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Newly established scholarship honours an outstanding Alpha Phi Sigma student annually and pays tribute to longtime Assistant Program Head

Glenn Hanna standing at the front of the classroom, framed by the aisle.

Ten years ago, when Dr. Glenn Hanna, Assistant Program Head for the University of Guelph-Humber Justice Studies program went in search of an organization that could help his students learn leadership skills and organize their good works in the community, he didn’t have to look further than Alpha Phi Sigma.

Contrary to the reputation depicted in movies of sororities and fraternities that use similar names, US-based Alpha Phi Sigma is instead an international honours society for criminal justice students. Founded in 1942, the society promotes academic excellence, community service and leadership, and brings together like-minded people from different areas of the legal world.

Dr. Hanna decided to establish a University of Guelph-Humber chapter of Alpha Phi Sigma, called Phi Epsilon.

The group has been going strong ever since, with students leading events, organizing guest speakers, hosting discussions on issues such as gang violence and youth and conflict, and most importantly, giving back to the community through events such as food drives.

“The way we have run this chapter from the very beginning is that everything is done by the students. It is student led and student organized and they plan the activities,” Dr. Hanna explained. “Much of the social justice part of the Justice program is led by their initiatives.”

Among some of these initiatives are “Wrongful Conviction Week” where students facilitate dialogues with guest speakers and host discussions on youth, conflict, and gang violence.

“I’m so passionate about Alpha Phi Sigma because it is student led. They are doing what they think needs to be done in a manner they think is appropriate. We stand back to provide advice, guidance and money and they take it from there,” Dr. Hanna said.

Glenna Hanna and Samantha Savignano in Alpha Phi Sigma regaliaIn keeping with the student leadership trait of Alpha Phi Sigma, for the first time this year, students created a new opportunity for members by establishing a scholarship to be awarded to one student who demonstrates excellence within the group.

Justice Studies alum, Samantha Savignano received the first scholarship of $1,000 before she graduated in June of this year.

But students weren’t finished at simply establishing a scholarship for their peers, they also wanted something that would continue to remind everyone of the impact Dr. Hanna has had on the Justice program and its students.

With his retirement coming up this month, students suggested the idea that the scholarship would be named the Dr. Glenn Hanna Phi Epsilon Scholarship.

Abigail Ashley, Past President of Alpha Phi Sigma explained why they thought to name the scholarship after Dr. Hanna.

“Dr. Glenn Hanna is a remarkable individual, with the highest level of professionalism, a pillar of our program and someone who inspires everyone he meets. He will never be forgotten, and this award is a way to ensure that future students are aware of the society’s roots and the man that started it all,” Ashley said.

The scholarship will be awarded annually to a student who exemplifies the qualities that Dr. Hanna did, and who is as passionate about Alpha Phi Sigma as he is, added Ashley.

Dr. Hanna may be retiring, but his passion about Alpha Phi Sigma continues. In light of that, he along with his family have agreed to financially support the scholarship.

Glenn Hanna leaning against a desk in a classroom, smiling.

“I’m chuffed because it was student led - it completely floored me. I didn’t see it coming. I would do this if it was the Alpha Phi Sigma award, but the fact that they chose my name – this is my legacy at UofGH, something that will be left behind.”

Creating a bursary or scholarship to honour students is something that any staff member at the University of Guelph-Humber can do, and Dr. Hanna credits the Alumni Services team for doing all the heavy lifting and making it an easy process for him.

Dr. Hanna retires on December 31st after a 14-year career at the University of Guelph-Humber.