Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University

Alpha Lambda Delta:

An Inventory of Its Records, 1962-2008, at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library

Descriptive Summary

Creator Alpha Lambda Delta
Title: Alpha Lambda Delta Records,
Dates: 1962-2008 and undated
Abstract: The collection contains membership information, scholarship material, account summaries, and newsletters.
Collection # S 1776.1
Quantity: 3 boxes (2 linear feet)
Language English
Repository: Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University

Biographical Sketch

Alpha Lambda Delta was founded in 1924 by the Dean of Women, Maria Leonard, at the University of Illinois to recognize academic excellence among freshmen women. One year before, Dean Thomas Arkle Clark had founded Phi Eta Sigma, an honor society to recognize academic excellence among freshmen men. Both groups operated as single sex organizations until the mid-1970s when they both became coeducational in response to Title IX. At the first meeting of the chapter, Florence Finn, president of the society, presented a passage from Plato’s Republic in which Socrates asks the question, "Will they hold torches and pass them to one another...?" This idea, together with the symbol of a candle and the concept of sharing the love of learning with others, caught the imagination of the charter members.

The honor society soon became a national organization through the chartering of chapters at Purdue University in 1926, at DePauw University in 1927, at the University of Michigan in 1927, and at the University of Oklahoma in 1929. The first national convention was held in 1930 on the campus of the University of Illinois. Conventions were suspended during the depression years because of travel expenses. The third convention was held in 1938 at the University of Michigan. A decision was made at that convention to suspend holding a national convention and to invest those funds into establishing a graduate fellowship fund. The first fellowship was awarded to Louise Houssiere for graduate study at MIT in 1940.

The Association of College Honor Societies was organized in 1925 to consider matters of mutual concern to member organizations; Alpha Lambda Delta has been active in the Association since its admission to membership in 1939. In 1976 in response to Title IX, the National Council voted for the Society to become coeducational. In 1981, the first two male members of the National Council were installed.

Alpha Lambda Delta has continued to be innovative and responsive in recognizing academic excellence by providing Senior Certificates and the Maria Leonard Senior Book Award since 1939, offering workshops since 1978, recognizing outstanding chapters with the Order of the Torch Award since 1989, recognizing an Outstanding Adviser of the Year since 1990, and taking advantage of technology by posting a national web site in January of 1997.

Alpha Lambda Delta has continued to celebrate academic excellence among first year students and has grown to over 260 chapters and has initiated over 850,000 students. The National Council which governs the organization has prudently invested the resources and gifts from local chapters, national council members, former fellowship recipients, and friends of the Society over the years so that the Perpetual Fellowship Fund as of 2013 exceeded $3 million and can provide income to support 35 undergraduate scholarships of $1,000-$3,000 each, 23 graduate fellowships from $3,000 to $7,500. The fellowships are named for significant people in the history of the Society including the founder, Maria Leonard, the first adviser, Gladys Pennington, two Executive Directors, and several national presidents.

In 2008, the National Council authorized the creation of ten new awards for ALD members embarking on study abroad programs: the James G. Stemler Study Abroad Scholarships. These ten new awards will provide $1,000 in direct financial aid to ALD members who are pursuing international study - ALD's way of assisting students in developing the global outlook needed in the 21st century's global economy. The Study Abroad Fellowships are named after former ALD National President James G. Stemler, the first male president of Alpha Lambda Delta and a vocal proponent of study abroad.

The Lubbock Chapter of Alpha Lamba Delta was founded in 1949 and is still active as of 2013.


Scope and Content

The records of the Alpha Lambda Delta collection contain membership information, scholarship material, account summaries, and newsletters related to Alpha Lambda Delta chapters and their activities and events primary at the Texas Tech University Chapter, but also in other chapters throughout the United States. Such activities include leadership workshops and social events, as well as awards given to members.



The collection is organized alphabetically by topic, then by title.


Access Restrictions

Open for research

Index Terms

The subject headings used by the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library are derived from the Library of Congress and/or locally developed.
Subjects (Persons)
Clark, Thomas Arkle
Leonard, Maria
Subjects (Organizations)
Alpha Lambda Delta
Association of College Honor Societies (U.S.)
Phi Eta Sigma
Texas Tech University
Subjects (Places)
Lubbock (Tex.)
Students' societies
Women--ocieties and clubs

Related Material

Alpha Lambda Delta Records, 1975-2008

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Alpha Lambda Delta Records, 1962-2008 and undated, Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas


Collection accession #(s):

Gift, 2009

Processed by

Andrew Lloyd, 2013

Collection Inventory



box folder
1 1 Emails/Letters, 2003-2007
2 Scholarship Applications, 2002-2003


Financial Materials

box folder
1 3 Account Establishment/Endowment, 2005-2006
4 Account Summary Reports, 1997
5 Account Summary Reports, 1998
6 Account Summary Reports, 1999
7 Account Summary Reports, 2000
8 Account Summary Reports, 2001
9 Balance Sheets, Receipts, and Scholarship Reports, 2001-2007
10 Order Blank, 1962-1979
11 Order Blank, 1969-1978
12 Order Blank, 1970-1984
13 Order Blank, 1985-1990
14 Order Form, 1991-2001
15 Scholarship Awards, 2005
16 Scholarship Awards, 1999
17 Scholarship Awards, 2000
18 Scholarship Awards, 2001



box folder
1 19 Fall, 2005
20 The Flame, 1963-1969
21 The Flame, 1970-1974
22 The Flame, 1975-1978
23 The Flame, 1980-1982
24 The Flame, 1983-1986
25 The Flame, 1989-2001



box folder
1 26 Endowment, 2007


Printed Materials

box folder
1 27 Applications/Forms, 2001-2007
28 Calendars/Updates, 1998
29 Convention, 2006
30 Forums and Pamphlets, 1999-2008
31 Handbook for One-Act Play, Date Unknown
32 Handbooks, Rituals, and Constitution, Date Unknown
33 Initiation, 2006
34 Leadership and Chapter Activities, 1998-1999
35 Leadership Workshop, 2003-2004
36 Leadership Workshop, 2006
37 League Program, 2002
box folder
2 1 Lists of Names, Date Unknown
2 Membership, 2003
3 National Leadership Workshop, 1999
4 New Member Information A-B, 2007-2008
5 New Member Information C-D, 2008
6 New Member Information E-F, 2008
7 New Member Information G-H, 2008
8 New Member Information I-J, 2008
9 Pledges/Initiates, 1965-1973
10 Roundtable Discussions, 1996-1998
11 Running Successful Meetings, Date Unknown
12 Sample Forms and Rule Books, Date Unknown
13 Student Leadership Symposium, 2007
14 Winning Chapters/World Wide Web, Date Unknown
box folder
3 1 Artifacts, Date Unknown