Tri-Alpha logo

Emerson College is the proud home of the Eta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Alpha Alpha (or Tri-Alpha), a national honor society for first-generation college students. Our Tri-Alpha chapter recognizes academic achievement, promotes leadership, and provides a support network for our first-gen community. The chapter includes undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, as well as faculty, staff, and alumni.

History of Alpha Alpha Alpha

Alpha Alpha Alpha, or Tri-Alpha, was founded on March 24, 2018, at Moravian College (now Moravian University) in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Over 100 members of the Alpha Chapter were initiated that day, including undergraduate students, faculty, staff, alumni, and honorary members. Following the successful induction, the College took steps to incorporate Alpha Alpha Alpha so that chapters could be started on other campuses across the country. Tri-Alpha exists as a not-for-profit (501(c)3) organization for the purposes of supporting the activities of the honors society.


Students, faculty, and staff who qualify will receive an invitation to apply for Tri-Alpha membership. Once their applications are accepted, they will be invited to an induction ceremony, where they will become official members of the society. Our Tri-Alpha chapter holds induction ceremonies each fall and spring.

Undergraduate students:

Undergraduate students qualify for Tri-Alpha membership if they meet the following criteria:

  • The student has earned at least 30 credit hours (at Emerson) toward a baccalaureate degree.
  • The student has achieved an overall GPA of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Neither of the student’s parents, nor stepparents, nor legal guardians, completed a bachelor’s degree.

Graduate and Professional students 

Graduate and Professional students qualify for Tri-Alpha membership if they meet the following criteria:

  • The student has completed at least one semester at Emerson College and earned nine or more graduate credits.
  • The student has achieved a GPA of 3.5 or higher (if your school/college uses a high pass/pass system, your average is high pass).
  • Neither of the student’s parents, nor stepparents, nor legal guardians completed a bachelor’s degree. (Please note that Tri-Alpha is currently only inducting graduate and professional students who were first-generation undergraduate students. Emerson College also recognizes first-generation graduate or professional students as the first in their family to seek an advanced degree)

Emerson College Faculty, Staff and Alumni

Faculty, staff and alumni may be inducted as well. To qualify, they must have met the definition of a first-generation student listed above at the time they completed their bachelor’s degree. Faculty and staff must be willing to serve as mentors for first-generation students.

Membership Fee

  • $20 for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students
  • $40 for faculty, staff, and alumni


After qualifying for membership and paying a small initiation fee, Tri-Alpha members receive the following benefits:

  • A certificate and pin signifying their lifetime membership in the society.
  • Tri-Alpha silver and dark blue double honor cords to wear with their cap and gown at Commencement.
  • An outward recognition of personal accomplishment and an incentive for continued high scholarship.
  • The opportunity to meet other first-generation scholars from all academic disciplines and to join them in promoting academic excellence and creating a supportive environment for first-generation college students.
  • Recognition by employers, professionals, and graduate schools of their superior academic ability and commitment.
  • The ability to mentor younger first-gen students.
  • The ability to receive mentoring from more senior first-gen students, as well as faculty, staff, and alumni who were first-gen students.
  • Local chapter leadership opportunities.

For additional information, please contact studentsuccess [at] (studentsuccess[at]emerson[dot]edu).