The following is taken from pp. 3-4 of the 60th Anniversary Issue of Pan Pipes, published in May 1964 by Sigma Alpha Iota.
IT IS COMMENCEMENT DAY JUNE 12, 1903 ON THE CAMPUS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN AT ANN ARBOR. Seven gifted young musicians whose names and whose lives hold a unique place in the heart of each Sigma Alpha Iota were deeply involved in the festive events which such occasions afford.
Elizabeth A. Campbell, Nora Crane Hunt, Leila H. Farlin and Georgina Potts were graduating at the evening ceremonies. Mary Storrs and Frances Caspari were leaving immediately for graduate study. Minnie M. Davis carried responsibilities as a young member of the Music Faculty.
On the afternoon of this Commencement Day, "THE SEVEN" met in the library at the home of Elizabeth A. Campbell, 555 Division Street (yes, Nora Hunt was present despite her appearance as soloist on the Commencement program that evening), and "solemnly pledged themselves to help each other with sisterly affection, to stand for the highest musical scholarship, for nobility and uprightness of character and for the maintenance of friendly and unselfish relations among women in the musical profession."
A simple spontaneous act? No. This hour of commitment and of dedication to an idea and to an ideal, spent together on this Commencement Day afternoon was, in the terms of this space age, the apogee of weeks of thoughtful preparation for a new venture, which too, was projected with an upward thrust and bore an outward mission.
With a number of "THE SEVEN" invited to return in September to become members of the Music Faculty of their Alma Mater, the start of this venture was made at this time to afford an early fall season for the development and expansion of an idea and an ideal which, to these gifted musicians, had grown to be of supreme worth and was something to be shared.
And so it was that on June 12, 1903, on the campus of the University of Michigan, SIGMA ALPHA IOTA, INTERNATIONAL PROFESSIONAL MUSIC FRATERNITY FOR WOMEN, was launched. Chosen as Sigma Alpha Iota's first officers on this memorable June 12 day were President, MINNIE M. DAVIS; Vice President, ELIZABETH A. CAMPBELL; and Secretary-Treasurer, FRANCES CASPARI.
In a recent memorandum from the first President of Alpha Chapter, Minnie Davis (Sherrill) ,we have this account of the pre-Founding days and the initial activities of Sigma Alpha Iota.
"In early spring of 1903, Mrs. Fredreka Howland, wife of William Howland, head of the Vocal Department of the University School of Music, Ann Arbor, Michigan, suggested that a musical sorority be organized which would aim for high standards of musicianship and for promotion of the highest type of music. She felt there was a need for such an organization. A meeting was held in Mr. Howland's studio to discuss this idea. There was some talk of a musical club but finally a Sorority was decided upon as better fitting plans for close bonds of friendship. It was decided that only students of fine character and special musical talent combined with excellent scholarship would be eligible for membership. On June 12, 1903, Sigma Alpha Iota Musical Sorority was founded. Following are the names of the founders, who were graduate students and faculty members: Elizabeth A. Campbell, Frances Caspari, Minnie M. Davis (Sherrill), Leila H. Farlin (Laughlin), Nora Crane Hunt, Georgina Potts and Mary Storrs (Andersen).
"Minnie M. Davis was elected the first President of Alpha Chapter. The first annual initiation was held March 7, 1904, at which time Mrs. William Howland was initiated as our first Patroness and Blanche Abbott as the first active member. Minnie M. Davis presided at this initiation which was held in her home. A banquet followed.
"Madame Louise Homer, our first National Honorary Member, was initiated by Alpha Chapter at the home of Elsa Stanley on May la, 1904, Minnie M. Davis presiding. It was through Mr. Howland's suggestion and assistance that we secured Madame Homer as a member.
"In order to have the Sorority properly incorporated under Michigan State Laws, Articles of Association were drawn by Carl Storm, Attorney at Ann Arbor, and signed December 1, 1904, by the following seven active members and two patronesses of Alpha Chapter:
"The papers recorded Sigma Alpha Iota as a non-profit organization on December 15, 1904."