Sigma Zeta Founder's CupTo encourage and recognize chapter scholarship and related activities, as contrasted to individual achievements, Sigma Zeta has established a chapter award in the form of the Founders Cup. This trophy is the gift of the three founders of the organization at Shurtleff College in 1925: E. E. List, professor of biology and geology from 1923-46; J. Ellis Powell, professor of mathematics, 1924-26; and Ralph K. Carleton, professor of chemistry, 1923-31.

The cup was first presented to the society at the 1947 conclave, through P. D. Edwards, chairman of the Founders Cup Award Committee, representing the donors.

The award is made annually at the conclave and is held by the recipient chapter for one year; this chapter is not eligible to receive the award for the succeeding year.

Although the donors left the manner of determining the winner of the award to the society, they approved the following basis for selection of the chapter as suggested by the committee: first, the worth of student papers presented before the conclave; second, chapter achievements on the home campus, as well as the number and scholarly quality of programs presented at chapter meetings.

The initial award of the Founders Cup was made in 1947 to Epsilon Chapter at Otterbein College.  Since then, the Cup has been awarded to Zeta Chapter in 1948, Xi in 1949, Alpha in 1950, Upsilon in 1951, Mu in 1952, Sigma in 1953, Tau in 1954, Pi in 1955, Kappa in 1956, Pi in 1957, Tau in 1958, Xi in 1959, Sigma in 1960, Mu in 1961, Kappa in 1962, Phi in 1963, Sigma in 1964, Rho in 1965, Xi in 1966, Tau in 1967, Upsilon in 1968, Kappa in 1969, Omega in 1970, Xi in 1971, Psi in 1972, Chi and Alpha Xi ( tie ) in 1973, Psi in 1974, Chi and Illinois Central Associate ( tie ) in 1975, Xi and Alpha Gamma ( tie ) in 1976, Alpha Tau in 1977, Chi in 1978, Xi in 1979, Alpha Gamma in 1980, and Mu in 1981, Xi in 1982, Phi in 1983, Alpha Chi in 1984, Alpha Beta in 1985, Alpha Upsilon in 1986, Beta lota in 1987, Beta in 1988, Beta lota in 1989, Alpha Psi in 1990, Alpha Gamma in 1991, Beta lota in 1992, Alpha Beta in 1993, Alpha Psi in 1994, Alpha Beta in 1995, Alpha Gamma in 1996, Beta Lambda in 1997, and Alpha Pi in 1998, Alpha Beta in 1999 ,no chapters submitted applications in 2000 so the cup was returned to the National Office, Beta in 2001, Alpha Beta in 2002, Rho in 2003, Alpha Beta in 2004, Beta Xi in 2005, Beta in 2006, Rho in 2007, Sigma in 2008, Beta in 2009, Rho in 2010, Pi in 2011and Beta Iota in 2012, Beta in 2013, Gamma Eta in 2014, Gamma Gamma in 2015, and Alpha Gamma in 2016