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L. Worth Seagondollar
Worth Seagondollar Service Award
L. Worth Seagondollar
North Carolina State University
In appreciation for your forty years of dedicated service to students through Sigma Pi Sigma.
Worth Seagondollar became associated with SPS/ΣΠΣ when he became a SPS chapter advisor in 1950 at the University of Kansas. He held all of the offices in SPS and was the 13th ΣΠΣ president, serving from 1962 through 1967. This period was one of the most important in ΣΠΣ’s history. In 1950 the American Institute of Physics (AIP) established Student Sections. These sections provided local physics clubs with an affiliation to a larger professional society. In 1951, ΣΠΣ became an affiliate of AIP. During the 1950s the Student Sections and ΣΠΣ coexisted, each adding chapters and growing in size. In the 1960s, a merger between the two groups was suggested and Worth Seagondollar, as a member of the National Council, helped develop a plan that would allow the Student Sections and ΣΠΣ to maintain their respective identities. It was proposed that the Student Sections would become the Society of Physics Students and ΣΠΣ would be an honor society within SPS. Worth Seagondollar was a coauthor of the constitution for the new SPS.
During the planning, one of the major concerns was that ΣΠΣ would lose its membership in the strict and prestigious Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS), since there were no other Member Societies that were subgroups of a larger organization. In the Diamond Jubilee Proceedings, Worth describes the ACHS meeting where he and Marsh White presented the merger plan to the Executive Board. After the presentation, there was silence. Then Robert Nagel, representing the engineering society ΤΒΠ, spoke strongly in favor of the new SPS/ΣΠΣ being allowed to remain a member of ACHS. As ΣΠΣ president it was now Worth Seagondollar’s job to present the merger plan to the society. He called a special ΣΠΣ convocation in December 1967 at Purdue University. Two hundred delegates, representing 90 ΣΠΣ chapters, gathered to discuss the proposed merger. Initially the membership was very opposed to the plan, but Worth Seagondollar, presiding over the meeting, was able to convince the delegates of the merits of the merger, and it was approved by one vote more than was needed.
Over the years, Worth Seagondollar continued his work for ΣΠΣ. In addition to being a ΣΠΣ advisor for 40 years, both at the University of Kansas and at North Carolina State University, he served on the SPS Council and was a member of the Diamond Jubilee Planning Committee. During this time he maintained an active research program and served as chair of the physics department at North Carolina State University.