History organization receives national recognition

Sep 29, 2016 | Liberal Arts

Louisiana Tech University’s Lambda-Rho Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, History Honor Society, Inc., has once again brought home national honors in the society’s annual Best Chapter competition. According to Phi Alpha Theta national executive director Dr. Graydon A. “Jack” Tunstall, the Louisiana Tech chapter has been officially recognized as Best Chapter for 2016 in Division IV, colleges and universities with enrollments of between 10,000 and 15,000 students. Phi Alpha Theta History Honor SocietyLambda-Rho Chapter was also designated as recipient of the Nels A. Cleven Award for 2016. 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 explained.  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 2015-2016, student members of Lambda-Rho Chapter organized public programs on history topics, co-sponsored the North Louisiana History and Culture Symposium held in October at Lincoln Parish Library, provided event support for Black History Month and Women’s History Month activities, produced 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, both local and regional. Commenting on the recently announced award, Louisiana Tech history department coordinator Dr. Jeffery R. Hankins stated, “The student leadership we see in Phi Alpha Theta is a great source of pride to Louisiana Tech.” “This kind of leadership is a tradition at Tech,” Hankins said. “In fact, this is Lambda-Rho Chapter’s 31st Best Chapter Award since 1980 and its 13th Nels Cleven recognition since that particular award was created in 2004.” “There’s more than just recognition involved,” said Dr. V. Elaine Thompson, a Louisiana Tech history associate professor who serves as 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 nearly $8,000 worth of books for Tech’s Prescott Memorial Library. Chapter president during 2015-2016 was graduate student Emeterio Daniel Flores of Atlanta, La.  Chapter secretary Julia Vanchiere of Shreveport prepared the winning documentation package.  Faculty advisers were Thompson and Dr. Stephen Webre.  Liaison adviser for chapter members at Grambling State University was Dr. Brian McGowan. Written by Judith Roberts –