History of Chi Sigma Theta

          Chi Sigma Theta, founded at State College on February 17, 1920, traced its origins to the Newman Club, a campus Catholic study society founded in 1908. With the consent of Dean Blue, the Newman Club had been reorganized to form Kappa Nu Sorority on October 5, 1914.

          In 1920, the name of the sorority was changed to Chi Sigma Theta for reasons that are unclear. Chi Sigma Theta established its ideals of "loyalty, companionship, and sincerity," which each girl took a pledge to uphold. The first prominent leaders of Kappa Nu (Chi Sigma Theta) included President, Henrietta G. Haley; Vice President, Helen circa Brennan; Secretary, Eleanor M. White; Treasurer, E. Louise Carmody; and Reporter, Celia I. Casey.**4

          In the late 1930s, Chi Sig had a sorority house on Madison Avenue. The last Chi Sig house at 354 Western Avenue was purchased in the mid-1950s.

          In the mid-1960s, Greek societies at the State University of New York at Albany were forced to sell their houses and move to dormitories on the new Uptown Campus. Maintaining a greek society in the dormitories was contingent on retaining sufficient members to justify setting aside the floor and rooms.

          In the 1970s Chi Sigma Theta, along with other local greek societies at the University, suffered a steady decline in membership. A letter from the President of Chi Sigma Theta Alumni Association, Sally I. Cook, to Jessica Casey, of the Student Activities Office states that "The active chapter of Chi Sigma Theta Sorority dissolved in 1980." The sorority did not accept this setback as permanent. The December 1982, the sorority Alumnae News states that "It is so important that we ensure the continuance of the Alumni Association so that Chi Sig will live on and eventually become 'active' again."

          During the early 1980s, there was a resurgence of interest in national Greek societies. Chi Sigma Theta was reactivated on campus as a local sorority in the Spring of 1986 with the initiation of "seven very enthusiastic sophomore women have become the new 1986 pledge class" according to the April 1986 Chi Sigma Theta Alumnae Newsletter. In December 1986, Helen Adams, Assistant Director, Student Activities, recommended that Chi Sig "be granted their provisional charter," but the attempt to reestablish Chi Sigma Theta as a local sorority failed.

          On September 23, 1988, almost two years after Chi Sig received their provisional charter, Helen Adams approved "the merger of local sorority Chi Sigma Theta with Phi Sigma Sigma, a national sorority (no longer at U Albany). The administration hoped the merger would serve to "strengthen not only the SUNYA Panhellenic Association but also our Greek system as a whole." Alumni sisters did not support the merger, refusing to give up their Chi Sigma Theta identity.

          Chi Sigma Theta lives on as the Chi Sigma Theta Alumnae Association. We publish an annual newsletter and have a business meeting and reunion every June October during the University's Homecoming Weekend activities. From 1992-2015, the Association awarded scholarships to Chi Sig children or grandchildren. Beginning in 2014, an endowed UAbany scholarship was funded through the University at Albany Scholarship Foundation. Since 2000, Chi Sig has had a presence on the web at www.haymountain.com/chisig/ Chi Sigma Theta also has a facebook page.

Chi Sigma Theta records, scrapbooks and memorabilia are housed in the University's Library archives: description. We thank University archivist Geoffrey Williams, for his staff's research, which was used to write the above history.


It's usually the first full week of October. With a Saturday morning Coffee Hour at the Alumni House. Check for updates in the early fall on our XEO Facebook Page or our XEO website homepage.

E-mail Webmaster, Kathleen Brown Hay '67, with e-mail addresses, news, photos, etc.