In the mid 1970’s, Dean Agnes Reinkemeyer of the College of Nursing at Seton Hall University asked Professor Francesca Champion to investigate the establishment of a chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, the honor society for nursing, on the campus of the university. The first step in this process was the establishment of a local honor society within the College of Nursing; the local chapter, Iota Alpha. was established within the college with charter members being either undergraduate students or nursing faculty. In 1977, the college petitioned Sigma Theta Tau for Iota Alpha to become a national chapter. Following approval, the chartering ceremony took place in April of 1978, when the local chapter became Gamma Nu chapter of Sigma Theta Tau. Gamma Nu was the 83rd chapter to be established within Sigma Theta Tau; all of the members of Iota Alpha became charter members of Gamma Nu. With the establishment of the graduate program, students in the MSN program were able to join the chapter. Through the years, hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students as well as nurse leaders have joined Gamma Nu in recognition of their excellence in nursing as well as potential for leadership. Today, we have approximately 450 active members.
Gamma Nu is an active chapter. Through the years, hundreds of educational programs have been offered, with most awarding contact hours for participants. Currently, one major program offering each spring is the annual Reinkemeyer Research Day, which is named in memory of the dean responsible for the establishment of the chapter. This event is generally offered with co-sponsorship from the College as well as a variety of clinical facilities and features a nationally known keynote speaker as well as a variety of poster and verbal presentations of nursing research. Currently, new members are inducted at a ceremony held each spring. On April 29, 2011, 52 new members joined the chapter.
The chapter is very much involved with philanthropic activities. It awards scholarships and research grants to members of the chapter; the chapter donated money to the establishment of the headquarters building of STTI in Indianapolis as well as for other causes at the international level. Students in Gamma Nu have been involved with book drives, toy drives, and coat drives, all of which help individuals in the communities nearby to the university. These activities are often coordinated through the Division of Volunteer Efforts (DOVE) at the university.
Gamma Nu chapter is a member of the New Jersey Consortium, which is comprised of the STTI chapters within New Jersey. As such, the chapter participates in the annual Founders’ Day program which is sponsored by the Consortium The chapter also participates in programs offered within Region 14 of STTI.
In 2008, the chapter celebrated the 30th anniversary of the chartering with a gala celebration. Awards were given to ten of the charter members who had exemplified the purposes of Sigma Theta Tau to an outstanding degree. The chapter continues to be an active one, committed to the recognition of excellence in nursing as well as supporting the professional development of nurses