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,
  • Promote leadership development,
  • Promote scholarship and encourage intellectual development,
  • Enrich the intellectual environment of graduate education institutions, and
  • Encourage high standards of ethical behavior.

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 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 which 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.

Name and Insignia

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 graduates student services non-profit organization, Grad Services, Inc.  This same logo is also used by the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS).  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.

Membership Dues

Alpha Epsilon Lambda has several membership categories and recognitions:

Members are those graduate and professional school students initiated into an active chapter of Alpha Epsilon Lambda. Qualifications include:

  • Demonstration of leadership through the involvement on on-campus or off-campus activities while a graduate student and
  • Academic accomplishments placing the applicant in the top 35% of campus graduate students.

National Member
National Members are graduate and professional school students awarded special recognition by the AEL National Member Selection Committee. Applicants must meet Member requirements and must also demonstrate higher academic or leadership accomplishments placing them among the most accomplished students in their campus. No more than 1% of the total graduate population of a campus may receive such recognition in any one year.

National Fellow 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 Member
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 $20 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.


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 a national membership meeting.  Also, AEL sponsors national service projects, leadership development workshops, and recreational retreats for members.

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Last update: 05/22/2022
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