Association of College Honor Societies


Historical Information

John Warren, 2000


Writing: Dr. John W. Warren
Dr. Dorothy Mitstifer
Technical: Lisa Wootton Booth



It is a defining moment for the Association of College Honor Societies at the end of seventy-five years and the beginning of the new millennium to review its historical mission and role in higher education.

It will be evident that able leaders, who saw the need for a monitoring system, have worked untiringly through the years to develop a forum that would preserve and promote the honor society movement.

In order to celebrate excellence, these pillars of strength sought avenues of recognition for academic achievement and service and, at the same time, created valid criteria for certifying membership. And in this brief history, we will see how ACHS has become a diverse but unified body of honors groups-- a creditable force to champion higher education's challenge in maintaining excellence in a time of social, political, philosophical, and educational change, if not deterioration at times, on the national scene.

This presentation will look at ACHS in three twenty-five year spans. The first twenty-five years will be more comprehensive than the other two because it deals with the founding and development of the organizational structure. This overview of seventy-five years will reveal the dedication and difficulties of visionary leaders who are responsible for what we have become--a forceful and complementary entity to higher education. Above all, in this cursory look at ACHS, I believe you will hear about numerous issues and topics that you may find worthy of revisiting.

Higher Education and Honor Societies Prior to 1925

In 1925, the Association of College Honor Societies was not started on a whim but resulted from the need to define and enhance a movement that had evolved somewhat sporadically on the college scene. The climate of higher education in this country from 1900 to 1925 was one of conspicuous change and growth.

Changing Enrollments in Higher Education

1900-- less than 250,00 students

1920 -- 597,000 students

1925 -- 800,000 students

Academic Degrees Conferred

1900 -- 15,972

1925 -- 200,000

In 1900, for example, institutions of higher education in this country had a total enrollment of less than 250,000; by 1920 that number was 597,000, and in 1925 it had reached 800,000. Further, in 1900 there were 39 different academic degrees conferred on 15,972 students; by 1925 that figure was almost 200,000 students.

These twenty-five years witnessed a remarkable growth of state institutions over private, clerical, and liberal arts colleges. Some academic leaders lamented the turning away from the older mission and what they viewed as a "wilderness of functions." Campuses were rampant with student activities, as Stephen Leacock of McGill University said in 1930, "they run mimic newspapers, mock parliaments, make-believe elections...and put athletics over with a hoot and a roar that costs more in one season than the old college spent in a decade." (We still hear similar comments on today's campuses.)

It was in this educational aura that we see the honor society movement taking form. As it was with changes in higher education from 1900 to 1925, so it was with honor societies. Before 1900, they were few in number.

Genesis of the Honor Society Movement

Tau Beta Pi, 1885

Sigma Xi at Cornell, 1886

Phi Kappa Phi at Maine, 1897

Phi Beta Kappa, founded in 1776 as a social and literary fraternity at William and Mary, officially became an honor society in arts and sciences in 1898

According to an address given at ACHS in 1966 by Dr. Robert W. Bishop, national president of ODK, "The honor society movement really began in 1885 at Lehigh University with the establishment of Tau Beta Pi, in engineering. In rapid succession other honor societies came into being: Sigma Xi, in scientific research at Cornell, in 1886; Phi Kappa Phi, in all academic fields of University scope at the University of Maine, in 1897; Phi Beta Kappa, founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, as a social and literary fraternity, officially became an honor society in the arts and sciences in 1898, as the result of rapid expansion of education into new fields.

But after 1900, the honor society movement caught fire. From 1900 to 1925, when ACHS was founded, an average of almost two honor societies emerged each year. Of those later becoming ACHS members, thirty-seven societies were chartered in those twenty-five years.

Current ACHS Members Chartered


Alpha Lambda Delta, Freshman, 1924

Alpha Kappa Delta, Sociology, 1920

Alpha Chi, All fields, 1922

Alpha Omega Alpha, Medical, 1901

Alpha Sigma Nu, General (Jesuit), 1915

Beta Gamma Sigma, Business & Mngt, 1913

Beta Kappa Chi, Natural Sciences & Math., 1923

Chi Epsilon, Civil Engineering, 1922

Delta Mu Delta, Business Adm., 1913

Delta Sigma Rho, Forensics, 1906

Eta Kappa Nu, Electrical Engr., 1904

Kappa Delta Pi, Education, 1911

Kappa Omicron Nu - consolidation of Omicron Nu, 1912; and Kappa Omicron Phi, 1922

Kappa Tau Alpha, Journalism & Mass Com., 1910

Lambda Sigma, Student Leadership & Schlsp, 1922

Mortar Board, Scholarship, Leadership, Service, 1918

Omicron Delta Epsilon, Economics, 1915

Omicron Delta Kappa, Leadership & Scholarship, 1914

Order of the Coif, Law, 1901

Phi Alpha Theta, History, 1921

Phi Eta Sigma, Freshman Scholarship, 1923

Phi Sigma, Biological Sciences, 1915

Phi Sigma Iota, Foreign Languages, 1922

Phi Upsilon Omicron, Family & Consumer Sciences, 1909

Pi Delta Phi, French, 1906

Pi Gamma Mu, Social Sciences, 1924

Pi Kappa Lambda, Music, 1918

Pi Omega Pi, Business Teacher Edu., 1923

Pi Sigma Alpha, Political Science, 1920

Pi Tau Sigma, Mechanical Engr., 1915

Rho Chi, Pharmacy, 1922

Sigma Delta Pi, Spanish, 1919

Sigma Pi Sigma, Physics, 1921

Sigma Tau Delta, Englilsh, 1924

Sigma Theta Tau, Nursing, 1922

Tau Sigma Delta, Architecture & Allied Arts, 1913

Xi Sigma Pi, Forestry, 1908

Perception of Honor Societies in 1925

This rampant growth in just twenty-five years was not without its problems. Significant in this growth was the perception of honor societies in the academic community by 1925. Dr. Bishop observed that "many groups were of local significance only, while quite a number expanded to other colleges and universities and sought to be recognized as national in scope. Their multiplicity and in many cases their undesirable duplication, their fluctuating, uncertain and low standards, presented a burdensome problem to students, college and university administrators and faculty members, and to college life generally. A larger number of so-called "honoraries" than we like to think about, promoted by outside interests and unassociated with the college or university community in their management, flooded the campus scene with their unethical exploitation and confusion."

Understandably then, for almost ten years prior to 1925, informal discussions, surveys, and conferences addressed these problems related to the academic community. Some evidence of success began to emerge at the Executive Committe of Sigma Xi, when Dr. Wm. W. Root, Secretary-Treasurer of Alpha Omega Alpha, an invited representative, suggested that a conference of delegates from honorary fraternities might result in advantage to all. This suggestion came to fruition at the 15th Triennial session of Phi Beta Kappa in New York in September. Four societies were present, and their decision was to hold a general conference the last week in 1925 in Kansas City, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and to limit invitations to this initial conference to Honor Societies of fifteen years' standing that had chapters in fifteen or more important colleges and universities.

The Initial Conference of Honor Societies, 1925

The initial conference of honor societies was held on Wednesday, December 30, 1925, at 1 P.M. in the Athletic Club Building of the Chamber of Commerce of Kansas City. Seventeen were present, representing eighteen societies. A permanent organization was effected by electing officers.

Permanent Organization Effected
December 30, 1925


Dr. Francis W. Shephardson, Vice President of Phi Beta Kappa, as President

Dr. William W. Root, M.D., Secretary-Treasurer of Alpha Omega Alpha, as Secretary-Treasurer and four others to complete a six-member Executive Committee

These four additional committee members were:

Dr. Oscar M. Voorhees, D.D., Secretary of Phi Beta Kappa

Dr. Floyd K. Richtmyer, Past president of Sigma Xi

Prof. A. D. Moore, President of Tau Beta Pi

Prof. H. B. Ward, Secretary of Sigma Xi.

Two committees--one on Constitution and one on Plans and Scope-- were appointed to provide a tentative code for the "Honor Societies Conference."

At the second annual meeting, held in Williamsburg, VA, November 26 & 27, 1926, the Executive Committee approved a resolution to limit the charter members to six societies.

Charter Members of ACHS

Phi Beta Kappa, Liberal Arts

Tau Beta Pi, Engineering

Sigma Xi, Scientific Research

Phi Kappa Phi, All Academic Fields

Alpha Omega Alpha, Medical

Order of the Coif, Law

A Council was thus formed with the six representatives of these charter societies and three additional members-at-large elected by the societies representatives.

Official Name


Executive Committee Meeting
Williamsburg, VA
November 26-27, 1926

The new organization was named the "Association of College Honor Societies" with responsibility lodged in the Council. Provision was made for the admission of other organizations with proper qualifications, for initiation fees, for annual dues of $50.00, and for needed equipment of the office of Secretary.

Creditable Attention

Important to the viability of this new organization was the attention it received in a report in the Sigma XI Quarterly, December 1926, pp. 82-83, and in Banta's Greek Exchange, January 1927, pp. 3-5,9. Even more significant, however, was the recognition cited in the 11th edition, 1927, of Baird's manual of American Colleges and Fraternities.

Evidence of Growth

Especially pertinent to its survival and growth were two other factors. First, the Association prepared its first booklet in April of 1927 on the history and purpose of the Association of College Honor Societies.

First Booklet, April 1927

History and purpose of the Association

This booklet was the forerunner of our current handbook, the Booklet of Information.

Second, two meetings contributed to this culmination: One was held in November of 1927 to consider the adoption of a Constitution and the admission of further organizations. Yet, it was not until January 1, 1929, that the Constitution was adopted.

At this time we see the organization beginning to expand.

ACHS, An Expanding Organization

ACHS, Taking Action for Expansion

When the Council met in the University Club, Chicago, on March 3, 1930, two societies were granted full membership:

Sigma Tau, Engineering, represented by Morris H. Cook

Omicron Delta Kappa, Leadership & Scholarship, represented by William Moseley Brown

It was at this meeting that the council adopted a plan for making a tentative classification of honor societies. A follow-up in August of 1930 was a letter, survey forms, and outline of classification of honor societies to be sent to college presidents and deans asking their help in classifying and evaluating societies on their campuses. The strategy was in place, for in an article, published in The Circle of ODK in June of 1932, Dr. Francis Shepardson stated that ACHS was organized for the specific purpose of establishing a clearly defined line between honor societies and those called honorary (a distinction that we have continued to debate). The main thought was to prepare a roll of distinction, admitting no organization unless it was clearly entitled to a place.


Sigma Xi, 1933

Phi Beta Kappa, 1937

New Members

Columbus, Ohio, February 27, 1937

Beta Gamma Sigma, Commerce

Mortar Board, Leadership--Women

Phi Eta Sigma, Freshman Scholarship

Tau Kappa Alpha, Forensics

In 1933, Sigma Xi withdrew from the Association because of its dedication to research and did not consider itself strictly a college organization, and in 1937 Phi Beta Kappa too withdrew its membership. Yet, ACHS leaders, particularly Dr. Shepardson, continued the study of classifying honor societies, and the Association experienced new growth. At the meeting in Columbus, Ohio, on February 27, 1937, four new members were elected.

At this meeting, the Council voted to cooperate with a committee representing the Association of Deans and Advisors of Men and Women in their effort to classify and control the large number of honorary organizations in existence.

Long-awaited Standards and Definitions

In 1939 in Indianapolis, the Council finally endeavored to clarify the distinction between honor and honorary organizations by spelling out both the definition of an honor society and the general requirements for membership in two classes of societies: Scholarship Honor Societies and Leadership Honor Societies. Note the following statements:

Definition of an Honor Society

I. An Honor Society shall be defined as an organization in a college or university of recognized standing which meets the following minimum qualifications:

(1) It receives into membership those who achieve high scholarship and who fulfill such additional requirements of distinction in leadership or in some broad field of culture as the organization may establish;

(2) It elects to membership irrespective of membership in or affiliation with other organizations;

(3) It confers membership solely on the basis of character and eligibility.

II. For purpose of convenience, Honor Societies were then classified into two groups, viz:

(1) Scholarship Honor Societies. Organizations established in colleges and universities of recognized standing, meeting the requirements set forth above and basing eligibility to membership primarily upon the attainment of a high standard of scholarship, shall be considered "Scholarship" Honor Societies. Membership should include only individuals in the highest 20% of scholarship.

(2) Leadership Honor Societies. Organizations established in colleges or universities of recognized standing, meeting the requirements set forth above and basing eligibility to membership primarily uon attainment in leadership or in some broad field of culture and rank in the highest 35% of scholarship.

III. It was voted that the Association recommend to Scholarship Honor Societies that their membership include only individudals ranking in the highest 20% of scholarship, and that Leadership Honor Societies not go below the top 35% in scholarship.

IV. A committee was appointed to investigate the number and characteristics of those Honor Societies which draw their membership from limited specialized fields of study. ...In addition, this Committee is to investigate the eligibility of any other organizations which may possess the necessary qualifications for membership.

These new requirements affected several of the member societies who elected their members from the upper 25% in scholarship.

National Concern About Honor Societies

Meeting: Office of Education, Department of Interior
April 21-22, 1939

Purpose: Seek ways to enhance the value of college honor societies

Attendees: Representatives from Sigma Xi, Alpha Omega Alpha, Order of the Coif,Pi Lambda Theta, Phi Delta Kappa, Omicron Nu, Phi Beta Kappa, Tau Beta Pi, and National Intercollegiate Fraternities

It is evident that ACHS was not alone in the concern about college honor societies, for on April 21-22, 1939, the Office of Education, Department of Interior, held a conference for the purpose of seeking ways to enhance the value of college honor societies. Representatives attended from Sigma XI, Alpha Omega Alpha, Order of the Coif, Pi Lambda Theta, Phi Delta Kappa, Omicron Nu, NIF, Phi Beta Kappa, and Tau Beta Pi. This group requested that the Office of Education survey, report, and make recommendations concerning the aims, methods, organization and values of national college honor societies.

In addition to the efforts of the Office of Education, from 1940-1942, the Deans Advisory Committee, an NIF Committee, and an NIC Committee planned studies on the classification and definition of honor societies. The Result: At a NIC Committee meeting in New York, October 9, 1943, Dr. Robert Bishop, on behalf of ACHS, presented a "tentative definition of an honor society, defined the broad fields of education with a list of examples, the functions of an honor society, the classification of Scholarship honor Societies and Leadership Honor Societies, and their requirements for membership, and the definition of a Recognition Society." Further Result: ACHS was asked to "establish some form of jurisdictional association with such recognition societies as have definite educational value."

Then came World War II, which had significant impact on ACHS.

Effect of World War II

1. No ACHS Conferences 1942, 1943, 1944

2. Dr. Robert Bishop's Committee on Standards continued to function.

An ACHS committee met in Chicago in February of 1944 and voted to restate the classification of societies presented by ACHS to include both Honor Societies and Recognition Societies. The committee further enhanced these definitions with examples of their field, standards, and functions. ACHS reported its efforts at a NIC meeting in April of 1944 as follows:


Honor Societies which base eligibilty primarily upon scholarship in a broad field of education shall elect from the highes 20 % of the class in scholarship;

Honor Societies which base eligibility primarily upon leadership shall elect from the highest 35% of the class in scholarship;

Election to membership in honor societies other than freshman honor societies shall be held not earlier than the end of the fifth semester or the eighth quarter of the college course;

Recognition societies which elect persons actively interested in a specific field shall elect those only who are found adequate in this field, who are definitely above average in general scholarship, and who have completed at least three semesters or five quarters of the college course.

With these standards, ACHS had finally spelled out in detail its definitions, classifications, requirements, and functions of an honor society and had now opened its doors to all qualified societies.

In preparation for the first ACHS Council meeting since 1941, Dr. Larry Guild, as secretary, sent a letter, dated July 14, 1944, to those Recognition Societies which might qualify and invited them to make application for affiliation with ACHS. At its 1945 meeting, held in Chicago, four groups petitioned for membership:

Groups Petitioning in 1945

Alpha Epsilon Delta, Premedical

Sigma Pi Sigma, Physics

Alpha Kappa Delta, Sociology

Phi Alpha Theta, History

Of these, Alpha Epsilon Delta and Phi Alpha Theta had submitted final and official applications and were accepted into membership. The other two were deferred because they had submitted preliminary applications.

Because of certain societies' dislike of the term "Recognition," the Committee on Classification and Terminology was reconstituted to consider this matter. The term "Recognition Societies" was officially changed to "Departmental Honor Societies at the 1947 meeting in Chicago.

"Feather in the Cap" for ACHS

Asked by Harry Baily of Baird's Manual to provide definitions of honor societies and recognition societies in the 15 edition.

From 1945 until 1950, the Council met annually in Chicago to discuss business and extension of membership. One highlight and a "feather in the cap" for ACHS occurred in 1948: Harry J. Baily of Baird's Manual asked ACHS to provide definitions for honor societies and recognition societies in the 15th edition. During this five-year period, the Council accepted five new societies for membership, which marked the end of the first twenty-five years.

Let us note certain highlights of the period.

Membership for the First Twenty-Five Years

Twenty-one Societies

Alpha Epsilon Delta, Premedical, 1945

Alpha Lambda Delta, Freshman Scholarship, 1939

Alpha Omega Alpha, Medical, 1925

Beta Gamma Sigma, Business & Mgt, 1937

Tau Kappa Alpha, Forensics, 1937

Eta Kappa Nu, Electrical Engr., 1947

Mortar Board, Scholarship & Leadership, 1937

Omicron Delta Kappa, Leadership & Scholarship, 1930

Order of the Coif, Law, 1925

Phi Alpha Theta, History, 1945

Phi Eta Sigma, Freshman Scholarship, 1937

Phi Kappa Phi, All fields, 1925

Pi Kappa Lambda, Music 1940

Pi Sigma Alpha, Political Science, 1949

Pi Tau Sigma, Mechanical Engr., 1947

Rho Chi, Pharmacy, 1947

Sigma Pi Sigma, Physics, 1945

Sigma Tau, Engineering, 1930

Sigma XI, Scientific Research, 1925

Tau Beta Pi, Engineering, 1925

Tau Sigma Delta, Architecture & Allied Arts, 1948

As we conclude the first twenty-five years of ACHS activities, two observations need to be made:

1. Most important during these formative years was the association's commitment to make its purposes effective.

2. A few dedicated and tenacious workers had to point the way, oftentimes behind the scenes. Those major leaders who served so diligently and carried the torch included the following:

Major Leaders Who Carried the Torch

1. Dr. William W. Root--Pioneer in Founding ACHS, Alpha Omega Alpha, ACHS Secretary-Treasurer, 1925-1932

2. Dr. Oscar Voorhees--Phi Beta Kappa, ACHS Founding member, 1925-1941

3. Dr. Francis Shepardson--Phi Beta Kappa, ACHS Founding Member, 1925-1937, ACHS President 1925-1933

4. Dr. Edward Ellery--Sigma Xi, ACHS Founding Member, 1925-1933

5. Prof. A. D. Moore--Tau Beta Pi, ACHS Founding Member, 1925-1937

6. Dr. Henry Ward--Sigma Xi, ACHS Founding Member, 1925-1945

7. Dr. Charles Gordon--Phi Kappa Phi, ACHS Founding Member, 1925-1934

8. Prof. Walter W. Cook--Order of Coif, ACHS Founding Member, 1925-1932

9. Dr. Floyd H. Richtmyer--Sigma Xi, ACHS Founding Member, 1925-1932

10. Dr. William Mosely Brown--Omicron Delta Kappa rep, 1930-1939

11. Dr. Josiah J. Moore--Alpha Omega Alpha, 1933-1961

12. Mrs. F. D. (Kay) Coleman, Mortar Board, 1937-1949

13. Dr. Lawrence Guild--Phi Kappa Phi rep, 1934-1949, ACHS Secretary-Treasurer, 1939-1945 and President, 1945-1949

14. Dr. Robert Bishop--ODK rep, 1938-1970, ACHS, Vice President 1941-1945, Secretary-Treasurer 1945-1949, President 1949-1950, and Chair of Committee on Standards..., 1950-1960


With a creditable organizational structure set in place and a clearly defined mission, the Council developed new vision and accompishments in the next twenty-five years. In 1950, ACHS began changing the format of meetings. Until this time the Council had been totally occupied, if not consumed, with definitions and classifications so desperately needed in the academic community. Now the programs began to change with speeches at dinners and then later with sessions. Then in 1951, the Council also considered other sites than Chicago for its meetings--where it had met for eight consecutive years. To mark this change, the 1953 meeting was in Cincinnati.

Committee Surveys and Reports


Pass-Fail Trend

Honor Society Councils

Convention Structure and Programs

Costs of Membership

Methods of Working with Registrars to Obtain Grades

Commemorative Postage Stamp

Biennial Meetings for ACHS

For the most part, the second twenty-five year span was characterized by collection and distribution of information through in-depth surveys and reports by committees, e.g., pass-fail trend that invaded the university setting, honor society councils on individual campuses, convention structure and programs, costs of membership, methods of working with college registrars to obtain grades (referred to as the Problems of Scholastic Averages), commemorative postage stamp. Often during this period, discussions about the advisability of biennial meetings of ACHS was considered, but motions to change always failed.

Especially important to maintaining high standards, it is worthy to note that the Eligibility and Admissions Committee was very busy for these twenty-five years (and still is).

Budget Comparison



($280.00 for BOI)



($17,000.00 for BOI)

Of timely interest to us was the status of the budget. Let's make a quick comparison of then and now to help us appreciate how far the Association has come.

An example of the long, slow, yet successful work of committees is seen at the end of this segment. One committee that studied honor societies' councils lasted 23 years, with Marsh White putting it to bed in 1974 with an extensive review of the attempts to organize councils and the lack of progress. Also a relationship was developed with the Banta Company, publisher of Baird's Manual with the outcome that ACHS definitions were used to classify honor societies and recognition societies.

HIGHLIGHTS 1951-1975

Fiftieth Anniversary
Williamsburg, Virginia

Eleven past presidents were in attendance.

A program highlight was a multimedia presentation, entitled "Nostalgia, Red, White, and Blue," by Mary- Beth Kuester of Omicron Nu.

Major Leaders Who Carried the Torch

1. Dr. Robert Bishop, Omicron Delta Kappa, 1938-1970

2. Professor Marsh White, Sigma Pi Sigma, 1945-1983, ACHS Vice President 1949 and President 1950

3. Robert Nagel, Chi Epsilon & Tau Beta Pi, 1947-1997, ACHS Secretary-Treasurer 1949-1957 and President 1957-1959

4. Dr. Don Hoffman, Phi Alpha Theta, 1945-1993, ACHS Secretary-Treasurer 1967-1975; Vice President 1975-1977; President 1977-1979

5. Dr. M . L. Moore, Alpha Epsilon Delta, 1945-1993

*All these men, particularly Dr. Bishop, bridged the first and second periods and were forceful leaders throughout the second twenty-five years.

Thirty New Members

Alpha Chi, General Scholarship, 1955

Alpha Epsilon, Agri & Biol Engineering, 1968

Alpha Kappa Delta, Sociology, 1967

Alpha Kappa Mu, All Academic Fields, 1952

Alpha Phi Mu, Industrial & Sys. Engr., 1952

Allpha Sigma Mu, Metallurgy & Mater. Engr., 1965

Alpha Sigma Nu, General Scholarship, Jesuit Institutions, 1975

Beta Kappa Chi, Natural Sciences & Math., 1961

Beta Phi Mu, Library Science, 1969

Chi Epsilon, Civil Engr., 1953

Chi Epsilon Sigma, General Scholarship-Catholic, 1967

Delta Mu Delta, Bus. Adm., 1963

Delta Sigma Rho, Forensics, 1955

Kappa Delta Pi, Education, 1974

Kappa Mu Epsilon, Mathematics, 1968

Kappa Tau Alpha, Journalism/Mass Com., 1951

Lambda Iota Tau, Literature, 1965

Omega Chi Epsilon, Chemical Engr., 1967

Omicron Delta Epsilon, Economics, 1965

Omicron Nu, Family Services, 1951

Phi Sigma Tau, Philosophy, 1958

Pi Delta Phi, French, 1967

Pi Gamma Mu, Social Sciences, 1953

Pi Omega Pi, Bus. Teacher Ed., 1965

Psi Chi, Psychology, 1965

Sigma Delta Pi, Spanish, 1966

Sigma Gamma Tau, Aerospace Engr., 1965

Sigma Tau Delta, English, 1972

Sigma Theta Tau, Nursing, 1959

Xi Sigma Pi, Forestry, 1965


Now just past the 50th Anniversary, the third twenty-five years began energetically with attention drawn to current and future issues. The 1976 meeting in Indianapolis experienced a full menu with Richard Lugar as banquet speaker, a speech on "Survival of Excellence" by Nicholas Cripe of Butler University, and a discussion of the impact of the Buckley Amendment by George P. Rice, General Counsel of the Speech Communication Association of America. In 1977 at New Orleans, the Conference had reports on long-range planning, honorary membership in member societies, and insurance for nonprofits.

Marked by this productive beginning, the third twenty-five year span was characterized by panel discussion on various topics.

Issues Discussed

Chapter programming

Society publications

Society scholarships and fellowships

Honor societies and the law

Value and place of faculty advisor

Insurance concerns


Goals of ACHS

Multi-campus chapters,

Honor society expansion

Honor society evaluations

Innovative practices

Effective ways to keep each chapter active and productive

National services to chapters

Honor society responsibility for scholarly writing

Myths and realities of leadership

Developing and recognizing advisors

Management issues and practical solutions

Visionary planning

Certain Noteworthy Developments

1. Break-out sessions alternated by years with topics of a general nature and group discussions organized according to size and budget.

2. The famous eight-year plan for annual meeting locations began in 1992.

3. The popular Breakfast Roundtables began in 1994.

4. The first two-year honor society was admitted at least twenty-seven years after it was first discussed.

5. The issue of international chapters was settled with an amendment to the Consitution at least thirty-seven years after it was first discussed.

Examples of Excellent Programs

1983--Knoxville, TN. Kinsey Green, President of ASAE, spoke on "Association Management Trends."

1992--Columbus, Ohio. Panel of Presidents from Kent State, Otter bein, Wright State, and Ohio Wesleyan discussed: "Higher Education and Honor Societies: Challenges and Possibilities."

1993--Atlanta, GA. Chief Academic Officers' panel on " Leadership in Honor Societies: Addressing the 21st Century," with representatives from Georgia Tech, University of Georgia, and Kennesaw State.

1998--Nashville, TN. "Hatfields vs McCoys: A Debate about Purpose of Honor Societies."

1999--San Diego, CA. Panel on Promoting Honor and Character in the New Millenium, presented by three university officials.

Panel entitled "Five Characters in Search of Character," presented by three Society executives.

2000--Orlando, FL. Indepth Workshop on Strategic Planning.

A Time of Recognition

1983--Knoxville, Tennessee
Recognized for Early Leadership

Dr. Lawrence Guild, representative of Phi Kappa Phi from 1937-1949; ACHS Secretary-Treasurer from 1939-1945; ACHS President from 1945-1949.

Dr. Robert Bishop, represented ODK for thirty years; ACHS Vice President, 1941-1945; ACHS Secretary-Treasurer, 1945-1949; ACHS President, 1949-1950; chaired Committee on Standards, Definitions, and Requirements, 1950-1960 and Committee on Nominations, 1951-1953.

Recognized Posthumously

Dr. William Webster Root, M.D., Founder and Secretary-Treasurer of Alpha Omega Alpha, 1902- 1932; pioneered in founding ACHS in 1925 and served as Secretary-Treasurer, 1925-1932, the time of death. A plaque recognizing his contributions was placed in the AOA Founder's Room at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago.

Recognized for Writing History and Long Service

Dr. M. L. Moore, Sigma Pi Sigma; contributing to the writing of ACHS history and serving as Chair of the Eligibility and Admissions Committee; represented Alpha Epsilon Delta, 1945-1993.

Those Who Carried the Torch

Nagel, Hoffman, and Moore bridged the second and third twenty-five year span.

Jayne Wade Anderson, Mortar Board, 1972- 1989

Jim Foy, Phi Eta Sigma, 1953-1991

Rosemary Ginn, Mortar Board, 1950-1959

Ruth Weimer, Mortar Board, 1960-1968

Henry Ewbank, Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha, 1964-1974

George Gore, Alpha Kappa Mu, 1952-1975

Noted Long Service

Dr. T. Earle Hamilton, Sigma Delta Pi, served as Chair of Standards and Definitions Committee, 1969- 1985

Mrs. Mildred Marion, Delta Mu Delta, prepared a tax report and an insurance report for conferences, 1969-1994

Dr. Dorothy Mitstifer, Kappa Omicron Nu, has served as ACHS Secretary-Treasurer, 1975-2015

Able Leaders of Recent Years

Those officers and committee chairs of recent years, we'll leave to our successors to designate honorees and recognize their services.

It is truly evident that ACHS has always been a strong committee system. Although secretary-treasurers have contributed to the management, it has been the hard and tedious work, very-very slow at times, of committees that have maintained the high standards and helped it change with the times (slowly but surely).

We must continue to recognize the importance of longevity along with volunteerism and dedication in preserving ACHS. To guarantee its survival, we must have leaders like those we have mentioned. There were times in the first twenty-five years that ACHS would not have survived without Robert Bishop and later in the second period without Marsh White, Bob Nagel, and M. L. Moore. We are where we are today because able leaders in the third twenty-five years stood on the "shoulders of these giants."


Briefly, what can we glean from these seventy-five years? I see seven remarkable Resources of Strength for ACHS:

Resources of Strength

1. Voices from the past: our founders and able leaders who carried the torch for ACHS

2. The development of a sound petitioning process: certifying valid membership

3. Avenues of recognition for academic achievement, leadership, and service

4. A defining and refining of what is truly "Honor"

5. A continuous guiding hand to bring societies to appropriate standards

6. A visionary organization: preparing for the new millennium

7. Our 65 member societies as a unified voice.

Let us not fail our visionary leaders of the past and the solid foundation prepared for ACHS.