Sigma Alpha Iota was founded June 12, 1903 at the University School of Music in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The Founders were seven upper-class and graduate students - Elizabeth Campbell, Frances Caspari, Minnie Davis Sherrill, Leila Farlin Laughlin, Nora Crane Hunt, Georgina Potts, and Mary Storrs Andersen.
The founding is described in a brief "History of Sigma Alpha Iota" by Elizabeth Campbell in the PAN PIPES of April 1910 "... when seven gifted young musicians solemnly pledged themselves to help each other with sisterly affection, stand for the highest possible musical scholarship, for nobility and uprightness of character, and for the maintenance of friendly and unselfish relations among women in the musical profession."
Incorporation papers, under the laws of the State of Michigan, were signed December 1, 1904 and recorded December 15, 1904.
The first extension as a national fraternity came when requests from student groups brought the installation of Beta Chapter, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, December 1904; Gamma Chapter, American Conservatory, Chicago, Illinois, November, 1906; Delta Chapter, Detroit Conservatory, Detroit Michigan, March, 1907.
An extension continued, the first twenty-four chapters were named for the letters of the Greek alphabet in order. For the 25th to 48th chapters, "Sigma" was prefixed to the Greek alphabet in order. This was continued for the 49th to 72nd chapters, with "Alpha" prefixed to the Greek alphabet. These have been followed with "Iota," "Beta," "Gamma," "Zeta," "Eta," and Theta" prefixed to the Greek Alphabet.
- To form chapters of women college students and alumnae who have a sincere interest in music
- To uphold the highest standards of music
- To further the development of music in America and throughout the world
- To give inspiration and encouragement to members
- To organize the cultural life of Sigma Alpha Iota members as a contributing factor to their educational growth
- To support the ideals and goals of the member's Alma Mater
- To adhere to the highest standards of citizenship in school, community, and fraternity life