SAI History

SAI was founded on June 12, 1903 at the University School of Music in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The seven founders were:

  • Elizabeth Cambell
  • Frances Caspari
  • Georgina Potts
  • Leila Farlin Laughlin
  • Minnie Davis Sherrill
  • Mary Storrs Andersen
  • Nora Crane Hunt

The governing body of Sigma Alpha Iota is The National Convention, and it is composed of one delegate from each college and alumnae chapter, and the members of the National Officers Conference who are in attendance. Between conventions, business is conducted by the National Executive Board.


  • Member-in-Training Fee $50 (due at the time of pledging)
  • All other initiation Fees $250 (due at the time of the test)
  • National Dues $20 for a year
  • Badges (due at the time of test):
    • 10K gold, semi-crown set pearl: $120
    • 10K gold, Full-crown set pearls: $160

Membership Numbers

  • 222 active college chapters
  • 120 active alumnae chapters
  • 1 international chapter
  • 116,317 initiated members

An alumnae chapter is a chapter in the community, chartered by the Fraternity, consisting of former college members and Patroness members who have taken the special Fraternity Education course.

An international chapter is for Fraternity members who wish to keep in close touch with the Fraternity, but who reside 50 miles or more from a chartered chapter.

Sigma Alpha Iota Chorale

Daughters of a great and singing nation,

Let your voices rise in dedication,

Music tells unspoken noble creeds;

Music beautifies the simplest deeds;

Sing we now to Sigma Alpha Iota.

Sing the greatness of the soul and spirit,

Sing the joy of peace and friendship's merit,

Music is a kind and truthful speech;

In a language out of mere word's reach,

Sing we now to Sigma Alpha Iota.

Our quaterly journal is Pan Pipes

Province Information:

  • Our province is Epsilon A
  • Our province officer is Sandy Erickson
  • The active college chapters in our province are:
    • Rho - University of Wisconsin-Madison
    • Xi - Lawrence University-Appleton
    • Theta Iota - University of Wisconsin-Platteville
  • The active alumnae chapters in our province are:
    • Madison
    • Milwaukee

National Officers:

  • National President - Dr. Leslie Odom Miller
  • National VP, Alumnae Chapters - Sue Bermann
  • National VP, Collegiate Chapters - Christine Bruns
  • National VP, Extension - Marcie Richardson
  • National VP, Finance - Jennifer Zerangue
  • National VP, Fraternity Development - Joyce S. Garcia
  • National VP, Ritual and Fraternity Education - Dr. Deborah R. Volker
  • Chairman, Board of Directors, SAI Philanthropies, Inc - Sharon W. Doty, MHR, J.D.
  • Executive Director - Ruth Seiber Johnson

Distinguished Membership

  • Member Laureate - an initiated SAI member elevated to Distinguished Membership because of her accomplishments.
  • Honorary Member - a non-SAI woman who has established and maintained an international reputation for her contributions to music.
  • National Arts Associate - a man or a woman nationally known for distinguished contributions to the arts.
  • Friend of the Arts - a man or a woman interested in the arts at the local or regional level.
  • Examples: Libby Larson, Joan Sutherland, Marilyn Mason, Fred Fennell, Beverly Sills, Loretta Long

A Patroness Member is a woman of the community with a strong interest in music and a desire to work with college and alumnae women to promote music in her community. She serves as a link between the chapter and the community musical life. She sometimes helps the College Chapter financially and socially She may serve as a College Chapter Advisor. She may also participate in Alumnae Chapter activities, but may not vote or hold office unless she has received the special Fraternity Education for Patroness Members. A Patroness may attend all Ritual Ceremonies. Her initiation Fee makes her a Life Member of the Fraternity.

Famous Patronesses

  • Bess Truman (First Lady, 1945-1953)
  • Mamie Eisenhower (First Lady, 1953-1969)
  • Pat Nixon (First Lady, 1969-1974)
  • Famous Collegiate Initiates

  • Sheryl Crow (Singer, Songwriter)
  • Sheila Johnson (violinist & co-founder of BET)
  • Jade Smalls (1st Runner-Up to Miss America 2000)
  • Debra Bryant (Miss America 1966)
  • Jayne Ann Jayroe (Miss America 1967)
  • Famous Honorary Members

  • Marni Nixon (soprano, "The Voice of Hollywood")
  • Dolly Parton (Songwriter, Performer, Philanthropist)

  • Honors

    • Patroness Sword of Honor
    • Sword of Honor
    • Ruby Sword of Honor
    • Rose of Honor
    • Rose of Dedication
    • Rose of Constancy
    • Ring of Excellence
    • Wreath of Achievement

    Chapter Awards

    • National Collegiate Chapter Achievement Award - given to the college chapter that has best fulfilled the National Objective for that year.
    • National Alumnae Chapter Achievement Award - given to the alumnae chapter that has best fulfilled the National Objective for that year.
    • Trienniel Community Award - An award given at National Convention to a group of two of two or more chapters from a geographical area, that , working together, hsa best fulfilled the National Objectives for that Triennium.
    • Alumnae Service Awards - monetary awards, given to alumnae chapters based on outstanding community service.

    For more details and more awards go here.


    • To inform chapters of women college students and alumnae who have a sincere interest in music.
    • To uphold the highest standard of music.
    • To further the development of music in America and throughout the world.
    • To give inspiration and encouragement to members.
    • To organize the cultural life of Sigma Alpha Iota members as a contributing factor to their educational growth.
    • To support the ideals and goals of the member's Alma Mater.
    • To adhere to the highest standards of citizenship in school, community, and fraternity life.


    • To have contact with musicians all over the United States.
    • To make friendships with many Sigma Alpha Iota's who share the same ideals.
    • To be recognized and esteemed by members of all other national fraternities as a "fellow Greek."
    • To be encouraged to seek the highest goals in personal development and professional stature.
    • To wear the badge as an introduction to all Sigma Alpha Iota college and alumnae chapters everywhere.


    • To be ethical at all times.
    • To present the fraternity positively at all times.
    • To practice the high ideals of Sigma Alpha Iota at all times.

    The Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies mission is to promote all aspects of music creation, performance and scholarship; and encourage service for and through music on campus, in the community, in the nation and throughout the world.

    Chapter Grants

    • Impact Project Grants
    • Alumnae Chapter Seed Money Grants
    • Chapter Outreach Grants

    Individual Grants

    • Scholarship in Music Education for Graduate Students
    • Summer Internship at Kennedy Center
    • Graduate performance Awards

    Non-Member Philanthropies

    • -MacDowell Colony
    • -Music Therapy Project
    • -People-to-people
    • -Inter-American Music Award

    The MacDowell Colony is an artist's retreat that SAI helps support. SAI funded the building of Pan's Cottage

    Inter-American Music Awards: Triennial composition competition open to composers residing in North, Central and South America. The world premier is performed at the Fraternity's National Convention. That work, plus compositions written especially for premiere at the same time by eminent American composers selected to judge the competing, is published by C.F. Peters Cooperation in its special Inter-American Music Award Series.