Development of Nu Xi At Large - Sigma International Nursing Honor Society
Selected faculty and nurse leaders from around the Bay area have been members of Sigma Theta Tau International for many years. Invitations to join the society typically came from long established Schools of Nursing that offered both undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. Prior to 1990, Alpha Eta Chapter, at the University of California San Francisco was a sponsoring chapter for many nurses, and later became a mentor for the development of a new chapter in the East Bay region. As the number of baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in the East Bay increased in the 1970's, nurse leaders became aware of a need for a local Sigma Theta Tau chapter. Each of the three East Bay departments of nursing at local senior colleges, California State University Hayward/East Bay, Holy Names, and Samuel Merritt examined this issue and were inclined to move forward by the late 1980's but the significant challenges in establishing a critical mass of members and a strong economic foundation were viewed as daunting for any one department. The opportunity to create an at-Large Chapter, with a partnership among East Bay schools, was afforded when Sigma Theta Tau developed the At-Large Chapter model.
NU XI CHAPTER HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS
Discussion about the possibility of establishing an at-Large Chapter was initiated in 1988. As required by Sigma guidelines, each department of nursing initially developed its own honor society in 1989. These three societies joined together to form the East Bay Honor Society in 1990 in preparation for the eventual at-Large Chapter model. A request for designation as an approved chapter was submitted to STTI in 1992. A site visit to determine the eligibility for membership was conducted by Dr. Patricia Lynch, then associate dean, University of San Francisco on behalf of STTI in that year. It was determined that the proposed At-Large Chapter was eligible for chapter status. Shortly thereafter, the President of the East Bay Honor Society (the precursor to Nu Xi), Dr. Arlene Sargent, was informed that due to a selective interpretation of the STTI Bylaws by the Executive Director of STTI and the then-STTI President, it had been determined that Samuel Merritt University was not eligible for membership because it was not a comprehensive collegiate institution. Although the By Laws did not specify that all participating colleges had to be comprehensive colleges, a conservative interpretation of the wording indicated sufficient ambiguity to initially bar SMU's membership in the At-Large Chapter. The board of directors of the East Bay Nursing Honor Society decided to move ahead with the approval for a new chapter with members to include CSUEB and HNU. The first induction ceremony was held at Holy Names University on May 8, 1993. Potential Samuel Merritt members were inducted into the Chapter but formal recognition of SMU as a part of Nu Xi was delayed. Meanwhile, efforts continued to seek eventual inclusion of SMU into the Chapter.
In the following year, a change in leadership at STTI created a new climate supportive of the application of SMU to become a part of Nu Xi Chapter. The application was approved by STTI and was formalized at the Nu Xi Induction Ceremony on May 1, 1994 when the Chapter membership was enlarged to include the third college.
The partnership of CSUEB, HNU, and SMU has been a successful venture. The Chapter has won Chapter Key Awards in 1995, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2021. Diana Dunn, former President of Nu Xi, was honored with a special award, the Meritorious Service Award, in 2001 for her long service to the chapter for which she has served as president on two occasions. Bobbie Richards received this award in 2011 for her many years of service as President-elect, President, past-President, and newsletter editor.
In 2001, Nu Xi received a spirit of philanthropy award from STTI for its "April Showers" program that prepares toiletries and sundries for homeless shelters, low-income elderly, and a respite center for low income women and children. In 2005, the Chapter received the Chapter Newsletter Award for Feature Article Excellence for an article, "Hall of Fame Honors Nu Xi Members at the Biennial Convention." Ongoing challenges include increasing member participation, support of research and scholarship, and use of new technology to improve communication among members. Please contact the Chapter President or Committee Chair if you are interested in participating in the chapter and its important work.