Summary: At the initiation meeting of a chapter all regular business is ordinarily suspended and the officers of initiation preside. These officers are: Chairmain, Recorder, and Conductor. The Conductor presents the candidates for initiation to the Chairman, who gives the response of welcome and explains the responsibility of membership. The Recorder explains the symolism of the key. The chairman then presents the certificates. At the conclusion of the initiation, the new members are welcomed by each member of the chapter.


CONDUCTOR: Mr. Chairman, and members of the Chapter of Sigma Zeta, it is an honor to present Mr. (Miss, etc. - list of names) as (a) candidate(s) for initiation as (an) active member(s)
of our chapter.

CHAIRMAN: It is a pleasure to welcome you. Your achievements in  scholarship and interest in science make you eligible for membership in this chapter. Our society has two major purposes--first, the encouragement of scholarship in science; and second, the recognition of creditable attainments in this field. As active members of the society, you will be expected to work toward the fulfillment of these aims.

RECORDER: Before presenting to you the certificate of membership in our society, I would call your attention to the symbols which appear on the key. The key itself symbolizes your opportunity to unlock the doors which lead to "Truth." The form of the key seems to suggest the open book of nature, the source of all scientific learning. A book is open to indicate that no knowledge is closed to anyone who diligently seeks it. The closed books represent accumulated scientific knowledge, to be  studied as a record of the past and as a guide to the future. The three volumes standing together illustrate the division of science into the  life sciences, the earth sciences, and the physical sciences. The fourth volume, supporting the others, is symbolic of mathematics, the foundation and basis of science. The retort and tripod are symbols of an ancient process by which pure substances were separated from their impurities. To us, they typify the experimental methods in our various fields. The flame used to heat the retort represents the motivationg forces of science that direct and inspire scientific achievement. Also, the books and retort stand for two great sources of scientific advancement--first, a study and knowledge of man's accomplishments up to this time; and second, further experimentation with sources of new "Truth." The Greek letters, SIGMA and ZETA, designate both the Society and its motto: "SEEK DILIGENTLY TOGETHER FOR TRUTH."

(Initiation - Active Members)

CHAIRMAN: I present the certificate of membership and welcome you as active members of the Chapter of Sigma Zeta. (Chairman presents  certificates.) You are now entitled to all the privileges of active membership in the Society.

(At the conclusion of the formal ceremony, the chairman may present each new member with some symbol of the society. The initiates are then  informally welcomed by the members of the chapter.)


1. Officers of initiation may be the usual chapter officials or may be members appointed for the special work of initiation.

2. It is desirable that each officer of initiation memorize his portion of the ritual ceremony.

3. If there is only one initiate or if there is a group, the proper form of nouns and pronouns should be used.

4. In case the membership certificate has not been received from the National Recorder-Treasurer before the initiation, the chapter should  prepare a temporary certificate to present to the new members during the initiation.

5. While it is desirable that each member obtain a pin, as is now the custom in several chapter, investment in the pin is optional.

6. A table may be placed at the front of the room in which the initiation meeting is being held. On this table may be a tripod, a retort, and several books arranged as indicated on the key. In  addition, the Greek Letters and , made quite large, should be displayed, preferably by some method allowing illumination. (Some other suitable arrangement may be made.)

7. Faculty members may be selected to present the certificates. Some appropriate comments could be made about each student being initiated.

8. Following the more formal part of the initiation it is desirable to present to the new members certain other material relative to the Society. Some of this would be:

  • The history of Sigma Zeta
  • The history of the local chapter
  • A list of the Distribution of chapters
  • National organization, including present National Officers
  • Information about the SIGMA ZETAN

Most of this information is included in the pamphlet on the History and Constitution of the society which is available in any quantity, without charge, from the National Recorder-Treasurer.

9. This ritual is also appropriate for the initiation of faculty active members.