History of Alpha Gamma Sigma

In 1940 1950-1972 Since 1972

    Dr. William T. Boyce was, in 1925, Head Administrator of Fullerton Junior College. He is chiefly responsible for the formation of the California Junior College Honor Society that eventually became the Alpha Gamma Sigma we know today.

    In 1925, he conceived the idea of promoting a statewide junior college honor scholarship society. He saw in it an intellectual stimulus, comparable to that of Phi Beta Kappa in the higher colleges.

    Superintendent Louis E. Plummer supported the idea. With his backing, Merton Hill, Chaffey Junior College administrator, and Dr. K. Hammond, Santa Ana Junior College administrator, joined in a consideration of the proposal. Emphasis was placed on the specific advantages in the plan as follows:

    It would be an incentive to study and strive for scholastic honor. It would be an interjunior college enterprise in scholastic achievement. It would commend the junior colleges to the higher educational institutions. It would add luster to commencement exercises to recognize the graduating students who had qualified for membership. The proposal was heartily endorsed, and Dr. Boyce was asked to formulate the plan and present it for adoption by all the junior colleges in California. The response was approval, adoption, and the formation of chapters.

    According to Dr. Boyce, the original constitution of the society was adopted in 1926. Those members and advisors who attended the Alpha Gamma Sigma Spring Convention at Asilomar in April 1986, can tell you that the sixtieth anniversary of the founding of AGS was grandly celebrated.

    At the Principals' Convention in May 1926, a special committee was appointed consisting of Dr. Albert M. Williams (Fullerton), chairman, Miss Kathleen D. Loly (Pasadena), Miss Belle Collidge, Mr. W. W. Mather, and Mr. C. S. Morris. The committee was given full authority to select the design for the pin, to have the pin made, and to call meetings of the Advisory Board.

    The Advisory Board was to consist of the faculty advisors of the local honor societies that had met the minimum requirements provided for by the constitution and had been formally notified to that effect by the committee.

    During the first year, chapters were established at Bakersfield, Chaffey, Fullerton, Pasadena, Santa Ana, Santa Maria, and San Bernardino. The next year brought in Citrus, Sacramento, Compton, Glendale, Long Beach, Taft, and Pomona.

    These fifteen chapters were invited to send representatives to the first meeting of the Advisory Board on November 24, 1928, in Pasadena. Sacramento withdrew, and the other fourteen chapters were represented at the first Spring Convention of the society which (judging from the date on the printed program of the second convention) has to have been held in 1931.

    At first, the pin was a flat, onepiece gold pin with an open book and a blazing torch on a shield with the word "California" across the top, the words "Honor Society" across the book, and the letters "JC" at the bottom.

    A request came from the students that a Greek letter name be adopted instead of the cumbersome name "California Junior College Honor Scholarship Society."

    Accordingly, in 1932 a committee consisting of Dr. Grace Baumgartner, Miss Kathleen Loly, and Dr. Albert Williams selected the motto:

"Add to good character, knowledge and judgment."

    They took the three Greek words "Arete", "Gnosis", and "Sophrosyne" as embodying the meaning of the motto, and then chose the initial letters of those three words, Alpha Gamma Sigma, as the name of the society. The design of the pin was changed to include the Greek letters.

    At the second Spring Convention at San Bernardino on April 2, 1932, chapter names were drawn by lot; and Pasadena, much to their satisfaction, drew the coveted Alpha slip. Since that time the society has undergone a number of changes.


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