THE WAR YEARS AND THE POSTWAR PERIOD

 

Like most college organizations, Sigma Zeta felt keenly the impact of World War II; however, it not only survived, but actually made consistent progress during the war years. The officers chosen at the Turkey Run conclave continued in office and managed the affairs of the society, generally under unusual difficulties, and often in addition to heavy teaching loads during this period.

A most disastrous loss of the society was the death in 1944 of Mr. Thomas Arthur Rogers, who had served one year as national president and ten years as national-recorder-treasurer. He had relinquished the office to Gilbert W. Faust, who was elected in 1942, with the understanding that he would resume the duties of the office if Mr. Faust entered military service. Mr. Roger's death occurred only two weeks before Mr. Faust left for the Navy. In this emergency, Dr. A. S. Lyness, the national editor, agreed to assume the duties of the national-recorder-treasurer as well, and he carried the work of both of these offices until 1942. The services of these men were a large factor in the continued development of the society during the war period. Other members of the Executive Council at this time were W. H. Eller, president; D. E. Miller, vice-president; S. M. McClure, historian; and J. L. Glathart, past-president.

The faculty sponsors, if not called into service or into other war work, frequently found themselves with only the skeleton organization of a chapter and little material available for initiation. Alpha Chapter at Shurtleff was probably the hardest hit of all, since not a single student member or faculty sponsor remained on the campus at the close of the war.

On the other side of the ledger, the society did make some advances. It was during this period that Pi Chapter was established at James Millikin University of Decatur, Illinois, and Rho Chapter was chartered at Indiana Central College in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1943. In 1944 Sigma Chapter was organized at Our Lady of the Lake College in San Antonio, Texas.

The SIGMA ZETAN, under the editorship of Dr. Lyness was issued regularly and did much to keep the chapters and sponsors in touch with each other during the war years.

The 1946 meeting of the American Association for Advancement of Science provided the opportunity for the first post-war national meeting of Sigma Zeta; President Eller convened the seventeenth conclave on March 20, 1946, in St. Louis.

Under the circumstances, the meeting was well attended; twenty-five delegates including nine faculty sponsors represented six of the chapters. President Eller called it a "good meeting" and expressed the belief that "it would open the way for increased activity and interest" among the chapters.

A new slate of national officers was elected to assume office on July 1 of the same year. The chapter reports showed that almost all groups had been reduced to a minimum of active members and that several chapters had been forced into inactivity during the war years. All the chapters which reported expressed the determination to reorganize during the coming school year.

The eighteenth conclave was held on the campus of Otterbein College on April 16, 17, and 18, 1947. It was the fourth occasion on which Epsilon Chapter served as host to the national meeting of the society.

The Founders Cup was presented to the society as a traveling trophy to be awarded annually to the most outstanding chapter during each year. It was presented by the three former Shurtleff professors who founded the organization in 1925; J. Ellis Powell, E. E. List and R. K. Carlton. The conditions of the award were read and adopted. The initial award was made to the host chapter, Epsilon, for "its consistently good relations with the national office; for its excellent record as host to the national conclaves in 1930, 1934, 1941, and 1947; for the unusual support of its faculty members; and for its high degree of student participation both in chapter affairs and in the conclave."

The long deferred report of the ritual committee, including the ceremonies for the initiation of student members, for the induction of faculty sponsors, and for the installation of new chapters was discussed and adopted. The ritual thus became a reality.

The petition of the East Stroudsburg Teachers College in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, was received favorably, and Tau Chapter was chartered.

The 1948 conclave was held at Muncie, Indiana, with Xi Chapter of Ball State Teachers College as host. The return to more nearly normal school conditions was shown by the large attendance and the renewed interest in the work of the society. Two petitions for charters were submitted to the conclave, one from Anderson College in Anderson, Indiana; and the other from Eureka College in Eureka, Illinois. Both petitions were granted and Upsilon and Phi Chapters were chartered. Discussion of the policy of considering petitions from colleges not recognized by a regional accrediting agency took place at this meeting, and resulted in a movement toward a more careful examination of petitioning groups.

The 1949 conclave was held at Stevens Point, Wisconsin, on April 21, 22, and 23. As this meeting was the last one before the anniversary conclave, much of the work of the delegates, aside from routine business, was concerned with plans for the 1950 conclave. To encourage attendance, it was voted to allocate $25.00 to each chapter located at a distance from the meeting place of the 1950 conclave to help defray expenses of a delegation to the anniversary meeting.

The practice, initiated the previous year, of asking for student reports of various phases of conclave activities was again enacted. These reports were published in the SIGMA ZETAN as part of the record of conclaves.

The Founders Cup was awarded to Xi Chapter, and the conclave accepted the invitation of Alpha Chapter to hold the twenty-first national meeting at Shurtleff College in Alton, Illinois.

The silver anniversary meeting was one of the largest in attendance. Alpha Chapter was awarded the Founders Cup in recognition of a quarter-century of leadership in Sigma Zeta. Professor R. K. Carleton, one of the founders, reviewed the growth of the organization over the twenty-five years.