Rho Chi, the only national pharmaceutical honor society, is regarded highly by pharmacists and professional workers in related fields. Chapters are authorized only in accredited colleges of pharmacy in the United States. The principal objective of Rho Chi is to promote the advancement of the pharmaceutical sciences through encouragement and recognition of outstanding scholarship. The society has a significant research fund from which grants are made and annually holds a convention at which outstanding speakers are heard.
The national society grew out of a local pharmaceutical group at the University of Michigan, called the Aristolochite Society. The parent organization flourished in the College of Pharmacy on the Michigan campus from 1908 until 1922, when it ceased to exist and a charter was granted by the state of Michigan to Alpha Chapter of Rho Chi.
Over the years Rho Chi has grown into a nation-wide and influential organization. Alpha Chapter has been active throughout this period, and its members have served as officers and in various other capacities in the national society.
Students are selected from among the juniors, seniors, and graduate students working in pharmacy on the basis of scholarship and professional contributions to pharmacy. A scholastic average of B is required, together with approval by the dean of the College for recommendation to membership. Election is by ballot of the voting membership of the chapter, and affirmative votes must be cast by three-fourths of this membership.
Initiation is held in the spring, usually in co-operation with the honors banquet sponsored by the Student Branch of the American Pharmaceutical Association of the College of Pharmacy. Alpha Chapter does not hold monthly or other regular meetings.
Alpha Chapter sponsors a number of prizes and one scholarship in the College of Pharmacy. Prizes are awarded to outstanding Page 1944students in the freshman and sophomore classes at the spring dinner, and a $100 scholarship is awarded annually to the student who has shown the greatest scholastic improvement during the preceding year. The basis for this award is unusual in that emphasis is placed on over-all improvement rather than on a high average. A student who at one time may have been deficient in over-all average may be awarded the scholarship.
A comprehensive history has recently been published, "The Rho Chi Society," by Roy A. Bowers and David L. Cowen, in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education (19:244-84, 1955). The role of the University of Michigan in originating and helping to develop Rho Chi during recent decades is outlined in this history.