An Historic Night for the Alpha Chi Honor Society

by Brandon Stirm '08

As students walk across the stage during the graduate spring commencement ceremony this May, 118 men and woman will represent the Alpha Chi Honor Society. For the first time in APU's history, graduate students were awarded for their academic achievements in their respective of disciplines on January 29 at the Alpha Chi induction ceremony. Previously reserved for undergraduate students, the honor society now welcomes graduate students into a fellowship of more than 300,000 members from more than 300 college and university chapters around the United States and Puerto Rico.

"An event like this makes a description come alive with meaning as people experience the recognition and honor that come from an honor society, as well as the personal satisfaction of having done well," said Rebecca Knippelmeyer, director of graduate academic support and event co-sponsor.

Alpha Chi represents the Association of College Honor Societies, a group of 67 societies meeting rigorous standards regarding student membership and governance. College and university chapters will induct more than 11,000 new members this year and will promote scholarly achievement and high character on their campuses as well as in the academic community at large.

Alpha Chi began February 22, 1922 when councils from five Texas colleges and universities met to organize a society to honor high academic achievement among students. By 1926, the organization spread to adjacent states, and in 1934 it adopted the name Alpha Chi and expanded into a national society. Azusa Pacific represents Region VII, known as California Gamma Chapter 97.

In order to join Alpha Chi, invitations are issued by the faculty of colleges and universities that have an Alpha Chi Chapter. Of the 389 students invited, 118 paid their dues to join Alpha Chi, and 52 attended the January ceremony along with their families.

"It is an honor to be a part of Alpha Chi and be distinguished for the hard work and effort in my area of study," said Master of Arts in Religion candidate Thomas Gilbert.