When Pi Alpha Xi was founded in 1923 by a group from Cornell University led by Arno Nehrling, the early members envisioned an honor society that embodied the three letters of the Greek alphabet: Pi, the first letter of polumathia, or scholarship; Alpha, from the word anthemorgous, meaning to work with plants; and zunoia, signifying the bond among gardeners, educators and professional horticulturists.
I feel a special bond with Arno Nehrling, because like he, I was also President of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, though many decades later. But in addition, the interest and love of plants and the environment unites all of us in the floriculture and horticulture industry. We have moved from a segmented and commodity-based industry to one on the frontiers of plant science. In fact, it is not only our love of plants that binds us, but now all the new and exciting technologies bind us to a larger world that embraces new uses for tissue culture, biotechnology and plant pathology.
We have gone from just cuttings to cutting-edge.
Only the top students in the junior and senior classes who have a demonstrated interest in floriculture, landscape horticulture and/or ornamental horticulture are members of Pi Alpha Xi. We are committed to plants, the environment and the sustainability of our world. Welcome to PAX.
Dr. John C. Peterson
Department Head, Horticulture and Crop Science
California Polytechnic State University