Mission and History


Alpha Epsilon Lambda was founded in 1990 by John Capece, Carole Glover, and Suresh Ramamurthi, all former officers of the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students, with the specific objective of recognizing the academic and leadership accomplishments of graduate and professional school students. The mission of Alpha Epsilon Lambda is to:

  • Confer distinction for high achievement,

  • Promote leadership development,

  • Promote scholarship and encourage intellectual development,

  • Enrich the intellectual environment of graduate education institutions, and

  • Encourage high standards of ethical behavior.

Alpha Epsilon Lambda chapters may be installed in graduate or professional schools which support this mission. Graduate and professional school students who meet the selection criteria may be elected to membership.


Alpha Epsilon Lambda was formed in 1990 by a University of Florida graduate student,  John Capece, who provided the concept, structure and resources for the society.  Carole Glover, a Ph.D. candidate at American University, served as co-founder of the society and developed the name of the society.  Suresh Ramamurthi, graduate student at New Jersey Institute of Technology also assisted in formation of the society and served as the organization's first president.  AEL's purpose is to promote ethics, intellectual achievement, and leadership among graduate students. Before AEL, no honor society was devoted exclusively to recognizing graduate students.

AEL began as an organization of individual members at campuses throughout the country.  In 1992 the first chapters were formed at University of Florida (Alpha Chapter), University of Miami (Beta Chapter) and Kutztown University (Gamma Chapter). Chapter growth has continued to its current 37 chapters.  University of Miami students Celestino Corral and Manny Tejeda provided the leadership in developing the first AEL chapters.  Dr. Wm. Bruce Ezell provided the initial leadership among the graduate school deans which led to the creation of additional chapters and the formation of a national advisory council composed of graduate school deans.

The founders designed AEL with the intention of promoting greater interaction and cooperation between the campus graduate student advocacy organizations (graduate student associations, councils, senates, unions, etc.) and the graduate school (faculty and administrators).  This was to be accomplished by providing a forum in which advocacy issues would not be a focus, thus allowing students, faculty and administrators the opportunity for shared leadership and participation in an organization intended to simply recognize the achievements of graduate students and to provide service to the graduate students and college.

Name and Insignia

The name of Alpha Epsilon Lambda was developed by Carole Glover based upon the society's mission of recognizing Academic Excellence and Leadership. The AEL insignia, key, seal and certificates were designed by John Capece using the same "book" motif that he used in creating the logo he developed for the graduates student services non-profit organization, Grad Services, Inc.  This same logo is also used by the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS).  The AEL key incorporates the book motif in combination with a key background design used by Florida Blue Key, the University of Florida leadership fraternity.