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National History
Tau Beta Sigma Info
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Iota Gamma
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Kappa Kappa Psi

During the winter and spring of 1940, the young ladies of the Texas Tech Band were not satisfied to be left out in the cold while the Kappa Kappa Psi men were busily engaged in aiding the band. They went into action and organized a band sorority... They named the organization 'Tau Beta Sigma' and adopted a constitution which called for formal pledging and initiation ruitual. They have their pin designed for members and pledges, a coat of arms, sorority crest and all of the necessary arrangements for a complete organization. They meet Monday nights, the same as the Kappa Kappa Psi men, and continue to operate through the school year of 1941-42. New officers for the coming year have been elected and the sorority has expressed a keen desire to become affiliated as an auxiliary unit with Kappa Kappa Psi...
               - From THE BATON of Kappa Kappa Psi, May 1942

The preceding excerpt for The Baton, forerunner of THE PODIUM, helps describe the origins of Tau Beta Sigma. However, this was not the first time a Band Sorority was mentioned in Kappa Kappa Psi chronicles.
 The first practical idea for establishing a "band sorority" as a national entity to meet the expressed needs of the growing number of women in college and university bands was presented by band member Wava Banes (Henry), along with her classmates, Emily So Relle and Rose Nell Williams, to director D.O. Wiley of the Texas Tech University Band in the closing months of 1937. This discussion led to a group of bandswomen at Texas Tech University founding a local organization known as "Tau Beta Sigma," modeled in principle on the example of Kappa Kappa Psi. Much like the Fraternity, Tau Beta Sigma‚s purpose at Tech was to serve as an honorary service and leadership recognition society, but it was designed especially to provide the important additional social, educational, and other positive experiences needed by women in the band.

In June of 1943, the Tech women petitioned the Grand Council of Kappa Kappa Psi to become an integral part of the national Fraternity as an active chapter. Accepting the group under these circumstances, however, would have entailed a complete revision of the Kappa Kappa Psi constitution. Because of the war, doubt was expressed as to just when the next fraternity convention would be held so that the issue could be brought to debate. Rather than postponing action on the women‚s request indefinitely, a suggestion was made that Tau Beta Sigma form its own national organization, just as the National Fraternity had done in 1919. Until a national convention of Kappa Kappa Psi could be held and the matter clarified, Tau Beta Sigma could be considered the "sister organization" of the Fraternity. The Grand Council of Kappa Kappa Psi agreed that Tau Beta Sigma could share in all fraternal publications.

While applying for a national charter, the Tech Chapter encountered difficulties involving certain Texas state corporation laws. In 1945, A. Frank Martin, National Executive Secretary of Kappa Kappa Psi, was invited to meet with the women and work out a plan that would bring the Sorority the national status the Tau Beta Sigma women were seeking. Mr. Martin then suggested that the local band sorority currently in existence at Oklahoma State University apply for the charter, since fewer difficulties would be encountered in Oklahoma.

So, in January of 1946, the women of the Texas Tech Tau Beta Sigma Band Sorority, through their director, D.O. Wiley, graciously surrendered their name, "TAU BETA SIGMA," their constitution, ritual and jewelry designs to the local band club at Oklahoma State University, in order that the national organization could be established. By doing so, the Tech women understood that they were permitting the Oklahoma State group the title of "Alpha, the Mother Chapter," and accepted the status of "Beta Chapter," the second chartered chapter. On March 26, 1946, a charter was granted by the Department of State for the State of Oklahoma legally establishing "Tau Beta Sigma, National Honorary Band Sorority," later amended to "Tau Beta Sigma." On May 4 of 1946, the members of the Alpha Chapter traveled to Lubbock, Texas, to officially install the women of Texas Tech as the Beta Chapter of the National Sorority.


In honor of its Birth, a monument dedicating the founding of Tau Beta Sigma was unveiled at Lubbock, Texas on May 10, 1969. These words were placed beneath the official Tau Beta Sigma crest:

Tau Beta Sigma - National Sorority for Bandswomen.
Founded, Texas Technical College
Chartered, May 4, 1946

In 1977, all former membership restrictions were removed and chapters were afforded the opportunity to initiation male members of the band.


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