National German Honor Society


The purpose of Delta Phi Alpha, according to the Society's constitution, is to

  • Recognize excellence in the study of German and to provide an incentive for higher scholarship
  • Promote the study of German language, literature, and civilization
  • Emphasize those aspects of German life and culture which are of universal value and which contribute to man's eternal search for peace and truth


The student's faculty advisor and/or chairman of the German department accredit applications for individual membership in the society. A lifetime membership fee of $20 must accompany each application for initiation into the society. Each new member receives an embossed membership certificate and a copy of the Delta Phi Alpha Bulletin. Red, gold, and black graduation cords are also available.

To meet the national criteria for membership in Delta Phi Alpha, students must have

  • A minimum of one course in German above the 202 level
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 in German courses
  • A minimum overall grade point average of B+ or better 
  • An indication of continued interest in the study of German language and literature

Any person with marked literacy, scholastic, or cultural achievements and an interest in German may be recommended for honorary membership by a chapter. Recommendations for honorary membership must have the approval of the faculty advisor and/or the German Department of the institution where the chapter is located, and must be submitted to the national Secretary for approval. Honorary members are entitled to receive membership certificates, and the chapter that recommends them pays for their national membership fee.


Induction Ceremonies

Iota Psi holds its initiation ceremony each semester. 


Each year in late September or early October, Dr. Reynolds hosts German students at his farm in Prospect for an Oktoberfest celebration. Students enjoy sausage, sauerkraut, and German potato salad. Afterwards they may participate in a game of croquet. Hampden-Sydney German students are also usually invited. 

National History

The national honor society of Delta Phi Alpha was founded in May of 1929 at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The process of creating the society began in February of 1928 when 21 Wofford students formed a German Club they named the Deutscher Verein under the supervision of Dr. James A. "Graveyard" Chiles.

Early in the year of 1929, members of the Deutscher Verein started contacting German clubs on other campuses, which led to the national formation of Delta Phi Alpha. Wofford College became the Alpha chapter of the Society, and Dr. Chiles became its president, a title he held until he retired.

Currently, Delta Phi Alpha has approximately 240 chapters and over 31,000 living members in the United States.

History of Longwood's Iota Psi Chapter

The Iota Psi chapter of the National German Honor Society, Delta Phi Alpha, was founded at Longwood in 1987 by Dr. Geoffrey Orth, assistant professor of German and head of the English and Modern Languages Department at that time. Kerri Hruby, Ann Lawson, Rose Marie Pohl, Julia Polvent, Melissa Richardson, Michele Sims, and Boris Steinbach were initiated on April 7, 1987 as charter members. After the initiation ceremony, they had dinner and watched "Farmville Clan," a satirical movie they had written and produced in their German Conversation 402 class. Polvent served as the first president of Iota Psi.

Since its establishment, the Iota Psi chapter has sponsored an all day field trip at Smith Mountain Lake and Frühlingsfest at Twin Lakes. The Society has also sponsored German film festivals and German food festivals.

National Website


Dr. John Reynolds

Professor of German

(434) 395-2712