History organization garners national recognition

Oct 9, 2015 | Liberal Arts

Once again, Louisiana Tech University’s multiple award-winning Lambda-Rho Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, History Honor Society, Inc., has brought home national honors in the society’s annual “best chapter” competition. Louisiana Tech-sAccording to Phi Alpha Theta national executive director Dr. Graydon A. “Jack” Tunstall, the Louisiana Tech chapter has been officially recognized as “best chapter” for 2015 in Division IV, colleges and universities with enrollments of between 10,000 and 15,000 students. Lambda-Rho Chapter was also designated as recipient of the Nels A. Cleven Award for 2015. The Cleven Award is “reserved for those chapters who have won the Best Chapter Award five or more times, thus exhibiting a unique level of excellence,” Tunstall said. A separate and more demanding area for competition, “it is our most notable distinction, considering the tremendous time and effort required to maintain a chapter of this caliber so consistently.” Founded in 1921 and with more than 800 active chapters at colleges and universities in the United States, Phi Alpha Theta is the nation’s oldest and largest disciplinary honor society. Membership is open only to students with outstanding academic records, including a minimum number of hours earned in history courses. Judging in the competition is based on documented chapter activities during the academic year. During 2014-2015, student members of Lambda-Rho Chapter organized public programs on history topics, held a used book sale, sponsored a joint research paper conference with history students at Grambling State University, and attended a spring awards banquet. Phi Alpha Theta members also presented papers at scholarly conferences and served as judges at social studies fairs in local schools. “The student leadership we see in Phi Alpha Theta is a great source of pride to Louisiana Tech,” Louisiana Tech history department coordinator Dr. Jeffery R. Hankins said. “This kind of leadership is a tradition at Tech. In fact, this is Lambda-Rho Chapter’s 30th Best Chapter Award and its 12th Nels Cleven recognition since that award was created in 2004.” “There’s more than just recognition involved,” said Dr. V. Elaine Thompson, a Louisiana Tech history associate professor and one of Lambda-Rho Chapter’s faculty advisers. “There’s also money. Winning chapters receive $250 toward the purchase of books for their institutions’ libraries.” Over the years, Lambda-Rho Chapter’s competition winnings have purchased more than $7,000 worth of books for Tech’s Prescott Memorial Library. Chapter president during 2014-2015 was senior history major Nicholas Trichel, of West Monroe. Faculty advisers were Drs. V. Elaine Thompson and Stephen Webre. Liaison adviser for chapter members at Grambling State University was Dr. Brian McGowan. Written by Judith Roberts –