University News

English Honor Society Wins International Award

January 27, 2012

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MACOMB, IL -- Sigma Tau Delta, the international English Honor Society, has named Western Illinois University's Phi Delta chapter one of three Outstanding Chapters worldwide for the 2010-2011 academic year.

"The award comes after a concerted effort to rejuvenate the organization," said Timothy Helwig, WIU English professor and chapter adviser.

Comprised of nine members just a year before, the WIU chapter's number has more than tripled to include 34 students, who are focused on fostering critical thought in the literary discipline and their community.

In addition to participating in food drives, book drives and other community events, the chapter has attracted annual fall speakers to Western to address both the larger student body and the community, including Cincinnati-based freelance writer Judi Ketteler, and Stephen Reichert, founding editor of the national poetry journal "Smartish Pace."

Sigma Tau Delta focuses on scholarly discussion and engagement with literary texts and practices, and has chapters throughout the country.

"With more than 800 chapters worldwide and 26 chapters in Illinois alone, the competition pool is anything but small, and our students officers have done a tremendous job revitalizing the honor society for the department, the college and the University," said Helwig.

The student members of Sigma Tau Delta have gone on to significant individual successes as well, presenting papers at various universities and securing competitive teaching assistantships in graduate school programs, in addition to composing many of their own creative works.

Chapter President Megan Grove will accept the award at the annual conference in February. For more information about Sigma Tau Delta, contact Timothy Helwig at

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