The majority of the programming of Alpha Chi conventions is undergraduate student members presenting scholarly and creative work in their own academic fields to multidisciplinary audiences of their peers and faculty sponsors. To encourage students to create the best presentation of their work, Alpha Chi offers a $100 prize for what the judges consider the best presentations in the various disciplines. In the span of two days, anywhere from 250 to 350 students are able to present their work—many presenting on a national level for the first time. It’s an invaluable experience and one that we’re proud to claim sets Alpha Chi apart from many other honor societies. Also, having these prizes adds a buzz of excitement to the convention’s closing gala!
Convention presentation prizes are created by endowments of $2,000 each. With these endowments, the future of the student scholarly program at Alpha Chi conventions will be well assured for years to come. If you notice a missing field, have ideas for a new prize, would like to make even a small contribution toward a new prize, or would like to honor someone by fully endowing a prize in their name, don’t hesitate to contact Alpha Chi’s executive director, Lara Noah, at email@example.com.
Below are brief stories about each of the wonderful people for whom these prizes are named.
The Robert Blake Prize in British Literature
This convention presentation prize was endowed by Dr. Robert “Bob” Blake, a graduate of Harvard and Duke universities. Dr. Blake served two decades as an Alpha Chi sponsor at Elon University, a private liberal arts college in North Carolina. Bob was the William S. Long Professor of English at Elon University for over 40 years, as well as department chair, director of study abroad in England, and literary critic. During that time, he also served Alpha Chi as vice president and president of Region III, and as a member of the National Council from 1982 to 1994 as Region III’s secretary-treasurer. He continued to serve on the Council as a faculty member-at-large from 1995 to 2003.Members of the Council during that time recall his strong and steady voice during deliberations, his genial sense of humor, and his unwavering dedication to Alpha Chi. Bob passed away in 2015 and is survived by his wife, Carol Blake.
The Kathryn Hoyle Bradley Prize in Health Sciences
This prize was endowed in 2005 by Dr. Kimberly Bradley in loving memory of her mother-in-law, Mrs. Kathryn Hoyle Bradley. Dr. Bradley is an Alpha Chi alumnus who graduated in 1991 from Stephen F. Austin State University. She was elected and served Region II Student Representative to the National Council from 1988 to 1990. Kathryn Bradley, for whom this prize is named, was a wife and mother of three children. She worked 20 years as a researcher/chemist for the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
The Brown’s Graduation Supplies Prize in Communication
This prize was endowed with royalties from Alpha Chi’s official merchandising partner, Brown’s Graduation Supplies owned and managed by Mr. Tim Brown. Tim is well known and appreciated for the great service he provides Alpha Chi’s chapters and members. Alpha Chi and Brown’s have enjoyed a long and productive partnership for 40 years. If you’ve been to a national convention in the last few decades, you found Tim there a welcoming smile along with our Alpha Chi jewelry, graduation regalia, and other AX-branded items.
The Avery Grenfell Church Prize in Anthropology and Sociology
This presentation prize was funded by an Alpha Chi alumnus from Baylor University, Mr. Avery Grenfell Church. Mr. Church is a U.S. Navy Veteran and former Educational Petty Officer of the OP Division aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt. He went on to teach anthropology at Memphis State University and the University of South Alabama. He also served as Vice Chair of Anthropology for the Alabama Academy of Science. Mr. Church is a philanthropist and prolific writer and poet, and he generously endowed the two other presentation prizes listed below.
The Ann C. and Avery G. Church Prize in Original Poetry
Ann Church was the beloved wife of Avery G. Church who endowed this prize in her loving memory. She was dedicated to her family, worked with her church, and found ways to aid others in this country as well as Honduras, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic. A fitting way to describe Mrs. Church may be with her own poem,
The Milton L. and Avery G. Church Prize in Environmental Science
Milton Lowe Church, the late elder brother of Avery Church, served honorably in the U.S. Navy from 1955-58. He received his bachelor’s degree cum laude from Wake Forest College. He died in 2015 at the age of 79. Among other things, he was a high school science teacher, a soil engineer, and a violinist for several symphony orchestras throughout his life.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………..The Margaret A. FitzGerald Prize in Political Science
Margaret “Peggy” FitzGerald, J.D., New York Mu chapter sponsor since 1990 and professor of criminal justice at Pace University Westchester, is honored in this prize endowed by her colleagues from Region VI. FitzGerald served 12 years as the region’s secretary-treasurer, giving her a seat on the National Council. She was elected to serve as Council President from 2011 to 2015. FitzGerald still works with the chapter at Pace and attends conventions every chance she can get.
The Michael Flachmann Prize in Shakespeare
Dr. Michael Flachmann sponsored the California Iota chapter at California State University, Bakersfield, from its founding in 1995. He brought students to the next national convention, in Philadelphia in 1997, and the Bakersfield chapter regularly attends to this day. A man of great hospitality, he often hosted campus and regional Alpha Chi events in his home.He was a professor of English, the director of the university’s Honors Program, a women’s tennis coach, a judo teacher, and a dramaturge of the Utah Shakespeare Festival. He was active in both regional and national Alpha Chi leadership, serving as both vice president and president of Region VII, and ten years on the National Council as a member at large. He will be remembered by his Alpha Chi colleagues for his kind and magnanimous spirit. Michael passed away in 2013, not long after attending what would be his last national convention. He is survived by his wife, Dr. Kim Flachmann, two children, and two grandchildren. Endowed by Dr. Flachmann in 2005, this prize was originally for the broader field of literature; however, he later requested it be redirected specifically to papers and projects relating to the work of William Shakespeare.
The Walden S. Freeman Prize in American History
Dr. Walden Freeman had the distinction of serving on Alpha Chi’s National Council from two different institutions. While sponsor of the Missouri Alpha chapter at William Woods College where he taught history for 17 years, he served 10 years as secretary-treasurer of Region IV; then, when he moved in 1986 to become vice president for academic affairs at Schreiner College in Texas, he began the Texas Alpha Sigma chapter and was elected to the Council as an at-large member for three terms, serving as national secretary from 1991 to 1995. In 1992, Dr. Freeman was one of four Council officers present to cut the ribbon on Alpha Chi’s first national office in Searcy, Arkansas. For several years after his retirement from Schreiner in 1994, he continued membership as an active alumnus and attended national conventions on several occasions. In 2003, Wally was honored to receive Alpha Chi’s Distinguished Service Award. This prize for American history presentations was largely endowed by Wally and completed by his friends and others supporting the social sciences.
The Patricia A. Graham Prize in World History
Dr. Patricia “Pat” Graham was a National Council member and chapter sponsor of the Texas Alpha Pi chapter of Alpha Chi at the University of Texas at San Antonio from 1987 to 2015. She also served as a regional officer with one term as vice president and one as president. Dr. Graham was also elected to three at-large terms on the National Council from 1995 to 2007. Starting her career at UTSA as a professor of education, she quickly became a mentor for student leaders and served 25 years a the Director of Student Activities. Dr. Graham saw four of her students elected as regional student representatives serving on the National Council. Dr. Graham was awarded a 2011 Distinguished Service Award and led her chapter to win the highest chapter award, the President’s Cup, in 2013. She is now enjoying a well-deserved retirement. This prize is lovingly named in her honor.
The Thelma Hall Prize in Creative Writing
This presentation prize was endowed by Region III in loving memory of Dr. Thelma R. Hall. Dr. Hall taught at Shorter University in Rome, Georgia, from 1964 until her death in 2002. She was a professor of English and chair of Humanities at Shorter, the author of several books of poetry, and had 75 poems published in various literary journals. She also taught English at two universities in China on four separate occasions from 1985 to 1995. Dr. Hall was the chartering faculty sponsor of the Georgia Theta chapter at Shorter in 1990 and later led the chapter to two Star Chapter Awards. She was elected to serve a four-year term as secretary-treasurer of Alpha Chi’s Region III in 1996 and again in 2000. Sadly, in 2002 Thelma lost a valiant fight with cancer. After her diagnosis, she wrote her reflections on having cancer as her husband, Wilson, wrote his reflections on her illness and then her death, later released together as a book entitled, Release and Restoration.
The Phillip A. Holcomb Prize in Contemporary Bioethical Issues
Dr. Phil Holcomb was the chapter sponsor of the Texas Alpha Iota chapter at Angelo State University from 1979 to 1994 and served terms as both vice president and president of Region I. He was elected as Region I Secretary-Treasurer in 1988, serving on the National Council until 2000. When he retired in 2001 from teaching English, he left the academic world behind to pursue his interest in medical ethics and the hospice movement. He and his wife, Kathleen, eventually moved to San Antonio where Phil became associated with University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio which has a formal program for training geriatric and palliative medicine fellows. Dr. Holcomb designed and now runs the Clinical Ethics and Professionalism Program, the only one of its kind in the country, and serves as an adjunct professor. He is also a member of the University Hospital Ethics Committee. He felt strongly about endowing a prize in bioethical issues and hopes this prize will encourage more presentations in this field.
The Blake and Trish Janutolo Prize in Organismal and Ecological Biology
This convention prize was endowed by the Janutolos, sponsors of the Indiana Alpha chapter at Anderson University. Before retiring in 2018, Blake was a professor of biology and chair of the department at Anderson where he also served as Dean of the College of Science and Humanities for 28 years. He served in many Alpha Chi roles since starting as sponsor in the late 80s. He was also elected as Region V’s secretary-treasurer from 1998 to 2010 and served double-duty as National Council Secretary from 1999 to 2011. Dr. Janutolo wrote, “We were more than happy to endow this prize because of the wonderful students we have met at the conventions and the wonderful friends we have made among the advisers of Alpha Chi. We believe in the message of Alpha Chi and the way it honors our best student scholars. We indeed have been privileged to be associated these many years with this wonderful organization.”
The Jim Kirby Prize in Physics and Astronomy
Sponsor of the Texas Alpha Kappa chapter at Tarleton State University from 1990 to 2001, Dr. Jim Kirby also served from 1997 to 2001 as an at-large member of the National Council. During his tenure as chapter sponsor, the chapter earned two Star Chapter Awards and, in 1995, the Tarleton chapter received the coveted President’s Cup for Outstanding Chapter. This presentation prize was endowed in 2007 by Dr. Kirby’s colleagues and friends from Region I to honor his Alpha Chi service. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
The Ann Kneavel Prize in Economics
Dr. Ann Kneavel served as a chapter sponsor of Delaware Beta at Goldey-Beacom College from 1995 through 2012. During those years, she led the chapter to multiple Star Chapter Awards and to being chosen as Alpha Chi’s 1999 President’s Cup for Outstanding Chapter. In addition to holding regional offices, she served as an at-large member of the National Council from 2003 to 2011. This prize was lovingly endowed by Region VI to honor Dr. Kneavel’s many years of service to Alpha Chi.
The Kenneth A. LaSota Prize in Geology and Earth Sciences
A professor in the School of Engineering, Mathematics, and Science, Dr. Ken LaSota began serving as a sponsor of the Pennsylvania Epsilon chapter at Robert Morris University in 1992. He served as Region VI’s vice president and president before being elected to the office of secretary-treasurer in 2012 and again in 2016. Region VI endowed this presentation prize in 2018 to honor Dr. LaSota’s nearly 30 years of service to Alpha Chi and its members.
The Ellen Millsaps Prize in American Literature
This prize was endowed by Region III to honor Dr. Ellen Millsaps who served three decades as faculty sponsor of the Tennessee Delta chapter at Carson-Newman University where she was a professor of English and the director of Writing Across the Curriculum. She held the Alpha Chi leadership positions of vice president and president of Region III, served three at-large terms on the National Council from 1997 to 2011, and held the office of Council Vice President from 2003 to 2011. Dr. Millsaps’ history with Alpha Chi goes back further to her undergraduate days at Mississippi College where she was inducted as a member and served as the chapter’s vice president. She was proud that during her tenure as vice president of Alpha Chi’s National Council, Alpha Chi instituted the first-ever national service project. Alpha Chi is dear to her heart, and she is delighted to have this prize in American Literature bear her name.
The Dennis M. Organ Graduate Student or Alumni Member Prize
Dr. Dennis Organ stepped down in 2012 after 18 years as Alpha Chi’s executive director, concluding an unbroken career of service with Alpha Chi that began in 1975 when he was appointed editor of publications. In this 37-year stint as editor, Organ completely transformed the Recorder, Alpha Chi’s annual journal, into three annual issues so that more student work and faculty voices could be featured. He wrote countless articles for both the Recorder and the Newsletter covering everything from convention activities and awards to interviews with distinguished alumni and popular keynote speakers and panelists. For the Newsletter, he tirelessly poured through hundreds of annual chapter reports making sure that chapters were kept abreast of the activities and events happening on other campuses. In 1995, Organ began the Active Alumni Program to give more attention to Alpha Chi’s graduated members, allowing them access to a new general audience edition of the Recorder and a special summer Newsletter geared especially to them. In 1997, he oversaw the implementation of opening membership in Alpha Chi to graduate students. It is in part for these reasons that, upon Organ’s retirement, the National Council named this prize in his honor. Dennis and his wife, Sherry, attended many national conventions together over the years. They now reside in Nashville, Tennessee, where they live near two of their three sons.
The Joseph E. and Bessie Mae Pryor Prizes in Chemistry & Mathematics
Dr. Joseph E. Pryor was Alpha Chi’s first executive director and national office administrator for many years. Known by many in the society as “Mr. Alpha Chi,” Dr. Pryor led the organization through its years of fastest growth. During his tenure as national secretary-treasurer from 1970 to 1983 and as executive director from 1983 to 1993, Alpha Chi tripled in size, from 100 chapters to more than 300. Before holding national office, he had been the one in 1957 to bring Alpha Chi to Harding University where he served as a science professor, provost, and Alpha Chi chapter sponsor for many years, becoming the beloved “Dr. Joe” on campus and even being elected as the secretary-treasurer of Region II in 1960. A leader in Alpha Chi for more than three decades before his retirement as executive director in 1993, Pryor died in October 2006, at the age of 88. His wife, Bessie Mae, who had worked closely with him in countless ways in Alpha Chi, especially at national conventions and in hosting Alpha Chi visitors to the Harding campus, passed away in 2016, at the age of 92. They are survived by two daughters and one granddaughter. The two convention presentation prizes that bear the Pryor’s names were largely endowed by them and completed by gifts from others supporting the fields of chemistry and mathematics.
The Bonnie Revelle Prize in Molecular and Cellular Biology
This prize for presentations in the field of biology was endowed by Dr. Bonnie C. Revelle and her husband, Charles. Dr. Revelle is a former member of the National Council, a pediatrician, and a former professor at Chowan University in North Carolina. According to Dr. Revelle, the most rewarding achievement of her time at Chowan was chartering the North Carolina Phi chapter of Alpha Chi. They attended their first convention just one month after their inaugural induction in February 1998, when their first student presenter won a regional presentation prize. Several years later the chapter hosted a regional convention in Norfolk, Virginia. Dr. Revelle admires Alpha Chi for making student participation and scholarship paramount, as the Society works to achieve the goal of “making scholarship effective for good.” Although she’s returned to the practice of medicine, she still enjoys teaching—working weekly with family practice residents. Bonnie says, “I still treasure the time I spent with Alpha Chi, and I want to continue to encourage the outstanding presentations that are such a significant part of each convention.”
The Bill Short Prize in World Literature
Dr. William “Bill” Newton Short, Jr., was the Alpha Chi sponsor of the Texas Upsilon chapter at McMurry University in Texas until his unexpected death in 2009. He was a professor of languages there for 27 years, teaching French, German, and Spanish. Dr. Short served one year as Region I Secretary-Treasurer, an office which gave him a seat on the National Council. Dr. Short traveled the world as a missionary and teacher, leading students on many international studies abroad. He was respected by his peers, loved by his students and family, and touched the lives of many Alpha Chi members and fellow chapter sponsors. In his memory, Region I endowed this World Literature convention presentation prize in his name.
The Floyd and Rosana Tesmer and D.C. Gamma Prize in Original Visual Art
This prize was funded by donations from the D.C. Gamma chapter and the Tesmers to encourage student convention presentations in the visual arts. Dr. Tesmer served as the faculty sponsor of the chapter at Strayer University from the 1980s to the 2000s, during which time he also served Region III in the capacities of both vice president and president. Floyd and Rosana enjoyed bringing students to conventions together, and Alpha Chi still holds a dear place in their hearts. The Tesmers celebrated their silver wedding anniversary in 2019.
The Floyd Tesmer and Strayer University Prize in Computer Science and Engineering
This prize was funded largely by the D.C. Gamma chapter at Strayer University and Dr. Tesmer who received Strayer’s Faculty Award of Excellence in 2008. Dr. Tesmer made sure that his chapter excelled by achieving Star Chapter status as many years as possible. He encourages more members to endow these awards as a noble effort to make scholarship effective for good.
The Alexander Bendazzi and Strayer University Prize in Art, Music, and Dance Papers
This prize was funded largely by the Strayer University chapter and a former co-sponsor, Dr. Alexander Bendazzi who taught humanities and served the chapter for 15 years. Now retired and in his 80s, Dr. Bendazzi resides in Washington, D.C.
The Mary Waterstreet Prize in Psychology
This prize was endowed in 2004 by Dr. Mary A. Waterstreet who was inducted into the Iowa Delta chapter at St. Ambrose University in 1970 and graduated in 1971 with a B.A. in psychology. Waterstreet received her Ph.D. in school psychology from The University of Georgia in 1977. After teaching in a few different states, she moved back in 1984 and joined the faculty at St. Ambrose. In 1990, she became the faculty sponsor of the Iowa Delta chapter and served the students there until her retirement in 2017. In retirement, she continues her interest in the teaching of creativity and psychology through Research Gate, the American Psychological Association, and the Creative Education Foundation.
The Gayle Webb White Prize in Business Management
Dr. Gayle White, a long-time national figure in Alpha Chi, retired from the National Council in 2005. She served multiple terms on the Council spanning more than two decades, including tenure as secretary, vice president, and president. She was a chapter sponsor for many years at Southern Arkansas University where she was a Turner Professor of Management and an SAU Distinguished Professor in the College of Business. Of the four student organizations she led, she deems Alpha Chi her favorite. While on the Council, she served on the scholarship committee multiple times, reading submissions for the annual scholarship competition. According to Gayle, it became evident there were more outstanding applicants than awards which is one reason she endowed this convention prize.
The Jeanette Wieser Prize in Exercise Science and Nutrition
This prize was funded largely by Ms. Jeanette Marian Wieser and her friend, Dr. Patricia Williams. Even though access to sports for girls was limited in the early 1940s, Jeanette pursued getting her teaching degree in physical education. After graduating with her degree and teaching many years from Texas to California, she accepted a professorship at Sam Houston State University in 1959 and taught for over 30 years. She was a perfectionist at heart and a teacher of serious discipline who wanted to ensure her students excelled as teachers and coaches. She thus exemplified the motto of Alpha Chi. Along with supporting numerous Alpha Chi chapter events, Jeanette was active in Delta Kappa Gamma International, an education association for women. After retiring, she moved home to Tomball, Texas, where she lived enjoying friends, family, dominos, and Canasta until her passing in 2018 at the age of 89. She was a dear friend of Dr. Williams and will be remembered fondly with this convention prize in exercise science and nutrition.
The Patricia A. Williams Prize in Education
This prize was endowed in honor of Dr. Williams by her friends and others interested in the field of education. She was inducted as an undergraduate into the Texas Omicron chapter at Sam Houston State University where she was elected the chapter’s president. After her education, she joined the faculty at SHSU and soon became the official chapter sponsor of the chapter she was inducted into. Williams went on to serve on the Region II executive committee and then many productive years elected to the National Council, including terms as both its vice president and president. She was the Texas Omicron faculty sponsor for 32 years.
The Johnny and Frances Williams Prize in Performing Arts
This prize was endowed by Dr. Patricia Williams, former president of the National Council, in honor of her late parents, Johnny and Frances. In 2005 the prize was given in education, but Dr. Williams later requested it be redirected to students in performing arts because her father was a musician and her parents were both lovers of great music.
The Clark Youngblood Prize in Philosophy and Religion
This prize was funded primarily by Dr. Clark Youngblood, a professor of theology at Grand Canyon University for 31 years. Thirty of those years were spent as the faculty sponsor of the Arizona Alpha chapter. He served as Region VII Vice President for two years before being elected as the secretary-treasurer, serving in that integral role from 1988 to 2000. In case that wasn’t enough, Dr. Youngblood then successfully ran three times for an at-large seat on the National Council (2001-2013). Eight of those years were served as the Council’s president. He retired from Grand Canyon and Alpha Chi in 2013 and resides in Arizona with his wife Miriam and enjoys serving with his local church and traveling with Miriam and their friends.