Alpha Phi Sigma inductees

Lees-McRae chapter of Criminal Justice honor society Alpha Phi Sigma inducts first members

The Criminal Justice program held its first ever induction ceremony for the Alpha Phi Sigma Honor Society on April 15.

The inductees consisted of main campus students Olivia Masters, Ethan Gardner, Bayle Wood, Amelia Bryn Cooper, Cooper Abernathy, Laci McMinn, Clancy Loorham, Aiden Eriksen, Kaden Hill, Cory Fulmer and online students Susannah Dibble, Victoria Owensby, Mary-Catherine Perkowski, Daniel Blake, Cynthia Johnson, Omarine Lockhart, Charlene Brady, Vernon Byrd, and Benjamin Barber. Also inducted was Kaycee Jennings, who graduated in 2020.

Alpha Phi Sigma is the only Criminal Justice Honor Society accredited by the Association of College Honor Societies. It was founded in 1942 by V.A. Leonard, at the time the director of the Police Science academic program at Washington State University, as a way to promote academic excellence and leadership for college students pursuing a career in a criminal justice field.

The society now has over 330 chapters throughout the United States and Canada, with over 90,000 members. The Lees-McRae chapter, officially called Pi Epsilon Kappa, was added to the organization in 2021.

“It was a fairly straightforward matter to apply for a new chapter of the honor society,” said Jerry Turbyfill, a Criminal Justice instructor. “We were actually planning on bringing the society in at the start of the fall semester. However, after some discussion, we decided to speed the process up so that these graduating seniors could gain the benefits of membership. We felt the students had been cheated out of some of the normal college experience because of all the fallout from the pandemic. It was our hope that this would add something special back for our top performing students.” 

Being an Alpha Phi Sigma member will have benefits beyond college, Turbyfill explained.

“Membership not only looks good on a resume—for some federal jobs a person can be hired at a rate two pay grades higher than normal by being a member of Alpha Phi Sigma, since it fulfills a certain scholarly requirement for federal jobs,” he said.

To be eligible for membership, undergraduates must be enrolled in a criminal justice-related major or minor and have completed 45 credit hours in the program. The potential inductees must also have a minimum 3.2 GPA and be in the top 35% of their class.

The chapter advisors for Lees-McRae are Katherine Logan, Tracy Hoilman, and Turbyfill, who all teach in the Criminal Justice program. The officers are President Olivia Masters, Vice President Ethan Gardner, Secretary Bayle Wood, and Treasurer Amelia Bryn Cooper.

This year’s officers were chosen by the faculty from the senior class of inductees. According to Hoilman, the officers were selected based on academic performance and leadership qualities, among other factors. Moving forward, the society members will vote for officers.

During the induction ceremony, the advisors and officers described the purpose of Alpha Phi Sigma.

“Membership in Alpha Phi Sigma should be a lifelong reminder that if greatness is to be achieved, one must serve,” said Masters.

Turbyfill listed the ideals of the honor society—academic excellence, leadership, service, and unity—and explained the meaning behind the society’s motto, symbol, and colors. Students who join Alpha Phi Sigma may wear blue and gold tassels and an honor stole with their graduation regalia. 

As part of the ceremony, each inductee submitted a short composition to be read aloud as they sign the registration book and receive their certificate and membership pin. In the compositions, the students named an individual who has had a positive impact on their lives and shared a favorite quote.

The ceremony ended with the new members of Alpha Phi Sigma lighting candles and taking the oath to uphold the values and ideals of the honor society.    

By Emily WebbApril 19, 2021