E. Polyhamus Lyman was chosen patroness. During the first year of its existence, the sorority did not display any marked activity. The charter was not received until the second year, when Edith Silk, Myrtle Oram, Zoe Waldron, Grace Townley, Marie Gedding, Louise Agrell and Mable Pitts had joined the organization and, with the organizers, were the charter members. On the suggestion of Mrs. Effie E Polyhamus Lyman, Miss Abigail Pearce and Miss Ada A. Norton were asked to be patronesses.[5]

Six years later, the Beta Chapter was founded in 1905[6] at Central Michigan Normal College, which is now Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

Alpha Sigma Tau held its first conference in 1926, in Detroit, Michigan, and joined the Association of Education Sororities that same year,[6] after refusing to join purely professional associations due to also having a social focus.[7] In 1947, AES merged with the National Panhellenic Conference, and the sorority became a Panhellenic group.[8] The merger allowed Alpha Sigma Tau and the other AES sororities to begin establishing chapters at any accredited school, though existing chapters were encouraged to have larger memberships for the next fall rush.[9]

In 1946, the sorority partnered with the Pine Mountain Settlement School and raised funds for the cause until 2016. During this time, the sorority also partnered with Habitat for Humanity. In 1982, the sorority created a separate arm, the Alpha Sigma Tau National Foundation, to organize funding of programs via donations and other income.[6]

The sorority's National Headquarters were created in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1995, and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, in 2009.[6]

National PresidentsEdit

Years Name Chapter
1925–1928 Grace Erb Ritchie Alpha
1928–1934 Luella Chapman Sigma
1934–1949 Carrie Washburne Staehle Alpha
1949–1955 Dorothy Bennett Robinson Pi
1955–1964 Mary Alice Seller Peterson Iota
1964–1972 Elizabeth Wilson Pi
1972–1984 Lenore Seibel King Psi
1984–1986 Gail Shockley Fowler Alpha Lambda
1986–1992 Patricia L. Nayle Phi
1992–1996 Mary Charles Ashby Chi
1996–2002 Martha Drouyor DeCamp Alpha
2002–2008 Patricia Klausing Simmons Delta
2008–2014 Christina Duggan Covington Alpha Lambda
2014–present Tiffany Street Delta Mu

The late Lenore Seibel King and Carrie Washburne Staehle have been recognized as Presidents Emerita.[10]


Alpha Sigma Tau's colors are emerald green and purest gold, while its flower is the yellow rose, its jewel is the pearl, and its symbol the anchor.[11] The sorority does not have an official mascot. The badge is a black, kite-like polygon with a golden ΑΣΤ inscribed on the enamel, bordered by gold inlaid with small pearls. Members who perform further duties may order different badges with different jewels on the badge's four points – ruby for volunteers, yellow topaz for NPC delegates, and emerald for National Council members and officers, while the national president's badge has a double border of gold inlaid with diamonds.

Sorority crestEdit

The crest of the sorority, which was designed by Ruth Mayers Glosser in 1922[12] is made of symbols important to the organization: an open book, a crown, 6 stars, and an anchor (counterclockwise starting from top right). At the top of the crest there is a candle with glowing rays, and at the bottom there is a banner with Alpha Sigma Tau written in Greek (ΑλΦα ΣΙλμα Ταυ). This crest is to be worn by initiated members only.


Philanthropy and serviceEdit

The sorority's official philanthropy is the Women's Wellness Initiative. Additionally, individual collegiate and alumnae chapters coordinate local philanthropic fundraisers and service projects.[13]

Incorporated in 1982, the foundation provides a variety of resources, including: over 30 scholarships,[14] funds for a charitable project, permanent headquarters for the sorority, a place for the storage and display of Alpha Sigma Tau's historical records, and educational programming at the chapter, Regional Leadership Workshop, and National Convention levels.


Aside from participating in local philanthropy, undergraduate chapters and members have educational programming. Established in 1995, the Order of the Open Book is a national honor society recognizing academic excellence among Alpha Sigma Tau sisters. Members may join as undergraduate or graduate students.[15] At the 2008 National Convention, the Sorority raised the minimum collegiate GPA from 2.3 to 2.5 on a 4.0 scale (at B-C average). All sisters who have joined after the fall 2008 semester are required to meet this national standard.[16]


  • THE ANCHOR is the sorority's magazine, published twice annually. Its articles pertain to Alpha Sigma Tau, Greek life, and issues affecting women today.[17]
  • Alpha Signal is a monthly newsletter distributed to National Staff and to chapters, both collegiate and alumnae. This bulletin relays messages from National Council and Staff and discusses upcoming events and other items of importance to the Sorority.[17]
  • The Crest is the sorority's magazine that focuses on alumni news, is published at least biannually,[18] and is viewable online.[19]
  • The Foundation Circle is an electronic newsletter delivered monthly to supporters of the Alpha Sigma Tau Foundation.


Active chapters and coloniesEdit

Alumnae associationsEdit

Alpha Sigma Taus across the United States participate in alumnae associations. These associations include alumnae chapters, clubs, social teams, support teams, and hope groups.[20] Alumnae sisters who live more than fifty miles from an active alumnae association are invited to join the Anchor Chapter[permanent dead link] or to form their own association with local alumnae.[20][21]

In addition to joining a local association or the Anchor Chapter, alumnae may be invited to join the Emerald Chapter.[22] The requirements for becoming a member of the Emerald Chapter include serving a minimum of four years as National Council or Staff or attending a minimum of three National Conventions.[23]

National HeadquartersEdit

National Headquarters is the home of the Sorority's archives and publications. Photographs, awards, and other historical documents are on display. Additionally, Headquarters can connect people with collegiate and alumnae chapters, National Council and Staff, and the Alpha Sigma Tau National Foundation, Inc.[24]

The original location of the National Headquarters was St. Louis, Missouri, adopted in 1949 by National President Dorothy Robinson. National Headquarters was relocated to Birmingham, Alabama, in 1994 for 16 years.[24] In spring 2010, Alpha Sigma Tau moved its National Headquarters to Indianapolis, Indiana, the home of over 30 other Greek organizations.

Notable alumnaeEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Our Member Organizations". National Panhellenic Conference. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  2. ^ "National Panhellenic Conference". 2009-09-05. Archived from the original on 2009-09-05. Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  3. ^ LaRon Torbenson, Craig; Parks, Gregory, eds. (2009). Brothers and Sisters: Diversity in College Fraternities and Sororities. Associated University Presse. p. 179. ISBN 978-0-8386-4194-1.
  4. ^ "Alpha Sigma Tau Celebrates 100th Anniversary". Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the 105th Congress, Second Session. 144 Part 9. United States Government Printing Office. 1998-06-23. pp. 13418–13419. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  5. ^ "Who We Are – History",
  6. ^ a b c d "History". Alpha Sigma Tau. 2015-12-02. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  7. ^ Council of Alpha Sigma Tau (October 1944). "The Report of the Association of Education Sororities Representatives". The Anchor. p. 20. Retrieved 2018-06-11.
  8. ^ "History". National Panhellenic Conference. Archived from the original on 2008-08-29. Retrieved 2008-07-17.
  9. ^ Alpha Sigma Tau (January 1948). "Alpha Sigma Tau Is Now an Associate Member of the National Panhellenic Conference". The Anchor. p. 3. Retrieved 2018-06-11.
  10. ^ "Past National Presidents". Alpha Sigma Tau. 2015-12-02. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  11. ^ "Symbols". Alpha Sigma Tau. 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2018-06-17.
  12. ^ "Emblems & Symbols". Alpha Sigma Tau. Retrieved 2016-05-02.
  13. ^ "Local Endeavors". Alpha Sigma Tau. Retrieved 2008-03-18.[dead link]
  14. ^ "Why join ΑΣΤ?". Alpha Sigma Tau. Archived from the original on 2008-04-19. Retrieved 2008-07-28.
  15. ^ "Order of the Open Book". Alpha Sigma Tau. Retrieved 2008-07-17.[dead link]
  16. ^ "National Convention". Alpha Sigma Tau. Retrieved 2008-07-17.[dead link]
  17. ^ a b "Publications". Alpha Sigma Tau. Retrieved 2008-07-17.[dead link]
  18. ^ "THE CREST". Alpha Sigma Tau. Retrieved 2008-07-17.[dead link]
  19. ^ "The Crest",
  20. ^ a b "Establish an Association". Alpha Sigma Tau. Retrieved 2008-07-17.[dead link]
  21. ^ "Anchor Chapter". Alpha Sigma Tau. Retrieved 2008-07-17.[dead link]
  22. ^ "Emerald Chapter",
  23. ^ "Emerald Chapter". Alpha Sigma Tau. Retrieved 2008-07-17.[dead link]
  24. ^ a b "National Headquarters". Alpha Sigma Tau. Archived from the original on 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2008-07-17.
  25. ^ Becque, Fran; Ph.D. (2016-03-14). "#WHM - Mildred Doran, Alpha Sigma Tau Aviator, #notablesororitywomen". Fraternity History & More. Retrieved 2019-08-06.
  26. ^ James, Sheryl (March 1, 1999). "Gwen Frostic: Michigan artist crafts nature into a rich life". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on 2001-05-06. Retrieved 2007-09-17.
  27. ^ "Jessica Furrer". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2007-04-10.
  28. ^ Alpha Sigma Tau (1982). "1982 Fall ANCHOR". Issuu. Retrieved 2019-08-06.

External linksEdit