National Collegiate Foreign Language Honor Society of ALPHA MU GAMMA

Alpha Mu Gamma was established at Los Angeles City College on April 29, 1931, by five members of the foreign-language faculty who recognized the need for a society to honor achievement in all languages at an early stage in the student’s career. The interest shown by the other colleges inspired an almost immediate expansion into a national organization. Within seven years chapters had been established in the Middle West, and by 1943 three campuses of the University of California had formed chapters.

In January, 1957, through the efforts of the eleventh National President, Sister Eloise-Therese of Sigma Chapter at Mount Saint Mary’s College in Los Angeles, the week of February 16-22 was proclaimed as National Foreign Language Week by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Each succeeding President of the United States has contributed a message of endorsement for the Week. Soon the annual celebration of the Week, accompanied by the nationwide distribution of posters and programs, both on college campuses and throughout the nation, led to an extremely rapid growth of the organization, especially in the East and the Middle West. By 1983 the number had reached 242 and the Society is adding an average of 3 or 4 new chapters each year.



The name Alpha Mu Gamma is composed of the names of the initial Greek letters found in the phrase "Amphi Mouse Glosson*," meaning, "For the Muse of Languages."

The motto of the Society is "Search with eyes aloft," from Virgil’s "Aeneid," Book VI. The original Latin version is "Alte vestiga oculis**." The Greek translation is "Hypselois ophthalmois theoreite***."

The emblem is the Golden Bough, mentioned in Virgil’s "Aeneid," Book VI, and is a golden olive branch.

The key is partially covered by a scroll bearing the Greek letters for the Society’s name diagonally across its face and the Golden Bough in the upper right corner. The key behind the scroll signifies intellectual endeavor, which unlocks the doors to other literatures and cultures. The scroll represents achievement, learning, and love of literature. The Golden Bough symbolizes enlightenment, friendship, and sympathetic understanding of other peoples.

The call is three long knocks. The answer is the same. One knock represents the key, one the scroll, and one the golden bough.

The color of the Society is gold, symbolizing truth, light, and intelligence.

* Pronounced "ahm-fee’ moo’-say glowss-sown’."

** Pronounced "ahl’-tay wess-tee’-gah aw’-coo-leess," with coo given the same sound as in cook.

*** Pronounced "heep-say-loyss’ awf-thahl-moyss’ the-oh-ray’-te," with the vowel in

heep actually given the sound of u in the French pure or of ü in the German Hüte, with

the given the same sound as in theft, and with te given the same sound as in ten.