Our Founder

RollinPoseyIn 1945, Dr. Rollin Posey was Dean of the University College at Northwestern University. He had inherited an honorary named Alpha Sigma Lambda but not, it seemed, a history, constitution or bylaws. He decided to remake Alpha Sigma to serve the needs of his students. He invited students to attend a meeting in early January 1946 to "consider the establishment of an Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Lambda, in order that we may have some means of recognizing superior scholarship among our students. Apparently, the students liked the idea, and he drew up a proposed constitution. In it, he expanded on what he thought the Society should be. Its purpose, he wrote, was "to bind together into one Society the excellent students within the University College in order to provide a stimulus to and recognition for their worthy efforts to make best use of their college years." This language was still in ASL's constitution 20 years later.


Alpha Sigma Lambda, The First Sixty Years

  1. 1945

    Dr. Rollin Posey, Dean of the University College at Northwestern University, inherits an honorary named Alpha Sigma Lambda.  The honorary lacked history, constitution, or bylaws.

  2. 1946

    Along with students, Dean Posey begins working on the establishment of the Honor Society, Alpha Sigma Lambda, as a means of recognizing superior scholarship among its students.

  3. 1947

    Frank Neuffer, from the University of Cincinnati and Rollin Posey ratifies Alpha Sigma Lambda’s first national constitution on May 7.

    Alpha Sigma Lambda charters its first Beta Chapter at the University of Cincinnati, thereby turning Alpha Sigma Lambda into a national Honor Society in May.

    ASL holds its first annual meeting at the Association of University Evening Colleges (AUEC) – now Association of Continuing Higher Education (ACHE) convention in Minneapolis in November.

  4. 1955

    ASL signs its eighth member.

  5. 1957

    The ceremony ritual changes.

  6. 1959

    ASL signs its 19th member.

  7. 1966

    ASL requires all national councilors to be members of AUEC.
    ASL changes its bylaws to require candidates to have completed at least four semesters prior to be considered for membership.

  8. 1967

    ASL signs its 36th member.

  9. 1968

    Drury College of Springfield, MO becomes ASL’s 37th member.

  10. 1969

    ASL’s Executive Committee begins approving membership applications, thereby reducing the approval time.

  11. 1970

    The Executive Committee standardizes certificates of membership previously produced by individual chapters.

  12. 1972

    ASL publishes its first chapter directory and informational brochure.

  13. 1973

    ASL admits the first Community College.

  14. 1977

    ASL takes major steps to attract new members, with focus on institutions’ departments of continuing education.

    ASL publishes The Midnight Oil for the first time.


  15. 1979

    Under the leadership of President Leslie Jacobsen of Brooklyn College and in partnership with ACHE, ASL embarks on its first known membership drive, yielding 16 new members and reactivating five idle chapters.

    The Executive Committee appoints the Associate Degree Task Force, and appoints Dean Constance Scott, past president of ASL as the chair. The Task Force reaffirms 30 credits are required for consideration, and that transfer credits may not be included in the equation, for it is the chartered institution offering the distinction.

    The Task Force approves to amend Article II, Section 3 to exclude applied arts and science courses in the calculation.


  16. 1980

    ASL no longer requires member institutions to be members of ACHE, but ACHE’s representative remains as the ASL national councilor.

    ASL splits the Secretary-Treasurer position in two after ten new members join.

  17. 1981

    ASL signs its 70th chapter.

    Sherman Kent, longtime Midnight Oil editor proposes the creation of a foundation to promote the advocacy of lifelong study and ASL’s commitment to adult learners.

    The Executive Committee appoints an Ad Hoc Committee for the Foundation.

  18. 1982

    The Executive Committee instituted bulk production and distribution of ASL pins.

    The Executive Committee approves the proposal from the Ad Hoc Committee for the creation of a Foundation as a separate organization, and appoints Sherman Kent as its first president.

  19. 1984

    ASL signs its 90th chapter.

  20. 1986

    ASL signs its 115th chapter and has representation in 28 states.

    The Executive Committee proposes the creation of a central office for records and operations.

  21. 1987

    ASL names its first scholarship: Dr. Frederick Neuffer.

    The Executive Committee establishes a Task Force on the creation of the Executive Secretary of ASL figure, chaired by Leo O’Hara.

    The Task Force recommends the creation of an institutionally-based central office to house the Executive Secretary funded by increases in dues the price of pins.

    The membership approved the creation of the central office and the position of Executive Secretary.

  22. 1988

    The Midnight Oil reports ASL now has 125 chapters, 53 of which have been added in the past 4½ years (a 72% increase).

  23. 1989

    Beth Panzini at the Philadelphia College of Textiles (now Philadelphia University) becomes the first Executive Secretary.

    ASL purchases its first computer to increase efficiency of record keeping and simplifying billing and mailing.

  24. 1990

    ASL names its second scholarship in honor of its founder: Sherman V.N. Kent.

    The Executive Committee names an Eligibility Task Force to define nontraditional students.

    The Task Force affirmed that each institution should determine who its non traditional students are.

  25. 1991

    The Central Office moves to Cedar Crest College.

    The Central Office moves to LaSalle University.

  26. 1994

    The Central Office moves to Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales (now DeSales University)..

  27. 1995

    The Executive Committee passed a motion to ask chapter applicants for their definitions of what an adult student is in their institutions.

  28. 1996

    The Central Office moves to Eastern Illinois University at the invitation of Dean William C. Hine.


  29. 1997

    ASL names its third scholarship in honor of Montclair State University’s retired chapter councilor: Dr. Alicia Savage.

    The Executive Committee authorizes an Institutional Membership Eligibility Task Force, chaired by Lynn Penland, to revisit the new adult student paradigms.

    ASL brings the residency requirement down to 24 credits and the distribution requirement down to 12.

    ASL registers its scripts and officially adopts burgundy and gold as its colors.

    Shirley Melton becomes the first strictly-ASL hire.


  30. 1998

    ASL affirms that member institutions must be regionally accredited and liberal arts. Every ASL chapter must meet these minimum standards, but is welcome to set its standards higher.

  31. 2002

    ASL’s redefines its mission statement: “Alpha Sigma Lambda recognizes and fosters scholarship and leadership among adult/nontraditional undergraduate students.”

    ASL creates the William C. Hine Distinguished Service Award to honor chapter councilors.

    ASL’s redefines its mission statement: “Alpha Sigma Lambda is an honor society that partners with colleges and universities to celebrate and advance the scholarship and leadership of adult students in higher education.”

  32. 2003

    After several membership fee increases, ASL adopts language in Article V that does not require the constitution to change every time there is a price change.

    Will Hine designs the “Each One Reach One” membership campaign with the purpose of recruiting new members.


  33. 2004

    Western Carolina University becomes ASL’s 300th chapter.

    Blair Hall, which housed ASL at Eastern is partially destroyed by a fire on April 28. Many historic records and files are destroyed as a result.

  34. 2006

    ASL celebrates its 60th anniversary.

  35. 2015

    ASL hires its part-time office assistant.

  36. 2016





    ASL celebrates its 70th anniversary.

    Alpha Sigma Lambda becomes a trademarked organization.