AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst became the 54th chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta, the national agricultural honor society and inducted its first 22 members on March 25 in a ceremony at the Lincoln Campus Center. The society, which has university chapters throughout the U.S. and more than 100,000 members, traces its beginnings back to 1905. The broad objective of the honor society is to advance agricultural sciences by encouraging and honoring scholarship and leadership in all branches of agricultural science and education.
Overseeing the ceremony was Wesley Autio, director of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture and the first president of the Massachusetts Chapter. In addition two UMass Amherst faculty members, two graduate students, five juniors and 13 seniors studying agriculture and related majors were inducted. Academically, juniors must rank in the top 5 percent and seniors in the top 15 percent of their respective classes.
Professor Autio reminded the inductees that “acceptance of membership in this society carries with it honor, but in life, honors which do not carry responsibility and duty are empty.” He added that “election to an honor organization is recognition of your ability and of your willingness to assume greater responsibility and to discharge added duties.” The new inductees are expected to continue to work for excellence in agricultural research, education and community outreach.
Gamma Sigma Delta are the Greek letters, representing the statement “binding together on earth, the mother of all, and the practice of agriculture, and the arts relating thereto for the welfare of humankind.” Agricultural programs at UMass Amherst have a long history of service to humankind, dating back to the original Massachusetts Agricultural College. The dean of the College of Natural Sciences, Stephen Goodwin, congratulated the inductees and reminded the audience of critical value of agriculture to the Commonwealth.