The mission of Pi Gamma Mu is to encourage and promote excellence in the social sciences and to uphold the ideals of scholarship and service.
Pi Gamma Mu was founded in 1924 by Dean Leroy Allen from Southwestern College in Kansas and Dean William A. Hamilton of the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Seventeen founding chapters were organized simultaneously.
Social Science was established as a quarterly journal in 1925. With the beginning of Volume 57 in 1982, the name of the journal was changed to International Social Science Review. Publication of the Pi Gamma Mu Newsletter began in 1978.
Rear Admiral Richard Byrd served for a time as Honorary National President of Pi Gamma Mu, in 1928 carrying the Society’s flag to the Antarctic. Two presidents of the Philippines were members of the Society, and one U. S. president joined as a student—Lyndon B. Johnson.
On April 5, 1929 the Society was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in Colorado under the name “The National Social Science Honor Society, Pi Gamma Mu, Inc.” To acknowledge its chapters outside the United States, the Board of Trustees took action in 1980 to change the name of the Society to “Pi Gamma Mu, International Honor Society in Social Science.”
The 1987 constitution provides for triennial conventions, with each chapter eligible to send a delegation. The convention is vested with the supreme authority of the Society. During the convention, delegates elect two student representatives to the Board of Trustees, which exercises administrative power between conventions. Members of the Board of Trustees are elected by the chapters for three-year terms. Four chancellors oversee regions made up of states. Some states are headed by governors who lend support and assistance to the collegiate chapters under their jurisdiction. Each chapter, under the direction of faculty officers, plans its own programs and specific areas of service.
An individual may be invited or may petition to join an active chapter of Pi Gamma Mu when he/she is or was a junior, senior or graduate student in the upper 35 percent of the class, with at least 20 semester hours in social sciences and an average grade therein of “B” or better. Pi Gamma Mu’s constitution defines the social sciences to include the disciplines of history, political science, sociology, anthropology, economics, international relations, criminal justice, social work, psychology, social philosophy, history of education, and human geography.
Faculty and administrators may also accept the privileges and responsibilities of membership in a collegiate chapter. Membership comes only through established chapters.
National Web site: http://www.pigammamu.org