Our Illuminating History: Carrie Washburne Staehle, Alpha

It’s Women’s History Month and we’re spotlighting influential women in our Sorority’s history who demonstrated Illuminate competencies.

Renowned Past National President Carrie Washburne Staehle, Alpha, was a natural change agent – and innovated and managed change at a critical time in Alpha Sigma Tau’s history. As a leader, she inspired her Sisters to grow, develop, perform, and (perhaps most importantly) embrace change to help our Sorority achieve the “loveliness of its ideals.”

Few Alpha Sigma Taus have had as lasting an influence on our growth into a truly national Sorority as Carrie Staehle. As National President from 1934 to 1949, she established our first Central Office, created regional districts, strengthened our financial health through an endowment fund and life memberships, and developed national Sorority publications, social service projects, and cultural awareness initiatives. Notably, she successfully led the charge to bring Alpha Sigma Tau into the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) and served as our Sorority’s NPC Delegate from 1947 to 1967.

Her legacy continues today. “When Carrie became National President, women had only had the right to vote for just over a decade, and the United States was in the midst of World War II and the Great Depression,” says Alpha Sigma Tau’s NPC Delegate Jamie Jones Miller, Psi. “In spite of this, or perhaps because of it, Carrie was steadfast in her belief that Alpha Sigma Tau could contribute to the greater sorority experience through membership in NPC. Carrie’s innovative vision, courage, and ability to lead change propelled Alpha Sigma Tau forward during uncertain and challenging times. Her leadership helped secure the future of Alpha Sigma Tau for generations to come.”

Carrie passed away on April 10, 2001, one day short of her 102nd birthday.

Fun facts:

Carrie received her pledge ribbons at the home of Ada A. Norton at the Alpha Chapter in 1924.

She traveled extensively during her 15 years as National President, visiting each chapter at least five times.

Eleven chapters were installed during her tenure.

She was a devoted Sister for 77 years.

April 11 is proclaimed to be Carrie Staehle Day.

Learn more about Carrie here.