Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society Initiation Ceremony 2017
The Alpha Psi Chapter of Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society at the University of Delaware hosted its fourth initiation ceremony on Saturday, March 11, during which 20 new members were welcomed into the society; sixteen of the new inductees are undergraduate students and the remaining four are graduate students. This is the largest class the society has initiated since its establishment at the university in 2009.
The ceremony was a celebration of diversity on the university’s campus and embodied the vision and purpose of Delta Alpha Pi Honor Society: to change the perception of students with disabilities by recognizing them for their academic accomplishments. The ceremony also included the announcement of the 2017 Kevin Miner Scholarship Award recipient. The Kevin Miner Scholarship Award was created in honor of a Delta Alpha Pi member who passed away in 2015. The award is presented to a student with a disability that embodies the values of leadership, advocacy, and pride in education while also exemplifying Kevin’s characteristics of optimism, strength, and a commitment to disability issues. Students are nominated for this award by University of Delaware faculty and staff or may self-nominate. This year’s award recipient was Jackeline Saez-Rosario, who is also the outgoing president of Delta Alpha Pi.
Delta Alpha Pi, nicknamed DAPi, is housed under the Office of Disability Support Services on campus. DAPi is an international honor society that recognizes students with disabilities who excel academically. Members of the honor’s society are a diverse group of individuals with various majors, interests, and talents. All members of DAPi must be registered with the Office of Disability Support Services. Undergraduate students with a 3.1 grade point average (GPA) and at least 24 credit hours and graduate students with a 3.3 GPA and at least 18 credit hours are eligible for membership.
The initiation ceremony was led by chapter adviser Barbara Lewis-Kuszyk. Several guest speakers encouraged members of the honor society, both new and old, to continue their pursuit of academic success and to strive for advocacy and education not only on campus, but also in their surrounding community.
Christopher Lucier, UD Vice President for Enrollment Management, was one of these speakers. For him, DAPi is both professional and personal. He explains, “I am also a very proud father of a Delta Alpha Pi inductee last year, and I have seen his journey… you never saw your son or your daughter as anything else but all they could be.” To him, the members of DAPi “stand as exemplars of qualities [he] admire[s] and respect[s] a great deal: grit, determination, strength, and optimism.”
Becoming a member of Delta Alpha Pi provides opportunities for students to strive for academic excellence and to embrace diversity. Current DAPi member Genevieve Hahn notes, “No matter what your disability you never lack the ability to help others,” and she encouraged the initiates to “prioritize your commitment to this wonderful organization.” She believes that, “DAPi is here to bring fulfillment to [the members’] college experience.” As Hahn said while the college experience can be daunting for a student with or without disabilities, DAPi provides the opportunity for high achieving students with disabilities to be a “part of a group of students who had also overcome personal issues and really worked hard to be the best student they could be… [I was] accepted for who I was. That is something we all need and we all deserve.”
Speakers at the ceremony spoke about opportunities to embrace diversity and advocacy. Lewis- Kuszyk told new members, “By celebrating the talents and skills of these successful students, it changes the perception of disability and shatters the old negative stereotypes of disability.”
If you would like to learn more about Delta Alpha Pi, the Office of Disability Support Services, or would like to donate to the Kevin Miner Scholarship Award, please contact us at (302) 831-4643.