A Decade of Continued Expansion and New Leadership, 1987-1997
The year 1987 was significant in celebrating Eta Sigma Gamma’s twentieth anniversary. The event was commemorated by a special issue of the Eta Sigma Gamman (Vol. 19 No 2) and a national two day convention, held in Indianapolis on October 9 and 10. In 1998 Dr. Smith published the complete history (1967-1987) in the February issue of the Eta Sigma Gamma Monograph.
During the twentieth anniversary year, Dr. Warren E. Schaller, National President and Co-Founder of the honorary, passed away. This ended twenty years of leadership as the honorary’s president. His commitment to the honorary has been unsurpassed. In honor and recognition of Dr. Schaller’s influence, the Warren E. Schaller Presidential Citation is presented annually by the president of the honorary to a distinguished contributor and scholar in health education. In addition, the 1988 annual meeting was devoted to recognizing Dr. Schaller’s contributions to the honorary and the profession.
After Dr. Schaller’s leadership, Dr. Robert Synovitz, another co-founder and national vice president, became the second president of the honorary. Assisting President Synovitz was Dr. Herb Jones, national Secretary-Treasurer. Dr. Jones had also helped Dr. Schaller with administrative duties during his illness.
Nineteen eighty-nine was a remarkable year for the honorary for several reasons. Foremost, the first election was held and on September 1, 1989, Dr. Richard Eberst became the first elected president of the organization. Secondly, a $208,000 grant was awarded to the National Office for the development of educational materials for the prevention of alcohol and drug abuse on college campuses. This effort was to become known as Project Direction and was directed by Dr. Gordon Lindsay of Ball State University. Several outstanding national leaders in substance abuse were employed by Project Direction to develop the materials. Thirdly, the Eta Sigma Gamma National Office hired a full-time Executive Director to provide support for the organizational activities. This was a major step for the honorary in making it independent from Ball State University’s Department of Physiology and Health Science and its support of twenty-two years.
During the academic year of 1991-92, Eta Sigma Gamma celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary. In celebration of this event the honorary sponsored a special meeting in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Health Education in Indianapolis, Indiana. Two hundred Gammans, representing several chapters, were present. It was also in 1992 that the Eta Sigma Gamma Historical Library was established for the preservation of historical books, documents and audio and videotapes. During the silver anniversary year, Amy Bernard, a graduate student at Ohio State University became the first student representative elected to the National Board of Directors. She served as the editor of The Vision, the national newsletter which was published for the first time in the spring of 1993. The silver anniversary year found the title of the official journal of the honorary, The Eta Sigma Gamman, changed to The Health Educator: Journal of Eta Sigma Gamma. The first issue was also the last issue for Dr. Denise Amschler, who served as its editor for fifteen years. President Eberst, in his 1992-93 annual report paid tribute to Dr. Amschler, when he stated, “She effectively elevated The Health Educator from a small, photocopied newsletter to a high quality, peer-reviewed publication, which is significantly respected within the health education discipline.”
On 1 September 1993, Dr. Steve Dorman became the fourth national President. This concluded the presidency of Dr. Eberst who, along with Dr. Synovitz, had served the honorary with distinction during the transition period following the death of Dr. Schaller. By this time the honorary had grown to 82 chapters. President Dorman brought to the office of the presidency a strong commitment to students and chapters. The concept of chapter development, along with the appointment of a director for its responsibility, became a reality during his term of office. President Dorman was also instrumental in increasing the number of student members attending national meetings. This was partially due to the establishment of chapter grants to assist Gammans with travel to the ESG annual conferences. The first regional conference for Eta Sigma Gamma was held in Muncie, Indiana in 1993. This was attended by representatives of seven chapters from Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. The success of the conference served as a model for future regional meetings.