45 years of Pi Gamma Mu

By Leanne Vastbinder

One of Newman’s first honor societies is celebrating its 45th anniversary on campus. Pi Gamma Mu is an accredited international social science honor society.

According to the organization’s official statement, “The mission of Pi Gamma Mu is to encourage and promote excellence in the Social Sciences and to uphold and nurture scholarship, leadership, and service.”

Dr. Larry Heck is the co-faculty sponsor of Newman’s chapter, along with Dr. Jill Fort. Dr. Heck originally joined Pi Gamma Mu as a member in 1973, but he is now the international president of the honor society’s board of trustees.

“I like the concept of honor societies, and I think they serve a very important function of honoring students that have academic success, and I like to be a part of that,” he said.

Pi Gamma Mu is currently open to sophomore/junior/senior students by invitation only. The invitations are extended to students who have shown academic excellence within the social science field, regardless of their major, based on their GPA. Ethan Young is the current student president of Newman’s chapter.

Students who are inducted into Pi Gammu Mu have access to scholarship opportunities, receive an honors cord at graduation and gain a membership to an international community. Around 40 students are inducted into the honor society each year. Three students have even been awarded scholarships toward their graduate studies.

“I think one of the (society’s) highlights is our initiation ceremony. We just try our best to honor and make it special for the new members, and give them lots of credit for their accomplishments,” Heck said.

Students who have been inducted into Pi Gamma Mu will retain a lifetime membership in the honor society.

For more information on Pi Gamma Mu, visit: