Simpson University Inducts 21 Students Into Honor Societies

For Immediate Release


REDDING, Calif. - Seven U.S. military veterans were among 21 Simpson University students inducted into three national honor societies this spring.

The veterans comprise the inaugural class of inductees in the university’s newest honor society, a chapter of SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society. They were honored at a special dinner on campus April 20 that included the Beale Air Force Base Color Guard.

In addition, a ceremony April 19 honored four students who were inducted into the university’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, a national honor society for history; and 10 new inductees for Alpha Chi, a national college honor society that includes all academic disciplines.

President Robin Dummer and Dr. Gayle Copeland, provost, spoke at both ceremonies, congratulating the students on their hard work and encouraging them to continue on their path of excellence.

“I want to challenge you – enjoy this, but take this induction as a charge to continue in the journey of academic excellence,” Dr. Copeland told the SALUTE members. “You are responsible to God for the gifts he has given, and you will make a difference in your community.”

Cassandra Heath, the university’s VA certifying official, presented the SALUTE inductees; and Dr. Edward Mooney, an education professor who served in the U.S. Army, administered the chapter oath to the veterans, thanking them for their service and dedication.

The SALUTE (Service, Academics, Leadership, Unity, Tribute, Excellence) chapter is the latest initiative for Simpson University’s new Veterans Success Center, which opened in November and served 28 veterans its first semester. The seven inductees include undergraduate and graduate students from various academic programs. To qualify, undergraduate students must have completed 12 semester hours and have a minimum grade-point average of 3.0; graduate students must have completed 9 semester hours and have a minimum 3.5 GPA.

Phi Alpha Theta has more than 350,000 members and 860 chapters. Simpson University’s History Department received approval for a chapter in 2013. To become a member, undergraduate students must complete a minimum of 12 semester hours in history, achieve at least a 3.1 grade-point average in history and an overall GPA of 3.0 or better. Dr. John Ayabe, associate professor of history, presented the 2017 new members.

Alpha Chi National College Honor Society admission is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of undergraduate juniors and seniors who demonstrate both superior scholarship and character. The 2017 inductees were presented by Rob Simpson, associate professor of outdoor leadership.

The following students were inducted:


  • Matthew Dahl - Marine Corps veteran - undergraduate student
  • Jonathon Fairfield - Air Force veteran - undergraduate student
  • Joel Jensen - Army veteran - undergraduate student
  • Stephanie Rokes - Army National Guardsman - graduate student
  • Ryan Swan - Army veteran - graduate student
  • Holly Smedley - Army veteran - ASPIRE student
  • Justin Spears – Navy veteran – graduate student and the university’s veterans success

SALUTE Induction

2017 SALUTE InductionFrom left: President Robin Dummer, Ryan Swan, Holly Smedley, Joel Jensen, Justin Spears, and Dr. Gayle Copeland. Not pictured: Matthew Dahl, Stephanie Rokes, and Jonathon Fairfield. / Photo by Deanna Sloger

Phi Alpha Theta

  • Nicholas Jones
  • Drake Maclaren
  • Curtis Rager
  • Zachary Sanchez

Alpha Chi

  • Austin Avery
  • Rachel Crew
  • Nicole Faulknor
  • Julianna Gilson
  • Rachel Last
  • Gessica Leuschner
  • Molly Smith
  • Moriah Stock
  • Amber Whitehead

Phi Alpha Theta and Alpha Chi Induction

2017 Phi Alpha Theta and Alpha Chi InducteesStanding, from left: Dr. John Ayabe, Nicholas Jones, Curtis Rager, Julianna Gilson, Rachel Last, Nichole Faulknor, Janet Spoon, Moriah Stock, Gessica Leuschner, Professor Rob Simpson, President Robin Dummer. Kneeling: Dr. Gayle Copeland, Zachary Sanchez. Not pictured: Austin Avery, Rachel Crew, Molly Smith, Amber Whitehead, and Drake Maclaren. / Photo by Clara Law



Simpson University, established in 1921, is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential programs. The university celebrated its 25th year in Redding and the completion of a Science and Nursing Center in 2014. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults with both on-campus and online course offerings, including degrees in psychology and organizational leadership. For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit


Contact: SU Public Relations
(530) 226-4737