Maxwell School

Alpha Kappa Delta

Brief History

Alpha Kappa Delta had its specific beginning in the fall of 1920 in the department of sociology, University of Southern California, when the departmental chairman, Dr. Emory S. Bogardus, proposed to the graduate students the formation of a society in which the students might become acquainted with each other's research projects and where they might meet informally with the whole staff of the department for suggestions and criticisms. Consequently, on November 21, 1920, a group of 14 persons composed of the faculty and graduate students of the department of sociology organized the first chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta for the purpose of interchange of ideas concerning sociological projects.

Membership in the group was limited to undergraduate and graduate students having high scholarship and to those doing research work. In fact, in the local group Phi Beta Kappa standards were approximated for membership.

In 1921, Dr. Bogardus, acting on the belief that the best students in sociology in other universities might be interested in a similar organization, sent letters to faculty members in a selected group of institutions. The University of Wisconsin was the first to respond. Northwestern University and the University of Kansas followed.

The name, Alpha Kappa Delta, was devised by Dr. Bogardus and adopted by the chapter members of the University of Southern California chapter. It represents the first letters of three Greek words: namely, anthropon (mankind), katamanthaneion (to investigate thoroughly or to conduct research). The name, therefore, implies social research for the purpose of service. An appropriate symbol of the Society, the Alpha Kappa Delta key, was designed by Dr. Melvin J. Vincent, one of the charter members of the Alpha chapter of California.

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Department of Sociology | Maxwell School | Syracuse University | 302 Maxwell Hall | Syracuse, NY 13244-1090 | 315.443.2346 | Fax: 315.443.4597