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King University News :: Regional Nursing Programs Join Together to form Sigma Theta Tau International’s Epsilon Sigma Chapter

King University, along with East Tennessee State University (ETSU), Milligan College, and Lincoln Memorial University, joined together on Nov. 20, 2013 for a ceremony inducting the four school’s nurses into the Sigma Theta Tau International Epsilon Sigma Chapter.

Founded in 1922, Sigma Theta Tau International is the honors society for nurses with approximately 490 chapters throughout 85 countries. The organization’s founders chose the Greek words for love, courage, and honor to represent their honor society. One of the highest honors a student nurse can receive is to be asked to join the society. The mission for the honor society for nursing is to support the learning, knowledge, and professional development of nurses committed to making a difference in health worldwide.

Benefits for members include access to education and research conferences; grant funding for research; online continuing education; career development; and leadership opportunities along with access to an extensive online publication repository including the Virginia Henderson Global Nursing e-Repository. “The focus is on scholarship and research, primarily the advancement of the profession of nursing and academic excellence,” said Teresa Stephens, PhD, MSN, RN, assistant professor of Nursing for King University.

“We are thrilled to have King University’s School of Nursing be invited to join this prestigious organization,” said Stephens. “One of the highest honor a nurse can receive is to be invited to join Sigma Theta Tau, the elite scholarly association in the world for nursing.”

“Becoming a chapter-at-large is a significant milestone in the long history of Epsilon Sigma Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International,” said Joy E. Wachs, PhD, RN, FAAOHN, professor and director for ETSU University Honors Scholars and Midway Honors Scholars Programs, and president of the Epsilon Sigma Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International. “Together, King University, ETSU, Milligan College, and Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) will create a nursing honor society that will not only increase the number of high-performing nursing students and exceptional practicing nurses honored for their accomplishments but also provide health-related services to Northeast Tennessee. Nurses are always a significant force in the health care system; together we can accomplish our goal of bringing improved health to the region.”

The Epsilon Sigma Chapter has been at ETSU for the past 30 years. With the four schools coming together, the chapter will become a chapter-at-large. “It is much more difficult for smaller colleges and universities to have a chapter because of the expense and criteria required to form and maintain a chapter,” said Stephens. “Because it is of great benefit for students to be invited to join Sigma Theta Tau, it is advantageous for our schools to come together in a spirit of cooperation to form a chapter-at-large. We are grateful to ETSU for extending the invitation to us along with Milligan and LMU to be a part of this highly prestigious organization.”

The chapter-at-large will include equal representation from all four schools. Each school will also share equal responsibility both financially and in governing. Currently, Dr. Wachs is serving as chapter president. Dr. Stephens will assume the role of president next year. Other King faculty serving as officers include Penny Neal, associate professor of Nursing, and Dr. Donna Fraysier, assistant professor of Nursing.

Epsilon Sigma inductees included the following King University faculty members: for PhD – Dr. Susan L. Adams, associate professor of Nursing; for Community Leader – Mica Lauren Brown, instructor of Nursing; Edith M. Crook, assistant professor of Nursing; Joan Cusaac, instructor of Nursing; and Robin Ann Foreman, assistant professor of Nursing.

MSN candidates inducted from King included: Tessa Brown, Trina Byrd, Regina M. Bryd, Kelly D. Davis, Maria Willis Dougherty, Pamela S. Earles, Jeanne M. Evans, Alison G. Johnson, Christin Ketron, Ashley R. Lawhorn, Cassandra Laskowski, Patricia L. MacFadden, Misty S. McCray, Emily D. Messer, Jennifer Mooney, Caley S. Needham, Kristin Smith, Kendrea L. Todt, and Margaret Katie Witcher.

Senior BSN candidates inducted from King included: Haley L. Bridwell, Lindsey S. Bridwell, Zoe A. Cagle, Heather Croy, Brittany Fields, Angela M. Jarrett, Daffney D. Perkins, Justin Blake Ricker, Rebekah J. Rose, Kayla B. Skelton, Amber N. South, Ginger R. Stiles, and Ellen N. Wooten.

For additional information on King University’s School of Nursing, visit For information on Sigma Theta Tau, contact Dr. Teresa Stephens at


King University is a Presbyterian, master's-level comprehensive university. Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities. Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing. A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available. King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity sports. For more information about King University, visit King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability. King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia. For more information, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.