“Making Scholarship Effective for Good”

“Making Scholarship Effective for Good”

As Fresno Pacific prepares to celebrate our 75th Anniversary year, we would like to take a moment to reflect on Alpha Chi Interdisciplinary Honor Society, which is also our longest-standing honor society. Fresno Pacific’s chapter began in 1985, and it has received “Star Chapter” recognition for 15 consecutive years. Alpha Chi is made up of students of high integrity who are in the top 10 percent of their class.

One of Alpha Chi’s mottos is the title of this piece, and another is “The truth shall make you free.” You can see that it is a good fit for Fresno Pacific! The “Alpha” stands for the Greek word aletheia, truth, and that is the name of Alpha Chi’s undergraduate research journal. One of our alumnae, Madeleine Cameron, published in it last year. The “Chi” stands for the Greek word character, which means much the same as our derivation of the word, and certainly serves as a shorthand for the ways in which our students “engage the cultures and serve the cities.”

Alpha Chi sponsors and takes part in several events on campus each year. “How to Get into Graduate School” has been an annual symposium to help picture that next step for students, many of whom do not have family histories of graduate study, in order to better prepare them for that possibility. With the help of the psychology program it has now expanded to two sessions.

We also sponsor a dessert for members at the end of the school year, which includes the induction of the new members. A wonderful tradition at the event, started by Fay Nielsen, Ph.D., is the celebration by seniors of their most inspiring professors. Every year it is very moving to see our most inspiring professors honored by our very best students!

One of the highlights of the year for us sponsors is the Alpha Chi national convention each spring. Students submit paper abstracts, the best of which are accepted for presentation at the conference. Cultural side trips, such as Portland’s famous Powell’s Bookstore, the Field Museum in Chicago or the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, provide bonding opportunities and lifelong memories. And the interdisciplinary nature of Alpha Chi is one of its greatest strengths, with students from the sciences, humanities, social sciences and business disciplines learning from and supporting each other.

We have been proud of how Fresno Pacific has outperformed for its small size at the conferences over the years. This year was the second year we received the most firsts nationally, though other delegations were much bigger. Rachel Anderson was first in the philosophy section, and Loren Friesen was first in communication. Catherine Jalomo was our student delegate and nominee for regional representative, while Maranata Zemede was the winner of our regional scholarship.

We nominated the chapter in Bakersfield (with whom we are very close) for the national outstanding chapter award, and it won! It was the first such award in our region, Region VII. We have impressive regional and national credentials: we have recently had two national council members, Joshua Blagaila and Pamela Johnston, Ph.D., and we have had two regional presidents, Fay Nielsen and Marshall Johnston, Ph.D. Two of this year’s conference-goers, Catherine and Rachel, will return next year, so we hope to have another powerhouse delegation in Albuquerque.

Each month you may find out more activities of our honor societies and the University Scholars Program in the newsletter Halcyon Tidings. If you do not already receive it, please ask one of us to add you to the email list.

As we celebrated the wedding of one alumnus member and convention-goer in Delaware last week, we thought about how these connections can really be lifelong. And the significance of our leadership in this national organization is a great example of how FPU takes service seriously at the local, city, county, state, national and international level.


W. Marshall Johnston, Ph.D., & Pamela D. Johnston, Ph.D.,

Associate Professors of History & Sponsors of Alpha Chi Interdisciplinary Honor Society California Zeta Chapter