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History of Pi Alpha Xi

The idea of an honor society came from an impromptu after-dinner discussion among representatives of several universities attending the International Flower Show held in New York City in 1923. A group of individuals from Cornell University, led by the late Arno Nehrling, developed the organization, wrote the first constitution and ritual and designed the insignia or key. The installation of the Alpha Chapter was at Cornell University on June 1, 1923. Originally, Pi Alpha Xi was for floriculture and ornamental horticulture; however, today it embraces all horticultural disciplines and has grown to 40 chapters with approximately 14,000 members. Chapters are located in the United States at four-year institutions with programs in horticulture.

The organization was established to foster good fellowship among students, educators and professional horticulturists. The society mission is to promote high scholarship, fellowship, professional leadership and the enrichment of human life through plants.

Pi Alpha Xi, the Honor Society for Horticulture, recognizes junior and senior students with high scholastic achievement who demonstrate a strong interest in horticulture. Graduate students and faculty with an emphasis in horticulture are also eligible. Students must have a minimum overall academic average of B (3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale). Individual chapters may require a higher GPA. Candidates should also show promise for continued activity and commitment to the field of horticulture.

Benefits of Membership
Your one-time membership fee provides lifetime national membership. You will also receive a Pi Alpha Xi certificate, recognition pin and access to the Lotus Leaflet, the society’s official newsletter, at the Pi Alpha Xi website. Individual chapters may also offer new members honor cords or sashes that are worn with commencement regalia and/or may assess a local chapter fee to cover costs. See your local chapter president or advisor for specific details.

Organization and Structure of Pi Alpha Xi
Pi Alpha Xi contracts management services from the American Society for Horticultural Science (Alexandria, VA). ASHS hosts the Pi Alpha Xi website Information about initiation and membership, including honorary members and fellows, and the Lotus Leaflet may be found there. The Pi Alpha Xi annual business meeting is held in conjunction with the American Society for Horticultural Science Annual Conference. During the year, all local chapters are kept informed of national business through the national secretary-treasurer, the Lotus Leaflet and the local chapter advisor and/or officers.

National Intercollegiate Floral Crop Quality
Evaluation and Design Competition Pi Alpha Xi is well known for its cosponsorship, with the American Floral Endowment, of the annual National Intercollegiate Floral Crop Quality Evaluation and Design Contest. The contest location is rotated among four-year institutions within the United States. The activity gives undergraduate students the opportunity to demonstrate their ability to recognize and evaluate plant quality and characteristics, as well express their creativity. In keeping with the goals of Pi Alpha Xi, fellowship and scholarship are shared among students, educators and industry professionals throughout the event.

Annual Pi Alpha Xi Photography Contest
As a member of Pi Alpha Xi, you are encouraged to submit digital photographs representing horticulture to the Annual Pi Alpha Xi Photography Contest. Competition categories and rules are available at the Pi Alpha Xi website ( Winners are announced during the annual business meeting held in conjunction with ASHS. Funds from the contest support the Pi Alpha Xi scholarship program.

Chapter Names and Universities

Alpha - Cornell University
Beta - University of Illinois
Gamma - Penn State University
Delta - Michigan State University
Epsilon - Ohio State University
Zeta - Rutgers University
Eta - Washington State University
Theta - University of Maryland
Iota - North Carolina State University
Kappa - Virginia Polytechnic & State University
Lambda - University of Minnesota
Mu - University of Florida
Nu - Auburn University
Xi - New Mexico State University
Omicron - Purdue University
Pi - Clemson University
Rho - University of Wisconsin-Madison
Sigma - Southern Illinois University
Tau - University of Georgia
Upsilon - California Polytechnic State University Phi - South Dakota State University
Chi - Colorado State University
Psi - Texas A&M University
Omega - Kansas State University
Alpha Beta - University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Alpha Gamma - University of Nebraska Lincoln
Alpha Delta - Oklahoma State University
Alpha Epsilon - University of California- Davis
Alpha Zeta - University of Wisconsin- River Falls
Alpha Eta - Delaware Valley College of Science & Agriculture
Alpha Theta - Iowa State University
Alpha Iota - Texas Tech University
Alpha Kappa - Mississippi State University
Alpha Lambda - Florida A&M University
Alpha Mu - Temple University
Alpha Nu - Utah State University
Alpha Xi - Texas State University- San Marcos
Alpha Omicron - University of Arkansas
Alpha Pi - University of Wisconsin- Platteville
Alpha Rho – Oregon State University