Sigma Delta Pi Honor Society
The National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society Sigma Delta Pi was founded in 1919 at UC Berkeley, and currently has more than 520 active chapters in 4 year colleges and universities throughout the United States. Its purpose is "to honor those who attain excellence in the study of the Spanish language and in the study of the literature and culture of the Spanish-speaking peoples; to honor those who have made Hispanic contributions to modern culture better known in the English-speaking world; to encourage college and university students to acquire a greater interest in, and a deeper understanding of, Hispanic culture; and to foster friendly relations and mutual respect between the nations of Hispanic speech and those of English speech" (quoted from the 1995-1998 Booklet of Information on the Association of College Honor Societies).
The CSLA chapter, Gamma Psi, was founded in 1954, and is number 95 in the chronological order of chapters founded. In spring 2004, the chapter celebrated its 50th anniversary, on which occasion it received a commendation letter from president Rosser. Membership in the chapter is open to Spanish undergraduate and graduate students who have a minimal GPA of 3 on a 4 point scale in all Spanish courses taken, and who rank in the upper 35% of their class, or have at least a cumulative GPA of 2.75 on a 4 point scale. The bases for selection are the scholastic or professional record of the candidate; the distinction the candidate has achieved in the field of Hispanic studies; the candidate's demonstrated support of the goals and ideals of the society; and the character of the candidate. Recruitment and initiation of candidates take place each winter quarter. The chapter officers are elected each year, in fall, and are a president, a vice-president, a treasurer and a secretary. The chapter is chartered on campus with the Associated Students and receive monetary support from them, as well as donations from faculty members. The chapter’s account is held at the University Credit Union.
Among the activities organized by the CSLA chapter in the last fifteen years, since it has been reactivated by Dr. Dumitrescu, are: (1) group visits to exhibits on Hispanic themes, e.g., "Thirteen Centuries of Splendor - Mexican Art, at the LA County Museum, and "Spain in the Americas: 1492-1600," at the Huntington Library; (2) group attendance at theatrical performances in the greater Los Angeles area; (3) sponsorship of guest-lectures, e.g., Dr. Carlos Loprete (Universidad de Belgrano, Argentina); Dr. Ignacio Galbis (Professor Emeritus of Latin- American Literature and the former national Sigma Delta Pi secretary-treasurer); Dr. Pascual José Masullo (Director of the Graduate Programs in Linguistics at the Universidad del Comahue- Argentina), Lic. Patricia Juárez Dappe (Universidad de Buenos Aires), Dr, Jacques de Bruyne, member of the Royal Spanish Academy and professor at the University of Gent, Belgium, the Chilean writer Lucía Guerra, professor at the University of California, Irvine, the Mexican writers Luis Ortiz-Arias and Ignacio Solares, and others. The chapter has also organized musical performances, dance workshops, and symposia on literary cultural topics, including a very successful symposium on Federico Garcia Lorca, in connection with the teatrical performance of La Casa de Bernarda Alba on the CSULA campus.
Fifteen of the CSLA chapter's students have been awarded the highly-competitive Gabriela Mistral Award, for academic excellence. Six others have received Sigma Delta Pi summer scholarships to study in Spain and Mexico. Under the direction of faculty adviser Dr. Domnita Dumitrescu, the CSLA Chapter was declared an "Honor Chapter" by the National Honor Society of Sigma Delta Pi each year during the 1991-1999 period. Moreover, for several years, it has also been judged to rank among the top ten of the 21 Honor Chapters distinguished with certificates of honor.
During Dr. Ignacio Lopez-Calvo’s tenure as adviser (2000-2003) the chapter has held several cultural activities, such as field trips to opera concerts, book signings by Latin American authors and poetry readings. The chapter also invited Dr. Jill Robbins (University of California, Irvine), Dr. Carl Jubran (University of San Diego), Dr. Armand Mattelart (University of Paris), Mariam Saada, Felipe Díaz, and Manuel Aguilar (CSULA) to give presentations on Hispanic literature and culture. Dr.Arturo Arias, President of LASA (Latin American Studies Association) and twice winner of the Casa de las Americas Award gave a talk entitled “Dos versiones de la verdad de Rigoberta Menchu: La version de MaximoCajal, y la construccion ideologica de David Stoll".,and Mexican poet Citlalli H. Xochitiotzin read some of her poems and gave a talk on contemporary Mexican poetry. The chapter won the National Certificate of Honor and Merit for the academic year 2000-2001.
Dr. Domnita Dumitrescu, who is also serving her fourth term as National Vice-president of the organization for the Western region, has accepted to be again the chapter adviser for 2003-2005. Under her leadership, the chapter won again a certificate of honor and merit for its activity in 2003-2004, which included, among other things, the presentation of a book edited by two distinguished Department members- emeriti professors Gigi Gaucher-Morales and Alfredo Morales in the series of the complete works of the Mexican writer Miguel N. Lira. After the presentation, a group of students read parts of a play by Miguel N. Lira.In fall 2004, professor José Cruz González, director of the West Coast Hispanic Repertory for more than eleven years, gave a lecture on the Hispanic theater in the US and showed footage of his own work with the local Hispanic community. The chapter also invited Dr. Silva-Corvalán, from USC, to be the key note speaker at its initiation ceremony in Spring 2004, which was attended by almost 100 guests.
Indeed, the major event in the chapter life is the annual ceremony for the initiation of new members and the fraternity dinner that follows. Since its reactivation, in 1989, the chapter has initiated more than 250 new members. The chapter has also recognized several of its faculty members by distinguishing them with the highest orders of this prtestigious honor Society. So far, the Order of the Discoverers has been conferred on Dr. Dale, Carter, Dr. Gaucher-Morales, Dr. Alfredo Morales, Dr. Hildebrando Villarreal, and will be conferred in Spring 2005 on Dr. Joseph Chrzanowski. Dr. Dumitrescu, the faculty adviser, has won in 1995 the JoséMartel prize for an outstanding adviser, in 1997, the Order of the Discoverers, and in 2003, the Order of Don Quijote. The chapter has also a number of honorary members, among them: Dr. Felipe Díaz, Dr. María Costa, Dr. Alejandro Solomianski, Dr. Elena Ruzickova, and professor José Cruz González, among others.