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About Gamma Sigma Delta

Gamma Sigma Delta is an honor society dedicated to recognizing your academic achievements and/or accomplishments as a student, faculty member, alumnus or industry and university supporter. Learn more about GSD in the sections below.

Why Gamma Sigma Delta Is for You?
Benefits to You
Who Is Invited to Membership?
Local Chapter Role
What Is Gamma Sigma Delta International?
Gamma Sigma Delta: The Name and Emblem
Relationship to Other Honor Societies
Historical Growth

Why Gamma Sigma Delta Is For You?

Gamma Sigma Delta is an honor society dedicated to recognizing your academic achievements and/or accomplishments as a student, faculty member, alumnus or industry and university supporter. Your election to the society is more than an honor. It is a challenge and an obligation to contribute to the understanding and furthering of agriculture and related sciences, which are expanded to include, but are not limited to, forestry, natural resources, statistics, human ecology and veterinary medicine.

The purposes of Gamma Sigma Delta are to promote and to recognize achievements of individuals who excel. Membership in Gamma Sigma Delta is often recognized by recruiters, colleagues and foreign and domestic governments as an indicator of exceptional academic and/or professional performance. No group of professionals has a more important task than those in agriculture and related sciences. By accepting membership in Gamma Sigma Delta you can assist in keeping the world conscious of the importance of the vast agricultural complex.


Benefits to You

  • Recognition of your outstanding academic achievement
  • Recognition of achievements in your specialty field
  • Recognition of your achievements to graduate and professional schools, industry, universities and government
  • Expanded knowledge of agriculture and related sciences
  • Opportunity to participate and contribute to chapter activities
  • Eligibility for awards and scholarships at the chapter level if available
  • Making and sharing professional contacts Ia. Life-long international membership
  • Annual international newsletter


Who Is Invited to Membership?

Election to membership in Gamma Sigma Delta is conducted by the faculty at the local chapter level in accordance with International and local chapter by-laws. Juniors, seniors, graduate students, faculty, alumni, and outstanding individuals in agriculture and related sciences meeting criteria listed below are eligible for membership:

  • Undergraduate Students: Junior students who scholastically rank in the top 5 percent and senior students who scholastically rank in the upper 15 percent of their class and show promise of leadership may be nominated for membership each year. No more than 15 percent of the senior class can be members of Gamma Sigma Delta.
  • Graduate Students: Graduate students of outstanding ability with at least a 3.5/A=4.0 or better grade point average and who show great potential for future leadership can be nominated by chapter members and elected.
  • Faculty: Faculty with at least three years of work in agriculture and related sciences at the initiating university, and who have outstanding performance and achievement in the areas of teaching, research, and/or extension are eligible for election to Gamma Sigma Delta.
  • Alumni: Alumni are eligible for election five or more years after graduation if they have provided outstanding service to agriculture and have demonstrated their worthiness of the honor.
  • Honorary: Individuals who are involved in agricultural or related sciences as leaders at the university, community, state, regional, or national level but who are not eligible in the above categories may be invited to membership. Such membership is a prestigious award and is limited to one per chapter per year.


Local Chapter Role

The strength of Gamma Sigma Delta is in its 52 local chapters. They operate under the international constitution and bylaws but otherwise maintain complete choice of and control over their activities. The local chapter´s activities center on recognizing superior achievements through awards and invitations to membership. While all chapters agree on objectives, individual chapter differences occur on how objectives are attained.


What Is Gamma Sigma Delta International?

The International Officers of Gamma Sigma Delta are volunteers who are elected at the biennial conclave of the society. There are no paid headquarters staff members. The international secretary´s office serves as the contact point for the international society, and, together with the international treasurer, coordinates the ordering of membership and awards certificates, plaques, jewelry and other items for the local chapters. The international officers publish an annual newsletter; select the recipient of the Award for Distinguished Achievement in Agriculture; select the Outstanding Chapter, New Chapter Activity and Chapter Enrichment Grant Awards; annually review policies relating to the society; encourage establishment of new chapters; work with existing chapters on program development; and plan and conduct the biennial conclave with chapter representatives.


Gamma Sigma Delta The Name And Emblem

The emblem of the society is a key or a pin bearing the words "Honor Society of Agriculture" in small Roman letters and the Greek letters. Gamma Sigma Delta, as the insignia. These are the initial letters for the Greek words Gaea (Ge-á). Syndesmos (Syn-des´mos), and Demeter (De-me-´ter). The translation of Gamma Sigma Delta is "The binding together of earth, the mother of all, and the practice of agriculture, and the arts of relating thereto for the welfare of mankind."


Relationship to Other Honor Societies

Although there are other honor societies with chapters in the divisions, schools, or colleges of agriculture, Gamma Sigma Delta is unique and serves a special role. In many instances, however, Gamma Sigma Delta members maintain membership in one or more of the other honor societies.

Gamma Sigma Delta is a faculty governed society that selects its members from junior and senior students, graduate students, faculty, and alumni for the promotion and recognition of high achievement. While Gamma Sigma Delta is an honor society of agriculture, it may elect members from related fields such as biology, botany, chemistry, economics, entomology, forestry, home economics, plant pathology, sociology, statistics, veterinary medicine, or zoology when the work of the individuals is related to agriculture. Officers, committee chairpersons, and others leading the chapter are faculty or alumni.

Alpha Zeta is a professional, service and honorary fraternity in agriculture. Both undergraduate and graduate students are eligible for membership. Alpha Zeta, a student organization with student officers and faculty advisors, elects its members based on scholarship, leadership, and extracurricular activities. Students elected must be in the upper 40 percent of their class scholastically and must have completed at least one academic year of studies.

Phi Kappa Phi selects its membership from seniors, graduate students and faculty from several divisions, schools, and colleges of a university. Elections are based on scholarship, and seniors must rank in the upper 10 percent of their class.

Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and often best known of honor societies, selects its members from programs in the university that fulfill the definition of a liberal education. Seniors, graduate students, and faculty may be elected to membership. Seniors must rank in the upper 10 percent of their class.

Sigma Xi is an honorary research organization. Graduate students, faculty and alumni in science who have demonstrated outstanding research ability and achievement may be selected for membership.


Historical Growth

Gamma Sigma Delta began as a professional agricultural fraternity called Delta Theta Sigma at The Ohio State University on December 1, 1905, and maintained a chapter house.

Other chapters were installed at Iowa State (1907), Pennsylvania State College (1908), University of Missouri (1908), Oregon State College (1909) and Utah State College (1909), but all of these chapters adhered to an honorary plan and did not have chapter houses.

In 1913 Delta Theta Sigma at The Ohio State University, withdrew but maintained the name and its chapter house. The name of the remaining organization was changed to Gamma Sigma Delta and followed the honorary plan of operation. Later (1928) a chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta was installed at Ohio State.

In 1915, the Honor Society of Agriculture was formed at the University of Minnesota. A movement was started early in 1916 to merge the two organizations, Gamma Sigma Delta and Honor Society of Agriculture. A joint committee from both organizations met at the University of Minnesota, June 3, 1916, and reached tentative agreement on the merger. Anew constitution was drafted and ratified early in 1917.

The Honor Society of Agriculture, Gamma Sigma Delta, became the official name. From 1917, Gamma Sigma Delta has been strictly honorary. It became faculty governed and selected membership from juniors, seniors, graduate students, alumni, and faculty. Currently 52 chapters have been installed at universities throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Honduras.


Last Updated: 11/30/2015 9:05:20 AM

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