Sigma Tau Delta Honors Alaina Housley in Annual Book Presentation Ceremony

Guest Post by Shea McCollum, Library Marketing Assistant.

On Thursday, April 11th, Sigma Tau Delta unveiled their newest addition to the Boone Special Collections, an 1877 edition of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. The edition was dedicated in honor of late Pepperdine student Alaina Housley, an English major who was tragically killed in the Borderline Shooting last November.

Still of 1877 edition of Northanger Abbey and Persuasion by Jane Austen
The 1877 Ruby Series edition of Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Persuasion  

Every year, the English national honor society Sigma Tau Delta holds a bake sale and uses the proceeds to purchase a book for the the library’s rare book collection. Sigma Tau Delta’s Eta Psi Chapter has been a part of Pepperdine campus for thirty years now and, to celebrate, they have curated an exhibit in the Boone Special Collections featuring all the books the honor society has donated to Payson since the annual fundraiser began back in 2013.

“This collection reflects students’ literary tastes and interests both inside and outside the classroom,” said Dr. Julie Smith, a professor of English and the faculty sponsor for the Sigma Tau Delta chapter on campus. “You will find, for example, a wonderful edition of John Milton’s Paradise Lost alongside a signed first edition of Ray Bradbury.”

Paradise Lost
An edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost featured in the Sigma Tau Delta exhibit

This year, Sigma Tau Delta decided on an 1877 edition of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Persuasion in honor of fallen English major Alaina Housley. Dr. Jacqueline Dillion, who taught Alaina in her English 201 class during the fall semester, shared some remarks at the event about the connection between Alaina and Jane Austen:

“Jane Austen was her chosen author for her high school senior project and Alaina’s mother, Hannah, shared with me that their family was able to travel to Jane Austen’s home in Chawton, England, last Spring…Like Jane Austen, Alaina pervaded and permeated every aspect of her life: through her voice, through her writing, but most of all through her radiant spirit which lives on through those who remember her.”

Dr. Jacqueline Dillion
Dr. Jacqueline Dillion speaking at the Sigma Tau Delta book presentation ceremony

The volume was presented to Melissa Nykanen, Associate University Librarian for Special Collections and University Archives. It was added to to Sigma Tau Delta’s rare books collection and placed in the exhibit display case during the ceremony.

Dr. Smith concluded her remarks by saying, “Jane Austen was one of Alaina’s favorite authors, and this edition boasts one of the most striking Victorian covers I have ever seen. I herewith donate this book in Alaina’s name: a beautiful old book for a beautiful young soul.”

If you did not get a chance to attend this event but are still interested in seeing Sigma Tau Delta’s collection, the books are currently on display in the Boone’s Special Collections hallway on the second floor of Payson Library.


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Sigma Tau Delta Honors Alaina Housley in Annual Book Presentation Ceremony