Bridget Manssur & Laura Downes
Staff Writer & Contributing Writer
Last Friday 40 English majors were inducted into the University of Dallas chapter of the Sigma Tau Delta International English Honor Society. These students were welcomed into the society due to their academic achievements in view of the Sigma Tau Delta mission to provide “cultural stimulation on college campuses and promote interest in literature and the English language in surrounding communities.” Members benefit from the institution’s various opportunities for grants, scholarships, internships, academic awards and publication as well as sharing their love of literature and linguistics.
The UD chapter, Alpha Sigma Pi, was established May 2011 largely through the efforts of English professor Dr. Eileen Gregory, the chapter’s faculty adviser.
Gregory oversaw Friday’s induction ceremony of the new chapter’s first members, including the task of “ritual invention.” The excitement was contagious, and junior English major Rob Sherron put into words the smiles that were on nearly everyone’s faces: “This is great.”
After a short introductory speech, Gregory installed the chapter officers, President Christian Howard, Vice President Jacob Reilly and Secretary/Treasurer Deandra Leiberman, who then proceeded to conduct the rest of the ceremony. The officers each presented a poem upon accepting their duties, establishing the first Alpha Sigma Pi tradition. Leiberman read the beloved Gerard Manley Hopkins poem, “Pied Beauty,” whose final lines were engraved on the dedication plat for the UD tower bells at the recommendation of Dr. Gregory in 1976. Howard presented Yeats’ “The Scholars,” and Reilly offered an original poem in accord with the third aspect of the Sigma Tau Delta motto: “sincerity, truth and design.”
After all the inductees received their certificates of membership and the gold and black society pins, and signed the society’s register, Howard made a formal end to the ceremony with Ogden Nash’s humorous poem “The Clean Platter” about the pleasure of food, urging everyone to enjoy the reception catered by Aramark.
Fr. Robert Maguire, who was among the numerous English faculty present, said, “I was so pleased to see many of my former students being received into this fraternity.”
Inductee junior Anna Kaladish said that her entrance into Sigma Tau Delta “seems like an exciting opportunity,” adding that “it was wonderful to get to know the senior English majors before they go off. They seem to be pretty cool cats.”
Dr. Gregory shared her hope that the initiation of UD’s Sigma Tau Delta Charter “as a student organization will provide a forum for English majors to initiate and sponsor all kinds of activities to support and enrich the experience of the major, as well as to enliven the presence of literature across classes and across majors.”