Alpha Kappa Delta

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Alpha Kappa Delta
Founded November 21, 1920; 96 years ago (1920-11-21)
University of Southern California
Type Honor Society
Scope International
Mission statement
Anthropon Katamanthanein Diakonesein: To investigate humanity for the purpose of service.
Colors  Teal   White 
Chapters 490+
Members 80,000+ collegiate
Homepage [1]

Alpha Kappa Delta (ΑΚΔ) is an International Honor Society of Sociology. Alpha Kappa Delta is a non-secret, democratic organization founded in 1920 by Dr. Emory S. Bogardus. It is dedicated to encouraging and stimulating scholarship while promoting the scientific study and advancement of sociology. Throughout the past eight decades, Alpha Kappa Delta has grown to over 80,000 scholars and now has more than 490 chapters established around the world.

History and founders[edit]

In 1915, Emory S. Bogardus formed one of the earliest sociological departments in the U.S. at the University of Southern California. He decided a sociological society needed to be created to meet the needs of students and faculty for discussing ongoing sociological projects. With the help of fourteen graduate students and other members of the sociology department. Dr. Bogardus officially formed Alpha Kappa Delta on November 21, 1920. Also, within this year, the symbol of Alpha Kappa Delta was designed by Dr. Melvin J. Vincent.[1] While other sociological clubs were formed around this time, AKD was the first to limit membership to only those with a serious interest in sociology and pursuing superior scholarships.

Alpha Kappa Delta’s name originated from the first letters of three Greek words:

  • Anthropon, which translates to “humankind.”
  • Katamanthanein, which translates to “to investigate thoroughly.”
  • Diakonesein, which translates to “for the purpose of service.”

These words embody the sociological mission of AKD; to thoroughly study humankind for the purpose of service.

In 1921, Bogardus contacted a select group of universities around the country, inviting them to form similar organizations. Three schools responded by creating their own AKD chapters; the University of Wisconsin, Northwestern University, and the University of Kansas. These three schools, along with the University of Southern California, became the United Chapters of Alpha Kappa Delta in 1924.[2]

Currently, Alpha Kappa Delta continues to keep its members, along with the any interested person of the public, updated with information about events and other interesting information by means of the official Alpha Kappa Delta Facebook page.[3]


As the root of Alpha Kappa Delta’s name suggests, its primary goal is to advance social research for the purpose of service.[4] The original aim of the group was to address a need for students and faculty to share current or completed research projects pertaining to sociology.[5] Once the first chapter was formed by Dr. Bogardus, the organization worked to actively expand to other universities and on an international scale.[2] Two main goals guide the actions of AKD. First, they work to acknowledge and promote academic excellence in the field of sociology. Second, knowledge gained from social research is used to help others and improve society.[5] They do this by sponsoring competitions and scholarships and promoting exemplary work in the field. They also allocate funds for research symposia and educational endeavors.[6]


The efforts of Alpha Kappa Delta strive to meet organizational goals and keep their members active in a variety of ways. AKD fosters member pride by providing member cards, and membership certificates. Also available for purchase are honor cords for graduation ceremonies, AKD pins, and other merchandise.[6] They keep members informed regarding the sociological field with newsletters, organizational election materials, and the Sociological Inquiry, the official literary journal of Alpha Kappa Delta.[6] The organization seeks to expand the education and knowledge of its members, and sponsors both student and chapter representatives to travel to regional sociological conferences.[6] Since Alpha Kappa Delta plays a significant role in the academic, professional, and social lives of its members, chapters often provide opportunities for initiating and sharing recent findings.

Current representatives and members[edit]

Alpha Kappa Delta operates with a select system of officers who each have specific duties to perform for the organization. These positions include President, President-elect, Vice President, Secretary/Treasurer, and the Editor of Sociological Inquiry. The responsibilities of each officer are detailed below.



  • Acts as Chair of the Council.
  • Forms special committees and appoints members to serve on them.


  • Acts as the Chair of the Planning Committee.

Vice President

  • Assumes Chair of Council in the absence of the president.
  • Fills the role of President in the event of a vacancy in an unexpired term.


  • Fiscal officer and archivist.
  • Keeps record of meeting minutes.
  • Prepares written reports and proposals.
  • Monitors flow of work from AKD office.

Editor of the Sociological Inquiry

Other representatives of the AKD are Regional Representatives. These members serve to attend council meetings and maintain communication with chapter representatives from the region they represent.[7]


In order for colleges and other institutions to establish a chapter, the institution’s Sociology Department must hold at least two full-time professors of sociology. Also, the representing Sociology Department must offer a minimum of 60 semester hours of standard courses in the field of sociology. (This does not include summer sessions or extended teaching offerings).[5]

Membership in Alpha Kappa Delta spans a lifetime. As a member, you receive a one-year subscription to the Social Inquiry, the scientific journal of the AKD. Election into Alpha Kappa Delta has always been and will always be undertaken without regard to race, creed, or national origin. This membership, however, requires no oath, vow, or pledge. Once membership is acquired, a certificate of membership is given in hope that new members will make the ideals of Alpha Kappa Delta their own.[5]

As an undergraduate, any student interested in becoming a member must officially be declared as a Sociology Major or have serious interest in the sociology field within an official program of the host institution. The undergraduate must hold a 3.0 grade point average in sociology courses taken, and must complete a minimum of four courses at the host institution prior to initiation. As a graduate student, one must complete half a year of graduate school study in sociology while obtaining a grade point average of B or better. The student must also be continuing their matriculation in a program of study working toward their graduate degree in sociology.[6]

Staff members of the host institution must obtain a Ph.D. in sociology or be currently employed as a sociologist at the host institution prior to initiation.

In order to gain membership into Alpha Kappa Delta, one must abide by the following requirements [8]

  1. Shall be an officially declared sociology or urban studies major or minor or a minor in anthropology or international / intercultural studies.
  2. Shall be at least a junior (third year) by standards of the host institution.
  3. Shall have accumulated an overall grade point average of 3.3.
  4. Shall have maintained the equivalent of a 3.3 grade point average in the department.
  5. Shall have completed at least six courses in the department prior to initiation (exclusive of extension of courses graded pass / fail).[8]


The name Alpha Kappa Delta was chosen by the society's founder Dr. Emory Bogardus. That same year the logo was designed by Dr. Melvin J. Vincent.[1] In 1924 Gertrude A. Stephens wrote the lyrics to Alpha Kappa Delta's hymn in conjuntcion with Charles H. Gabriel who wrote the music. During the 1930s and 40s the leaders of Alpha Kappa Delta namely Kimball Young, Reed Bain, and L.L. Bernard attempted to increase membership. This effort was tested by World War II which dropped both membership and attendance at organizational meetings. L.L. Bernard lead Alpha Kappa Delta through these trying years until A.B. Hollingshead was elected Alpha Kappa Delta's president in 1948.[2]


  • MFP (Minority Fellowship Program)
    • This award is given to a sociologist of color. It is funded by annual contributions from organizations including Alpha Kappa Delta, Sociologists for Women Society, Association for Black Sociologists, Southwestern Sociological Association, along with membership donations. This award is designed to ensure a diverse and highly trained workforce to assue leadership roles in research that is relevant to today's society.[9]
  • Alpha Kappa Delta Outstanding Faculty Award
    • The Alpha Kappa Delta outstanding faculty award is given annually by students in A.K.D. to a faculty member in the Sociology or Criminal Justice Department.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Maxwell University of Syracuse: Alpha Kappa Delta". Maxwell University of Syracuse. Retrieved 2012-10-29. 
  2. ^ a b c "Penn State Alpha Kappa Delta International". Penn State University. Retrieved 2012-10-29. 
  3. ^ "Alpha Kappa Delta Sociology Honor Society "Official Page"". Facebook. 
  4. ^ "Shephard University Alpha Kappa Delta". Shepherd University. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Centenary College of Louisiana Alpha Kappa Delta". Centenary College of Louisiana. Retrieved 2012-10-29. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Association of College Honor Societies: Alpha Kappa Delta". Association of College Honor Societies. Retrieved 2012-10-29. 
  7. ^ "St. Edwards University Alpha Kappa Delta". Saint Edwards University. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  8. ^ a b "St. Peter's University Alpha Kappa Delta". St. Peter's University. Archived from the original on 2012-09-01. Retrieved 2012-10-29. 
  9. ^ "American Sociological Association: Minority Fellowship Program". American Sociological Association. Retrieved 2012-11-21. 
  10. ^ "Plattsburgh University of New York: Alpha Kappa Delta". Plattsburgh University of New York. Retrieved 2012-10-29. 

External links[edit]