Tech history honor society again wins best chapter

Aug 30, 2011 | General News, Liberal Arts

Continuing a long tradition of excellence, Louisiana Tech’s Lambda-Rho Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta history honor society has again earned with national recognition in the society’s annual best chapter competition.
Phi Alpha Theta national executive director, Dr. Graydon A. Tunstall, said the Tech chapter has been officially recognized as best chapter for 2011 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 2011. 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.  “The competition is much more intense than for our regular award.  It is a significant distinction, considering the tremendous time and effort required to maintain a chapter of this caliber.”
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 2010-2011, student members of Lambda-Rho Chapter organized public programs on history topics, a used book sale, a joint research paper conference with history students from Grambling State University and a spring awards banquet.  Phi Alpha Theta members also presented papers at scholarly conferences and served as judges at social studies fairs in area schools.
“The student leadership we see in Phi Alpha Theta is a great source of pride to Louisiana Tech,” Tech history department head Dr. Stephen Webre said. “This kind of leadership is a tradition at Tech. In fact, this is Lambda-Rho Chapter’s 26th Best Chapter Award and its eighth Nels Cleven recognition since the award was created in 2004.  That’s eight out of eight, if anyone is counting.”
Dr. V. Elaine Thompson, a Tech history assistant professor and one of Lambda-Rho Chapter’s faculty advisers, said the chapter also received monetary awards with recognition. Winning chapters receive $250 toward the purchase of books for their institutions’ libraries, she said. Over the years, Lambda-Rho Chapter’s competition winnings have purchased more than $6,000 worth of books for Prescott Memorial Library.
Chapter president during 2010-2011 was history graduate student Ardala Wigman, of Waco, Texas.  Faculty advisers were V. Elaine Thompson and Stephen Webre.