JACKSON, Tenn. – Oct. 26, 2004 – It may not be well known, but it certainly has been successful over the last 50 years.
Phi Alpha Theta, an international honor society in history at Union, has received the Best Chapter Award for the second year in a row.
“The competition is always intense with multiple chapters vying for this award,” said Graydon Tunstall, executive director for Phi Alpha Theta. “However, the Delta-Psi chapter (at Union) truly stood out among its competitors.”
This organization has been around since 1953 and has been extremely active since its start more than 50 years ago. While its activities often get overlooked by the average person, the organization has been busy at work.
In 2003, Phi Alpha Theta held a Mid-South Regional History Conference at Union and had participants from 11 colleges and universities in attendance. The conference itself celebrated 50 years of existence. The ironic part is that the organization partnered up with the friendly, marshmallow candy, “Peeps,” which also was celebrating its 50 year anniversary, and incorporated the two organizations together in décor for the event.
In the past, several students have earned high honors and awards from various conferences across the country. Last January, seniors Mariann Martin, English major, and Ian Crawford, history major, presented papers at the Biennial Convention in New Orleans, La. Recent Union graduate, David Patterson, won first place at regional conference in Mississippi last March.
“(Phi Alpha Theta) allows students to get in front of historians and present findings from a history project,” said Dr. Stephen Carls, chapter advisor and history and political science professor. “(They) get a feel for the profession and (it) prepares them for law and graduate school.”
Students at Union are directly benefiting from this award. The Union University library will receive $250 to purchase new history books for a total contribution of $500 in the last two years.
“The chapter award is another way to grow and (increase) our impact here at Union,” said senior Sharon Hart, vice president of Phi Alpha Theta and history major. “People at Union can benefit from this.”
The chapter activities provide practical experience in the area of history while providing an atmosphere to foster new relationships along the way.
“(Phi Alpha Theta) helps (us) to get to know other majors and develop relationships with other people interested in the same things,” said senior Ian Crawford, three-year member of Phi Alpha Beta and history major.
Not only does the organization attend professional activities and engage in history research, but it also takes time to grow relationships between students and professors.
Dr. Carls said he enjoys taking students to conferences because it is a time of “cementing relationships with students.”
As Phi Alpha Theta continues to excel at Union, any students who have 12 hours of history and minimum 3.1 GPA in history and 3.0 GPA in the rest of their classes are encouraged to become a part of this thriving organization.
By Jenny Eastman ('05)