The Rush University College of Nursing established a local honor society in 1976, one year after the graduation of the first class of baccalaureate nursing students. Faculty members who were already members of Sigma Theta Tau International chapters led the campaign to establish a Sigma Theta Tau chapter at Rush University. With support from Dr. Luther Christman, our dean at that time, members of the honor society established a steering committee whose charge was to start a Sigma Theta Tau International chapter at Rush.
On Oct. 22, 1977, the House of Delegates of Sigma Theta Tau voted to grant a charter to the Rush College of Nursing Honor Society. The Rush College of Nursing Honor Society became the fifth chapter in the state of Illinois. Our chapter name, Gamma Phi, is a result of us being the 91st STTI chapter with the names given sequentially based upon the Greek alphabet. The chartering ceremony took place on May 19, 1978. During the ceremony, 30 transfer members and 110 new members were inducted. Andrea Barsevick was elected the first chapter president. Since then, over 1,400 nurses have been inducted into the Gamma Phi Chapter. In the 2007-2008 academic year we celebrated our 30th anniversary.
Over the years, Gamma Phi has received numerous awards. We have been awarded the prestigious Chapter Key Award seven times, one of only eight chapters in STTI to have received the Key Award this frequently. In 2001, Gamma Phi chapter was awarded the Mildred Adams International Chapter Heritage Award for Excellence in Chapter Archiving. Many Gamma Phi members have received honors and awards from STTI. Recent honorees include: Dean Kathleen Andreoli's receipt of the Melanie C. Dreher Outstanding Dean Award for Chapter Support in 2001 and Dr. Ruth Kleinpell's receipt of the Clinical Scholarship Award in 2007. In 2009, Cathy Catrambone, PhD, a past president of Gamma Phi chapter, was elected to Regional Chapter Coordinating Committee (RCCC) chair. In addition, we are honored to have a past president of STTI, Dr. Melanie Dreher, as a member of the Gamma Phi chapter.
Gamma Phi chapter provides ongoing sponsorship for several programs. Safesitter, a program to teach children ages 10 to 14 how to be a safe baby sitter, is in its sixth year. The chapter sponsors fund-raising walks both financially and with participants. We have paired with PNS for the Annual Research Forum since its inception. We also co-sponsor events with the College of Nursing on a regular basis.