About Alpha Epsilon Lambda
Alpha Epsilon Lambda was founded in 1990 by John Capece, Carole Glover, and Suresh Ramamurthi, all former officers of the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students, with the specific objective of recognizing the academic and leadership accomplishments of graduate and professional school students. The mission of Alpha Epsilon Lambda is to:
- Confer distinction for high achievement in the leadership of graduate student organizations,
- Confer distinction for high achievement in graduate school academics,
- Promote leadership development,
- Promote scholarship and intellectual development,
- Enrich the intellectual environment of graduate education institutions,
- Encourage high standards of ethical behavior, and
- Encourage graduate student engagement in critical issues of society.
Alpha Epsilon Lambda chapters may be installed in graduate or professional schools which support this mission. Graduate and professional school students who meet the selection criteria may be elected to membership.
Alpha Epsilon Lambda was formed in 1990 by a University of Florida graduate student, John Capece, who provided the concept, structure and resources for the society. Carole Glover, a Ph.D. candidate at American University, served as co-founder of the society and developed the name of the society. Suresh Ramamurthi, graduate student at New Jersey Institute of Technology also assisted in formation of the society and served as the organization's first elected president. AEL's purpose is to promote ethics, intellectual achievement, and leadership among graduate students. Before AEL, no honor society was devoted exclusively to recognizing graduate students.
AEL began as an organization of individual members at campuses throughout the country. In 1992 the first chapters were formed at University of Florida (Alpha Chapter), University of Miami (Beta Chapter) and Kutztown University (Gamma Chapter). Chapter growth has continued to its current 37 chapters. University of Miami students Celestino Corral and Manny Tejeda provided the leadership in developing the first AEL chapters. Dr. Wm. Bruce Ezell provided the initial leadership among the graduate school deans which led to the creation of additional chapters and the formation of a national advisory council composed of graduate school deans.
The founders designed AEL with the intention of promoting greater interaction and cooperation between the campus graduate student advocacy organizations (graduate student associations, councils, senates, unions, etc.) and the graduate school (faculty and administrators). This was to be accomplished by providing a forum in whichstudent-administration advocacy issues would not be a focus, thus allowing students, faculty and administrators the opportunity for shared leadership and participation in an organization intended to simply recognize the achievements of graduate students and to provide service to the graduate students and college by promoting interaction of campus graduate student leaders.
Dr. Madelyn Lockhart, former Dean of the University of Florida Graduate School served as AEL President from 1995 until her passing in 2015. Dr. Juan Vitali, Department of Defense nuclear science specialist at the Pentagon, served as AEL President from 2016 to 2019. Mr. Ilya Solarev, Managing Director of UBS, has served as president since 2020. Dr. John Capece has served as the AEL Executive Director since establishment of the organization.
The name of Alpha Epsilon Lambda was developed by Carole Glover based upon the society's mission of recognizing Academic Excellence and Leadership. The AEL insignia, key, seal and certificates were designed by John Capece using the same "book" motif that he used in creating the logo he developed for the graduate student services non-profit organization, Grad Services, Inc. This same logo was used by the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS) until 1998. The AEL key incorporates the book motif in combination with a key background design used by Florida Blue Key, the University of Florida leadership fraternity.
Alpha Epsilon Lambda has several membership categories and recognitions:
Academic members shall be elected by the active members at a campus chapter of Alpha Epsilon Lambda. Eligible candidates must demonstrate an academic record placing them in the top 35% of their campus graduate students, evaluated using GPA at the campus, college, departmental or program levels. Not more than 10% of the total number of graduate/professional school students at a university/college campus shall be elected to Academic Member status in a single calendar year. This category of member may not serve as a chapter president, vice president, or member of a membership applications review committee.
Leadership Members are those candidates nominated by a chapter membership review committee, president, or vice president and approved by the AEL National Selection Committee. Eligible candidates must demonstrate a distinguished record of leadership in graduate student organizations as elected officers. Chapters must issue application invitations to all officers of their campus-wide graduate student organizations. These applications shall be submitted through the forms provided on the AEL national web page. This category of member may serve as a chapter president, vice president, or membership applications review committeeperson. The selection procedure and candidate eligibility requirements must adhere to the Bylaws of Alpha Epsilon Lambda. Not more than 1% of the total number of graduate/professional school students at a university/college campus shall be elected to Leadership Member status in a single calendar year.
Leadership and Academic Member
Leadership and Academic Members are those candidates who satisfy the criteria of both Academic Member and Leadership Member. This category of member may serve as a chapter president, vice president, or membership applications review committeeperson.
National Members are selected by the AEL National Selection Committee. This committee is composed of the President, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, and Executive Director. No more than 1/10 of 1% (1 per 1000) of the total number of graduate/professional school students at a U.S. university/college campus shall be awarded National Member status in a single calendar year. National Members are automatic voting members of the campus chapter where they are enrolled as a degree-seeking graduate students and are eligible to serve in any chapter leadership role.
International Members are the equivalent of National Members but are students at universities outside the United States.
Individuals not holding degree-seeking student status but who are worthy of special recognition may be admitted to Alpha Epsilon Lambda under the title Honorary Member. Honorary Members may be admitted upon election by a chapter. Chapters may admit two Honorary Members per year.
National Honorary Member
Individuals not holding degree-seeking student status but who are worthy of special recognition may be admitted to Alpha Epsilon Lambda under the title National Honorary Member. Honorary Members may be admitted by unanimous vote of the AEL National Selection Committee.
National Fellows are those National Members awarded special status by virtue of outstanding academic or leadership accomplishments placing them among the most accomplished students in the nation.
Governing Members are those National Fellows recognized for their many years of service to AEL and their commitment to provide future support for the growth of Alpha Epsilon Lambda.
Each member pays $25 national dues for a lifetime membership. National members not already affiliated with a campus charter pay national dues of $30. The local chapter establishes its own dues but such annual
dues shall be less than or equal to the national dues amount.
Chapter activities may vary from campus to campus. Each chapter is expected to initiate members twice a year. Chapters are encouraged to sponsor a service project that benefits graduate students. The National headquarters sponsors national service projects, leadership development workshops, and recreational retreats for members. The AEL national service project is Campus Climate Corps, which seeks to engage university students in educational programs related to the climate crisis and the UNFCCC annual climate conference.