Savannah, Georgia, a city famous for its southern charm and historic landmarks, was the backdrop for the Alpha Chi 2001 National Convention March 22-24. Three representatives from Fresno Pacific University made the cross-country trip: economics faculty Peng Wen served as faculty sponsor, and Karen Crockett and Jaime Huss were student members. Crockett is a junior majoring in music performance and Huss is a senior majoring in English writing. Both are from Fresno.
Alpha Chi is a national honor scholarship society composed of colleges and universities nationwide. Members are inducted by their individual school chapters, and must be juniors or seniors, typically carrying a GPA of 3.75 or higher and in the top 10 percent of their class. FPU has had an Alpha Chi chapter since 1987, and past members include Richard Rawls, now on the history and philosophy faculty. Twenty four inductees will be added to the 13 continuing Alpha Chi members at the 2001 Honor Convocation on April 20.
More than 500 individuals from 82 colleges and universities were expected to convene at the Hyatt Regency Savannah for the convention. The three-day meeting included chapter workshops, business meetings, elections of new national council members, student presentations and award announcements. Crockett was among those honored by being named first runner-up for the Nolle Scholarship, the organization's national scholarship for undergraduate study.
Crockett and Huss were among 213 students who gave presentations at the convention on topics covering a range of academic pursuits. Crockett performed a piano piece by Maurice Ravel titled "Jeux d' eau," and Huss shared her research paper "Anorexic Inquiries of Medieval Female Saints." Presentations were generally limited to 12 minutes and were followed by a few minutes of questions from the audience.
Crockett and Wen agreed that the student presentations were among the convention's highlights. "I really enjoyed the student presentations because we were able to see what students are working on," said Crockett. "Many schools I hadn't heard of before came out with outstanding presentations," said Wen.
Convention festivities included a banquet with novelist Nevada Barr as featured speaker, a riverboat cruise on the Savannah River, an address from Alpha Chi alumnus and NASA astronaut Clayton Anderson and a variety of tours throughout the Savannah historic district.
While business and recreation were part of the Savannah convention, personal growth was also an outcome. "I'm encouraged to continue studying music," said Crockett. "Any new experience can broaden you. This was unlike any convention I'd been to before."
The three FPU participants returned to campus with new ideas for the university's Alpha Chi chapter. Wen intends to have Alpha Chi inductees choose their own professor to award them at the honors convocation ceremony, a suggestion made by a chapter sponsor at the convention. Regional scholarships for next school year will also be available for undergraduate students, and Wen is writing a proposal for regional graduate school scholarships.