Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society (La Sociedad Nacional Honoraria Hispánica), was established on November 14, 1919, at the University of California Berkeley by a junior undergraduate student named Ruth Helen Barnes. The Society’s insignia is the royal seal of Fernando and Isabel, representing Castille, León and Aragón. Sigma Delta Pi’s colors are red and gold, its flower is the red carnation, and its motto is the Greek phrase “Spanías Didagéi Proágomen” meaning “Let’s go forth/continue forth under the teaching/guidance of the Spanish language.” The national headquarters is located at the College of Charleston in South Carolina.
With the guidance of such notable Hispanists as S. Griswold Morley, Elijah C. Hills, Rudolph Schevill, Leavitt O. Wright, William Berrien, John D. Fitz-Gerald, Tomás Navarro Tomás, José Martel, Archer M. Huntington, John T. Reid, Stuart M. Gross, James O. Swain, F. Dewey Amner, Carl A. Tyre, T. Earle Hamilton, Dolores Brown, Richard E. Chandler, Ignacio R.M. Galbis, John H. LaPrade, Mark P. Del Mastro, Germán D. Carrillo and Lucy F. Lee, the Society has expanded its activities and now has over 610 chapters in 49 states.
The following reveal the diverse nature of the colleges and universities that form the Sigma Delta Pi family: University of Notre Dame, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Virginia Military Institute, Johns Hopkins University, University of Hawaii, Oral Roberts University, University of Texas at Austin, Hood College, Brigham Young University, Truman State University, College of William and Mary, Howard University, Friends University, Georgia Southern University, California State University San Marcos, Auburn University, the United States Air Force Academy and the University of Wyoming.
To serve its many chapters optimally, the Society has a National President (click here for list of current and past presidents), an Executive Director,* and five Regional Vice Presidents. All but the Executive Director are nominated and elected by the active chapter members. The Society is governed by an Executive Council consisting of the seven aforementioned officials, the Immediate Past President, the Presidents Emeriti and an Executive Committee Member-at-Large. A Board of Student Advisers comprised of undergraduate and graduate student members serves the Executive Committee for consultation on select issues related to the national organization.
The sponsor of the chapter, preferably chosen by the student members, but sometimes appointed by the department head, is of the utmost importance, for his/her wisdom, imagination and dedication largely determine the success of the local branch of the Society.
A more complete history entitled Sigma Delta Pi: Rediscovering a Century (1919-2019) is currently being written by Mark P. Del Mastro, Executive Director, and will be published and sold by Juan de la Cuesta Hispanic Monographs in 2020 to commemorate the Society’s 100-years. More details forthcoming…
*In August 2010 the title of Executive Secretary-Treasurer was changed to Executive Director to better represent the related duties.