The Mu Alpha Theta National High School and Three-Year College Mathematics Honor Society was founded in 1957 by Dr. Richard V. Andree and his wife, Josephine Andree, at the University of Oklahoma. In Andree's words, Mu Alpha Theta is "an organization dedicated to promoting scholarship in mathematics and establishing math as an integral part of high school and junior college education". The name Mu Alpha Theta was constructed from the Greek lettering for the phonemes m, a, and th.
Pi Mu Epsilon, the National Collegiate Honor Society of Mathematics, contributed funds for the organization's initial expenses; the University of Oklahoma provided space, clerical help and technical assistance. The Mathematical Association of America, a primary sponsor of the organization since 1958, and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics nominated the first officers and Board of Governors. The Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics became an official sponsor in 1998, followed by The American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges in 2002.
The official journal of Mu Alpha Theta, The Mathematical Log, was first issued in 1957 on mimeograph and was in printed form starting in 1958. It was published four times during the school year until 2002 and featured articles, reports, news and problems for students.
Several different awards are given by Mu Alpha Theta, including the Kalin Award to outstanding students. The Andree award is awarded to students who plan to become a mathematics teacher. Chapter sponsors are also recognized by Regional Sponsor Awards, the Sister Scholastica, and the Huneke awards for the most dedicated sponsors. The Rubin Award is presented to a chapter doing volunteer work to help others to enjoy mathematics.
Mu Alpha Theta presents numerous scholarships and grants to its members. Information about the organization can be viewed at www.mualphatheta.org.
The first Mu Alpha Theta National Convention was held at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas in 1968. Each year the convention brings together hundreds of teachers and students from across the country for five days of math-related events.