A selection of stellar smarties: Loras Honor Society inducts 24 new members

On Nov. 11, a select few students received an accredited honor: induction into Delta Epsilon Sigma, the Loras academic honor society.

Photo contributed. DES poses for a group photo after the new members were initiated. Members must have a 3.9 GPA in order to be considered for the organization.

Delta Epsilon Sigma is a national scholastic honor society for students in their junior and senior years. It’s a country-wide organization that values academic achievement and the Catholic tradition.

“DES, by its nature as an honor society, inducts … overachievers,” said faculty advisor Dr. Matthew Garrett.

On this second Saturday in November, the society congratulated 21 students and three faculty/staff members on their acceptance into the society. The early morning event featured a welcome by treasurer Rachel Valente, a light breakfast, and a keynote address by Dr. Danial Neebel from the Loras Engineering program. The induction of new members then followed with Dr. Garrett offering the final, closing remarks.

“The induction went very well. It was very fun to pass along the tradition of the society and to have so many faculty, staff, friends, and families there to honor the inductees,” said President Kassidy Riportella.

The tradition of Delta Epsilon Sigma goes back to 1938, when Reverend E. A. Fitzgerald, the Academic Dean at Loras, proposed the idea of an exclusive society for students, faculty, and alumni to celebrate scholarship in colleges and universities of the Catholic tradition. He presented his idea to the National Catholic Education Association, and in collaboration with 32 other institutions, Delta Epsilon Sigma became a nationally recognized society.

“It’s all majors, which is interesting, because you get Chemistry majors and English majors and Sport Management majors, and every other major on campus,” said Dr. Garrett, “and they’re all different … that’s why I like being involved in this organization. I get the opportunity to meet with 15-20 of the brightest students on campus that are doing great things.”

In addition to student inductees, each year Delta Epsilon Sigma nominates faculty and staff members to be inducted into the society. This year Molly McDonald Figgins, Dr. Kristen Thompson, and Mike Doyle were chosen to receive such recognition.

“It’s a great way to recognize faculty and staff in the same model that students are inducted, (identifying those who) are making that great campus contribution,” said Dr. Garrett. “Each group of officers finds anywhere from two to five faculty or staff members that they want to make sure get recognized.”

Elected last spring, the current DES president is senior Riportella, and the vice president is junior Rachel Prendergast. Junior Valente is treasurer, and senior Jeanie Kasper is secretary. In past years DES hasn’t been very active, but the current officers are trying to develop more service and community outreach on behalf of the organization.

“We’re trying to do more service projects in the upcoming year,” said Kasper, “as well as more social events where members can get to know each other.”

This Christmas DES is partnering with the Giving Tree campaign, in its 21st year on campus. They held a Chipotle fundraiser on Thursday, Nov. 30, to raise funds, and were able to sponsor a 13-year-old girl, providing her with shoes, clothes, makeup and art supplies.

“Our fundraiser at Chipotle and donations from the members helped make this little girl’s Christmas a little brighter,” said Kasper.

At Loras, the Giving Tree, in collaboration with Operation New View, works to collect toys, gifts and other donations, to benefit families in need during the holidays. They will be accepting gifts until this Friday, Dec. 8.

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