SMC organizing business honor society chapter

DOWAGIAC — Southwestern Michigan College is adding a third opportunity for students to earn honors distinction while at the college.

SMC has been approved to create Gamma Nu Chapter of Alpha Beta Gamma, the international community college business honor society. It will join Sigma Psi, the chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for community colleges, and SMC’s homegrown Honors Program as avenues for the college’s brightest students to shine academically.

Alpha Beta Gamma, established in 1970 in Manchester, Connecticut, recognizes and encourages scholarship among two-year college students with at least 3.0 GPAs in business curricula. ABG has initiated more than 80,000 members.

“I hope to have May 2018 graduates be the first class of [SMC] honorees,” said Leon J. Letter, a member of SMC’s business faculty. “We started gathering information fall semester,” Letter said. “We have Business Club, which does activities for business students — seminars, speakers, trips, social events. But it doesn’t award anything. We thought this would honor good business students who do well by allowing them to tap into transfer scholarships.”

More than $500,000 in scholarships for four-year degrees is reserved for ABG members.

Letter is in the process of identifying eligible students, whose majors under the broad business umbrella span multiple departments.

“Accounting, communications, graphic design, ag tech, automotive tech, construction trades, health information technology, information technology, medical assisting and sports management are all eligible,” he said.

Benefits for students go well beyond scholarships.

“[ABG] has an annual conference every year that students can attend and give presentations,” said Letter, who teaches business law and is an attorney. “Hopefully, that will increase exposure to the college’s high caliber of students, similar to what the honors program does with research presentations.”

Southwestern Michigan College is a public, residential and commuter, community college, founded in 1964. The college averages in the top 10 percent nationally for student academic success based upon the National Community College Benchmark Project.

Southwestern Michigan College strives to be the college of first choice, to provide the programs and services to meet the needs of students, and to serve the community, administrators said. The college is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the American Association of Community Colleges.

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