What is Sigma Gamma Tau?
Sigma Gamma Tau is the honor society for Aerospace Engineering. It seeks to identify and recognize achievement and excellence in the Aerospace field. Sigma Gamma Tau’s collegiate chapters elect annually to membership those students, alumni, and professionals who by conscientious attention to their studies or professional duties uphold this high standard for the betterment of their profession.
The objectives of Sigma Gamma Tau, as stated in the preamble of the Society’s national constitution, are: “to recognize and honor those individuals in the field of Aeronautics and Astronautics who have, through scholarship, integrity, and outstanding achievement, been a credit to their profession. The society seeks to foster a high standard of ethics and professional practice and to create a spirit of loyalty and fellowship, particularly among students of Aerospace Engineering.”
Sigma Gamma Tau was founded on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, on February 28, 1953, “to offer appropriate recognition to persons of superior scholarship, outstanding character, and professional achievement in the field of Aeronautical Engineering.” The new society was formed by the merger of two existing societies, Tau Omega, founded in 1927 at the University of Oklahoma, and Gamma Alpha Rho, founded in 1945 at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
The name of the society was selected by combining the Greek letter Sigma, indicating sum, with Gamma and Tau from the initial letters of the parent organizations. Since its modest beginnings in 1953, the society has grown from 14 to 49 collegiate chapters from 1,900 to 14,000 initiated members.
Distinguished scholarship or eminent professional attainment in Aerospace Engineering is the primary eligibility requirement for Sigma Gamma Tau. Undergraduate students enrolled in an accredited Aerospace curriculum must have completed at least five quarters or three semesters of work toward the bachelor’s degree. Those in the upper one-third of the senior class, upper one-quarter of the junior class, or upper one-fifth of the sophomore class are eligible.
Graduate students must be in good academic standing and have met similar requirements. After the scholastic requisite is fulfilled, selection is then based on high moral character and a strong interest in Aeronautics and/or Astronautics. By recognizing this group of young Aerospace engineers, Sigma Gamma Tau seeks to identify those from which the future advances in the profession are most likely to come.
Membership is also extended to those individuals in the Aerospace industry who have made significant contributions to the profession.
As an honor society, Sigma Gamma Tau is primarily a service organization for Aerospace education. The student chapters participate in activities such as tutoring, hosting campus advisors, and serving on academic committees. The honor society complements the work and goals of the AIAA, the corresponding professional society in which most activity is centered. Sigma Gamma Tau members traditionally are members of AIAA, and the two organizations frequently co-sponsor scientific, professional and social activities. Sigma Gamma Tau participates in the AIAA Undergraduate Student Scholarship program. These scholarships are given annually to aerospace/aeronautical engineering students attending a university or college that has a student chapter of Sigma Gamma Tau.