Penn State chapter of ag honor society Gamma Sigma Delta marks anniversary

October 14, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The celebration this month of the 100th anniversary of the Honor Society of Agriculture, Gamma Sigma Delta, has special significance at Penn State, home of one of the international organization’s oldest chapters.

The Gamma Sigma Delta chapter at Penn State officially was recognized Oct. 10, 1922, although Penn State’s involvement in the society and its predecessor dates back to 1908 when the then Delta Theta Sigma chapter was the third chapter installed (after Ohio State in 1905 and Iowa State in 1907).

Penn State members were involved at the national level from the society’s first conclave in 1910. In 1917, Gamma Sigma Delta was formed at a national level as the honor society of agriculture. 

The society’s motto was and still is, “the binding together of Earth, mother of all and the practice of agriculture, and the Agricultural Sciences, for the welfare of humankind.”​

“Here at Penn State, we are proud of our early and long relationship with Gamma Sigma Delta,” said Jonathan Campbell, associate professor of animal science, who is past-president of the Penn State Chapter. “The organization’s aim is to advance agriculture in all its phases, to maintain and improve relations of agriculture to other industries, and to recognize the responsibility of its members to their fellow men and women.”

Gamma comes from Gaia, the Greek goddess of Earth; Sigma from Syndesmos, the Greek word for binding or banding together; and Delta from Demeter, the Greek goddess of agriculture, fruitfulness and rural life.

Gamma Sigma Delta seeks to encourage high standards of scholarship, worthy attainment and a high degree of excellence in the practice of agricultural pursuits, Campbell noted, adding that while founded for the field of agriculture, in 1976 its constitution was expanded to include "... agriculture in its broadest interpretation, including forestry, wildlife conservation, veterinary medicine, and home economics.”

Since 1917, Gamma Sigma Delta has been a strictly honorary society, with only seniors who are in the upper 25% of their class, graduate students, alumni and faculty members eligible for election to the organization.

Penn State’s Gamma Sigma Delta chapter is celebrating excellence in the College of Agricultural Sciences through the annual research expo, when the organization highlights the research endeavors of undergraduate and graduate students, to be held on March 24, 2022, and the annual celebration of excellence on March 31, 2022.

At its recent 100-year celebration, the Penn State Gamma Sigma Delta chapter hosted a panel of past society presidents at Penn State discussing the evolution of the organization, scientific advancements in agriculture and their rewarding experiences related to the organization. 

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 14, 2021