Forgot your Password?

The Global Honor Society for Public Affairs & Administration

Norwich University held its first Pi Alpha Alpha induction during its June 2013 residency. We are very proud of both our students and alumni and look forward to watching our chapter grow. Daniel Alcorn, Chapter Advisor - Norwich University

PAA History

The History of PAA

1970’s & 1980’s: Passionate Beginnings

Pi Alpha Alpha (PAA) was established in 1974 by NASPAA under the leadership of the first PAA president Don L. Bowen with ties to the American Society for Public Administration.  This honor society began with the goal to encourage excellence and recognize students who have gone above and beyond in the study of public policy and administration.

Within three years, 33 chapters were established and more than 600 members inducted. One of the earliest efforts to recognize academic excellence was the creation of the PAA Best Student Manuscript Award.  Governance meetings were, and still are, held to continue the tradition of advancing excellence, and the continued development of the honor society.  At the first PAA National Conference, it was discussed what PAA’s future should be.

“My argument is this: the future of Pi Alpha Alpha is closely related to how significant Pi Alpha Alpha can be made with regard to the enterprise of public administration, more broadly, public affairs … What I see as the desirable evolution for Pi Alpha Alpha is active engagement with the area of public administration. “

                -Dwight Waldo, PAA National Conference Keynote Address; April 9, 1978

1990’s & 2000’s: Development & Expansion

In the early 1990’s, schools of all sizes were encouraged to create chapters through the removal of the minimum requirement for graduating students. Thus, new chapters were established at schools across the country.

In 1991 PAA leaders decided to raise the visibility and significance of the excellent PAA students. To do this, an oath was adapted for inductions, and a medallion was created to distinguish member’s academic excellence during important celebrations.  Both were done to elevate and honor PAA member’s achievements.  To honor those who inspire and guide PAA students, the Chapter Adviser of the year Award, was created in 1993.

2010’s: Today & Beyond

In recent years, PAA developed this website and created a database of resources for students to utilize. Now with close to 50,000 inducted members, platforms such as Facebook allow PAA members and alumni to connect and network with each other.

In our continued efforts to recognize and advance excellence in public service education, PAA has supported the NASPAA Student Simulation Competition. This is a daylong competition in which NASPAA’s graduate students put theory to practice, and to work together to use a simulation to solve a complex public policy problem.


NASPAA deeply thanks these members of the public service education community for volunteering and serving as a Pi Alpha Alpha president.


Craig Donovan

Kean University

Mary Tschirhart

North Carolina State University

Kenneth Nichols

University of Maine

Thomas Vocino

Auburn University at Montgomery

Krishna Tummala

Kansas State University

J. Steven Ott

The University of Utah

Linda deLeon

University of Colorado Denver

Claire Felbinger

American University

Charles Washington

George Washington University

Robert Boynton

American University

Eleanor Laudicina

Kean University

Sign Up Now

Enter your personal information to receive the latest news from PAA.

Helpful Links

Back to Top