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ADA – East Central University will celebrate the centennial of Pi Sigma Alpha in early March, while also honoring the legacy of pioneering ECU instructor Lou Watkins.

Founded in 1920, Pi Sigma Alpha is the National Political Science Honor Society. Although the society actually turned 100 last year, the timing of the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak pre-empted an organized celebration, either in-person or virtually.

As a result, the centennial observation will continue this year. An online Zoom celebration is scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 3. The master of ceremonies is 1997 Pi Sigma Alpha inductee and Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Dustin Rowe.

As chair of ECU’s Government department, Watkins brought Pi Sigma Alpha to campus in 1988 in the form of the Rho Beta chapter. Since then, 258 members have been inducted into the chapter.

At ECU, Watkins dedicated herself to providing leadership opportunities to students, taking them on educational trips to New York City and Washington, D.C. She was also the driving force behind the establishment of ECU’s very successful Legal Studies program. Watkins was named one of ECU’s Distinguished Former Faculty in 2019.

ECU’s Rho Beta chapter has won a Best Chapter award several times and has been awarded thousands of dollars in Chapter Activity Grant money. That money has been used to fund the Week of Work in Hammond Heights in Ada, as well as for educational trips for chapter members.

The Rho Beta chapter has traveled to visit presidential libraries in Texas on two occasions and has made several trips to Washington, D.C., to intern with members of Congress and to attend the Pi Sigma Alpha National Undergraduate Research Conference. Kaylin Cullum, an ECU graduate and 2013 inductee, was the very first student to present research at a Pi Sigma Alpha conference and over a dozen ECU students have presented research on the national stage in the years since.

To attend the event, please email chapter advisor Christine Pappas at for the Zoom link or call 580-559-5640 for more information.

Cutline: Alexis Benitez, Lauren Butler and Keaton Hackler of ECU’s Rho Beta chapter celebrate Pi Sigma Alpha’s centennial. (ECU)


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