Eta Sigma Phi is the national honor society for students of Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies. Eta Sigma Phi exists to encourage classical scholarship, to enhance the appreciation of our Greek and Roman cultural heritage, and to promote good will and friendship among students of the classics.


Eta Sigma Phi had its beginning in 1914 when a group of students in the Department of Greek at the University of Chicago organized an undergraduate classical club to which honor students in Greek and Latin were elected to membership. This organization later united with a similar organization at Northwestern University and became Eta Sigma Phi. In 1924 the society became national, and chapters were organized at leading colleges and universities. The society was incorporated in 1927 under the laws of the State of Illinois.

Eta Sigma Phi was chartered at California State University, Long Beach in 2000 by Carolyn Dimmitt and Jeff Webb. Our first board consisted of Noelle Bautista (Prytanis), Don Guinn (Hyparchos), Amy Pound (Chrysophylax), and Nancy Meyer (Pyloros).


The Constitution of Eta Sigma Phi states that the purposes of the society are "to develop and promote interest in classical study among the students of colleges and universities; to promote closer fraternal relationship among students who are interested in classical study, including inter-campus relationship; to engage generally in an effort to stimulate interest in classical study, and in the history, art, and literature of ancient Greece and Rome."

Eta Sigma Phi accomplishes this by providing opportunities and incentives to its members, including:

  • Scholarships: Each year the society awards two scholarships for study abroad during the summer, one to the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the other to the American Academy in Rome, to members who have recently graduated. A third scholarship, to a session of the Vergilian Society at Cumae, is also offered, with preference going to rising juniors and seniors.
  • Contests: Each year the society sponsors contests among college and university students to encourage the study of Latin and Greek on the college level. Participation in the contests is limited to colleges and universities in which there are Eta Sigma Phi chapters. The contests are in Greek translation, Latin translation, and Latin prose composition.
  • Newsletter: NUNTIUS is the official publication of Eta Sigma Phi, published two times each year. It contains information concerning the society, original articles by members, announcements, and accounts of the activities of the chapters.
  • National Convention: The Constitution provides for a national convention each year, late in March or in April. At this time, delegates conduct the business of the society, including the election of national officers, and workshops are held. Local chapters bid to host the convention, and an effort is made to move the site from region to region to accommodate chapters in different parts of the country.


At CSULB, Eta Sigma Phi functions additionally as a social group in which students build contacts and friendships with like-minded others. Monthly meetings, field trips, museum outings, theatre performances, potlucks, and end-of-semester parties are just a sample of the social events in which we engage, providing unique opportunities to learn more about the Classics while strengthening bonds between fellow students and building relationships with faculty.

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