Honor Society

Sigma Theta Tau International

Sigma Theta Tau International is nursing’s premiere honor society. Founded in 1922 by six nurses at the Indiana University Training School of Nurses, it has grown to an international organization, incorporating in 1985, it now consists of 451 chapters on college campuses world-wide. More than 405,000 members have been inducted across the world with 130,000 active members, making it the second-largest nursing organization in the world.

Founded on the Greek words Storge, Tharsos and Time meaning “love,”courage” and “honor”, the organization exemplifies excellence and achievement in all that it does. The mission of the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International, is to provide leadership and scholarship in practice as well as research, education and technology to enhance the health of all people.

2015 Showcase of Regional Excellence Winner in Gratitude and Connectedness (PDF)

Interest in establishing a Sigma Theta Tau Chapter at UMKC was expressed by various faculty members for several years prior to program accreditation. Virginia Nixon, former Director of Undergraduate Studies was instrumental in nurturing this interest in scholarship recognition. In the fall of 1985 Professor Nixon became seriously ill; however, she continued to inspire faculty in the realization of her dream. Prior to her death, Dr. Veronica Conners, Dr. Jean Braun, Dr. Jan Russell and other members of the Steering Committee laid the groundwork for a future Sigma Theta Tau chapter by developing a UMKC Nursing Honor Society. The first Steering Committee meeting was held on July 2, 1986 and from that point committee work progressed in earnest. Bylaws were written and a financial plan was put into place. A chapter application subcommittee investigated the chartering procedure for a future Sigma Theta Tau chapter.

On March 24, 1988, the UMKC Honor Society sponsored its first annual research day. Carol Germain, RN, EdD, FAAN served as the keynote speaker addressing the issue of “Qualitative Empirical Nursing Research”. Eighteen research projects were presented. The second annual research day cosponsored by the UMKC Nursing Honor Society was held on March 23, 1989. The theme was “Nursing Research: Making a Difference”. Sixteen nursing research projects were presented and for the first time awards of excellence were given to a paper presenter, Priscilla Wallingford, RN, MS and a poster presenter, Carol Byrd, RN, Ph.D.

After significant growth and development of the Honor Society’s membership and leadership, a STT evaluation visit was requested and set for March 29-30, 1989. Dr. Kathleen J. Mikan, STTI Secretary was the Evaluation visitor. After review of all aspects of the Honor Society including membership, committee and financial records, student, alumni, administrative and community support, numerous positive observations regarding rapid growth and demonstrated leadership within the nursing community. Dr. Mikan recommended our prospective chapter for STT membership to the president of STT who in turn communicated that to the House of Delegates. This communication was presented to the 30th Biennial Convention on Nov. 17, 1989. Several of the UMKC Honor Society members were able to attend (including Nancy Hoffman, Dean Kathleen Bond, Jan Russell, Kathy Dexheimer, Irma Schweiterman, Connie Evenson, Kathleen Lorfing, Dorothy Phillips, Kathy Keller and Lois Mall). Travel to Indianapolis was via Amtrack and evidently a good time was had by all.

Following the successful charter petition, notification was made that our chapter’s name would be Lambda Phi and that our chapter installation ceremony would be held April 20, 1990. An Installation Arrangement Committee was established which included Loral Lacey-Haun, Jan Russell, Dorothy Phillips, Connie Evenson, Nancy Hoffman, Rose Marie Fowler-Swartz, Kathy Keller, Jeanne Wissmann and Martha Gragg. The first Installation Ceremonies took place on Friday, April 20, 1990 at the Marriott Plaza Hotel. The first officers of the now official Lambda Phi Chapter of STT were Connie Evenson, President, Lora Lacey-Haun, President-Elect, Nancy Hoffman, Vice Presdient, Rita Haxton, Secretary, Rose Marie Fowler-Swartz, Treasurer and Jan Russell and Elaine Williams, Counselors.

Membership into STTI is by invitation only. Members must all meet the criteria of Academic Integrity – “A commitment, even in the face of adversity to five fundamental values: honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. From these values flow principles of behavior that enable academic communities to translate ideas into action” (The Fundamental Values of Academic Integrity, page 4)


Criteria for students enrolled in the BSN Program

  • Completed half of the nursing curriculum
  • Rank in the upper 35 percentile of the graduating class
  • Meet the expectation of academic integrity

Criteria for students enrolled in the MSN, Ph.D and DNP Programs

  • Completed one-fourth of the nursing curriculum
  • Have a GPA of at least 3.5
  • Meet the expectation of academic integrity

Criteria for nurse leaders

  • Be a registered nurse, legally recognized to practice in his/her country
  • Hold at least a baccalaureate degree in nursing or other field
  • Demonstrate achievement in nursing


  • Recognition of high scholastic achievement
  • Recognition of leadership within nursing
  • Opportunities for scholarship
  • Opportunities to support the dissemination of research among the professional nursing community
  • Opportunities to promote clinical scholarship
  • Opportunities to network with other nursing schools to include programs and research days
  • CareerMap – online tools and opportunities to help advance your career
  • Directory of Nurse Leaders
  • New Inductee monthly online newsletter
  • Subscription to Image and Reflections magazines

Cost of membership in Lambda Phi

  • Annual dues (International ($55) and Chapter ($45)
  • Sigma Theta Tau pin/jewelry (optional)