“We have high hopes for what this group can achieve both on campus and in the local community, and seeing such a great turnout for induction really helped galvanize our commitment.”
The Alpha Xi Phi chapter’s rod was made by the chapter sponsor, Thomas Hallock, from a table leg he purchased from Home Depot.
Painted in the official colors of the English honor society, the cardinal and black, solid oak rod represents the durability of the skills learned in the English major.
During Sigma Tau Delta’s annual induction of neophytes, or new members, Friday, the rod was tapped three times, welcoming twelve neophytes into the prestigious society.
The new members took a pledge 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, literature and writing; keeping in mind (the) international motto of Sincerity, Truth, Design.”
Many professors in the English department attended the event, such as Jill McCracken, Trey Conner, Julie Armstrong and Madhura Bandyopadhyay. Interim Regional Chancellor Martin Tadlock and Frank Biafora, the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences attended the event as well.
As sponsor, Hallock, a professor of English literature and cultural studies, was especially proud of his group.
“Sigma Tau Delta continues to do remarkable things. Since its founding, over ten years ago under Professor Frances Auld, (Alpha Xi Phi) has taken on many forms,” Hallock said. “The most exciting development with the current group has been Papercut, the literary (journal) produced by the students. As a professor of English at USFSP, I cannot help but share in the enthusiasm these students bring to their commitment to improving their own writing.”
Tami Toms, current Alpha Xi Phi secretary and treasurer, acted as marshal along with McCracken’s son, Nathaniel.
Together, they held the mace as they lead inductees into the Harbor Hall auditorium. When all twelve had entered, former Alpha Xi Phi President Lequina Knox read the pledge to the new inductees, which they all recited.
After taking the pledge, one by one their names were announced. They walked across the stage to receive their Sigma Tau Delta pin, their certificates and to sign the permanent roll of the chapter.
Emma Hamilton, one of the newly inducted members, said that she loved being apart of Sigma Tau Delta.
“It’s so great to have a community of people centered around similar interests. It totally enriches my experience at USFSP. I definitely recommend finding your club and joining full force,” Hamilton said.
Jay Boda, a Sigma Tau Delta alumni, read the history of Sigma Tau Delta.
Sigma Tau Delta was founded at the Dakota Wesleyan University in 1924. The society became international in 1988, and currently there are an estimated 880 active chapters around the country, with about 9,000 new members a year. USF St. Petersburg’s chapter, Alpha Xi Phi, is a little over 10 years old.
After the ceremony, everyone stayed to talk before heading out to Red Mesa Mercado for a celebratory dinner.
McCracken, an associate professor of verbal and visual arts, said that she enjoyed the event, calling it “an excellent opportunity to be a part of a large group of scholars.”
“Induction was a great reminder of the momentum this fledgling group has built,” said Travis Lueth, current Alpha Xi Phi historian and new inductee. “We have high hopes for what this group can achieve both on campus and in the local community, and seeing such a great turnout for induction really helped galvanize our commitment.”
The above article was featured in The Crow’s Nest, October 2017, by Alyssa Harmon.