Delta Epsilon Sigma
Delta Epsilon Sigma is a national scholastic honor society for students, faculty and alumni of colleges and universities with a Catholic tradition. It was founded in 1939 to recognize academic accomplishments, to foster scholarly activities and to encourage a sense of intellectual community among its members.
National recognition is accorded through the college or university chapter. Over 100 colleges and universities have received charters to establish chapters of Delta Epsilon Sigma. The national Delta Epsilon Sigma Web site offers more details.
For a list of current student members at Saint Michael’s, see Inductees.
Questions regarding the Alpha Nu chapter can be directed to:William Karstens
Cheray Hall 108
Campus Mail Box 254
Delta Epsilon Sigma, the national scholastic honor society for students, faculty and alumni of colleges and universities with a Catholic tradition, began at the suggestion of Reverend E. A. Fitzgerald, Dean of Studies at Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa, who in October of 1938 surveyed Catholic colleges and universities concerning their interest in initiating such a society.
In 1939 the Committee of Founders, under the chairmanship of Father Fitzgerald, was appointed to draw up a general plan of organization. Subcommittees on Constitution, on Name and Motto, and on Insignia were also appointed. A constitutional convention was held at the Hotel President, Kansas City, Missouri, on March 29, 1940; a provisional constitution was adopted.
National meetings between 1941 and 1945 were infrequent because of the war, but the society was kept alive through the efforts of Father Fitzgerald, the National Secretary-Treasurer. In 1947 the Society initiated its official publication, the Delta Epsilon Sigma Bulletin, now known as the Delta Epsilon Sigma Journal.
The first major revision of the constitution and bylaws was adopted on April 2, 1959. On May 28, 1976, in the bicentennial year of the United States of America, a new constitution, bylaws and induction ritual were approved by a National Conclave held at Rosemont College in Philadelphia. Minor amendments were made at the Second National Conclave held at the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York, on April 18, 1986, and by mail ballot in 1996.
The Alpha Nu Chapter of Delta Epsilon Sigma at Saint Michael’s College was established in 1941, one of the first chapters after the initial organization of 31 college chapters in 1940. Currently, over 100 colleges and universities have received charters to establish chapters of Delta Epsilon Sigma.
National Criteria for Membership
Undergraduate students must have completed at least 50% of the credit requirements for their baccalaureate degrees and rank not lower than the highest 20% of their class in scholarship. Graduate students shall have completed one-half of the credit requirements for their degree and shall have a minimum grade point of average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale or its equivalent.
Benefits of Membership
In addition to fellowship members enjoy in a national scholarly community, members are entitled to a life-long subscription to the Delta Epsilon Sigma Journal. Membership in the society is continuing and transferable from chapter to chapter. National dues are limited to initiation fee. Each member is entitled to vote for and to stand for nomination as a national officer or member of the Executive Committee.
Because Delta Epsilon Sigma has been admitted into the Association of College Honor Societies, members at graduation are eligible for employment in Federal Civil Service GS-7 positions instead of GS-5 if they fulfill all other requirements for the position.
Delta Epsilon Sigma Journal
Published three times a year, the Delta Epsilon Sigma Journal contains essays, scholarly articles, poetry and short stories, as well as news of members and chapters. Members are encouraged to submit their own work for consideration for publication.
Distinguished Lecturers Program
The Society makes available a fund to help subsidize lecturers from local Delta Epsilon Sigma chapters with a maximum award of $200. In addition, there is an award of $1,000 for speakers at major meetings sponsored or co-sponsored by chapters of the Society or by professional societies.
Saint Michael’s College Alpha Nu Membership Criteria
- DES is and remains a national honor society for the recognition of academic achievement and dedication to intellectual activity. Talents, gifts and accomplishments of other types must and should be honored elsewhere and in other ways.
- The National By-laws state (V,1): “To be eligible for membership in the Society, candidates must be persons who have a record of outstanding academic accomplishment, who have shown dedication to intellectual activity, and who have accepted their responsibility of service to others.”
- Undergraduates: Students shall have completed at least six semesters of the credit requirements for their baccalaureate degrees with an overall GPA within the top 15% of their class. In addition, students invited to become members of the Alpha Nu Chapter must complete an essay indicating how the Catholic and Edmundite Traditions have made an impact on their learning at Saint Michael’s College.
- Graduate students: The National By-laws provide (V,1): “Graduate students shall have completed at least one-half of the credit requirements for their degrees, with an average performance which, if continued, would make them eligible for their degrees.” The Alpha Nu Chapter also requires that students have achieved a 3.75 overall GPA on a 4.0 scale.
- Faculty members: The National By-laws state: “faculty members are eligible for election to membership.” The Alpha Nu Chapter by vote and continuing practice adds the following: There is no requirement that any faculty members must be inducted in any college year. To be eligible faculty members must be tenured, must exhibit outstanding academic accomplishment in teaching, with obvious dedication to intellectual activity both of themselves, their students, and fellow faculty. Those faculty nominated must express their willingness to give support to the chapter as active members both as to attendance and participation.
- Alumni members: The National By-laws state: “Alumni of an institution are eligible for election to membership if they have graduated cum laude or have received a graduate degree or have fulfilled the general requirements of membership in some other manner.” Nominations for membership will be made by a Chapter member. Advice of the Alumni Association will be sought and clear evidence will be presented of the candidates’ fulfilling the membership requirements (See, No. 2 above). These will include direct intellectual contributions that serve Catholic higher education or directly affect and benefit American society or some part thereof.No more than two (2) Alumni members will be inducted in any one College year and there is no requirement that any alumni members be inducted in any College year.
- Changes or modifications of these provisions will be made by a two-third’s vote of all members of the Alpha Nu Chapter present at two consecutive meetings and then only after previous notice has been given to all members of the Chapter actively participating in the College Chapter’s activities, at least one week prior to each of those meetings.
Correspondence and questions regarding Delta Epsilon Sigma may be addressed to:
2115 Summit Avenue, Mail 4073
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55105, USA
Faculty and Staff Members
President: Professor William (Sandy) Karstens
Vice President: Professor Joan Wry
Secretary: Professor Raymond Patterson
Delta Epsilon Sigma Alpha Nu Chapter
Mary Beth Doyle
William (Sandy) Karstens
Heidi St. Peter
Richard VanderWeel, SSE
President: Though each of us has been born with different abilities, and as unique as we are, we all have been called to go outside of ourselves and use those talents given us. Our responses to the call will be different—we must give according to what we have been given.
Today we have come together to recognize certain individuals with greater commitments. The members whom we honor tonight have demonstrated that they are capable of great academic accomplishment and thus also of hard work. To them more has been given; of them, much more is expected. The excellent person is distinguished by the acceptance of greater personal demands. These individuals recognize the great challenge which is theirs: the world of service to others is now in their hands.
Secretary: I present to you the candidates seeking admission to Delta Epsilon Sigma.
President: Have they fulfilled the requirements for membership?
Secretary: They have. Our choice has been guided by the purposes of the Society and a sincere desire to obtain the best possible membership of persons devoted to scholastic achievement and to the corresponding responsibility of service to others
The honors we bestow here include a recognition of and respect for cognitive achievement pursued and cultivated within a moral context. True understanding is dependent upon our grasp of reality in the various ways we grasp and live that reality upon which we depend to learn and know. At the same time, all our understanding depends upon our free choice to pay attention to reality and our free commitment to pursue truth as something good. Persons perfect themselves morally when they love and pursue truth. Unfortunately persons may also do evil and fail themselves in rejecting or distorting truth. The acts of understanding can be commanded for good or bad. It is in our hands to choose to want to know no matter the difficulties; it is in our hands to want to know this or that. The will to apply one’s understanding to the act of knowing truth is never morally neutral. The good students here are good not only for what they know but also because they love to know. A real student is more than curious. Studiosity, devotion to truth makes the student. Again, the honors we bestow on these students here include our recognition of the respect these students have for cognitive achievement pursued and cultivated within a moral context.
President: We are fortunate enough to live in a democratic society. But we are alerted by such students of democracy as Aristotle and Alexis de Tocqueville, that a democracy is a delicate form to maintain. As Tocqueville cautions us, although there may be equality, there may be no excellence. In a democracy, we are warned, while everyone may have an equal chance, it may mean that the equal chance is an equal chance for mediocrity. Tocqueville tells us that for our kind of society to thrive, it is necessary that some members of the community “stand out,” be excellent, and be recognized and honored for their excellence.
That is why it is fitting that there be a national association of persons who have a record of outstanding academic accomplishment, a society of those who have promoted the intellectual life. Membership in Delta Epsilon Sigma will be, after all, at one and the same time, a distinction earned by past achievements and a stimulus to further intellectual inquiry.
The officers and members of the Alpha Nu chapter of Delta Epsilon Sigma, after due consideration and deliberation, are convinced that you, the candidates, fulfill the requirements for membership in this national association of men and women whose motto, signified by the letters Delta, Epsilon, and Sigma, stands for the phrase: “It is the mission of a wise person to set things in order.”
Wisdom is a crowning of knowledge. One who is wise is one who can discriminate between the true and the merely apparent, the beautiful and the unseemly, between what is good and what is evil, and what is outstanding from what is merely nice. The wise person can use this appreciation, along with the humility born of it, to go forward to accept the trust and the tasks that this ability imposes.
We now ask you to affirm the principles for which Delta Epsilon Sigma stands.
Secretary: One who loves wisdom knows that it can be gained only through long and persevering labor. Do you seek wisdom through such labor?
Candidates: We do.
Secretary: One who truly loves wisdom desires that all share in the gifts that wisdom brings. Do you seek to use wisdom for the service of all people?
Candidates: We do.
Secretary: One who loves wisdom acknowledges the need to be humble before truth, the need to cooperate with others to attain it, and gratitude to God for our abilities, our commitment and our success. Do you acknowledge our dependence and gratitude in the love of learning and knowledge?
Candidates: We do.
President: We now welcome you into this Society of distinguished students, graduates, and faculty who have enjoyed the privileges and accepted the challenges offered to them. We feel confident that you, too, by your influence, service and example will help to effect a synthesis of faith, goodness, and learning. With these certificates we signify that you are duly enrolled as members of Delta Epsilon Sigma.
The seal of this Society bears the Greek Letters, Chi Rho, the first two letters in the word Christ, and a lamp which reminds us of the light which shines in the darkness of an unbelieving world.
The candidates will now come forward as their names are called to receive their certificates of membership.