AZUSA, CA- The National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society recently awarded Azusa Pacific University’s Phi Omicron Chapter of Sigma Delta Pi the Ignacio and Sophie Galbis Award, presented annually to the most outstanding chapter nationwide for its exemplary activities representing the society’s ideals. In addition, Azusa Pacific secured the distinction of “Honor Chapter” for the third consecutive year, a recognition given to only 16 chapters nationwide annually. By maintaining honors status for a complete triennium, APU is one of nine chapters across the U.S. to qualify for the prominent Octavio Paz Award.

“Azusa Pacific’s chapter demonstrates the highest caliber of projects that reflect the Sigma Delta Pi mission of honoring excellence in the study of the Spanish language, contributing to cultural understanding and upholding the goals of the society,” said Mark P. Del Mastro, executive director, Sigma Delta Pi. “Professor Marcela Rojas, Azusa Pacific’s chapter adviser, was instrumental in earning these honors.” In July, Rojas was appointed national vice president of the west, which includes 11 states.

“Over the last three years, we worked very diligently to meet not only the mission of Sigma Delta Pi, but also reflect our university’s motto, God First. Everything we do is done with excellence and for His glory,” said Rojas, MFA, Ph.D. “Winning the prestigious Ignacio and Sophie Galbis Award this year marks APU’s chapter as the most outstanding one among 600 in the country with more than 170,000 members. It’s a profound honor.”

This past spring, APU's Sigma Delta Pi Chapter, Phi Omicrom, organized the first statewide Spanish spelling bee in California for high schoolers. A total of 55 top students gathered in Azusa’s Civic Auditorium to compete in the event.

To join the society, students must complete at least three years of college Spanish, including a third-year course in Hispanic literature or Hispanic culture and civilization, possess an average grade of B or better in all Spanish coursework, and rank in the upper 35 percent of their class.

Each May, nearly 600 chapters of Sigma Delta Pi nationwide submit an annual report detailing their numerous activities and projects from the academic year. Based on these reports, the National Executive Committee chooses approximately 10-15 “Honor Chapters” annually. With its national office at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, Sigma Delta Pi is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies, the nation’s only certifying agency for college and university honor societies.