By Klay DeVault / Delta Staff Writer
Missouri Valley College welcomed its newest honors society, Alpha Lambda Delta to campus in a special ceremony on April 5 in the Bacon Conference Room.
Alpha Lambda Delta is an honor society for first year students who have achieved acclaimed academic success.
During the ceremony, Dr. Edna Steele from Converse College in South Carolina and Amollie Stoermer officially installed the MVC chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta and inducted the organizations very first chapter and honorary members.
The inaugural class featured 43 chapter members and seven honorary members. Honorary members inducted include Diane Bartholomew, Elizabeth Bellamy, President Dr. Bonnie Humphrey, Christopher Libby, Heath Morgan, Diane Yadrich and Stoermer who will also serve as the chapter’s advisor.
Founded in 1924 at the University of Illinois by the Dean of women, Maria Leonard to recognize academic excellence among freshman women.
The organization was found just one year before Dean Thomas Clark founded Phi Eta Sigma, an honor society that recognized academic excellence among freshman men.
Both organizations operated as single sex until the mid-70s when both become co-educational as a result of Title IX. At the very first chapter meeting, chapter president Florence Finn presented a passage from Plato’s Republic in which Socrates asked the question, “will they hold torches and pass them to one another…?” This idea, together with the symbol of a candle and the concept of sharing love with others, caught the imagination of the chapter members.
Alpha Lambda Delta has been an active member of the Association of College Honor Societies since its admission in 1939. In 1976, in response to Title IX, the National Council voted for Alpha Lambda Delta to become co-educational and in 1981, the first two male members of the National Council were installed.
The organization has continued to be innovative and responsive in recognizing academic excellence by providing Senior Certificates and the Maria Leonard Senior Book since 1939, offering national leadership conferences since 1978, recognizing outstanding chapters with the Order of the Torch Award since 1989, recognizing an Outstanding Advisor of the Year since 1990, and taking advantage of technology by posting a national web site in January of 1997.
Continuing to celebrate academic excellence among first year students, Alpha Lambda Delta has grown to over 280 chapters and has initiated over one million students. The National Council, which governs the organization, has prudently invested the resources and gifts from local chapters, national chapter members, former fellowship recipients, and friends of the Society over the years so that the Perpetual Fellowship Fund now exceeds $4 million and can now provide income to support at least 37 undergraduate scholarships and 26 graduate fellowships raging from $3000 to $6500.
In addition, Alpha Lambda Delta offers the Stemler Study-Abroad Scholarship, supporting up to 20 students who wish to study abroad.