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UR School of Nursing’s Epsilon Xi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Charter

  By Ivy Burruto
  Wednesday, January 26, 2022

The University of Rochester School of Nursing’s Epsilon Xi Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau celebrates a significant milestone this February.

The chapter will commemorate the 40th anniversary of its official charter, which occurred on Feb. 7, when 260 members comprised the newly-formed chapter in 1982.

The pivotal event, however, took place a few years after the honor society was originally established at the school in 1979.

Maureen Friedman, RN, PhD, former instructor of community health at the UR School of Nursing, was the first elected chapter president and one of the founding officers who led the pursuit of establishing the honor society of Sigma Theta Tau. She and other officers and members of the steering committee: Carol Anderson, Jo Ann Belle-Isle, Lisa Jeffery, Kay Melnyk, Sue Nickoley-Colquitt, Carol Smith, Joyce Wiedrich, Thelma Wells, and Judith Sullivan, thought it was important to institute a convening body to recognize and promote nursing scholarship, leadership, and service.

Loretta Ford, EdD, RN, PNP, FAAN, FAANP, co-developer of the nurse practitioner model and founding dean of the UR School of Nursing, gave her blessing and assured the officers that becoming a chapter of Sigma Theta Tau was worth pursuing.

In its first year, the honor society established the Clare Dennison Lecture in honor of Clare Dennison, director of the School of Nursing and superintendent of nurses at Strong Memorial Hospital from 1931 to 1951. The Clare Dennison Lecture remains a tradition at the UR School of Nursing as an integral part of Meliora Weekend to commemorate a new academic year.

The honor society also presented a research symposium, where members gathered to share evidence-based research to improve and further their skills in nursing practice.

The honor society held its first induction ceremony in March 1979, welcoming more than 160 members. But to be considered an official chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the honor society would need a much larger membership base. The honor society added an additional 87 members in November 1980, and soon after, was officially chartered with 260 total members.

“We celebrate a decade of highly productive activity as a full-fledged, autonomous professional school,” Ford said at the time. “It is fitting and proper that a nursing honorary society be inaugurated at this time to advance one of our goals: scientific inquiry to improve the care of people in the 1980s. The faculty, students, and alumni deserve high praise for their efforts over the past two years to qualify for chapter membership in Sigma Theta Tau.”

Today, Epsilon Xi remains true to its original mission of improving the health of people worldwide through increasing the scientific base of nursing practice.

The 40th anniversary celebration will be held virtually on Feb. 7. The 321 active chapter members will convene to hear welcoming remarks from Dean Kathy Rideout, EdD, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, and highlights of the contributions and accomplishments of members from current Chapter President Luis A. Rosario-McCabe, DNP, RN, CNE, CNL, WHNP-BC, and other select members.

In celebration of the chapter’s milestone, Epsilon Xi has also launched a “$40 for 40 years” fundraising initiative to further its support in nursing scholarships through grants, co-sponsorship of conferences and partnerships with UR School of Nursing-based and community organizations.

“This chapter has made the reputation of the School of Nursing one of the best in the country for research production and for the unification of practice, education, research, and administrative leadership, which put Rochester on the map. Now, we’re celebrating our 40th anniversary and we ask you to support the efforts of this wonderful organization. I hope you’ll join me in contributing what you can,” said Ford.

Donations can be made by scanning the barcode below with a smartphone, which leads to the campaign's PayPal account for safe and secure payments. Alternatively, payments can be made by visiting

Epsilon QR-code

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