Alpha Sigma Nu

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Alpha Sigma Nu (ΑΣΝ) was founded at Marquette University in 1915 by John Danihy, S.J., Dean of Journalism. In his travels and reading, Father Danihy had encountered and admired honor societies. In the first half of the 20th century, administrators of Catholic institutions of higher education found that their students were being systematically locked out of other honor societies, especially Phi Beta Kappa. The society, known as Alpha Sigma Tau until 1930, spread from Marquette to Creighton University, to St. Louis University and to the University of Detroit in its first decade. By 1924, Gamma Pi Epsilon was founded to honor outstanding women. Alpha Sigma Nu and Gamma Pi Epsilon pursued separate but similar paths for almost 50 years, expanding nationally and cooperating on campuses where they existed together. The society born of their merger in 1973 is open to men and women at the 28 Jesuit institutions of higher education in the United States, two in Canada and one in South Korea. Alpha Sigma Nu, in seeking the best of Jesuit education, requires that its now 70,000 members emulate St. Ignatius through excellence in scholarship, loyalty, and service. This Ignatian heritage is relevant today as Alpha Sigma Nu celebrates its 97th year. Some 1,900 members are inducted each year.

Alpha Sigma Nu purpose[edit]

The purpose of the Society shall be to honor students of Jesuit institutions of higher education who distinguish themselves in scholarship, loyalty and service; to honor persons who may or may not be Alumni of Jesuit institutions of higher education who have distinguished themselves in scholarship, loyalty and service in their intellectual, civic, religious, professional or commercial pursuits; to band together and to encourage those so honored to understand, to appreciate and to promote the ideals of Jesuit education; to encourage the establishment and proper functioning of Chapters in accredited Jesuit institutions of higher education; and to encourage the establishment and proper functioning of Alumni Clubs.

Alpha Sigma Nu mission[edit]

Alpha Sigma Nu recognizes those students who distinguish themselves in scholarship, loyalty and service. The only honor society permitted to bear the name Jesuit, Alpha Sigma Nu encourages its members to a lifetime pursuit of intellectual development, deepening Ignatian spirituality, service to others, and a commitment to the core principles of Jesuit education. Selection to Alpha Sigma Nu is the highest honor awarded on a Jesuit campus.

Scholarship is the most important qualification and is defined as: a depth of comprehension and a breadth of knowledge, a passion for knowledge, ideas, and critical analysis, education as a lifelong pursuit, and a balanced integration of experiences, advancing both knowledge and wisdom.

The qualification of loyalty means an intellectual appreciation of Jesuit ideals of higher education and a commitment to these ideals on the intellectual, social, moral, and religious levels. Loyalty demands: a deep sense of decency, truth and justice, a commitment to moral convictions, and efforts to advance the good of society.

Service to others is an integral part of the philosophy of Jesuit education and of Alpha Sigma Nu. Service: uses one's knowledge to contribute to the world, reflects a concern for the welfare of our society, and is demonstrated by giving freely of time and energy to one's school and to the larger community.

Juniors, seniors and graduate students who rank academically in the top 15% of their class at Jesuit universities and have a demonstrated record of service and loyalty to the Jesuit ideals are eligible. Only 4% of each class is inducted.

Benefits of Membership

  • Dedication and diligence are tangibly rewarded. Membership is the highest honor bestowed at Jesuit institutions
  • Involvement in Jesuit mission-focused activities
  • Lifelong membership, networks and collegiality with people from all 29 Jesuit institutions in the United States, two in Canada and one in Korea
  • Connection to the Alpha Sigma Nu online member directory of 70,000 Alpha Sigma Nu members
  • Membership in one of 14 Alpha Sigma Nu Alumni Clubs upon graduation.
  • Entrance at the GS-7 level in numerous professional and technical occupations in the Federal service.
  • Through partnerships with the Washington Internship Institute, The Fund for American Studies, and The Washington Center, members of each ACHS member society may qualify for scholarships


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