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Honor Societies

Alpha Mu Gamma

A national honor society for students of community colleges, four-year colleges, and universities, Alpha Mu Gamma honors achievement in the study of foreign languages. The society strongly believes that such recognition stimulates a desire for linguistic achievement; nurtures and promotes interest in the study of foreign languages, literatures, and civilizations; and fosters a sympathetic understanding of other peoples through the medium of languages.

Alpha Mu Gamma was founded in 1931 by members of the foreign language faculty at Los Angeles City College in Los Angeles, California. A semi-annual publication, the Scroll, began production in 1933, and continues today as a newsletter. By 1938 there were chapters in five states: Arizona, California, Kansas, Missouri, and Minnesota. By 2001 there were 318 chapters in virtually every state.

The society annually awards scholarships for foreign language study and for study abroad to outstanding student members. Alpha Mu Gamma is registered in the state of California as a nonprofit educational organization. Its officers consist of a nationally elected president and vice president, regional vice presidents, a national executive secretary, a national treasurer, and an administrative assistant. The officers constitute the National Executive Council, which is responsible for the basic policies of the organization. The chapters must conform to the rules of the society concerning selection and initiation of members, and use of society regalia such as pins and cords; however, each chapter is completely autonomous is every other way.

Alpha Mu Gamma held its thirtieth biennial national convention at Fairfield University, Fairfield, Connecticut, in March 2001. The national convention of Alpha Mu Gamma is organized by member chapters to provide a forum where students and faculty can meet and make presentations related to foreign language teaching, study abroad, and the study of literature and culture. Often, scholars of national or international importance attend the conference as keynote speakers. The national convention also provides the society with an opportunity to honor its most distinguished student members and to install its nationally elected officers. The selection of a location for the convention is made by the National Executive Council based on proposals submitted by member chapters.

Alpha Mu Gamma derives its income primarily from student initiation fees and charter fees. It provides limited financial assistance to chapters involved in the organization of the national convention.

In January 1957, through the efforts of the eleventh national president, Sister Eloise-Therese of Sigma Chapter at Mount Saint Mary's College in Los Angeles, President Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed the third week of February as "National Foreign Language Week," now celebrated during the first full week of March. Every year since, the president of the United States and many of the nation's governors have continued to recognize this event. The National Executive Council annually commissions the design and publication of a poster, which is widely distributed among schools, colleges, and universities throughout the United States.

Alpha Mu Gamma not only provides a milieu for students to meet the high standards of achievement of a national honor society, but also offers students incentives to excel in foreign languages.


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