Delta Epsilon Sigma (D.E.S.) is the national scholastic honor society for students, faculty, and alumni of colleges and universities with a Catholic tradition. It boasts 119 chapters and more than 38,800 members across the country.
And it started at Loras College.
In October 1938, Reverend E. A. Fitzgerald, dean of studies at then-Columbia College, was interested in launching a scholarly organization for similar institutions and surveyed 120 Catholic colleges and universities concerning their interest in participating in such a society. The promising results led to a meeting of interested members following a meeting of the College and University Department of the National Catholic Education Association (N.C.E.A.).
The participants organized a Committee of Founders that was geographically diverse and represented coeducational, male- or female-only Catholic colleges and universities.
Initially, 32 members formed a Committee of Founders, with Father Fitzgerald as chair, to begin the planning process. At a Constitutional Convention held at the Hotel President, Kansas City, Missouri, on March 29, 1940, a one-year provisional constitution was drafted. The convention approved the first 32 chapters of Delta Epsilon Sigma. One year later, the Society would adopt a permanent constitution.
Initial national meetings between 1941 and 1945 were infrequent because of the war, but Father Fitzgerald, the National Secretary-Treasurer, kept the Society alive.
To become a member of D.E.S., undergraduate students must be ranked in the top twenty percent of their class, while graduate students must have a minimum grade point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. Additionally, candidates must also have a record of dedication to intellectual activity and community service.