Tech's history organization receives national honors

Aug 23, 2012 | General News, Liberal Arts

Continuing its tradition of excellence, Louisiana Tech’s Lambda-Rho Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, History Honor Society, Inc., has once again walked off with national honors for 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 2012 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 2012.
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.  “It is our most notable distinction, considering the tremendous time and effort required to maintain a chapter of this caliber so consistently.”
Judging in the competition is based on documented chapter activities during the academic year.  During 2011-2012, 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 local 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 27th Best Chapter Award and its ninth Nels Cleven recognition since the award was created in 2004.  That’s nine out of nine, if anyone is counting.”
Dr. V. Elaine Thompson, a Tech assistant professor of history and one of Lambda-Rho Chapter’s faculty advisers, said the organization served as a benefit to the university.
“There’s more than just recognition involved,” Thompson said.  “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 $7,000 worth of books for Tech’s Prescott Memorial Library.
History graduate student Nicholas Ducote, of Metairie, served as chapter president for the 2011-2012 school year. Thompson and Webre served as faculty advisers, and Dr. Roshunda Belton from GSU served as a liaison for faculty and student members who attend Grambling.
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.