Summary information about the formation of Beta Zeta At Large Chapter, Sigma Theta Tau International
Subcommittee on Honors in School of Nursing reported in the minutes of
the Faculty Organization that Organization of Chapter of Sigma Thata Tau
at Massachusetts, Amherst
is planned and that Dr.Catherine McClure, the National Vice President
was contacted. On August 16, 1961. Mary MacDonald, Associate Dean sent
copies of the catalogue of the school and a request for an application
to Dr. McClure. An application was received on 8/23/61. It was
recommended (7 juniors and 7 seniors with grade of B or better).
January 29,1962 .
Dr. McClure sent the Constitution and By-laws as pattern for drafting
the COnstitution for a local chapter and on March 3, 1962, Dean Mary A.
Maher sent a letter of information to Dr. McClure, "My dear Dr. McClure"
and included grades of students for eligibility, process of the
preliminary committee and that four faculty members of Sigma Theta Tau
were interested in addition to Dean Maher (also a member). The
preliminary committee requested that Dean Maher be the advisor.
March 20, 1962
. Dr. McCLure wrote to
Dean MAher to say that, "it is gratifying to read in your letter of the
continued enthusiasm of your students and faculty for forming a new
chapter of Sigma Theta Tau. She commented on both regular and associate
membership and that all graduates who were qualified can be inducted as
well as faculty. Then there would be a proportion in effect after the
charter was granted. Indicated that after the constitution is reviewed
which would take about 6-8 weeks, a visit would be made by National
followed by a review of the status by the National Council. It was noted
that every chapter would be apprised of this school's application for a
charter and implied that each chapter votes on acceptance.
April 7, 1966 . In a
letter to Dr.Virginia Crenshaw, National President (from University of
New Mexico) Benita Martocchio, faculty member, indicated the "renewed
interest" in beginning a chapter and requested materials. The letter was
fowarded to Carolyn Widmer, the Second Vice-President (from University
of Connecticut), who sent materials on 4/22 with a letter and in early
April Benito Martocchio sent a memo to selected students and the first
meeting of some of the faculty members who were members of Sigma Theta
Tau and the students was held on April 29, 1966. Present were Benita
Martocchio, Charlene Phelps, Jane Nicholson, Dorothy Sexton, Ann
Sheridan. Students were Elinor Scott, Elizabeth Johnson, Louise
Standley, Judith Forbes, Joan Goldberg, Marilyn McNamara and Louise
McCarthy. Students unanimously agreed to proceed informing a Preliminary
Committee and Elizabeth Johnson was elected Chair and Elinor Scott as
Secretary, and Benita Martocchio as Advisor.
Many meetings were held throughout May. At
this time there were 151graduates. E. Johnson sent a letter to Carolyn
Widmer for an application for membership. At the end of May, Mary A.
Maher sent a letter granting approval of the School of Nursing and
voiced support and appreciation of the efforts to establish a Chapter.
The application was received from (Mrs.) Carolyn L.Widmer in late May
and on June 9, 1966, Dr. Elkins, Director of Honors and Chair of the
University Honors Council informed Ms. Maher that the Honors Council and
the Faculty Senate Committee on Academic Matters approved the petition
of the School of Nursing to establish a chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the
National Honor Society of Nursing. Letters were sent to those who were
eligible including community leaders. At the November meeting of the
preliminary COmmittee, dates for the evaluation visit were planned for
December 12 and 13 and the initiation would be planned for March.
November 12, 1966. E. Johnson sent the
completed application form and draft of the Constitution and By-laws to
Carolyn Widmer who acknowledged receipt of materials and sent copies to
all of the officers of national...explained that it was necessary to
postpone the December visit. there were new procedures and new chapters
must be approved by the House of Delegates and this meeting would not be
until November or December of 1967. She said in the letter that delays
are frustrating and when the constitution is revised it will be in line
with practices of most Honor Societies who have approval of new chapters
approved by a House of Delegates.
In early 1967 several letters from C. Widmer
with concerns about the processof selecting members especially
community. She particularly questioned the number and meeting the
qualifications of B.S. and marked achievement in nursing. However, a
vivist was planned for Friday, April 7th, and Saturday, April 8th. This
was postponed to Friday, May 9th. On May 2nd, C. Widmer wrote to B.
Martocchio and said that she talked to national officers and..."way out
of line in including 19 (community) members"..."I sympathize fully with
chapters desire for good relationships. Promoting such relationships is
not, however the primary function of an honor society".."Free to include
if you wish be alert you to the fact that I doubt your membership would
be approved at National COuncil in that form. Might I suggest that when
I visit on 5/19 that you have the credentials of all the "marked
achievement" people whom you wish to include...educational preparation
and specific contributions to nursing.
In May of '67, B. Martocchio sent a letter to
C. Widmer saying the community persons were reviewed and the committee
agreed to include these persons for memership. Had also questioned if
all faculty would be asked to be charter members and it was answered,
that it was not the entire faculty, many were transferring membership.
In June, C. Widmer wrote to Dean Mary Maher.
"I am sorry to report that the insurmountable obstacle seems to be the
regulation in the National By-laws that all programs offered by a school
must be accredited by NLN. Since there is a new masters program in
Medical-Surgical Nursing has not been accredited, it appears impossible
to recommend approval of a chapter at this time...I want you to know
that we tried our best to find a loophole but the By-laws are specific
on this point and the Council felt it had to be bound by them."...then
suggested a local Honor Society.
In December of 1967, C. Widmer wrote to say
that future communication would be with Dr. Lois Meier now second vice
president. "Sorry that it was impossible to consider a chapter."
The local Honor Society continued to have
programs and generally followed all of the guidelines of chapters. From
October 1968 to May of 1969, Extensive report of activities and a high
level of interest was maintained. Barbara Daly a senior student was
elected chair in May of '69. the graduate (Master's) program opened in
1967 and by 1969, had received "reasonable accreditationfrom the
National League for Nursing. B. Martocchio sent a letter to LoisMeier,
the second Vice President to plan again for submitting another
application and was advised to write to C. Widmer, now Executive
Secretary. She (B. Martocchio) explained that "our graduate program
which has accreditation by reasonable assurance should be fully
accredited at that time." She expressed grave concern about how the
development of graduate programs and the process of reasonable assurance
may disadvantage new programs and those adding new specialty areas such
as Psych-Mental Health.
On December 12, 1969 said in a letter to C.
Widmer that Lois Meier recommended that updated charter appliction
materials be sent prior to June 1970, Also said that, there was the,
"intent to establish a fund to institute a lecture series to have
prominent persons from various disciplines and participants " and that
"interest has not waned...we are confident we shall achieve our goal in
the near future"
In Fall of 1970, Dr. Lois Meier corresponded
to select a date for preliminary visit in January or February of 1971.
In August of 1970 another was written to C. Widmer saying that L. Meier
suggested that the application be submitted and assurance that in
October the graduate program would be fully accredited. Ms. Martocchio
planned to resign from her position to return to graduate school at Case
Western Reserve and A. Sheridan assumed responsibility of advisor.
Throughout 1970 the Honor Society continued
and Linda Wolk became president and a list of questions was sent from
national and these were answered...In the Fall, several letters to
arrange available dates and plans for accommodations for C. Widmer's
visit which was scheduled for March of 1971. Prior to this, a few
members of the committee went to UConn in anticipation of the visit and
to plan accordingly.
Considerable correspondence ensued. Anne
provencher was selected as chair of the local honor society and the
group was active with programs and the process of completing all foms
for national and Ann Sheridan continued as counselor. Several committee
worked on specific goals, e.g. revision of the Constitution and By-laws
to be in line with all of the national changes. Interestingly, the honor
society put the name of the group on the application, and then reminded
that this should have been left blank.
Eventually, the application was reviewed by
the National Council and approved along with several other chapters. the
chapter name of Beta Zeta At Large Chapter was given and the charter was
awarded as the 52nd chapter of Sigma Theta Tau international.
In the following year, all of the eligible
persons for induction were selected and the Induction Ceremony was held
on April 9, 1972.
Compiled by E. Ann Sheridan on May 23, 1997