The road to the creation and accreditation of Gamma Theta Upsilon, The International Geographical Honor Society was not easy. It was originally formed as an honorary fraternity prior to WWI by a student at the University of Chicago. The initial attempt to have it recognized as a more permanent organization failed before being revived again in 1924 once the founder, Dr. Robert G. Buzzard, went to graduate school at Clark University. Buzzard was motivated by the importance and value of geographical student organizations. Through the 1920s, Buzzard continued to create geography clubs on college campuses such as Illinois State Normal University where he worked as a professor before officially creating Gamma Theta Upsilon in 1928.
According to their website, GTU’s goals are:
- To further professional interest in Geography by affording a common organization for those interested in the field.
- To strengthen student and professional training through academic experiences in addition to those of the classroom and laboratory.
- To advance the status of Geography as a cultural and practical discipline for study and investigation.
- To encourage student research of high quality, and to promote an outlet for publication.
- To create and administer funds for furthering graduate study and/or research in the field of Geography.
In order to be eligible for membership, students must have completed the equivalent of 3 full time semesters with at least 3 Geography courses while maintaining a minimum of a 3.3 GPA. Students must also rank in the top 35% of their class.
GTU currently has over 300 chapters worldwide with new chapters being added every year. You’ll see Gamma Theta Upsilon graduates wearing gold stoles and gold, light blue, and black 3-color honor cords.
As a reminder, our team continues to operate with a modified business solution, complete with remote and isolated order processing locations. Our goal is to safely deliver honor and recognition gear to schools and institutions to have ready for their students once graduation dates have been reworked. We understand the importance of graduation regalia and what it means to students and faculty and want graduates to mark their accomplishments in a way in which they deserve. No matter what your commencement ceremony looks like this year, our honor and recognition gear means the same and looks just as great!