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Alpha Chi at OVU

Alpha Chi is a coeducational society whose purpose is to promote academic excellence and exemplary character among college and university students and to honor those who achieve such distinction. Its name derives from the initial letters of the Greek words AΛHΘEIA, meaning TRUTH, and XAPAKTHP, meaning CHARACTER.

As a general honor society, Alpha Chi admits to membership students from all academic disciplines. A member institution, which must be a regionally accredited, baccalaureate degree-granting college or university, may invite to membership no more than the top 10 percent of the junior and senior classes.

In 1935 Alpha Chi adopted its official shield and key, colors, and song. The shield and key bear a lamp of learning and the initials AX in raised letters. The colors are emerald green and sapphire blue, signifying victory and truth. The motto of the organization is taken from the Gospel of John: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32 KJV). Lyrics for the official song, “Hail to Alpha Chi,” were written by a Southwest Texas State University student, J. M. Brandstetter, in 1935. Since Alpha Chi is not a secret organization, there are no hidden symbols and programs are open to the public. An addition description on the history of Alpha Chi is available through its national Web site.

Alpha Chi hosts a National Convention, which meets in the spring of odd-numbered years in a major city chosen by the National Council. Recent cities have been Philadelphia (1997), New Orleans (1999), Savannah (2001), Washington, D.C. (2003), St. Louis (2005), San Antonio (2007), Indianapolis (2009), and San Diego (2011). Typically between 400 and 500 students and chapter sponsors attend the national meeting, which conducts the business of the society, including the election of faculty members to the National Council. The focus of the convention, however, is the program of scholarly papers and performances by student members (more than 200 in recent years). In addition, each chapter of Alpha Chi is affiliated with one of seven regions, which convene every year to conduct their business. In odd-numbered years the regions meet in conjunction with the National Convention, but in even-numbered years they meet separately, sometimes on campuses within the regions and sometimes in convention hotels convenient to host chapters. Since the programs of all these conventions feature scholarly or creative presentations by students, Alpha Chi heavily subsidizes attendance to encourage students to benefit from such an extraordinary opportunity. The society also provides tens of thousands of dollars annually in scholarships and fellowships for its members and alumni. The largest stipends are for national awards, but the seven regions and many chapters also sponsor scholarship competitions as well.

Under the leadership of Dr. Philip Sturm as the first official sponsor, the West Virginia Zeta Chapter of the Alpha Chi National College Honor Society was established on the Ohio Valley University campus in November 2002; it is affiliated with Region V. Dr. Jonathan Miller is the official sponsor, assisted by Dr. Steven Hardy, Dr. Joy Jones, Dr. Jennifer Presley-Ice, and  Dr. Bruce Terry. For information on how to become an Alpha Chi member, please contact the official sponsor, Dr. Jonathan Miller, at (304)865-6168 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information about Alpha Chi, visit the Alpha Chi National Web site.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which undergraduates qualify?

Active membership is based on good reputation and character as well as high scholarship. Further:

  1. One must be a regular (that is, a student pursuing a degree, not necessarily a full-time student in terms of course load) undergraduate student of junior or senior standing.
  2. One must have been a regular student in the electing institution for not less than one academic year prior to election, that is, at least 24 semester hours. However, an institution without freshman and sophomore classes may elect to membership students who have completed at least 12 hours at the institution.
  3. Ordinarily, the entire record of the student should be considered; however, an institution may choose to consider only grades earned at that institution.
  4. Not more than the top 10 percent of juniors and the top 10 percent of seniors, including those previously inducted, shall be elected by the institution.
  5. The faculty of the institution may set its own academic standard for induction, within the 10 percent guideline.

What kinds of activities are expected?

The Constitution specifies three kinds of activities each chapter should engage in:

  1. The annual or semi-annual induction ceremony. Many chapters combine these ceremonies with banquets and/or some formal program, such as a scholarly lecture.
  2. Attendance at the annual convention, either regional or national, by at least one faculty sponsor and one student delegate. Attendance at these meetings has proven to be important in stimulating interest in local chapters.
  3. Regular meetings, including at least one annual open meeting “for the purpose of presenting a subject relating to scholarship and the advancement of knowledge.”

What kinds of open meetings are suggested?

The best kinds of meetings for a general honor society probably are those on topics with interdisciplinary interest. Here are possibilities:

  1. A panel discussion on graduate study, selection of a graduate school, and procedures for seeking graduate scholarships, assistantships, and fellowships.
  2. A public address by a guest speaker.
  3. A panel discussion on topics such as academic integrity, bioethical issues, campus issues, etc.
  4. A panel or forum on some current topic of national or international significance.
  5. Scholarly papers presented by student members.
  6. A panel of civic leaders discussing the relevance of higher education to current social problems.
  7. “Quiz Bowl” types of competition.

What other types of meetings are recommended?

Each chapter will differ in its desire for frequency of meeting and amount of business to transact. Some chapters rarely convene, especially very large ones, while others find profit in monthly meetings or activities.

The following meeting occasions may be used:

  1. Election and/or installation of officers.
  2. Plans for convention attendance. (pre- and post-convention meetings)
  3. Social get-togethers at sponsors’ homes.
  4. Presentation of chapter awards or scholarships.
  5. Field trips.

What about service and other projects?

  1. Tutoring for other students in the institution.
  2. Informative programs on graduate study, current topics, etc.
  3. Essay contests.
  4. Awards to local high school scholars.
  5. Honors banquet for freshmen and sophomores.
  6. Library orientation for foreign students.
  7. Contribution to local hospital fund.
  8. Donation of books to the library.
  9. Scholarships to chapter members.
  10. Outstanding teacher awards.
  11. Contests in the arts.

Where can we get other ideas?

  1. The Chapter Workshops which are part of most national conventions and regional meetings.
  2. The semiannual Newsletter with its chapter news.
  3. Talking with representatives from other chapters at regional and national conventions.
  4. The Alpha Chi Web site.

Conventions: What happens at the conventions?

The national convention traditionally begins on a Thursday night with a banquet and guest speaker, followed by a social time for delegates to get acquainted. Friday and Saturday mornings begin with continental breakfast and roundtable discussions of topics of interest to local chapters, followed by student scholarly presentations. Friday afternoon and evening are left free for sightseeing, and the convention adjourns at about noon Saturday after a closing business session.

Regional conventions usually follow a similar format, although often they involve only Friday and Saturday.

What are the student presentations?

Attending can be much less expensive than you would think. Registration fees are minimal ($40 for the national, for example, covers the banquet and the continental breakfasts). Both the national and the regional organizations give liberal subsidies to encourage attendance. To save on housing costs, Alpha Chi will help assign roommates from different chapters so that a delegate can be guaranteed a quad rate. Information on subsidies is available well in advance of the meeting, so that chapters can decide how many students and faculty can attend. Of course, most chapters will also use local funds to cover travel costs. Some institutions supplement chapter funds to encourage participation in conventions, especially if one or more students are presenting on the program. You should check with the chief academic officer or president’s office to see if that is a possibility.

Alpha Chi has always made these presentations the focus of its conventions. More than 200 student presentations are typical at a national convention. With delegates representing a wide range of academic fields, the national convention devotes several hours to concurrent sessions in which students present research papers and give creative or artistic performances. Each student has a 10-minute slot, with a brief time for questions and discussion by the audience. Although the audience for a given session could range from fifteen to one hundred persons, the format gives students an opportunity to participate in a scholarly program similar to that of professional organizations. Regional meetings, being smaller, may not group presentations by discipline, but the scholarly sessions are equally stimulating.

How can a chapter afford to send a delegation?

Attending can be much less expensive than you would think. Registration fees are minimal ($40 for the national, for example, covers the banquet and the continental breakfasts). Both the national and the regional organizations give liberal subsidies to encourage attendance. To save on housing costs, Alpha Chi will help assign roommates from different chapters so that a delegate can be guaranteed a quad rate. Information on subsidies is available well in advance of the meeting, so that chapters can decide how many students and faculty can attend. Of course, most chapters will also use local funds to cover travel costs. Some institutions supplement chapter funds to encourage participation in conventions, especially if one or more students are presenting on the program. You should check with the chief academic officer or president’s office to see if that is a possibility.

Fellowships and Scholarships: What are the national awards?

The National Council annually awards twenty-four national awards to undergraduate members and two awards to graduate student members.

Sledge and Benedict Fellowships for Undergraduate Members

The Robert W. Sledge and H. Y. Benedict Fellowships are for the first year of graduate study toward the master’s, doctor’s, or professional degree at any recognized institution. For eligibility, a nominee must plan to complete his or her undergraduate degree in the academic year in which application is made and must enroll full-time in a graduate or professional program in the fall semester of the award year. Two Sledge Fellowships worth $3,500 and ten Benedict Fellowships worth $2,500 each are awarded each year. All nominees automatically compete for both awards.

Gaston and Nolle Scholarships for Undergraduate Members

The Edwin W. Gaston, Jr. and Alfred H. Nolle Scholarships are for the senior year of undergraduate study. For eligibility, a nominee must be a full-time undergraduate student in the fall of the academic year following his or her nomination in the spring. Two Gaston Scholarships worth $2,500 and ten Nolle Scholarships worth $1,500 each are awarded each year. All nominees automatically compete for both awards.

What are the competition rules?

  • For the awards above, each chapter may submit no more than two nominations (either two Fellowships, two Scholarships, or one of each).
  • Nominations must be submitted through the official chapter sponsor, and only complete nominations will receive consideration.

What application materials are required?

  1. The official nomination form (mailed to the chapter sponsor each fall) completed, signed by the sponsor, and included with the entry.
  2. A letter of application from the student outlining his/her plans for study and detailing his/her extracurricular activities—maximum length of two pages, double-spaced.
  3. An academic paper or other appropriate work in the student's major field. This is the most important aspect of the application; it will be judged for clarity, originality, and correctness of form. In the case of a submission that emphasizes nonverbal material, the application must also include the student's written explanation that demonstrates an understanding of the theoretical basis for the project or subject matter.
    • Papers must be submitted as follows: ONE printed copy and ONE copy on computer CD; printed copy must come without covers or binders, grades or comments, printed on one side only.
    • Submission of other media (such as slides, photographs, video, audio CD, etc.) must be in TWO copies. Bulky items that are difficult or expensive to ship (such as paintings, three-dimensional art pieces, and posters) must be photographed instead of sent in the original form. These items will not be returned unless a postage-paid mailer is included.
    • If the paper represents a cooperative project, both nominee and faculty director of the project must specifically delineate the nominee's contribution; if this is not done, the entry will be disqualified.
    • Scientific papers or projects require an abstract.
  4. One letter of recommendation/evaluation from a faculty member in the field represented by the paper or project; this letter must address the significance of the work. No other letters will be accepted.
  5. A self-addressed, stamped envelope (so that verification of arrival of materials can be sent to applicant).

 

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Alpha Chi Honor Society Members

Alpha Chi members include the top 10% of the Junior and Senior classes at OVU, and are elected for induction by faculty. Click below for photos of Ohio Valley University’s esteemed Alpha Chi membership.

2013 - 2014

2012 - 2013

2011 - 2012

2010 - 2011

2009 - 2010

2008 - 2009

2007 - 2008

2006 - 2007

2005 - 2006

2004 - 2005

2003 - 2004

2002 - 2003