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About Us Constitutional Convention
for Delta Epsilon Sigma
Kansas City, Missouri
March 29, 1940

Source: 1940 Constitution of DES p. 2

The History of Delta Epsilon Sigma

Delta Epsilon Sigma, the national scholastic honor society for students, faculty, and alumni of colleges and universities with a Catholic tradition, began at the suggestion of Reverend E. A. Fitzgerald, Dean of Studies at Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa, who in October of 1938 surveyed 120 Catholic colleges and universities concerning their interest in initiating such a society. He shared his findings in 1939 through a paper presented to the College and University Department of the National Catholic Education Association (N.C.E.A.). The discussion, which followed, resulted in a meeting of all interested members after the Department session. The participants organized a Committee of Founders that was geographically diverse and represented coeducational, as male or female only , Catholic colleges and universities.

The 32 members of Committee of Founders, with Father Fitzgerald as chair, drew up a general plan of organization. They created subcommittees on Constitution, on Name and Motto, and on Insignia. They shared their work with all Catholic colleges and universities prior to a Constitutional Convention held at the Hotel President, Kansas City, Missouri, on 29 March 1940. The attendants at the Conventions decided that the society would function for one year under the provisional constitution and then the Society would adopt a permanent constitution. The Convention approved the first 32 chapters of Delta Epsilon Sigma.

National meetings between 1941 and 1945 were infrequent because of the war, but Father Fitzgerald, the National Secretary-Treasurer, kept the society alive. In 1947, the Society initiated its official publication, the Delta Epsilon Sigma Bulletin, now known as the Delta Epsilon Sigma Journal.

The first major revision of the constitution and bylaws was adopted on 2 April 1959. On 28 May 1976, in the bicentennial year of the United States of America, a new constitution, bylaws, and induction ritual were approved by a National Conclave held at Rosemont College in Philadelphia. Minor amendments were made at the Second National Conclave held at the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York, on 18 April 1986. Subsequent changes to the Constitution and bylaws were approved by mail ballot.