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Brady Butler, Director
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Pittsburgh, April 4, 2011 - In 1982, a dedicated group of nursing students and faculty at La Roche College in the North Hills of Pittsburgh met to become recognized on campus as a local nursing honor society that would become an active organization at the college. Three years and countless hours of work later, that same honor society was granted a charter to form Sigma Theta Tau International, Theta Mu chapter at La Roche College, and the group has been evolving successfully ever since.

As they celebrate their 25th anniversary as a chapter this year, active members like Rosemary McCarthy, Ph.D., R.N., associate vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of Graduate Studies & Adult Education, said that you can’t honor the present day work of the organization without remembering those who helped to make Theta Mu what it is today.

“There was a great deal of effort that went into the initial preparation for this charter,” Dr. McCarthy said, who also serves as the faculty counselor for Theta Mu since 2002. “We really must give credit to the founding members who put much time and effort into making the organization become a reality.”

Dr. McCarthy explained that from its humble beginnings back in 1986, the organization has grown from 67 members at its first induction ceremony to today’s 571 total number of inductees. For the past 25 years, Theta Mu has been a way for its members to network with other nurses and nursing students, to research and advance their knowledge through global and local events, and to be a part of a prestigious international organization.

“Students are honored as members because the chapter recognizes outstanding academic achievement and leadership qualities, and its purpose is to promote excellence in nursing practice, education, administration and research,” Dr. McCarthy said.

“The vision is to create a global community of nurses who lead in using knowledge, scholarship, service and learning to improve the health of the world’s people.”

Being a member of Theta Mu at La Roche also means being a member of an organization that has received four Key Awards since 1986.

“The award commends the hard work and success of a chapter that best fulfills the goals of the organization. Members have worked hard over the years to meet the high expectations that have been established by the International organization in order to be granted this prestigious award four times,” she said.

Another “membership has its privileges” perk of Theta Mu exists in the generous scholarship and research awards that members are eligible to apply for. Dr. McCarthy explained that the research award supports students and/or members who are working on research and may be in need of financial support. The scholarship award is given to one undergraduate nursing student and one graduate nursing student chosen after careful review of specific criteria set by the chapter.

Dr. McCarthy said that the organization is also proud to boast a number of international student members, including three recent graduates of the ASN, BSN completion and MSN program who are all from Rwanda. The group also features a member from Ethiopia and one from Eritrea.

“Although the three women from Rwanda are employed in the United States, it is our hope someday that when they return to Rwanda that they will start their own chapter there and that we at La Roche can serve as their sister chapter and in turn maintain that global link,” Dr. McCarthy said.

With the successes that the organization has had over the past 25 years, Dr. McCarthy is confident that this chapter will remain relevant and beneficial to the nurses and students who come through the program and are inducted for years to come.

“We will always have our core - from our founding members to our faculty to the professionals that help to keep this chapter moving forward. We have been fortunate to offer our members a means to expand their education and an organization to support their professional development, and that is the key to our success back when we first originated and as we look to the future,” Dr. McCarthy added.

A formal signature event is being planned for the fall to officially celebrate the chapter’s 25th anniversary.

For more information on the anniversary signature event or any of the nursing programs at La Roche College, please visit

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