The idea of an honor floriculture and ornamental horticulture society came from an impromptu after-dinner discussion among representatives of several universities attending the International Flower Show held at New York City in 1923. A group of individuals from Cornell University lead by the late Arno Nehrling, developed the organization, wrote the first constitution and ritual and designed the insignia or key. The formal installation of the Alpha Chapter was at Cornell University on June 1, 1923.
Originally, Pi Alpha Xi was for floriculture and ornamental horticulture; however, today it embraces all horticultural disciplines and has grown to 40 chapters with approximately 14,000 members. Chapters are located in the United States at four-year institutions with programs in horticulture.
Pi Alpha Xi recognizes junior and senior students with high scholastic achievement who demonstrate a strong interest in horticulture. Graduate students and faculty with an emphasis in horticulture are also eligible. Students must have a minimum overall academic average of B (3.0 grade point average on a 4.0 scale). Individual chapters may require a higher GPA. Candidates should also show promise for continued activity and commitment to the field of horticulture.
Photo at top by Virginia Lohr - 2011