Penn State Schuylkill's inaugural members of Lambda Pi Eta pose for a photo

Committed to communication: Penn State Schuylkill joins communications honor society

The campus inducted four inaugural members from its Corporate Commutation major into the Alpha Epsilon Lambda chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, the official honor society of the National Communication Association (NCA).

By: Samantha L. Bower

On October 25, 2018, Penn State Schuylkill inducted four outstanding scholars into Alpha Epsilon Lambda, Penn State Schuylkill’s chapter of Lambda Pi Eta, the official honor society of the National Communication Association.

Janelle Gruber, lecturer and program coordinator of corporate communication, and Valerie Schrader, associate professor of communication arts and sciences, worked together to establish the new chapter of Lambda Pi Eta at Penn State Schuylkill and will act as co-advisers of the group.

“Corporate Communication is a growing major at Penn State Schuylkill.  We have great students in the program and we wanted to both honor their hard work and connect them to the larger communication discipline by establishing a chapter of Lambda Pi Eta,” said Gruber. 

“We are very proud to have a chapter of Lambda Pi Eta at Penn State Schuylkill.  This is an exciting opportunity for our students to participate in an academic honor society specific to their discipline,” said Darcy Medica, interim chancellor of Penn State Schuylkill. “These types of opportunities are invaluable for students during their college careers, but also help to distinguish them from other candidates when they apply for graduate school and for employment after graduation.”

In addition to honoring students at an annual induction ceremony, students will also be recognized at commencement with special Lambda Pi Eta honor cords.  Membership in the group will also offer students opportunities to participate in trips and conferences.

In the chapter’s inaugural year, administrators inducted four corporate communication majors who met the membership requirements. Students Raquele Amato, Brenna Baker, Kathleen Price, and Cassandra Vince accepted their membership certificates at the chapter’s induction ceremony.

The name Lambda Pi Eta is represented by the Greek letters L (lambda), P (pi), and H (eta) symbolizing what Aristotle described in his book Rhetoric as the three modes of persuasion: Logos meaning logic, Pathos relating to emotion, and Ethos defined as character credibility and ethics.

To symbolize these rhetorical pillars, Janelle Gruber, corporate communication program coordinator, and Valerie Schrader, honors program co-coordinator, conducted a candle-lighting ceremony to describe their meaning and significance. Before inducting the students into Lambda Pi Eta, the pair lit three candles while relating each mode of persuasion.

The first candle represented logic, which plays a major role in deliberations and problem solving in all aspects of scholarship and its application to one’s life.

Pathos, or emotional appeal, is the second symbol of the Lambda Pi Eta organization and was represented by the second candle lit. The organization asserts that pathos encompasses a driving force that makes an organization vital and effective.

The final candle lit represents the last mode of persuasion: ethos, or character credibility and ethics. According to the Lambda Pi Eta induction ceremony text, Aristotle sees character credibility as a primary means of affecting change in society and in one’s life.

To qualify for Lambda Pi Eta membership, undergraduate students must have declared an interest in the field of communication while also having achieved a high level of academic excellence. Eligible members must have completed 60 semester hours in undergraduate credit courses with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. Furthermore, members must have completed the equivalent of 12 semester hours in communication courses, maintaining at least a 3.25 GPA in those courses. Lastly, prospective members and inductees must be in the upper 35 percent of their graduating class and be enrolled as a full-time student in good standing.

Lambda Pi Eta was initiated by the students of the Department of Communication at the University of Arkansas and was then endorsed by the faculty and founder, Dr. Stephen A. Smith in 1985. The Speech Communication Association established Lambda Pi Eta as an affiliate organization and as the official national communication honor society for undergraduates in 1994. In February 1996, Lambda Pi Eta was inducted in the Association of College Honor Societies. There are currently 344 active chapters worldwide.

Click here to learn more about the corporate communication major at Penn State Schuylkill. If you have more questions about the corporate communication major or Lambda Pi Eta, contact Janelle Gruber at jlh552@psu.edu. To learn more about the Honors Program at Penn State Schuylkill, contact Michael Gallis at mrg3@psu.edu or Lee Silverberg at ljs43@psu.edu.